Thursday, 17 March 2011


To keep soldiers safe we should confine them to barracks, let them march up and down the Mall,  but send them to Belfast or Helmand and some of them are going to get their arses blown off, no doubt about it.  Somehow, recently, this obvious outcome  of warfare has been  subtly transmuted into a question not of the  fundamental nature of armed  conflict but of logistics. 

Whenever - rarely -  an officer dies, the Filth-O-Graph goes into hyperdive,   his death is so much more poignant,  his wife and kids so  much more beautiful and noble in grief,  his loss the more unbearable, his life more filled with potential;  in  short, he was worth so much more than the members of his platoon, his company, his regiment. This is the British press, snobbery and stupidity in equal measure and nowhere more vividly illustrated than in the corpulent, putrid form of Simon Heffer at the Filth-O-Graph. 

We had it - the It's Worse When An Officer Dies schtick - full-on with Colonel "H" Jones in the Falklands, awarded a VC for putting himself and his men in unnecessary danger and we have seen it recently with the death in Helmand of Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, killed by one of those pesky IEDs which Ahmed, in a frankly ungentlemany way, plants in the paths of our troops,  the filthy wog.

Thorneloe had been  a high-flyer in the MOD before taking command of the Welsh Guards in Afghanistan.  One of those officers who led from the front, by example, put himself out for his men, Thorneloe had complained that there were insufficient helicopters to properly convey his men into their theatre of operations,  the armoured cars which they were forced to use were insufficiently armoured and when, atop one such, manning the machine gun,  pour encourager les autres, Thorneloe was blown in half by an IED explosion,  the Tories, quite disgracefully, laid the blame at Gordon Snot's door;  he had insufficiently resourced our brave lads and lassies.  Well, maybe he had but, as we see, the Tories would have done the same, worse.  But the point is that it is the going to war that gets people killed. Uncle Sam has the best equipped military machine in history,  yet he lost thousands in Iraq, tens of thousands in Vietnam.  In war, people  run out of ammo,  their vehicles fail, their planes crash,  they mistakenly fire on one another, communications break down; war is not the parade ground and any number of unavoidable shortages,  failures  or errors might have killed Colonel Thorneloe;   had he, in fact, been flown to his operation by helicopter as he wished to be,  he still could have stepped on a mine, been shot by a sniper, napalmed by the US Army Air Corp and his loss would have been no easier for his familty - or, indeed, his men -  to bear,  he would still have been just as dead.   

This blaming of the govament for resources shortfall, this bean counting,  more than anything else, undermines the esprit de corps so necessary among comrades facing death together.  War is shit and pain and chaos, not an exercise in managerialism - which is why we should not do it unless we are under threat of attack, in which case it is right to ask people to die for Queen and country.  But Thorneloe and hundreds more have died in a futile conflict engineered by GlobaCorp, planned in the shadows by spooks,  the notional enemy armed  and paid bizarrely by us; in Kabul a puppet government of pimps and gangsters playing both ends against each other, rigs the elections which our troops die to facilitate.

In their weekly episodes of melodramatic mawkishness, the people of Wootton Bassett have done their level best to sanctify and legitimise this wicked slaughter.  Puffed-up with  morbid self-importance, these wretched burghers, instead of protesting the pointless deaths of teenagers, have acted like professional mourners in a comic opera, casting their single, hearse flowers  as though hoping for a BAFTA, an Oscar. And now, by Jingo, they have one. No business like showbusiness.

The invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have been costly bloody failures, supported by Labour and Tory alike;  that they are crimes, also, against humanity, is the judgement of many, including your correspondent.  To my knowledge no minister from any party has formally attended the so-called repatriations or the funerals of service personnel killed during these misadventures, indeed, there was a time, past now, when Bob the cunt Ainsworth or Geoff Hoon risked being torn limb from limb had they so ventured  forth.   But no matter, the celebrity ghouls of Wotton Bassett have relieved government of any such embarrrassing appearances, standing-in, voluntarily, for those who should have hung their heads in shame,  their limbs intact,  their kids safely at Oxbridge, their gold-plated pensions assured,  Hoon, Reid, Brown, Ainsworth,  Blair, Howard, Brown, Cameron and Fox; no need for them to face the Dead, fuck no, not when these coffin junkies'll do it, for free. No wonder the Establishment makes royalisms of such stooges;  a pox on them would be my award. 

Just a thought, but should Ahmed - as he now may -  pay a visit to Royal Wootton Bassett, hefting his Magic Rucksack, we must all hope that the people of this benighted and wilfully misinformed hamlet do not receive a sharp illustration of what it is that they so enthusiastically celebrate. Colonel Thorneloe didn't fall sweetly to the floor, you see, a bullet through his chest but died gazing horrified and uncomprehending as blood spurted from where his legs used to be, as his corporal, assuring him that he would be alright, struggled vainly, for a few eternal seconds,  with a tourniquet.  

Who would wish this inglorious butchery on his fellows? Well, William Hague for one, scurrying from public miscarriage to rentboy to wordy cock-up,  David Cameron, too and the dwarf pimp, Sarkozy, spoiling now, for their own wee war, in Libya but not in Bah-rain, against the workers at home, but not against the financial terrorists strutting the globe.  Never mind doling-out royalisms to fuckwits, there's only one place for these  people, Up against the Wootton Basset wall,  motherfuckers.


the noblest prospect said...

Bravo, Mr Smith. Top form tonight.

PT Barnum said...

Excoriating poetry, Mr.I, which ought to serve as a powerful emetic to those who gorge themselves on the sickly sentimentalism of Dulce et Decorum. Ought to, but Royal WB is such a reward in our times for their complicity they would gouge their own eyes out before seeing the truth.

Major Fuckup said...

To be fair to Wooton Bassett they had been honoring the dead years before the media cottoned on and used it as their weekly circus.
And it's not just officers who get remembered. We've seen regular programmes on tv profiling the junior ranks ( Sgt Schmidt etc)which reminds us of their sacrifice.
Most of the troops killed by IED's are doing patrols and supply runs that should have been done by helicopter. If we had any.
I agree about the futility of the Afghan war though. And the certainty that the Tories would be just as useless as Labour.
The chinooks that the Tories demanded week after week at PMQ's have now been quietly cancelled by the Tories.

call me ishmael said...

Isn't Sgt. Schmidt's prominence due in part to the telegenicity of his widow,mr major fuckup? And doesn't his case just underscore tne ruination I describe? Bomb disposal must rank as one of if not the most dangerous tasks a soldier may undertake. No use Mrs Schmidt moaning that he was tired. Had she sought to keep him safe she should have kept him from the army; he wasn't conscripted, nobody forced him to defuse deadly devices, it is a soldier's lot to kill or be killed, it's nothing to do with bad governance or inadequate supplies. It has reached the stage, now, where virtually no death on active service is acceptable to relatives, somebody is always to blame. It is the soldier to blame, nobody else, if you don't want to get killed or crippled, you don't join up, simple; callings, codes and covenants be buggered.

As for RWB, well, when I heard the vindictive applause in the Abbey, during the funeral of Diana Spencer, I knew that the barbarians had reached the citadel; applauding hearses, casting winsome flowers, this isn't respect, this is horseshit.

I don't mean to be dismissive of your comment, major fuckup, it is just that I feel the best way to honour these young men and women, all young men and women is to damn the cowardly politicians who send them to worthless wars and to ridicule those who see their deaths as an excuse for self-indulgent spectacle.

Jacobite said...

Your pen is indeed mightier than the sword

Major Fuckup said...

" It is the soldier to blame, nobody else, if you don't want to get killed or crippled, you don't join up, simple"

I wouldn't say it was that simple. Most soldiers have no idea what they're letting themselves in for. Many have no idea about international politics and the hypocrisy of their govt. Many choose the army rather than prison. Many are kicked out of the house and have no way to support themselves apart from joining up. Many can't even read or write. The army has unlimited resources to promote a life in the army as adventure and travel rather than death and destruction. Only a cold flat to look forward to after demob as they battle depression, ptsd and alcoholism.
I'd agree that more savvy officers and technical staff know what they're letting themselves in for but it's not so clear as you try to make out for the basic grunt.

mongoose said...

For it's Tommy this and Tommy that, and "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's saviour of his country when the guns begin to shoot.

That the decent sentiments of the citizens of WB have been whored upon by the media should not surprise us, Mr Ishmael. Their respect is turned to mush and mawkishness. Wheel the widows out for the cameras, boys, and, yes, try to find a pretty one. But if I was a country-dwelling chap and a stream of hearses drove by with dead soldiers inside I would like to think that I might be gentle enough to watch them pass with a little charity. Rupert wanting to make a few more quid before he pegs it is unwholesome but merely the other side of decency's coin. Let us not let him debase what little of honour is left to us.

We are nearby an airbase and in November there is a reality to standing in the cold for ten minutes in honour of something few present understand but all present respect. But that is real to us because when a helicopter falls out of the sky, there is a good chance that my kids have sat in school with the kids of someone in that crew. So what we do not want to see is the folk of Carterton - by Brize Norton - trying to ape this once spontaneous demonstration of respect and turn into another Dianaesque theatre of pretence. Stand still, take your hat off if you have one and kick any bastard you see with a TV camera.

Mike said...

Major F has a point: you sign up with a reasonable expectation of the risks of war, but then some idiot sends you off against real bullets with canvas sided land rovers, and on something called "nation building" when you have to wear a beret and walk about and be nice to kids, whilst being shot at.

Strikes me there is some confusion amongst the brass hats as to what Tommy should be doing - thats leaving aside the obvious point of supporting corrupt regimes, and politicians' vanity "wars".

call me ishmael said...

Mr mike and major fu, I do not berate Tommy for his gullibility, nor for the fact that often he is otherwise unable to get work. The briefest acquaintanceship, however, with military history The Charge Of The Light Brigade, The Somme, Gallipoli, Dieppe, to name just a few, should reveal that cock-up rules, the generals get stately homes and pensions and Tommy gets gutted; and I am frustrated that in this day and age Tommy remains so, blithely hoping for a twenty-five year tradesman's career and a healthy pension himself, blethering on the ARSE site about how he would run the wars, as if anybody gave a fuck what he thinks. My point remains, if you don't want to get shot at by people angry that you have invaded their country, if you don't want some Oxbridge oik in Whitehall squandering your life so that he can hoover up a fortune in bribes from GlobaCorp then don't fucking join, let then fight their own wars. Corporal Blair, eyes right, quick march!

jgm2 said...

My 'O' Level history teachers, the bastards, for reasons best known to themselves, in a boy's grammar school decided that we'd we'd all like to study was from the repeal of the Corn Laws to 1900 (ish).

What kind of cunting syllabus was that to select? My brother, at a different grammar school got to study World War I. Trips to the war graves. The whole deal.

I read a book once 'In Flanders Fields'. It would make you weep the intransigent, the invincible fucking idiocy that decided that the way to defeat heavily entrenched armies tooled up with machine-guns was to walk not run - got to hold your line you see - good form - across a quarter of a mile of open ground.

I think it was that book and a stroll around the cemetries that convinced me to make sure I had an Irish passport. Because the cunts that would do that to one generation would do it to mine given half a chance.

Another war we had no business at all getting involved in. A war that bankrupt the UK and slaughtered a generation and pissed off the losers so much that they went for a re-match twenty years later.

And now I find that it looks like Cameron wasn't just posturing and blowing smoke. The dumb cunt is seriously going to get us involved in a 'no-fly zone' = war. With entirely (un)predictable consequences.

Except I can predict with some confidence that we will get fuck-all thanks from anybody. The 'no-fly zone' will be no more than a week old before Todd Hamfuckerburger from New Mexico bombs a school bus in Benghazi.

It's Iraq and Afghanistan all over again.

I fucking despair.

call me ishmael said...

Hague and Cameron have to do smething to assert their competence, in their own minds, if nowhere else. Gay Billy, especially, seems to be loving it, lecturing us all on morality and ethics, the horrible, lying, cheesy cocksucker.

General Alert said...

The Libya funfest is backed by the GCC ( Gulf Cooperation Council) who are busy murdering civilains in Bahrain at the moment. No double standards there then.
I'm surprised we have any planes left. Maybe we'll use the red arrows who are training in Cyprus at the moment. We could do a display over Bengazi and while the rotters are looking up at the sky we could sneak up and steal their guns.
Just listening to Dave in the House. We're using Tornados and Typhoons to bomb the conscripts who would be burnt alive by Gaddafi if they refused to fight their own people.
Poor old Tommy again

mongoose said...

A NFZ in Libya is just about the stupidest idea they have come up with so far. If they want rid of the bastard they should so task the SAS or the US Seals or whatever. Blow the bugger to smithereens or put a gazillion holes in him and then get the fuck out of there.

yardarm said...

The Heir to Blair sees his Kosovo moment, a bit of fancy footwork to distract us from the fact that the economy is going into fuckflation.

And all that oil. A bit more chaos to bump the price up and for GlobaCorp to line its pockets even more. I`m watching Flashman now and they`re all agreeing with him, like they backed his mentor over Iraq. If they wanted a war what about that one still burning in Afghanistan ? Remember, when we went in a decade ago to effect regime change and get rid of horrible bastards. How`s that going ?

And at a time when the bastards keep telling us we have no money. Better scrap a few more warships to pay for those warships. Osbum`s going to deliver his budget soon; I spy a pallid motherfucker on the horizon.

jgm2 said...

Holy cow...

Libya's government is declaring an immediate ceasefire, hours after a UN Security Council resolution backed a no-fly zone over the country.

I did not see that coming.

If this unwinds well - ie without a major civil war and with some kind of agreement between the two sides then that is a major result. For which France and the UK will (rightly) claim credit.

If that's the case then their gamble paid off and, though it's not a gamble I would have taken or endorsed, then you have to say 'well done' to them. Delighted to have called that one wrong.

Agatha said...

Oh, for goodness' sake, Major Fuckup..... they don't know what they're getting into? Just a tad patronising, sir, regarding the cannon fodder in the tower blocks? Of course they know what war is all about - they engage in it repeatedly, on TV, film and war games, both computer generated and on the streets. There may just be a slight failure of the imagination if they think that death shall have no dominion and they'll be back in the next film/TV episode etc, but, really - young men love violence, risk-taking, adrenaline, conquest - and always have. Odin's Valhalla filled with young warriors, drinking, feasting, fighting, talking it all up and doing it all again. And, slight correction here, from a very long in the tooth Probation Officer, when you say: "Many choose the army rather than prison" - not any more they don't. They'd love to - but the army won't have them. A recruiting officer told me himself that they really didn't want to be entrusting powerful weapons to scum with records - just too much of a risk, even for the Army.

call me ishmael said...

Amazing, isn't it,that with the trillions of dollars spent on dee-fense,they can't top one hysterical raghead, SEALS, SAS,MOSSAD,lasers from space;fair makes one wonder if it's notthe war they want,more than the outcome,war IS good for business.

Larging it, is what Kipling called it, Ms Agatha. And you are right, HM Forces no longer take criminals, they create a good few, at the other end, mind.

Mr mongoose will know that on the Kenilworth Road, leading out from Coventry is a large Memorial Park, every tree, shrub, bench, named for someone who died in the Second World war. On Remembrance Sunday there used to be a stark and simple service, some marching, some bands, some Howitzers loosed off, all very orderly, sombre, I always felt that if anyone had behaved as do contemporary martial mourners they wild have been buried in the bushes, to silent approval.

The Bah-rainian elephant in the corner shames them not one bit, mr general alert, and the Filth-O-Graph is already hailing CallHimDave as the statesman of the millenium, the rotten bastard.

I can't bear to watch him,mr yardarm; it's like they operate in a parallel universe,where wrong is right, bad is good. And,if it should all go hideously, globally wrong, why, bless my soul, it will be time for a three-party coalition, two deputy prime ministers.

Major Fuckup said...


" they don't know what they're getting into? "

No they don't. And if you look at many ex soldier blogs then this is what you find ( 'skiplickers',' blood in the sand' etc).
All broken men with broken minds who wish they had stayed at home on the dole but didn't know any better.
And the video games you mention only reinforce the view that war is ok. You blast a few wogs then go and have your dinner.
It has always been thus. From WW1 troops eager to get at the dirty Bosch to Afghan troops eager to bring peace and democracy to Afghanistan.
I thought the Falklands were a small island off the Scottish coast so arrived bemused on an island in the South Atlantic.

Agatha said...

Hi, Major Fuckup,
I just had a quick look at the blood in the sand blog, at your recommendation. Some powerful writing there. Shame how each generation of warriors has to learn the lessons of warfare for itself, instead of paying attention to history. War isn't nice. Never was, never will be. That is why many, many of us are pacifists. I've said before in this blog: women know how hard it is, getting and raising a child, and being maimed and killed in some war to feed global capitalism is no sort of return for all that biological, emotional and financial investment.
Remember that our current Armed Forces consist of volunteers. No-one has to do it. And if no-one did it, then the indescribably wealthy, powerful and hungry vampires in charge of the economy would be obliged to impose conscription (again) and that just might be the straw that breaks the back of the poor, suffering camel and triggers an insurrection to bring about an improved way of doing things. Until the shit rises to the top again.

mongoose said...

I was not being facetious, Mr I. It is a far better use of a few million to sneak some horrible killer bastards in and waste the prat. Better still would be to give his mates said millions so that they would do it. It is the British way, the way of empire. It's the way it has always been done. Only fools have wars to get rid of single people. I see reading the electric newspapers that Mr G has some decent air defence kit. A no fly zone might be more costly than we suspect. Watch out for the first nice, middle class, white boy flyer to be captured. No expendable Glaswegian, ten-words-at-PMQs-and-forgotten grunt will he be.

This all leaves aside the difficult subjects of right and wrong, sovereignty and oil and stuff. Too difficult these matters for a Saturday afternoon with the sun shining.

Major Fuckup said...

Yes the blood in the sand blog is very powerful. It brings a tear or two after a few drams. The skiplicker blog is good aswell although I think he's stopped doing posts recently. He talks to his stick men when he gets down.
I appreciate that our troops are volunteers but how can you be a true volunteer if you're not aware of all the facts ?


" Watch out for the first nice, middle class, white boy flyer to be captured."

John Nicol, the navigator shot down in Iraq , was from a working class geordie background who came up through the ranks before being commissioned. It's quite common in the Forces for poor boys to do well.

call me ishmael said...

Nor I, mr mongoose; seems pretty straightforward to get rid of one dude, if that's what they want to do.

|I don'tknow if you are regular, here, major fuck up, but if not, I have made most of your points and more in similar vein in previous posts. I grow increasingly to feel, however, that there exists a dance macabre, to which I don't have and wouldn't want tickets, the participants being Tommy, a growing number of Widow Schmidts and clusters of willingly melancholy grievers; all shall have fame, all shall have prizes, it is a shabby waltz, much more to do with celebrity than warrior culture. And I don't like it.

Major Fuckup said...

Mr Ishmael..

I've followed your blog for a while and like your style.
I can't agree with you about the widows and Tommy's thing though.
I prefer them being outspoken and raising the issues over poor eqipment and planning etc. The old stiff upper lip and stay in your box has never worked as it lets our leaders get away without blame.
If the widow has a pretty face then all the better to get more exposure.
But being pretty isn't always required. In Scotland we have the campaigner Rose Gentle whose son was killed in Iraq. She harries the politicians and is strong in her own right without needing to look like a film star.

call me ishmael said...

I am sorry to differ with you yet again, mr major fuck up but Rose's claim was that her son, Gordon, only joined to learn a trade and it wasn't fair for him to be marched off to war, like a proper soldier, demeaning, in my judgement, both Gordon and all his comrades. Maybe the poor cow is just trying to deal with a misplaced guilt she may feel about her kids' lack of other opportunities, maybe it was that which enabled Tommy Sheridan to dragoon her to his posturing, egotistical cause, persuading her to stand as a Scottish Socialist Parliamentraty candidate, no doubt to the amusement of our traditional leaders.

I supppose my fundamentsal difference with you is that I feel that the bereaved, by joining an argument about body armour or landrovers, are missing the big picture which, in recent and current case, is the illegitimacy of our intervenbtions in the first place.

jgm2 said...

Ahhh. Fuck it. The gamble didn't pay off after all. Why did I think for one moment we'd got away with it?

We're in another war in which we have absolutely no business getting involved.

Gordon Brown might be a useless cunt. He might have destroyed the UK economy but he did, at least, manage to go three years without starting a fucking war. Cameron's not been in the job nine months and he's got us involved in another fucking pointless war. The Arab League is back-peddling as quickly as they can spokesmen onto Al Jazeera. When we said 'no-fly zone' we meant 'no-fly' zone. Obviously Gaddafi should be free to kill his own people using tanks and artillery just as the Saudis are doing in Bahrain. We didn't support you actually stopping Gaddafi killing his own people just we didn't want them bombed from the air.

Sarkozy's head must be spinning 'But, but, you said...'

Major Fuckup said...

Mr Ishmael..

We're not too far apart. Rose Gentle had no problem with her son going to war. She did have a problem with it being an illegal war and has tried without success to meet Tony Blair. She also doesn't have a problem with her son going to war if he had been properly equipped and trained. Which he wasn't.
I'd agree that most of the other relatives don't seem to realise that the wars are pointless and in some cases actually illegal.


I was a bit dubious when you said 'well done to them' in your earlier post ;)
None of the talking heads seem to know what the point of the war is and what the endgame will be which is a bit worrying after day one.
The BBC have followed the same line as normal. Endless interviews talking up the war before 'it's too late'. Then once the war starts endless talking of ' is it another quagmire like Afghanistan and Iraq'
And all egged on by people like Douglas Alexander who looks like he'd start crying if someone let off a stink bomb next to him.
Oh and who governed over such successes as the Iraq and Afghan fiasco and the boom to bust disaster.

mongoose said...

It is a vileness beyond parody, Major FU. Did I detect the weaseling of "maybe we will" (send ground troops) earlier in the day? Fuck me. How many wars do we want at one time? It is all a plan, I tell you. We are restructuring oil. The ragheads are deemed to have failed and are being retrained and/or replaced.

Agatha said...

Hi, Mr. Mongoose, m'dear - what else would we be interested in? Why else would we by breaching the Prime Directive?
Should a different power source be invented with the flexibility, versatility and money making potential of oil, we'd be as interested in the politics of the Middle East about as much as we're interested in the politics of Bolivia.

TDG said...

Insincerity seems to be the only emotional crime these days, so nice to see you suggest otherwise, Ishmael; not that you will sway many.

You see, the beauty of the dictatorship of the proletariat is that it is eternal: a monarch can be removed, an oligarchy overturned, but once "the people" are thoroughly lumpenized there is nothing anyone can do.

Power and wealth have never been more liquid than they are now: no victim has been more complicit.

mongoose said...

The Prime Directive is in the dust, Ms Agatha. We live in a world of the globa-directive. Not many years in the past, my great-grandparents thought that their kids and their grandkids were their responsibility - to nurture, to educate and to protect. Not one century ago my grandfather hid his fellows from the lawful officers of the State - the Black and Tans - because he thought it the right thing to do. Today he would be in a hood in Guantanamo Bay.

Now it seems, the UN, or the EU, or the Cameron bastard, not only know better than me but now actually have lawful authority to fuck off over to a foreign country and protect folk by killing them. I do not consent to this mad political tomfoolery. Our social and political bargains used to be in place to protect the weak, not to allow the strong to march over us - as they have always done, I know - but now to claim it as just? This is the Ruin of which we speak.

Agatha said...

'twas ever thus, Mr. Mongoose. Back when Gene Roddenberry was inventing the Prime Directive, he was rebuking the American intervention in Vietnam.
"As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture."
Shame it never caught on. Of course, it would have prevented the acquisition on unequal terms of another country's resources.
Prime Directive versus national interest? No contest.