God kicked the door in

October 31, 2006

General Sir Richard ‘We kicked the door in’ Dannatt has an interesting article in which he says God saved his life three times, prompting him to become a Christian. ‘He said that it was his belief that God first intervened to spare his life in 1973, amid rioting in Belfast, when he found himself stranded with two of his men in a Loyalist paramilitary area. A hail of gunfire cut down the other soldiers, fatally injuring one, while Sir Richard emerged unscathed.’ A similar thing happened two years later when the officer he had been walking alongside was killed by an explosion. Now why would God decide to spare Sir Richard and none of the other unfortunates? Was it rank? Were they incorrigible sinners? Or were they already Christians and so if fatally wounded would go straight to heaven? If we knew what saved the General it could save us taxpayers a few bob on protection equipment for the troops. Another strange statement from the General: “God had no choice but to take a stick and beat me over the head.” It does seem as if God really went out of His way to save Sir Richard but I’m not sure how theologically correct that business about God having no choice is. Better stick to kicking doors in, Sir.


today’s obituary

October 20, 2006

The pick of the bunch this morning was that of the improbably named Lieutenant-Colonel John Pine-Coffin, known by his troops in a display of that searing wit the military are famous for, as “Wooden Box”.
P-C  (as I prefer to call him) was serving in Cyprus when he came across a number of heavily bearded men hiding in a monastery, He suspected that they were Eoka terrorists in disguise so he asked  asked his sergeant to apply a politically highly incorrrect test and give their beards a sharp tug. The beards all stayed firmly in place (we aren’t told what happened to the tugs) and P-C had to make a swift tactical withdrawal. The Telegraph continues:
“A series of staff appointments followed. In 1963 he was in Nassau when he was ordered to investigate a party of Cuban exiles that had infiltrated Andros Island, part of the Bahamas. His seaplane landed in thick mud and Pine-Coffin decided that his only chance of reaching dry land was to strip off. On coming ashore, plastered in mud and wearing only a red beret and a pair of flippers, he was confronted by a party of armed Cubans. Mustering as much authority as he could in the circumstances, he informed the group that they were trespassing on British sovereign territory and were surrounded. The following morning, when the Royal Marines arrived to rescue him they were astonished to find him and his radio operator in a clearing standing guard over the Cubans and a pile of surrendered weapons. He was appointed OBE” As usual the Telegraph leaves out the important details- how did he disarm them, was he still wearing the same attire when ‘rescued’ and others.
The other military obituary I enjoyed a while ago was of a a man who had escaped several times while held in POW camps during the war. The writer commented that, while consigned to an old people’s home (what an abomination!) he never forgot his duty as a soldier and escaped on several occasions.

a man of many metaphors

October 14, 2006

I obviously underestimated Sir Richard Dannatt in my post yesterday. He’s not just a one-metaphor soldier but commands a whole platoon or battalion of them to deploy on appropriate occasions.  According to the Downing Street website the “General had said he did not want a cigarette paper between the Prime Minister, himself and the Secretary of State for Defence.” I should certainly hope not, though I notice that the General conspicuously failed to mention whether he would tolerate other sorts of paper (wall-, toilet, news- etc.) separating the trio.  To prove he’s not just an army man he shows he is equally at home with nautical metaphors:
“Our society has always been embedded in Christian values; once you have pulled the anchor up there is a danger that our society moves with the prevailing wind……There is an element of the moral compass spinning.”
I’m not an expert on matters maritime, but I wonder whether part of the problem might be that too many people believe that it is only some supernatural being that can steer the boat and supply the moral compasses when in fact both these tasks we should be doing for ourselves. Also, I’d like to remind Sir Richard that a boat with an anchor firmly embedded in the sea floor aint going nowheres fast.
The General has me puzzled with another of his metaphors:
“We don’t do surrender.(see this post) We don’t pull down white flags” Again, I’ve never actually been a soldier but I thought the normal way of surrendering was to raise or wave a white flag, not pull it down. I might be wrong but it seems to me the General is saying ‘once we’ve surrendered we don’t stop surrendering.’ Perhaps some kindly vexillologist will enlighten me.

Fierce fighting broke out among British forces in Afghanistan last night as factions of the RAF and infantry engaged each other in combat in Helmand province. An RAF pilot was captured by members of the 3 Para regiment who “kicked seven bells of shite out of him”. Stung by being driven off by rocket-propelled grenades, the RAF then attacked ground positions occupied by the Yorkshire regiment and reportedly came down on them like “eight tons of breeze blocks”. One pilot commented “We haven’t a hope in hell of defeating the Taliban but at least we can make 3 kilos of mincemeat out of these Yorkshire bastards.”
The Chief of General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, described the clashes as ‘unfortunate’ and said that mistakes were ‘understandable in the fog of war and the heat of battle; they were also quite normal in the drizzle of conflict and the scattered showers of hostilities’.
Meanwhile MOD was celebrating the success of its latest ‘guns for coke’ PFI. A security source said a consignment of Glock pistols had been exchanged for about 50 grams of cocaine with a street value of £125,500. An MOD spokeman said the operation demonstrated “the enormous courage, dedication and skill of the British troops.”

Military leaders in Britain have staged a coup, suspended the constitution and declared martial law.
Army chief Sir Toby Nimrod-Smythe said the military leadership had formed a council for political reform and ousted the Prime Minister, Mr Anthonycharles Lyntonblair The coup leaders say the cabinet and parliament have been abolished, but power will be returned to the people.

images.jpg tanks roll into Parliament Square
In the capital, London, soldiers seized government offices and took up strategic positions around the city. Britain has a history of failed coups, the last being 2 weeks ago when a faction led by the sinister Finance Minister, GordonMcBrown narrowly failed to topple the regime of Mr Lyntonblair. General Nimrod-Smythe said “We ask for the co-operation of the public and apologise for any inconvenience,”
It is believed that the country’s highly revered monarch Queen Elizabeththesecond has given her support to the coup leaders.

gen.jpg Army chief Sir Toby Nimrod-Smythe
There has been pressure growing on the prime minister to resign, following a political impasse which has lasted months and has seen vicious in-fighting amongst the various ruling factions. It is believed that Mr Lyntonblair has fled the country with his immediate family and is in hiding in Bangkok. Several of his supporters, including the feared chief of police Sirianblair and other members of the Blair clan have been placed under house arrest. Opposition leader Master Davidcameron welcomed Mr Lyntonblair’s departure, “I’m delighted he’s gone,” he said. “It would have been great if he had resigned voluntarily, but apparently he was too stubborn. But at least it’s better than an assassination. That was what I was supposed to say wasn’t it?”
The streets in London were quiet on Thursday night. People were calm for the most part, correspondents say, curious about what was going on, but some said they were scared. A market trader, Mr Ali Bagwash, gave it a cautious welcome “Good luck to’em, I say, and they can start by doing something about the bleedin’ tube, know what I mean?” Traffic moved through the streets normally and in the bars and fleshpots of the city centre, foreign tourists seemed oblivious to what was going on.
One soldier on a tank said: “We don’t know why we’re here, nobody’s told us nothing, mate. We’re just following orders. You mean this isn’t Baghdad? I did wonder, to be perfectly honest with you…”

Update: United States condemns coup

A White House spokesman said the coup was “a step backwards for democracy”. The fact that 90% of people in the country supported it, was, he said “irrelevant.” “Regime change must not be carried out by force even if that force is non-violent,” the spokesman added.

green weapons

September 20, 2006

A hilarious post on Big John’s blog about a “new generation of environmentally friendly weapons.”

Health warnings on missiles- a good idea:


Meanwhile, “The Metropolitan police have pleaded not guilty to breaching health and safety laws over the death of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in July 2005.” Presumably they were charged with not washing their hands before pulling the trigger. I see some meddling MP’s “queried whether health and safety legislation was the correct test for a terrorist operation.” Why ever not? Suicide bombers show scant regard for hygiene and can make an awful mess, inconveniencing  numerous people. What better way to deal with them than drop on them the full weight of the Health And Safety At Work Act 1974? Section 8 is  particularly draconian “”No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare in pursuance of any of the relevant statutory provisions.” If that doesn’t deter some of these terrorists I don’t know what will.

Surrounded by tanks
Went for a stroll in my village this morning. I got mud splashed on me by a passing moped but I was not surrounded by tanks. It’s truly surreal- everyone is behaving exactly as normal. There was a little huddle of dogs, though, looking decidedly apprehensive. They clammed up when I asked them what was going on.
Heavily-armed soldiers
The streets were deserted. The fact that it was 5.30 am and pouring with rain may have had something to do with it. No heavily-armed soldiers stopped me as I strolled to the temple but several saffron-robed monks passed me on their way to receive alms. They were walking quite quickly in what you might call an alms race.
‘Fled in panic’
The overnight rain has brought the frogs out, They are everywhere, croaking and squeaking in the rice fields that border my house. I approached one but as soon as I got near it fled in panic.
reports of shooting and bloodshed, many casualties
I walked past the bloodstained corpses of some unfortunate frogs that had been run over trying to cross the road. One fierce-looking dog started barking at me and I shot it a quick glance to make sure its intentions were not murderous. Everything was eerily quiet, even the village cocks seemed unusually subdued.

One of my cats slunk softly up a tree where some red-whiskered bulbuls were preening themselves, causing the little group to break up in turmoil.
Food stocks low
I walked back to my house and remembered that I must go to the supermarket today as I had finished off the muesli yesterday.
The BBC is appealing for those caught up in the coup to email their experiences so I must get this off to them right away.