Ulster soldier buried with honours as others prepare to step into the breach

Captain David Patten will be buried in Aghadowey today with full military honours. He died in a Taleban attack in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan. He will be buried beside his father who was a Major in the Ulster Defence Regiment. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Donaldson has been voicing concerns about proper equipment for front-line troops as 100 troops of the Royal Irish prepare to be sent to the same area. Such concerns are not new, the Ministry of Defence has a long history of over-spending billions on huge contracts but refusing to spend millions on basic equipment.

  • seabhac siulach

    After the recent Somme commemorations, it is a sad to see that the British government is still so casual about the lives of the men it sends to war…
    It is not much reward for the loyalty of the RIR men (in all the senses of that word) to be sent to Afghanistan without even the proper equipment…
    With friends like that, etc.

    Can anyone properly explain what exactly they are doing there? From what I understand, on Sept. 11th Osama Bin Laden was actually in Pakistan…and apparently there is now a never ending stream of ‘crazies’ from there into Afghanistan, ready to take on the infidel…
    If they wish to stabilise Afghanistan they will first need to stabilise Pakistan…it is the work of decades…

  • seabhac siulach

    Oops…that sentence above should have read…

    ‘…It is not much reward for the loyalty (in all the senses of that word) of the RIR men…’

    but perhaps funnier as I mistakenly wrote it…(?)

  • Prince Eoghan

    Tin can vehicles against grenade launchers. The inevitable happens, and the poor bastards inside get grinded up. The equipment is shite, some buy their own, beg/trade with the Yanks, but on the whole their lives are expendable. Sad indictment.

  • Rory

    I blame the Taleban meself for using sneaky effective weaponry like modern rocket-launchers. But then you never could trust Johnny Foreigner to fight fair. They’re supposed to be charging down on camels waving ornate, long-barrelled, single-shot rifles and waving scimitars. But what can we expect – they are so backward they haven’t even seen the right movies so they would know how to play the game properly.

  • churchill06

    As recently hilariously demonstrated by a Jihadi training video on Newsnight which showed a map of all of the British Isles covered in a union jack design in flames with the headline ‘kill all the infidels’, your crypto-radical western nationalism is as alien to Islamic terrorists as any sort of neo-con ideology.
    As usual, when freedom is seriously threatened in the world, the British and Americans have the balls to do the fighting while the Irish snipe at their protectors from under the umbrella the Brits and Yanks provide. What a craven, cowardly people. Still, it was always thus.
    Thankfully it hardly matters, the Irish are a complete irrelevance in global geopolitical terms.

  • MK Ghandi

    Another Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

    It is a God-damned lie to say that these
    Saved, or knew, anything worth any man’s pride.
    They were professional murderers and they took
    Their blood money and impious risks and died.
    In spite of all their kind some elements of worth
    With difficulty persist here and there on earth.

    Hugh MacDiarmid (C.M. Grieve) 1935

  • Nestor Makhno

    Interesting article in yesterday’s Guardian by Simon Jenkins (no liberal he) asking a series of disturbing questions around why the British Army are in southern Afghanistan. The 3,000 men are totally under-strength (100,000 might be a more realistic requirement) and have gone in with the misbelief that the local population are sympathetic.

    It looks like the beginning of a long and bloody quagmire with little purpose and no hope of success. (The Americans have realised this and gratefully passed the buck to the British government.)

  • When you’re lying out there on Afghanistan’s plains
    And the women come out to cut up what remains
    Just lie on your side and blow out your brains
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Churchill: If you feel so strongly about it, go there and take the place of this dead SAS man. The lines above are by Kipling, the poet laureate of the Empire.
    The USA and and little Satan illegally invaded Iraq for some obscure reason, instead of taking on Afghanistan where their former Islamic allies, backed up by the Pakistani secret service, are now back giving them a run for their money. Do you want a return to the “fight to the last Paddy” strategy, another Somme for the Micks? THe fact is Britain has been rimming Uncle Sam’s arse since Suez so it can continue to get Pentagon contracts. So, take the rough with the smooth.

    Condolences to the family, and to those of any Palestinean, Iraqi, or Afghan person recently killed. No hierarchy of victims please.

  • Prince Eoghan

    John Reid publicly stated, when ordering in British troops. That it was some kind of rebuilding operation going on. I can only imagine that he did not know that the US had been conducting lengthy aggressive operations in parts of Helmand.

    The repercussions are that the locals see more uniforms, and reckon they had better get the first punch in. This is an area that has never seen her people not be armed and warlike, the taliban just seem to be in the driving seat at the moment.

    The upshot is that of the 3,000 troops, only 600 are combat. The rest belong to the baggage train, logistics, comms and the like. Helmand is massive, so it is clear why these guys aren’t able to command even the immediate area around their base. Anyone who believes that the Brits are not going to get a doing one way or the other is nuts.

  • mnob

    I think this is a wholly appropriate debate to have. I personally have real worries about Tonys wars.

    However it is easy for those who are not charged with the safety of the UK to snipe from the sidelines. Yes Ireland has made a stance (rendition excepted) of being a passive neutral state – but this is easy to do when you have others to effectively do the fighting.

    It is really disingenous of those who consider themselves Irish to absolve themselves of history and of any wrong doing of other nation states when they directly benefit from them.

    Like it or not Europe is rich because of its colonial history – and the Irish share in this like it or not. Europe is and has been protected by the US and UK forces – you may not like the way they are doing it, but you dont have a say because you took yourselves outside the tent.

    The best most effective way for Irish republicans to change the world would haved been to remain within the UK and change it rather than leave it and snipe from the outside – but thats a debate for another day.

  • heres hoping

    Taigs but it should be remembered that those iraqi, palestinean and afghans recently killed have died in their own countries not as foreign invaders at the behest of the obsessed Bush government.

  • Young Fogey

    The continuing Western involvement in Afghanistan is pointless, utterly pointless. No-one is willing to put in anything like the sort of resources they would need to ‘pacify’ the country (probably close to a million troops) and, frankly, no-one has ever given me a good reason why anyone should.

    Then, the Brits and Yanks do silly things like push for poppy eradication which isn’t going to win too many friends.

    And of John Reid doesn’t know the Yanks were engaged in aggressive operations in Helmand, he hasn’t been following the press, and I mean mainstream press like the BBC, Daily Telegraph, CNN, etc….

  • Prince Eoghan

    “And of John Reid doesn’t know the Yanks were engaged in aggressive operations in Helmand, he hasn’t been following the press, and I mean mainstream press like the BBC, Daily Telegraph, CNN, etc…. ”

    Have you any idea why he believed that British troops would be left at peace to repair and rebuild. Or was this the public face? Whichever, it is madness to go there with only 600 fighting troops, not so?

  • seabhac siulach


    “The best most effective way for Irish republicans to change the world would haved been to remain within the UK and change it rather than leave it and snipe from the outside – but thats a debate for another day.”

    What has any of this to do with Irish republicans?
    That is quite a twist to bring this topic to that conclusion…

    …it is the Brit. govt. that is shafting its own men by sending them to Afghanistan with inadequate equipment…I think that is the topic here…

    “Europe is and has been protected by the US and UK forces – you may not like the way they are doing it, but you dont have a say because you took yourselves outside the tent.”

    So, they are ‘protecting’ us by sending out a mere few hundred combat troops protected by nothing much better than the PR coming out of the Brit. govt…impressive that…
    I reckon all they are doing there is PR for the Brit govt. They are stirring up trouble by interfering (by their mere presence) in the lives of the ordinary people there. They are causing the local people disruption (due to the violence against them), without being able to bring the stability that they need due to their limited numbers. They are creating more and more radical islamic extremists, with their botched and woefully inadquate attempts at peacemaking…every ‘security’ operation or search that goes wrong is creating a new radical…

    I can predict the Brits and the US eventually leaving Afghanistan (in 1-2 years when Blair and Bush are gone) and leaving the resulting sorry mess in the hands of the EU or UN…
    Soft-power is the way to solve these thing, not macho bullshit…

  • Rory

    If I may take issue with Churchill – as usual when freedom threatens to erupt anywhere in the world – the US, and whatever client states it can bribe or bully, charges in to crush it. The only freedom visited courtesy of US intervention in any recent theatre has been freedom from the burden of living of so many of the unfortunate victims of their intervention. Peacekeeping, my arse! The peace of the grave is all they ever bring in their wake.

  • Jacko

    As you are an admitted communist, it is understandable that you should oppose every and anything associated with the USA et al.
    Pray tell us, though, of any fine examples of communism freeing people anywhere.
    Truth is, you oppose one form of colonialism but only in support of another.

  • Good point Rory. It’s a bit Skibereen Eagleish discussing how the imperialis are defending us, again, in Afghanistan. I wonder how much the Palestineans and others hate all of us as a result of what they are being out through

  • mickhall

    Funny enough bar the supporters of the neo-cons, [have these people actually ever finished reading a book] most people whether of the left or Right are beginning to conclude that UK involvement in GW wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been a disaster, so all is not lost.

    Blair ever the opportunist has sent troops to the south of Afghanistan because he thought it would be a short war full of glory. Much as the fool did on Iraq. One despairs of this man, historians have not repeatedly told the tale of the failure of outsiders to conquer Afghanistan for no reason, but as a warning from history.

    It is impossible to subjugate a country whose people will not bend the knee without hundreds of thousands of troops. Iraq proves this point for the US/UK, as Afghanistan did for the Russians, although the US/UK armed forces know this only to well as at the end of WW2 the allies General Staff’s demanded over 1 million troops to occupy Germany.

    Afghanistan is not a threat to our way of life, it is the US/UK who are the aggressor there and this is why few Nato nations are willing to provide troops if there mandate is beyond the city limits of Kabul. All except the idiot in Downing Street that is, who is only to willing to sacrifice other peoples sons and daughter, although the useless coward will not attend their funerals when they come home in a body bag..

    Afghanistan is a place that is ungovernable without the agreement of all the internal forces that make it up, if one side has the advantage [as is true today with the US support for Kabul admin] then war will rage endlessly. Only when the west withdraws will the Afghans come together to solve their problem by dividing the cake that is Afghanistan.

    Only then can the West, [without the US, Russia and UK] play a part in rebuilding this brutalized land. You bomb people, kill and maim them and burn the very crops they rely in for subsistence; and you expect then to not only thank us but like us, I wonder what world some people exist in.


  • jone

    This just in…

    Within the past few minutes, the Government has announced it’s considering sending more troops to Afghanistan. The Defence Secretary, Des Browne, said he was examining the possibility of extra deployments as a matter of urgency with the Chiefs Of Staff.

  • andy

    As usual I think the US gets more net grief than it deserves.

    I do think it deserves some grief due to its often counter-productive bloody interventions and cold-war adventures, as well as its uniquely destructive influence in the “War on drugs” fiasco….

    HOWEVER, it also does a lot of good.
    Recently it showed up the rest of us Europeans as the bunch of grovelling incompetents over the former Yugoslavia, it spearheaded the liberation of Kuwait (admittedly it should have tried to reform the constitution afterwards)
    and in the COld War it was a moderatly more benevolent force than authoritarian Communism.

    And thats ignoring its two WW interventions earlier in the century

    A well as that – what should it have done in Afghanistan – issued an arrest warrent for MR O Bin Laden?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Afghanistan is a place that is ungovernable without the agreement of all the internal forces that make it up, if one side has the advantage [as is true today with the US support for Kabul admin] then war will rage endlessly. ‘

    So basically just the same as Northern Ireland except a larger body bag count ?

    ‘Only when the west withdraws will the Afghans come together to solve their problem by dividing the cake that is Afghanistan. ‘

    Again the same as Northern Ireland with the same result i.e there is no cake left .

    Not a word from posters about the return to Taliban rule in the event of a complete western withdrawal . Back to the chamdors for another century for the women of Afghanistan and back to ignorance for the present generation of young Afghanis ?

    We’re all right jack. Afghan has no oil . Northern Ireland has no nothing . Let’s leave them to their own devices and stand idly by while the natives devour each other for any remaining scraps of civilisation that remain ?

    Condolences to the family of Captain Patten .

  • Afghanistan has been important since the time of The Great Game. The real baddies in this are the Pakistani Secret Service. They are also afraid of the Frontier provinces where Osama and the boys are holed up ceding.

    I remember two relevant things before the Coalition of the Willing illegally invaded Iraq.

    a. A Taliban dude said the Yanks fear body bags but dying is a way of life there.
    b. A Yankee general (or top brass at least) in Afghanistan said otr that Afghanistan was a long haul job but that Dubbya would go into Iraq as that was where the headlines would be. Guns and glory. John Wayne. And all the bs about Iran doesn’t help. Look at what North Korea (= China) is doing. A big two fingers to Uncles Sam.

    More or less on the same topic. Though many of us would deplore the SAS where this guy served and the UDR where his father served, yet we wil remain a sort of dignified silence, all of us. That being so, what do people think of these American lunatics who show up at the funerals of dead GIs?


  • andy

    The Rev Phelps?
    One of the world’s more “interesting characters”. An absolute nut-job. Morally bankrupt doesn’t come close.

    A few people have postulated he is a leftie in disguise…

  • mickhall

    A well as that – what should it have done in Afghanistan – issued an arrest warrant for MR O Bin Laden?

    Posted by andy

    Andy remind me, the US invaded Afghanistan, did they arrest Bin laden, Perhaps like with the sudan the US may have had more success with an arrest warrant if only Bush had had a little patience.

    As to the Talaban, history rarely repeats itself exactly and I doubt the Afghan people will give this bunch another go at running the place, but the fact is, it is their country and for the Afghans to decide not those who live in the West, the majority of whom could not even pick the place out on a map.

    By the way you are wrong about oil and Afghanistan, true the country to date has no discovered oil resources, but it does have a new pipeline which the west relies on running across it. We have a vested economic interest for being there so please forget all that harbinger of civilization crap. We are behaving as barbarians,
    taking what does not belong to us and no good will come of it.

  • churchill06

    Ah Taigs, good to see you invoking the words of Kipling, he who helped Carson arm the UVF!
    God, you’re culturally illiterate.

  • andy

    Mick H
    not sure if I actually mentioned Oil (I agree you are correct about the pipeline business)

    My point is – what should the US have done with Afghanistan post-9/11?

    I’ve yet to see an intelligent answer from leftist critics of the war on this issue. I’m not saying there hasn’t been one – I just haven’t heard oen and genuinely would like to…

    I presume you don’t honestly think they would have had more success issuing an arrest warrant do you?

  • GPJ

    As the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were from saudi, may be the USA should of looked more deeply at its and that kingdom’s involvement in using fundamentalists to undermine democracy in the “arab world”.

    Making the war against terror a us and them venture, instead of being honest and saying it was about protecting the oil supply.

    This is the Brits fourth go in Afganistan, they’re 3-0 down in wars since 1820’s all I have to say is that the bones of 60,000 soviet troops litter the region..do the brits really think they can do any better?

  • Churchill: What was your point in post 25? The British have no right to be in Afghanistan, never had and never will. I suppose you think the Israelis are great guys for wiping out a couple of dozen Palestineans over the last few days supposedly over one soldier? To say the Americans and their British lapdogs are making the world safer is a joke.
    To confuse Kipling and culture and/or good poetry shows an ignprance of culture, of poetry and of Kipling.

  • Reader

    Taigs: To confuse Kipling and culture and/or good poetry shows an ignprance of culture, of poetry and of Kipling.
    An ignorance presumably shared by the Nobel Prize Committee in 1907. I think more people know and quote far more Kipling than Heaney, Yeats, Beckett and even Shaw.

  • churchill06

    “To say the Americans and their British lapdogs are making the world safer is a joke.”
    So you cravenly lie or misunderstand from behind the protection afforded by brave British and American soldiers. Yes, it has always been thus for the Irish. How it must have stuck in your craw to discover the latest hero was from Londonderry in British Northern Ireland! Weakness and cowardice – two traits shared by your roundly defeated ‘army’ of cornerboys and cynical opportunists, by a not so strange coincidence.
    Israel defends its own and will always win. It is a shining example to the rest of the world. The UK and US will prevail. You will remain protected, weak, dependent and squirming in the bile of your own insecurity and resentment at the power of the two allies, united again in struggle for freedom.

  • Rory

    Ireland, not being an imperialist country, does not have visited upon itself the fear and hatred of the peoples of other nations that it might oppress, exploit, invade, pillage and rape. Being free from that fear she may not feel the need to be ever on the alert, looking over her shoulder, stock-piling weapons of mass destruction and launching unjustified pre-emptive strikes on other nations as has been common practice for those fear-ridden states, Britain and USA.

    One might imagine with all the Bible-bashing common to both those countries that they might have taken heed of the advice not to sow the wind for danger of reaping the whirlwind. Perhaps their leaders are slow learners.

  • churchill06

    Ireland was never an imperial country because it was weak. It never prospered and preferred to blame greater nations rather than deciding to prevail on its own or at least die with honour in proper battle. Then to sponge and whine and take the best that Britain gave it – civilisation itself, democracy, culture (proper culture, not the backward nonsense of invented and contrived languages) before simmering with impotent rage at its own impotence. Nowonder you boil with jealousy and rage at the achievements of the two greatest nations on earth, the UK and the US! And if you think the jihadists see you as anything other than weak infidels cowering behind the protective might of greater nations, then you are a fool. And is Shannon not used as a base for brave American soldiers on their way to defend ALL our freedoms?
    A pitiful gesture but all the Irish are capable of making – they have no army to speak and certainly not ability to project power – to project freedom! – on a global basis.

  • Reader: http://tinyurl.com/pjba8 Read the reviews on the Nobel Prize book. It is a strange prize. Better still, buy the book.

    Churchill: If you are addrsssing your latest bs at me:
    a. The IRA, you would argue, spent many years, killing brave UDR/RUC etc men. How then would it stick in the craw of poeple you think are IRA sympathizers to see one down in Afghanistan. On the brandy perhaps?
    b. Power projection: Britian has not been able to do that since Suez. They tag along with Uncle Sam. In the far east, India and Japan, soon to be joined by China, are projecting their naval power (= blue sea navy) so Britain etc are out of the medals.

    Most of the world abhors the Hotel David bullyboys of Israel – check out Qatar’s latest UN resolution – and it is only USA handouts keep that abomination going. I can, however, see how planes, tanks and all the rest against stone throwers and old ladies might appeal to some people in the 6 cos.

    Ireland was never an imperial country because it was weak: And were you never an imperialist rapist for the same reason?

  • Rory

    Ah, I get it now. Britain and the US are imperialist bullies because they are big and strong and so they can get away with kicking around the smaller and weaker. The politics of the school-yard writ large. I see what they meant now about the Empire being forged on the playing fields of Eton.

    But if I remember my schooldays right, boy did those bully boys cry for their mammy when a smaller lad turned and gave them a bloody nose.

  • churchill06

    You may well want to convince yourself of that but the fact is that I, an American and veteran, know that Britain’s armed forces are the finest in the world and have served the cause of freedom with honour and success throughout the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Falkands and many more theatres that the Irish – that emasculate nation! – could do nothing about save issue statements providing succour to the enemies of freedom. All the while depending on the US and UK bond of force to protect them from the menace of the Soviets and now the menace of the fascist jihadists. The Brits are the only ally we can rely on and the only army strong and professional enough to work alongside America in bolstering freedom.
    NO wonder you are so sore, though: the British victory over the IRA was a masterpiece of counter-insurgency! Riddled with traitors, militarily defeated, compelled to abandon every central tenet of your failed ideology and forced to disarm for a place in a local government controlled by your enemies and answerable to a British parliament! The union secured in international law! You should be grateful for the opportunity to be part of a the greatest nation on earth, a nation which produced the likes of the young hero from Londonderry who died with honour for YOUR freedoms in Afghanistan this week.
    And yet you snipe and whine – without honour, without valour, without backbone. It was always thus.

  • Stephen Copeland


    You are too obvious. At least try to act out the role you are playing.

    … I, an American and veteran …

    Well if you were, then like every other US veteran, you would claim that the US army was the finest, not some other lap-dog country.

    … honour … valour …

    You are not experienced at the trolling game, are you? In the US they spell them ‘honor’ and ‘valor’, and no american can bring themselves to spell them the ‘European’ way – it just seems too wrong. Try to remember that for your next post.

    And so on. Your posts are immature and boring. At least good trolls give us a laugh, you just give us typical remedial-class loyalism.

  • Stephen

    Thank you.

    On behalf of the good trolls.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Certainly Taigs, not in your class.

    “The union secured in international law!”

    This bit done it for me, who is interested in some backward looking ideology, apart from Unionists.

  • Cynic

    ….errrrrr Churchill06 … given your apparent approval of the arming of the UVF in 1912, why have you chosen to name yourself after the man who, at one point, ordered a British Navy fleet to Belfast to shell the Unionists into submission if necessary (until the PM realised what he was doing and ordered them back)?

    Is it Irony or perhaps just Cultural or Historical illiteracy?

  • British Ulster

    As a British citizen and a Unionist I am profoundly ashamed of my country’s illegal actions in Iraq.

    We should cease this illegal occupation which breaks international law and stop supporting these ridiculous adventures of george bush.