mirrorshard: (Default)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
Jock 'No, that really is his name' Stirrup, who is the UK's official chief militarist, has carefully explained why it's all our fault that our brave lads and lasses are dying in Afghanistan without actually having toppled the Taliban, offed the opium barons, and abolished Al-Qaeda.

Apparently, they get disenheartened and upset when the GBP starts thinking they might not actually be doing any good over there, they might not be able to provide a pony in every Afghan back yard, and they might actually be encouraging foreigners to dislike our country (and potentially try to blow bits of it up) rather than spreading goodwill.

Nothing to do with the military establishment's reluctance to give them adequate housing, helicopters, injury compensation, or even body armour, then. Nothing to do with the political leadership's insistence on the ludicrous idea that we have to fight a land war in Asia to avoid fighting a land war in Aldgate. Nothing to do with the way they and their allies keep blowing up wedding parties, killing innocent people, and encouraging the locals to use the Coalition forces as pawns in inter-tribal warfare.

Seriously, though - I appreciate the importance of morale when fighting a war. I just don't think that we ought to be fighting wars as a general principle; I don't think we are doing anyone any good fighting this specific war; and I haven't seen anything to convince me that they even know what winning would look like, let alone how to get there.

And I am damned if I am going to be told to shut up and cheer.
ACM Stirrup added: "Support for our service men and women is indivisible from support for this mission.

"Our people know that they can succeed, that we'll only fail if we choose to fail. We owe it to them, and to those we've lost, not to make that choice."

Indivisible, eh? Would you care to substantiate that allegation, because it's about to be arrested for vagrancy...

As for his second para, this is the classic loser's streak philosophy. It doesn't matter how much you've lost; it only matters that you win in the end. And the only way to do that is to keep doubling down.

If he were only spending his own money - or his own blood - then I wouldn't care. But he's throwing away taxpayers' money, the tattered vestiges of the UK's good international name, and a lot of other peoples' lives. Even if only Coalition soldiers had died, that would be completely unacceptable.

And now he's asking us to help him do it. No, actually, he isn't asking... he's telling us off for not helping, and explaining that it's our duty. From the same BBC article, one David Wakefield says: "The Taliban is not going to defeat us militarily, but we want the same patience, courage and discipline that soldiers show here from the public at home."

Sorry, mate. Ain't signed nothing, ain't getting paid, ain't going to surrender my judgement to anyone - especially not anyone with the kind of track record the UK military establishment has racked up by now. So you can fuck right off.

Date: 2009-12-03 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirabehn.livejournal.com
Word, to all of this. <3

Date: 2009-12-03 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-next.livejournal.com
Would you care to substantiate that allegation, because it's about to be arrested for vagrancy...

What a marvellous line. I wish I'd said that, to quote Oscar Wilde. :-) And I agree with you; as I've said before, I'm not quite as pacifist as I used to be, but I really don't see the point in this war. Or indeed in not looking after soldiers properly once you've got them; that does bug me. If people are going to be talking about backing up the troops, the very least they can do is set a concrete example.

Date: 2009-12-03 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
You may, Oscar, you may! I'm sure I got it from somewhere, but I have no idea offhand where it was.

I'm fairly sure the issue here is about social control ("How dare you disagree with me, you grubby little civilian") as much as it is focused on the mission.

Date: 2009-12-03 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-next.livejournal.com
That implies a dangerous level of out-of-touchness with reality. You can exhort people to do things if they can see a good reason why they ought to do them. In WWII people were quite happy to be exhorted to help the war effort, because the alternative was the possibility being invaded by Germany, which definitely wasn't a good option. This war? Let me see now, ummmm...

Do they really believe the majority of people won't think for themselves?

Date: 2009-12-03 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
Public schoolboy, RAF ever since - he's literally never not been part of a massive great system of control, hierarchy, discipline, and punishment. Probably doesn't know many people who have spent much time outside one, either.

Date: 2009-12-03 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smhwpf.livejournal.com
Here, here.

Date: 2009-12-03 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
Of course, references to hitting the Taliban til their eyeballs bleed (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/12/03/british-general-s-warning-to-rebels-we-ll-hit-taliban-till-their-eyes-bleed-115875-21869079/) (what are we hitting them with, flat irons? Is this an episode of 'Tom & Jerry'?) are exactly the kind of positive thing the troops, and the GBPans, need to hear. Totally appropriate in all regards.

Date: 2009-12-03 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
Well, yes. A bit of blood and gore and unthinking violence always cheers people up.

Date: 2009-12-03 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
It cheers me up, but that's why I go to the cinema, and enjoy video games. I prefer it not to happen to actual living beings if at all possible.

Date: 2009-12-03 11:20 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-12-04 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangederby2.livejournal.com
(Applauds). Very well said.

Date: 2009-12-04 05:10 am (UTC)
redcountess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] redcountess
What everyone else said :)

Date: 2009-12-04 10:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arkady.livejournal.com
I feel sorry for the troops who have that nonce in charge. I'm not one to ordinarily advocate fragging your superiors, but there's one officer who deserves it if ever one did. Then again, I have friends who are either serving in Afghanistan right now, or are about to be sent out there again whose lives are put at risk by the likes of him.

Date: 2009-12-04 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-alchemist.livejournal.com
I love the way that troops are always portrayed as such delicate little flowers. A few years ago we were told that they wouldn't be able to cope with being around gay people, a few years before that we were told that if women were allowed to work alongside them they wouldn't be able do their jobs properly because instinct would take over and they'd get all over-protective (or rape them, one of the two).

If you can't do your job without the public cheerleading you, or if there happens to be a man who fancies men within a few feet of you then you shouldn't be in the army!

Support for our service men and women is indivisible from support for this mission.

That's not so absurd is it? If you're against war, or against most war, or against the kinds of war we carry out nowadays, then surely you believe that joining the armed forces is a morally reprehensible decision? I do, and I think I'm considerably less pacifist than you are. Of course, people don't deserve to die for making morally reprehensible decisions, but they don't deserve my 'support' either.

Date: 2009-12-04 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
I certainly wouldn't make that decision myself, and I'd far rather nobody else did. I'm not sure I would say "morally reprehensible", but then I tend to shy away from making moral judgements about others' decisions when they have different moral frameworks to me. (This is of course not a criticism of people who do make judgements.)

By "support", I suppose I mean a combination of not making them feel like bad people (because that never helps), making sure they know we blame the leadership - Nuremberg defense aside - not the troops, and generally doing our best to reintegrate them into society. "You're doing a great job, carry on" is definitely not part of it.

In any case, I think it's still perfectly possible to support the idea of having an army in general, or even the principles of whatever-they-call-it-this-week intervention overseas, without supporting this particular mission; all it takes is some independent thought and personal judgement, but apparently the leadership of the armed forces don't like that.

Date: 2009-12-04 12:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
Just came across this article (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/12/3/810011/-Thank-you-for-your-service), which makes interesting related points.

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