Thursday 3 December 2015



O what is that sound which so thrills the ear
Down in the valley drumming, drumming?
    Only the scarlet soldiers, dear,
    The soldiers coming.
O what is that light I see flashing so clear
Over the distance brightly, brightly?
    Only the sun on their weapons, dear,
    As they step lightly.
O what are they doing with all that gear,
What are they doing this morning, this morning?
    Only their usual manoeuvres, dear.
    Or perhaps a warning.
O why have they left the road down there,
Why are they suddenly wheeling, wheeling?
    Perhaps a change in their orders, dear.
    Why are you kneeling?
O haven’t they stopped for the doctor’s care,
Haven’t they reined their horses, their horses?
    Why, they are none of them wounded, dear.
    None of these forces.
O is it the parson they want, with white hair,
Is it the parson, is it, is it?
    No, they are passing his gateway, dear,
    Without a visit.
O it must be the farmer who lives so near.
It must be the farmer so cunning, so cunning?
    They have passed the farmyard already, dear,
    And now they are running.
O where are you going? Stay with me here!
Were the vows you swore deceiving, deceiving?
    No, I promised to love you, dear,
    But I must be leaving.
O it’s broken the lock and splintered the door,
O it’s the gate where they’re turning, turning;
Their boots are heavy on the floor
And their eyes are burning.

WH AUDEN, 1907 -1973

That our killers go uniformed still, career mercenaries, blessed by poncing monarch and beasting  prelate, makes them no less murderous; that our targets are smartened for destruction leaves then no less wasted; that we behead with hot shrapnel rather than cold  steel is irrelevant, 
the decapitation is equally, unnervingly final.

From  the bombing of Dresden to the Bogside,
 from Harfleur to Hiroshima 
our sorriest martial triumph is in 
the massacre of the innocent.

That we unleash Slaughter most noble and worthy upon others
forbids our complaint when he is  turned upon us. 


mongoose said...

I cannot help but think that the bit of today's announcement - "and we used all our smart kit to check that no civvies were harmed in the making of this programme" - was a terrible hostage to fortune. Colonel Bruce T-shirt Willis said in some terrible film or other that the Army is a broadsword not a rapier, and that must go too for the Army at 15,000ft regardless of the smartness or otherwise of their munitions. It is not strictly fair though, is it, Mr Ishmael, to lump all military adventures together? If anyone deserves killing in this world it is the ISIL bunch of dicks.

Quite how we go about this by destroying the economic capability of Syria is not immediately clear to me but I suppose it harms every local, and so there is dark merit in that. It is also a strange tale, isn't it, that says that ISIL funds its macabre games by tankering oil to Turkey when the McSauds drop such loose change every weekend in the knocking shops of Bahrain and such.

Hillary "Winston" Benn, eh? Bless.

call me ishmael said...

Yo, mr mongoose, good to see you.

I don't lump all military adventures together, or I didn't mean to, I do see these commentaries as a continuum and I have, along the way, acknowledged military heroism and deplored its recent devaluation. Some engagements have been necessary, the Hitler war, most recently, but little else, and even those involved in that - like Pierrepoint with his - have doubted the justice or the value of their trade, as in the bombing of Dresden, for instance. And so many interventions, like this one, have been mere bloody subterfuge and illegal regime change masquerading as a fight for Freedom. All of them, I expect, have climaxed in rape and other atrocity being perpetrated against non-combatants and their children. And I shall never forget, 'til my dying day, the conduct of Geoff Hoon and Jack Straw, Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell, may Satan eternally skewer their poxy arses with fiery barbs, as they wrought l'Holocaust Nouvelle in Iraq. This, like that, is a vanity war, the worthless dummy, Cameron, launching his half-dozen rusty Spitfires not for any strategic purpose but that he might walk a bit taller, amongst his fellow midgets, dross, like Frankie Hollande and that shouty little fascist fucker in Turkey,the one playing Mussolini to Uncle Sam's Hitler.

I have managed, as I said, to avoid Benn's speech, and all of them,actually, but I expect I shall have to peer at them, through slitted fingers, over my eyes.

I saw that Bruce film, and it was a questioning, in my reading, of the deployment of the military in a civilian setting, rather as in Auden's terrifying poem, above.

My late brother used to, repeating the last word - as in drumming, drumming - morbidly chant the poem over a two-chord, Eminor-Dmajor accomapniment, and it would chill the blood, the idea that those squadrons, raised from among us, armed and clothed and fed by us, would as readily slash at us with their sabres, as they would Johnny Foreigner.

mongoose said...

Oh, I am here, mr ishmael. Just hellishly under coshes of various kinds at the moment.

I just cruised past the news review on Sky whereon a creature called de Waal was yelping like a distraught schoolgirl about the social impact of the airstrikes in Syria. I would be worried about the social impact after the actual impact had been survived but what do I know? Mind you she made more sense than the cartoon cut-out old sweat, Fleet St dinosaur sat beside her - whose name mercifully escaped me. Dear me. What a shambles. And now there is a dick on QT saying that "Death is death. I get that." Thank-you, Socrates, for dropping in. So the standard of debate is somewhat low, and it therefore wasn't much of a bar for Hilary to clear. Wee Eck seemed to manage to crash into it though. Nasty little arsewipe that he is.

Who would you back house to house - 2Para or Jihadi John? But that would indeed end up with the saviours as villains - just as they became in Belfast and Baghdad - and so this won't happen. We are going to use up our old bombs, and get some new ones for the lads to play with. No good will come of it. Russia and Turkey to the East and the Mediterranean to the South. These are our defences against the Islamoloons. Stout fences and secular cold-hearted government is called for. Sadly many an innocent will perish in what will become a mournful process. And look what just happened to the EU? Oops. Referendum postponement anybody?

It might be an interesting and salutary lesson to tear down the House of Saud while we're at it. Recarve the map and take their toys off them.

call me ishmael said...

I saw thirty seconds of QT, before I could find the buttons, it was Caroline Haircut, doing that dreadful, grinning, patient schoolmistress thing, still. I wish she'd fuck off to whatever is the reverse of an Anger Management Course. Fucking awful, that programme. I watch less and less of TeeVee.

You can, I think, separate the 2nd. Hooligan regt., whose personal characteristics may well suit foreign adventures against armed opponents but which have no place on the streets of Britain, the fucking bastards, and Callaghan's Folly. I think we have discussed, previously, that the imposition by Westminster of one person one vote in Ulster would have saved the whole fucking catastrophe. Callaghan, however, like Dave Simple, was an idiot and Dave's lunatic defence secretary, Fallon, is already talking about decades of this shit, just like Ulster, all over again. Careers for the Ruperts, killing and torturing fields for the psycho-Tommies, and bonanzas for the arms manufacturers and in the meantime, the next Jihadi John may have his hands on a nuke or a bug-bomb. These Tories, and the NewLabour Tories, they are all supposed to be good at business, aren't they, why don't they do a deal with whoever is running the bulk of these headchopping maniacs, just buy them off, give 'em a billion in a Swiss bank, or give them some MickyMouse mini-state to run; either that or just cut to the chase and nuke Mecca, and then Karachi and all the other Muslim capitals.

House of Saud, eh. Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king. What they did, the West, was worse than anything the Mafia could ever dream of: take some gangster criminal family and call them all your majesty. It fucking well defies belief that these coked-up playboys are welocme in Buckingham Palace, while they're funding mass fucking murder in the Middle East, whipping, stoning and chopping people to death in their own streets. Unbelievable.

Didya see Codger McCain, joking about Britain: Yeah, a few bombs're always welcome but it doesn't mean anything, it's just for domestic politics.

Mike said...

Mr I: if I may be so bold....I think you have this arse about tit. The objective of the US and its vassal states like the UK (with its pathetic 2 tornado aircraft - so 1950s - even returning with bombs un-dropped) is not to solve problems, but to create them.

Its beyond parody to think that the RAF can add even a grain of sand to the efforts the Russians are making.

The origin of all this is Israel: they want the arabs to fight each other, not them. I think I have mentioned before the old arab saying: "if only we could all piss together we would wash Israel into the sea". Added to that Israel is running out of water and needs the Golan heights which its is currently illegally occupying in southern Syria (where recently huge oli reserves were found as well).

The Israelis have US politicians by the balls.

Looking forward to your Mikado review - I'm a big G&S fan.

call me ishmael said...

All that's true, mr mike, and it is only a moment since we were talking about the Israeli ownership pf so many of our own filthsters, as well as everybody else's.

Blair has been particularly useful to them and I remember one of Obama's earliest presidential speeches to a Jewish lobby group, in which he vowwed his own eternal loyalty to Tel Aviv, come Hell or high Water. Gerry Kauffman, MP, has been kicking up fuck about this for some time, about so many parliamentarians being bought by Friends of Israel; they cannot really call him anti-semitic, although I suppose WarLord Winston might damn the old queen as a terrorist sympathiser, as he would you. And me. I have often ranted here of there being no difference between any of the mad Abrahamists; the Jews, too, will hold the future of humanity as nothing, compared to their own five thousand year old superstitions, the mad bastards: we can all roast, as far as their fucking Jehovah is concerned, for we are not His chosen people; fundamentalist faith states, time they were all outlawed.

No difference, really, between us; it is taken as read, by me, anyway, that however sanctimonious and know-it-all, Israel, too, is a terrorist state, always was, by any definition of that term, Stern Gang, the Irgun, Menachim Begin, the still hushed-up attack ob the US warship, Gaza and Jehovah only knows what else. That they hold elections to decide the next chief oppressor is no excuse for us to call them friend, no more than is the fact that they buy their PR men from the whores lining the green benches.

It was not the geopolitics which I lamented, above, but the blooding of our nation's head with the fox's tail of Deceit, the flexing, anew, of the martial muscle and its unfailing enthusiasm for correcting we, the civilians.

And our six rusty Spitfires, held aloft by sentiment, don't need to be effective to be symbolic, to burnish our own WarLords' tarnished armour.

Anonymous said...

Spitfires aside - although a few of those WWII planes would be just as good at destroying pick-up-trucked loonies, and at a 100th of the cost - there was an american psycho on the news overnight. He could have stepped right out of the screen of Dr Strangelove and was simply wetting himself at his premise that this was a perfect opportunity for "the lessons learned in Viet Nam" to be put to use. ("Fuck me. And they were, General?") It really is showbiz. Perhaps Apocolypse Now rather than Strangelove. "Air Cavalry, son. Air-Cav." Dear God. What crazies.

mongoose said...

Oops... that was me. What is this new non-robot nonsense?

call me ishmael said...

I am sorry, it is beyond my control, I have tried in vain to switch it off.

The hausfrau is sending some of her peace-loving warplanes, now, just to fly around the skies, in a respectful, non-Stuka kind of way. Oh, that instead of the PBC Cocksucker Embeddeds Corps, we had an artist to paint a modern Guernica, and the syes to see it.