In a few days’ time we shall see the sad and tragic sight of the coffins of six young Englishmen, soldiers from two English Regiments of the British Army, being repatriated from Afghanistan. This should have taken place tomorrow, Thursday, 15th March, but it has been delayed. They are the latest, but not the last, victims of this unwinnable war.
The following article has been compiled from the views of England Watch and the words of a serving Soldier that one of us talked with a few weeks ago. The title of the piece are his words.
The overriding impression you get from this young man is one of pride! Pride in his country, his Corps, in what he is doing but above all else pride in the mates he serves with. One thing he is not proud of it the Government, or more specifically the Tories. He reserves most of his anger for the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Defence Secretary. Whenever he ‘spits out’ the name of Cameron, Osborne or Hammond it is invariably preceded by “that arsehole”. By the end of the talk it is quite obvious that he hates the Taliban for what they are doing to Service personnel, but there is a grudging respect because they are doing it for a cause and, as he says, “they will be mad because we’re stomping through their shithole”.
There is no such respect, grudging or otherwise for the Government. He says that the feeling amongst many service personnel, not just in the Army, is that the Tories have let them down. “My cousin’s boyfriend was on the Ark Royal” he says, “one day they are in Canada with that arsehole Cameron telling them that they were the best thing in the navy, the next thing they hear is that he is scrapping the ship, the Harriers and a load of the men. Arsehole!”
“In Afghan we need stronger vehicles with much better protection against IEDs, we haven’t long stopped using the snatch Land Rovers, coffins on wheels, baked beans were better armoured than we were in those things. We need the sort of things the Israelis and South Africans have been using for years, but the arseholes won’t cough-up for them.”
From what he says, and we do only have his viewpoint, there seems to be a growing feeling amongst the men-on-the-ground that not only are the Government getting ready to cut and run but they are doing it in a way that will cost even more lives than the 404 we have now.
“The first thing you learn when you join up is your number, the second is that surprise is the key to success, you keep the enemy guessing.” “So what do these arseholes do? Tell the enemy exactly how long they have got to hold out for.”
“No way is this job going to be over by the end of 2014, they will pull us out before the election so that it looks good for the voters.”
“If I was the Taliban I would calm everything down for the next 18-20 months so that the coalition governments can say that they have done a good job and it is safe to go home. Then, just before we are starting to pull out, I would throw everything at the fan, not just the shit but the shovel as well. That would force the governments to decide whether to carry on with the pull out, that would leave Afghan burning and they would have to admit that all of our blokes had died in vain, or they could dump more boots on the sand to try and save it, but that way they will lose the election.”
“When the Government asks us to put our lives on the line we do! I’m not moaning, we were already in Iraq when I joined up so I knew that I would end up eating somebody’s bloody desert, but it is supposed to be a ‘contract’, we do what the politicians ask and in return they look after us and ours. It doesn’t work like that. You go to the Sally Army or British Legion and ask how many ex-squaddies are on the streets or in hostels or Psyco units? It’s bloody horrific!”
“Don’t get me wrong, I love my job; I get to work with the best blokes in the world. I think we are doing a good job over there when we are allowed to. I probably have one more tour before 2014 and I know that I might not come back in one piece, or at all. You have to think about it, you would be stupid not to, but ‘Dying for Queen and Country’ is one thing, dying for Cameron and the Tories just to keep the Yanks happy! That would piss me off big time.”