Friday, September 05, 2008

THE POOR BLOODY INFANTRY.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!" But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot; (R Kipling)

“When I was young I had a twist for punching babies with me fist.
So I thought I better had enlist and join the British Army”
(Anon)
Kipling and the unknown author of the words from the above old anti British army ditty originating I think in Ireland, are both illuminating in terms of what it means to be a soldier, you can find similar stuff about almost every Army, they do not refer to every soldier of course, but they reflect the insensitivity of life in the forces where mainly young men become desensitised and brutalised while being protected by the establishment.

Before people jump on me, I want to state that I would like to see our armed forces better trained and valued, far too often young men join up as a last resort because of unemployment or time spent in care and the forces manipulate them. Just a couple of weeks ago 8 soldiers and then 23 sailors were dismissed for drug taking, the figures for this kind of kind of dismissal are running at 800 a year, the 23 sailors were from the same ship, were suspicions aroused when it was seen going round in circles I wonder ? These are horrific stats and tell a different story from the one which the official propaganda tells us.

Govt’s get accused of not caring about our armed forces while politicians sing their praises for fear of the press attacking them, Alex (the spiv) Salmond recently stated that Scottish soldiers were the very best in the world, did anyone like me, wonder how he arrived at that conclusion ? He was just grovelling for votes, cringe worthy and pathetic. The real story about the armed forces is what happens to them when the state has used them and discarded them, that’s the real problem and it represents a giant scandal. Not for those who came through Eton, Oxbridge and the Guards, not the upper class career soldier, not Hooray Henry and Winco Willie the Windsor brothers end of the pier variety act, they will be fine, the rest are not so lucky or well connected.

After the 1st. World war thousands of wounded soldiers could be found selling matches and busking on the streets of our cities and those from poor backgrounds who joined up have been badly treated since well before then. Homeless hostels and mental homes have always had more than their share of ex military men, state Army discards with no hope and no future, has it changed ? well, actually not really.

Recent investigations tell us that by far the biggest number of prisoners in our jails from a shared background are from the armed forces, approx 9,000 people, overwhelmingly they are badly damaged and can’t cope with civilian life, society is finding it harder and harder to hide them which is what it has always done. At the service in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the end of the Falklands War Mrs. Thatcher insisted that servicemen and women who were injured, in wheel chairs, limbless, blind etc. be kept in a corner of the Abbey where they could not be seen and they were to be kept out of range of cameras, TV and press.
There is very little if anything which is glorious about the military when you force yourself to face the reality of how these men and women are treated, how they are really regarded by society, flags, drums and badges can’t hide the pitiful nature of it all for ever and, it‘s harder to disguise it because of modern technology. The next time you see her majesty and the rest of the braying royal flunkies on a platform festooned with medals and swords spare a thought for the 9,000 in jail as well as those who paid a higher price still.

A root and branch overhaul of our armed forces is badly needed and something done about this scandalous situation starting with banning lies about how wonderful and glorious it all is, until we have done that we can not claim to be the best anything and we can’t claim to have a truly professional military, from wounded soldiers selling matches to thousands of ex military in jail have we really progressed ?

To finish with another thought provoking anti war song, as Pete Seeger wrote and Marlene Dietrich memorably sang.

“When will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn”

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mrs Thatcher said what? That wounded and maimed servicemen be kept in a corner of the Abbey, out of sight?

Evidence Councillor, please.

David Duff said...

"At the service in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the end of the Falklands War Mrs. Thatcher insisted that servicemen and women who were injured, in wheel chairs, limbless, blind etc. be kept in a corner of the Abbey where they could not be seen and they were to be kept out of range of cameras, TV and press."

A reference please to support your allegation.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 05/09/08 I don’t know what she said but this happened, it disappeared as a news story IMO because of pressure from her. They were only allowed to join in Falklands parades after a row about this.

This is a reference to Army Officer Robert Lawrence wounded in the Falklands.

“Lawrence was not invited to the Lord Mayor's victory parade, while his wheelchair was tucked into the shadows at the service of remembrance at St Paul's, because his injuries were insufficiently telegenic” Observer 14/01/07

This is still going on - try googling “Cenotaph ban on war hero”

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff) 05/09/08

Read my reply to the previous comment from anonymous, it doesn’t help to deny these things.

Anonymous said...

Councillor,
You said 'Mrs Thatcher insisted.'

Prove it or withdraw the accusation

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 19:05

I thought this was where you would head for, as far as I am concerned it was done on her say so, she wasn’t the first to condone this and certainly not the last.

Is it any surprise that you prefer to argue about whether she said this and ignore the fact that it took place.

She also tried to get prayers for the Argentineans dropped from the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury forced her to back down.

You might behave in a similar way if you were the one responsible for the dead and maimed to save your own political skin, you wouldn’t want to advertise that fact that you were a war criminal would you ?

Rumbold said...

Terry:

Glad to see that you are sticking up for our service personnel. All governments treat them disgracefully, as they aren't the types to go on strike (even if they could).

However, you really must provide a link to prove your claim about Mrs. Thatcher and the wounded soldiers. Don't just say "I know it happened". We want evidence.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Rumbold) 17:04

I’ve always stood up for our troops you don’t have to be a flag waver to do that.

I know that these things happened because I remember it clearly, if you think that these things didn’t / don’t go on then you have to give it some more serious thought. Why are dead troops brought back under cover of darkness, why did it take longer for news of battles in the Falklands to reach us than news of the charge of the light brigade ? Do you remember what the first casualty of war is ? It’s the truth.

I have great sympathy for anyone who finds themself in the British Army, it's rotten and incompitent from the top down.

It needs an enema.

David Duff said...

Councillor, you once made an allegation against the Duke of Edinburgh which you failed to substantiate, and now you have done the same thing against Mrs. Thatcher who, I might add (and I have it on the highest authority), used to visit Chelsea Hospital regularly, not least because her husband's ashes were scattered there. There is a name for making unsubstantiated allegations, it's rather an old-fashioned one, it's called - lying.

Now you have told even more lies by claiming that dead soldiers are brought back at night when everyone who watches the TV news can see the solemn unloading of the bodies from various Hercules transports in broad daylight.

Because you have never served in the army you will not understand why detailed news from the Falkland battlefield was delayed. Obviously you haven't the intelligence(*) to work out why.

Alas, that leaves me with no other conclusion to draw except that you are a particularly stupid, lying dimwitted 'civvy'.

(*) Er, that word was a clue. Go on, try and work it out for yourself!

Anonymous said...

Re my request for proof of your allegation and your 'I thought this was where you would head for,' response.

Unfound charges may stick in the countries you admire, but even in the sorry mess a Labour government has made of Britain, supporting evidence is still regarded as desirable before sentence is passed.

You have no such evidence and your claim is even less credible than Blair's on Iraqi WMD's.

Don't be a cretin all your life - take a deep breath and admit you got it wrong.

Macnasty said...

Kelly @ 7.05
'I've always stood up for our troops.'

Kelly, I bow to no one in my disgust for your hypocrisy, but with that one sentence,you have amazed even me.

You have never, ever, supported our service people.

What you have done and continue to do, is support the Party that sent them to die in illegal wars.

You really are a despicable, dishonest, little man aren't you?

Rumbold said...

Terry:

I agree that often wounded service personnel are shunted out of the limelight, because it is more glamorous for politicians to meet Olympic medallists then dead or wounded soldiers (see Gordon Brown's recent behaviour). But as you are referring to a specific incident, and a pretty controversal one at that, there is presumably a useful link out there. I looked for it and found nothing.

David Duff said...

"we can’t claim to have a truly professional military"

Quite right, Councillor, a load of dim, dumb incompetents. Can't think how they managed this:

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1967:where-eagles-dare&catid=34:dispatches&Itemid=55#yvComment

Obviously it was just a fluke!

Jimmy Kerr said...

Wow, what a recation over something that may or may not have been sanctioned by Mrs Thatcher.

The way that I see it, no-one can make any capital out of seeing the true costs of war. Blood and guts on the screen does not sell anything, it does not promote "national interests". This is a simple generalism that holds true over all media and any war that has ever been fought in the era of mass communication.
As such, "The cost of war is always hidden," might be a better maxim than "truth is always the first casualty"

The fact is that Thatcher made no secret of the political capital she intended to make from the war and in that she was no different than any other leader to use war.

I cannot say with any seriousness, that she had anything to do with decisions about who can or cannot get paraded on TV, but this is irrelevance is ironically part of the real scandal.

Alongside the irrelevance of war wounded, is the concept of the victors history. This is the other part of the scandal of war, not just Falklands, but any war. With Victors history, we dont just sweep the victorious wounded out of sight, but churn the curds and whey of history, throwing in gallons and gallons of shite into a festering and birling it around , until we have a foulf smelling mouldy cheese - The stinking, shitey cheese of fake history - fake history written by and for the victors.

There are no stories about the 323 people of the Belgrano, yet we know the name of Simon Weston and we know about the gallows humour of the HMS Sheffield crew. There are no stories about the 640 odd people that died from Argentina, yet we know all about The Yomp and the Battle of Goose Green. History is written by the victors and for the victors and the victorious wounded are irrelevant, not an embarrasment, not a painful reminder, but they simply do not matter.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff) 07/09/08

The bodies coming back under cover of darkness was a reference to our American allies, I really shouldn’t have to explain that to you.

The reason for the Falklands News was lies of omission.

The rest of your comments are nonsense, abuse is not argument. Look up a drama about the Falklands called ’Tumbledown’ and stop lying to yourself you might even feel better about yourself and the military, try the truth.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 08/09/08

There is a degree of naivety or dishonesty or maybe it’s sycophancy about people like you which is quite disturbing.

“it might be lies but at least they are good old British lies right” ?

What about America for unfound charges ? Guantanamo ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Rumbold) 08/09/08

Well since it’s you, look up a TV drama called ‘Tumbledown’ and you will see where this story came from.

Thatcher and her storm troopers were so incensed at getting caught out that they wanted it banned, “questions in the house” were asked about it. It was well discussed at the time.

I see nothing wrong with Brown congratulating athletes or meeting troops, notwithstanding my anti war views. He actually does it with more dignity than any other politician that I’m aware of.

Can you imagine what would happen if he didn’t meet them ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff) 10:38

I’m simply trying to tell the truth warts and all, you are not capable of that, that makes people like you dangerous.

I’m not going to check your account of “derring do” by our military so I won’t have to send you stories of some of the other kind of British Army behaviour which is not so nice and you won’t have to read it and go into another bout of lying to yourself.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Jimmy Kerr) 16:37

These things did happen and she sanctioned them.

Wars are very valuable things, arms dealers get rich, politicians save their skins like Thatcher and the Falklands and Clint Eastwood becomes a millionaire through them.

The “real Scandal” that I wrote about is the hypocrisy of people saying how wonderful our troops are when some of them actually have nothing but contempt for them.

Macnasty said...

Councillor,
What you wrote about was Mrs Thatcher ordering wounded servicemen to be kept out of sight in the Abbey.

You cannot substatiate the charge, so withdraw it.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Macnasty) 09/09/08

It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees, stop crawling and admit the truth.

Thatcher sanctioned what went on at these ceremonies, she tried to stop prayers for the enemy dead, and she escalated the war to save her political skin, she’s a war criminal, and you are a flag waving badge kissing groveller.

Macnasty said...

Kelly @ 10.32

And you, Councillor are a liar

David Duff said...

I second Mr. McNasty's motion.

Are there any dissenters?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff) 10/09/08

I wonder if you and Mr. Macnasty saw yesterday’s news bulletins showing the military parade of people who served in the Irish troubles ? Well not all who served actually.

David Duff said...

OK, I think we can take that as overwhelmingly passed. Any other business?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff) 11:31

I think I’ve said this to you before but, here goes, if you are going to attempt humour it’s best to give the audience a clue of some kind as to what you are on about.

David Duff said...

I don't quite know how to put this to you gently, Councillor, but you see, most people *do* understand my humour ... er, what else can I say?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff) 12/09/08

Well in that case I’ll just have to accept that it’s my loss, I’ll probably survive.