Friday, December 16, 2005

Sitting in Blighty on my big fat civvy arse

Being me, I’ve got drawn into a few heated discussions with folks about the elections in Iraq this week.

One of the people I ended up ‘debating’ with is a soldier who has actually served in Iraq. He’s the second serving combatant I’ve found myself discussing Iraq with in a month.

And at times I’ve felt this small (makes gesture with finger and thumb) doing so.

There I am being totally negative about the whole thing and there’s the other guy talking the situation up. I, of course, am not running the risk of being blown up by an IAD in the course of backing up my opinion.

I totally respect the military personnel serving in Iraq. I also believe the best way to support them is to whip them out of there as soon a possible. That country is set to crumble and maintaining a military presence there will only delay the inevitable. At great cost to ourselves, particularly to those serving there.

What struck me most about my conversations with both guys is how they both rejected the notion that I supported them. Whatever ‘support’ really means in this context. Their opinion is that people speaking out against the war only serves to encourage the insurgents and spur them on to continue their attacks. I even detected a vague whiff of contempt for civilians who have turned against the war.

After thinking about it for a little while I realised that they had a point. The facts of the war in Iraq haven’t changed much since Bush or Blair were re-elected over the last year yet public opinion, particularly in America, has undergone a major about face. So, basically, we sent those soldiers out there, a fair number of them have been subsequently killed or maimed whilst serving in our name, and now we’ve changed our minds about them being there - and as they see it, half way through what they started.

And blaming politicians and the media for collectively misleading us only goes so far in justifying our change of heart

Come to think of it, I’d probably be a bit contemptuous myself

And some of those guys have enough trouble coming to terms with the situation we’ve put them in as it is.


Robert Sharp said...

Talking of arguments about the war... Back in March, I managed to gate-crash a speed-dating event with my girlfriend (I appreciate this raises a lot of questions, but please just accept it without question for now, as its a long story).

I found myself talking to this one girl. Not actually on the look-out for a date, I was less tactful than normal and went straight for the political opinions. When I told her I had protested against the war, she said that she supported it because her Dad was in the army.

This, I said, was preposterous. You can't simply support a war out of support for the troops. I protested because I really did not want any UK troops, including this girl's Dad, from getting blown up for a morally dubious cause. Protesting was the most soldier-friendly, patriotic thing I've ever done.

Soldiers have a duty to go and fight when we tell them. We have a duty to put them on the best footing possible. Blair's case for war did not do this.

Daniel said...

Check this site out. Its a fine example of its whacked out type/sub-genre.

Stef said...

Oh dear

How does that General Patton quote go? Something like...

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."