Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘medieval

Abandon Afghanistan Now!

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Our so called leaders don’t listen to us.  They’ve abandoned any pretence of democracy by imposing a new European regime and president on us.  They don’t even listen to their expert advisors.  Instead they prolong an idiotic and discredited drugs strategy that brings violent crime to the streets of every town in the country and funds international terrorism.

Perhaps they will hear the crunch of Gulbeddin’s bullets as they smash into British flesh and bone?

Please listen!  Too many heroes have died or been cruelly maimed.  This foreign land is not worth it and the idea that this strategy is protecting us at home is nonsense.

Now is the time to abandon Afghanistan.  Leave behind the disgusting and corrupt Karzai for, sure enough, whatever we do, he is doomed to suffer a grisly and horrific fate.  Leave behind the Taliban for they are medieval evil but with no interest outside their own borders.  Leave behind the Afghan people because much as we may deplore their treatment of women and of each other that is their problem, not ours.  Bring our boys home!

As for Al Qaeda and the threat of a renegade nuclear Pakistan, let us install a small but powerful contingent of our most heavily armed troops, garrisoned in impregnable fortresses.  In conjunction with our allies they should be equipped with the very best that we have.  Mostly they can observe and use pilotless drones to interdict where necessary.  All movements should be done by helicopter because we have no real interest in “hearts and minds”.  When necessary, overwhelming, unrelenting and merciless force must be used against our enemies and yes, let our men have battlefield nuclear weapons too.  We need to blast these evil Islamists off the face of the earth.  There is no more time for patience or consideration or concern.

Khamenei Defiles Islam

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An Evil Old Man

Evil Hypocrite

When you see an old man like Ayatollah Ali Khamenei talking such absolute drivel it is tempting to think that he is either senile or mad.  Clearly though, the truth is he is simply bad.  His conduct will do more to set back the cause of Islam than almost anything else.  This is why the name of Islam is shamed throughout the world.  If followers of the Prophet can not find some honest, intelligent and sincere spokesmen then their religion and the culture that surrounds it will be forever condemned as a medieval anachronism.

His speech today is a catastrophic mistake and misjudgment but it will lead to a better future.  I believe it will enrage the educated and intelligent people of Iran.  He obviously believes that the people are stupid and that they can be bullied or terrorised into accepting that the elections were fair and that there is no corruption.  It would be easier to claim that he is deluded but no, I think this man is simply evil and it would be in the best interest of all mankind, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, non-believer if he were gone.

Who will rid us of this turbulent priest?

Yet Again the MOD Fails Our Heroes

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Hercules XV179, Call Sign "Hilton 22"

Hercules XV179, Call Sign Hilton 22

I hope that I never have to experience the reality of war. but, I think like every man, I am fascinated with how I would behave in combat.  We all want to be heroes and, as I have read, courage is often forged from the fear of disgrace.  The idea of letting down one’s comrades can be more frightening than bullets or explosions.

Even during the Second World War, I would now be deemed too old to fight.  They won’t even have me in the TA, much as I would love to volunteer.  Yet every day, right this very minute, there are men and women younger than my own children, who are being called on to put themselves in mortal danger on our behalf.

Our Hercules Heroes

Our Hercules Heroes

These people deserve the very, very best that we can do for them.  Clearly, the reality of combat means that there will be times when circumstances are less than ideal.  Ammunition may run out.  It might have been preferable to have larger calibre weapons given the force that the enemy deployed.  If air cover had arrived earlier, lives may have been saved. The very nature of combat is that it is unpredictable but when there are lessons to be learned it is imperative that they are studied in depth and acted upon.

Why, oh why, is there episode after episode where the MOD refuses to acknowledge its failings and seems to duck and dive to avoid responsibility? This isn’t about civil service office politics, about covering one’s back or manouvering for promotion.  This is about death and pain and blood and grief.  It’s about mothers who will never see their sons again, about fit, healthy, beautiful bodies and minds that are broken, twisted and consigned to the scrapheap with – yet another scandal – insultingly inadequate financial support.

The Steve Jones Memorial Bench

Steve Jones was an SAS Lance Corporal on board the Hercules shot down over Baghdad in 2005. When I first came across the memorial bench on Thorney Island (see http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2008/06/22/walking-the-dog-2/) I was deeply moved and when I returned there a few months later to find a memorial book full of glowing tributes and commendations, I felt that this story was one I wanted to take further.

So I made contact with the MOD press office and very tentatively enquired what support they might be able to offer me with a further story, perhaps even a documentary.  A very charming female Wing Commander seemed interested and said that two of the men on the Hercules had been personal friends.  The Army though were different.  I received a courteous but frosty reception and was told that there was no question of being put in touch with the victims’ families.

I can understand, of course, that some of the families will just want to move on and that journalistic investigation may prolong their grief.  In the end it was made clear to me that while the MOD wouldn’t stand in my way, it believed that the story had already been exhausted and wouldn’t offer me any support.

I have been an MOD spin doctor myself.  Some years ago I was the communications advisor to the Assistant Chief of Staff, UK Support Command on the launch of the British Forces in Germany Health Service. The year that I spent working at Joint Headquarters in Rheindahlen gave me an insight into the services that I am very grateful for.  One memory is of the extraordinary combination of austerity and luxury that I experienced while staying in the Officers Mess.  My room was like a prison cell but in the morning there was silver service at breakfast as I sat at a huge four inch thick mahogany table surrounded by oil paintings, regimental colours and memorabilia. There was no menu.  I could just order whatever it was that took my fancy.

My overwhelming memory though is of the incomparable integrity of the people I worked with.  It left me with a feeling (entirely undeserved) of connection with the military and an understanding of how one really could trust the man next to you with your life.

In the extraordinary age in which we live, when cocaine-fuelled w**nker bankers abuse their customers and the taxpayer, when venal politicians grub around in the muck on billionaires’ yachts, whilst in Afghanistan our boys lay their lives on the line in medieval conditions, it is time that the MOD displayed a fraction of the courage that men like Steve Jones have and admitted its failings to start the process of putting them right.

For the full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7683909.stm