Armed Forces Day is rightly subdued

I may be counting my chickens, but I suppose at this time of year we ought to be grateful that the massed ranks of the righteous on both sides aren’t making too much of a demonstration out of Armed Forces Day. The Newsletter seems to be making its point on line. Whoops, I’ve just caught up with the Portadown demonstration of just wrath. We’re a long way off from the ideal, that national flags should be treated as just that, rather than party banners, for as long as national gestures of one sort or another spill over into sectarian flashpoints like Drumcree. But you don’t have to be an Irish republican to dismiss the whole event, like military commentator Max Hastings, in the Mail.

It seems to soldiers a mockery that when they are struggling to fight an unpopular and chronically under-resourced war, the British Government’s Big Gesture is to give them a day out with the kiddies in full-dress uniform on the streets of Chatham.You can bet your socks that some idiot minister will say in a speech today that ‘Britain’s Armed Forces are the finest in the world’.

  • Big Maggie

    Ulster Unionist Councillor George Savage MLA said the event was “totally justified.”

    “This is an opportunity for the nation to get behind those men and women who make up the armed forces community. That includes not only serving troops but service families, veterans and recruits.,” said Mr Savage.

    “The allocation of a dedicated day, when people can come together to show their appreciation and support for the Armed Forces, is an appropriate gesture from an indebted public.”

    George knows very well that the Nationalists of Portadown and elsewhere are uncomfortable with soldiers marching through their streets. George knows full well why this is.

    So why the childish disingenuousness?

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    So Belfast will be having another celebration of the British military, while around the same time Dublin will be having it’s annual Gay Pride celebrations.

    Just shows the difference today in the social make-up of the 2 cities since partition.

    Scoffers of course will be give their 2 cents worth, yet not fully understanding the subtext.

  • Big Maggie

    Greagoir,

    I feel you’re being a little unfair here. My abiding childhood memory of Dublin Easter celebrations was being taken to see the “parade”.

    And what did we kids see? Soldiers, soldiers, and more soldiers, and vehicles painted in army drab as they passed the GPO with an unsmiling Dev and assorted politicians and clergymen on a platform. It nearly always rained too. Gay pride it was not.

    No wonder I turned out the way I did :^)

  • “the Nationalists of Portadown and elsewhere are uncomfortable”

    Big Maggie, I take your point and add that some of those soldiers will be Irish nationalists.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    Ah yes, Big Maggie, but how many years ago is that? 30 or 40 odd years is it?

    Because they ceased all such things when The Troubles exacerbated in NI.

    “That was then but this is now” as the old 80’s ABC song goes.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    ….and believe it or not Big Mag, but your very comments regarding Easter Parades in Dublin 30/40 odd years ago as an example, indicate this “time warp” that exists in NI.

    Diluted Orange summed up NI attitudes superbly recently on another thread.

  • GavBelfast

    The Belfast Gay Pride parade is in August, isn’t it?

    So an odd thing to pick upon in terms of making petty points about the differences between the two capital cities on the island.

  • Big Maggie

    Gragoir,

    Yes, it was a long time ago. Good thing too! But you spoke of events since partition. I was simply showing that it took a while for the Irish to tidy up their act. I wish they’d change Paddy’s Day to July though. It usually rains in March or in any case it’s shite weather. What would the problem be? It isn’t as though anyone knows on which day Patrick was born.

    Nevin,

    “I take your point and add that some of those soldiers will be Irish nationalists.”

    Makes no difference. It’s not nice to rub a tribe’s nose in it. Soldiers on the street equates with bad memories and should be avoided. That avoidance can be seen as a beginning, at last, to Unionist outreach.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    “The Belfast Gay Pride parade is in August, isn’t it?”

    Excellent stuff then, with the usual bunch of bible bashers ‘out’ in force praying for the ‘lost souls’ as they view the parade.

    “It isn’t as though anyone knows on which day Patrick was born.”

    Big Maggs, I believe it may have been on a Wednesday, the 12th of July, 390 AD. Greenflag will correct me however.
    😉

  • Big Maggie

    Gragoir (didn’t you used to spell your name with an “e”?)

    “I believe it may have been on a Wednesday, the 12th of July, 390 AD”

    LOL!

  • sj1

    They stopped the eirigi protest before it got into town.

    http://u.tv/News/Police-stop-republican-protest/c307edb7-13c9-4f21-8c3d-ffc478a11d62

  • John East Belfast

    This is not about glorying the Iraq War nor is it anything whatsoever to do with the British military in Ireland.

    It is simply the State making a belated gesture of gratitude to men and women serving in the UK Armed forces (Catholic, Protestant and whatever, unionist and probably nationalist)from whatever part of the UK they come from.

    Whether the Iraq war was legit or not is irrelevant – the bottom line is our armed forces are risking their lives everyday in two theatres of operation that they were sent to by our democratically elected Government.

    Why should it be “subdued” let alone protested against ? We should be proud of those serving and they should know that they have the admiration and support of the country.

    Those who support it can do so and those who (for whatever begrudging reason cannot) can stay away.

    I cant see the problem ?

  • Big Maggie

    John,

    “I cant see the problem ?”

    Are you sure? Hand on heart now? You’re not joining the ranks of the disingenuous I mentioned earlier?

  • John East Belfast

    Big Maggie

    Yes Hand on Heart – apart from the fact we have all supposed to have moved on this is a different conflict.

    Is Irish nationalism saying regardless of who Britian’s enemy is they will always support the other side – including the psycpopathical Taliban ?
    If you think the Taliban is a worthwhile enemy then why would anyone have a problem hand clapping the squaddies who are trying to keep a lid on them ?

    I think the individuals who are laying their lives on the line deserve admiration within their own country in who’s name they are doing it.

  • Big Maggie

    John,

    “including the psycpopathical Taliban ?”

    Congrats: you almost got “pope” in there :^)

    “I think the individuals who are laying their lives on the line deserve admiration within their own country in who’s name they are doing it.”

    Of course they do! If any son of mine were out there doing what those brave lads are doing, I’d not have a moment’s peace. They truly are fighting the good fight. If I believed in God I’d pray for them!

    Yet the fact remains, despite your reluctance to accept it, that soldiers on the streets of Northern Ireland present an entirely different perspective to those unfortunate enough to have lost a family member to a squaddie’s ill-advised action, or to those who see their presence as part of the machinery of oppression.

    This is reality, lad, like it or lump it. If we’re going to make any progress here in the Six Counties/NI/the North of Ireland then we must take the other’s sensibilities into account. It simply won’t do to say: “These are our finest, so what’s the problem?”

    I hope I’ve been clear without being gratuitously insensitive.

  • Mr Max Hastings
    The 4th Afghan War is unwinable.
    The Soviet Union didn’t lose because of lack of equipment.The Americans need to do a deal with the Pashtuns to bring about peace.

  • Rory Carr

    John,

    Why is it that the attacks by the Taliban against foreign forces of military occupation of their country somehow render them psychopathic but the mass killing of innocent villagers by those occupation forces allows them to somehow remain worthy of the support and respect of ordinary decent human beings?

    It strikes me that on any objective rationale it should be the Taliban commanding our respect. It is their country after all and it is the US and the Brits who are attempting to impose an alien way of life upon its people in order better to plunder and deprive the Afghan people of their land’s natural resources.

    Strangely enough when they were fighting Soviet forces in their country our government was most keen to praise their courage and sacrifice and thoughthat supplying them with the very weaponry which is now being deployed against the new invaders was a very good idea indeed.

    Two things I wonder:

    What went wrong that such dear friends fell out so?

    and

    Can East Belfast John really be so naive as he appears?

  • John East Belfast

    Big Maggie

    “Congrats: you almost got “pope” in there :^)”

    What a “gratuitously insensitive” and indeed very stupid and comment to meet.

    The only thing I have to like or lump is the fact that there are mopish people in our community who think every action of the British Army revolves around them. Such people however will have to like or lump the fact that celebrations like this will continue because they are the right thing to do. Some of us have moved on but others havent – they will simply be left behind and quite right to.

    Rory

    I assume you have heard of 9-11 and the fact that Al Quaida had a base in Afghanistan and were supported by the Taleban – are you saying that the invasion of that country was not justified after the 9-11 event ?

    Have you read anything about the kind of regime the Taleban enforced ? Have you even read the “Kite Runner” ?

    Or are you saying that after 9-11 the US and British should have done nothing in Aghanistan and allowed Bin Laden a free reign to plot more attacks. we also should have allowed the Taleban to oppress everyone in that country and carry out countless atrocities against everyone who opposes them ?

    If not then talk some sense

  • Big Maggie

    John,

    Apologies for my insensitive comment. It’s the inner wag in me.

    “Such people however will have to like or lump the fact that celebrations like this will continue because they are the right thing to do.”

    So you’re happy that a large section of the populace will have to lump it? I genuinely thought I was getting through to you; in fact I know I was.

    Ships? I see no ships.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    A fine example of an oxymoron, if I’m not mistaken. ‘Some of the British Army are Irish Nationalists’ They may be Catholics,Southern Catholics, Northern Catholics, Protestants, or people born in Ireland -but Irish Nationalists -never!!

  • Big Maggie

    Pancho’s Horse,

    I don’t know; it kind of makes sense to me. I think when a lad joins the army such petty concerns as allegiance to the oul’ sod lose their legitimacy.

    I mean, take the Gurkhas. I’m sure many of them were/are Nepalese Nationalists. With a royal family like that, who could blame them?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Maggie Mór, when a ‘nationalist’ joins the army of another country he ceases to be a nationalist. He may still be an Irish NATIONAL but he has changed his political allegiance.As for the Gurkhas,they are just mercenaries, like the Welsh, Scottish and Irish who take the English Queen’s 5p.

  • Big Maggie

    Pancho’s Horse,

    I may be “Big” Maggie but I’m big enough to concede that you’re absolutely right there.

    Respect.

  • P

    I have never met a woman like you before. More respect!

  • Big Maggie

    Pancho,

    A naughty idea occurs to me. Your fault!

    Should I change my nick to Maggie Mór, or would that piss off the Unionists somewhat more than my comments usually do? :^)

    The poet in me likes the alliteration and the metrical satisfaction.

  • 6countyprod

    PH, so anyone who joins the Foreign Legion automatically renounces his nationalism?

  • John East Belfast

    Big Maggie

    The “sensitivities of others” arguments in relation to the NI conflict/Troubles is something we have all had to lump in order to move on.

    That argument has weight of course in terms of matters pertaining to the Troubles directly. For instance the celebration of the role of the British Armed Forces in the Troubles should be confined to the likes of East Belfast etc.

    However Afghanistan is a just war and a different conflict – are nationalists going to make the same mistake of 1939 to 1945 that depsite the British Army being at war with Nazism it was still something not to admire for past actual and perceived (but certainly two way) crimes ?

    The point I am making is that this is 2009 in a different war and if Northern Irish regiments having spent 6 months in Afghanistan want to walk down their home towns and be clapped and cheered for an hour by their family and friends to make them feel that somebody back home actually gives a damn then Irish nationalism should be mature enough to look the other way if it must. It would actually be more revolutionary if they took part – or is it going to be another 80 years before a SF Councillor can allow himself to lay a wreath for the early twenty first century Afghan conflict ?

    Anyhow your whole sensitivity argument is exactly the policy of the TUV – they simply cant get their head around the fact that the Bogside Butcher is in our Government – but I am sure yuou would tell them about the need to move on ?

  • Big Maggie

    Pancho,

    You beat me to it! Thanks for the compliment. I’m no too old too appreciate it :^)

  • Big Maggie

    See, you’ve turned an old girl’s head! That should have read: I’m not too old to appreciate it :^)

    I bet you’re a charmer with the young wans down at the local!

  • Big Maggie

    Pancho,

    I’m off to grab a litre of wine before replying to John. Something tells me I’m going to need the sustenance :^)

    And please don’t tell me that they don’t get it, because as sure as you sprang from your mother’s loins they do.

    Here’s that $10 word again: disingenuousness.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Maggie, I’m now in the role Springsteen’s ‘Glory Days’ and 6 co prod, yes he does.His master is the new country/army that pays his killing wage.

  • John East Belfast

    Maggie

    We are a couple of saddoes on a Saturday night drinking wine and on Slugger – please dont make it any worse !

  • Big Maggie

    John,

    LOL! I’m off to watch Franklyn, a sci-fi movie I’ve had on my shelf for ages.

    I’ll be back—though perhaps not as Governor of CA.

  • Rory Carr

    “… are you saying that after 9-11 the US and British should have done nothing in Aghanistan and allowed Bin Laden a free reign to plot more attacks. we also should have allowed the Taleban to oppress everyone in that country and carry out countless atrocities against everyone who opposes them ?” -John East Belfast

    What do you mean, John, that the Afghanistanis should be happier having complete strangers from a completely different religious and cultural background invade their country on a totally dubious premise in order to steal its natural resources and that these invaders should “carry out countless atrocities against everyone who opposes them ” instead (and even those who don’t like hapless innocent villagers in a completely different country altogether)?

    I’m sure that both the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan would be infinitely happier and feel much more secure exercising the principle of “better the devil you know”. And then some.

    If you believe that the US and Britain invaded Iraq, Afghanistan (and threatened Iran and Pakistan) for either reasons of altruism towards the people of these countries or out of a compelling need for their own defense (or some even stranger formula that somehow conflates both justifications) then you are certainly a lot less savvy than I would have given you credit for and somehow I do not think that you are.

    But answer me this, please, John – did you never, ever have maybe the slightest sneaking little suspicion that people might just not really feel all that happy about being invaded by foreign armies who don’t speak their language, have no respect for their customs, religion and traditions and proceed to shoot, bomb and level at will all that their whimsy permits with the civilian population especially those most vulnerable taking the brunt of the savagery? Are you really able to say that you have never considered that this might be so ?

  • John East Belfast

    Rory

    If you think the US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 for any reason other than Sept 11 2001 then what can I say – perhaps you think the US engineered Sept 11 so that they could steal Afghanistan’s “natural resources” – poppy fields perhaps ?

    The US invasion of 2001 was swift and they removed a sadistic regime which led to people dancing on the streets. If the US made any mistake it used the now discredited “light footprint” strategy and then became distracted by Iraq thus allowing the Taleban to re-group and re-assert itself.

    What they have been trying to do ever since is extricate themselves in such away that the Afghans can police and defend themselves and hence not necessitate another US invasion in the years to come.

    They are pumping money and manpower and paying with lives.

    Meanwhile they are implementing democracy, training the police and trying to ensure womens’ rights are protected – as basic as ensuring girls are sent to school.

    Once again if you think that such noble ideals paid for by US and UK blood along with Afghannies is less admirable than the re-instatement of the Taleban then what can I say ?

  • Balconite

    Jeez deliver me from whinging republicans! To keep them happy everything remotely British is to be kept in a box out of their delicate sight. However their ‘culture’ is to be embraced or it’s cries of discrimination.

    Unionists are even expected to ignore republican “army” members playing at being politicians.

    Reminds me of the old joke. Why did the republican chicken cross the road, then walk down another road and then cross over two further roads?

    To be offended.

  • Guest

    Balconite,
    A unionist joke about republicans on the theme of walking? For FFS!

  • Reader

    Pancho’s Horse: Maggie Mór, when a ‘nationalist’ joins the army of another country he ceases to be a nationalist. He may still be an Irish NATIONAL but he has changed his political allegiance.As for the Gurkhas,they are just mercenaries, like the Welsh, Scottish and Irish who take the English Queen’s 5p.
    A collection of errors up there:
    A Nationalist can perfectly well be in the army of another country with which his own country is at peace. Only the dissident republicans still think there is a war on.
    It isn’t the Queen’s 5p – that notion is archaic. More accurately, it is 5p borrowed on the international money markets by a Scottish Prime Minister using the future earnings of the British taxpayer as collateral.
    And don’t Irish Nationalists on Slugger usually describe the Queen as German, not English, anyway?
    And the Gurkhas have a long tradition of service in the British army. Recruitment is keenly contested, and success is rewarded with social status in the Nepalese community. That isn’t the mercenary mentality.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    I fully understand Unionists 100% support of their British Army, after all it is a part of their British culture, however the lack of any criticism by Unionist folk of the British Army no matter what conflict they are engaged in, is rather peculiar.

    It’s a case of the British Army can never do any wrong in Unionists eyes, no matter what!

    Gréagóir O Frainclín

  • Big Maggie

    As threatened, I’m back! Brilliant movie, Franklyn. They had to get an American to play the lead, I suppose to make it acceptable to the Yanks. Oh well. One to be watched again, if only for the beautiful photography and sets. Eva Green is stunning: half French, she blows away any British actress of her generation. Best watched with a minimum of wine intake I have to say, as the plot is devilishly intricate :^)

    Anyhow…

    Reader,

    “And the Gurkhas have a long tradition of service in the British army. Recruitment is keenly contested, and success is rewarded with social status in the Nepalese community. That isn’t the mercenary mentality.”

    Right, let’s put this particular myth out of its misery (sorry, Ms Lumley). The Gurkhas are and always have been a bloodthirsty band of mercenaries. They most certainly do not owe any allegiance to Britain or its royal family. They’ll fight for anybody who’ll pay. At the present time they’re busy slaughtering for whatever government will pay them.

    And let’s not forget how they were placed in front of the British artillery at the Siege of (Don’t) Lucknow in 1857, in case they went over to the other side with the lure of more of the readies.

    Allow me to quote from Britain’s Himalayan mercenaries:

    The Gurkhas fight for foreign armies and empires. Between 1815 and 1947, the UK was the main outlet for Gurkha soldiering. More recently, the Gurkhas have served in U.N. peacekeeping missions in East Timor, Rwanda and Lebanon. They also serve as bodyguards for the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men in the world.

    Whoops!

    After India was partitioned in 1947, the Gurkhas slowly began to branch out. During the Cold War, they continued to serve the Crown, fighting communist insurgency on the Malay Peninsula and in the Falklands. A contingent of Gurkhas was based in Hong Kong until the 1997 handover to communist China.

    Even today, the nation of India maintains no less [sic] than 46 Gurkha battalions (about 40,000 men), many of them eager to square off against Muslim Pakistan. India recruits over 2,000 Gurkhas per year, about 10 times more than the British army. In India, the Gurkhas become jawans, regular Indian troops.

    “Nepal is a Hindu nation, and thus we have certain religious and cultural ties with India. The Nepal government has stated that Gurkhas can never be deployed for combat against other Hindus,” Shrestha told WorldNetDaily.

    While largely Hindu, the Gurkha religion also contains elements of Buddhism (which comes from neighboring Tibet) and animism.

    The Gurkhas are a tribal people, which suits the ethos of the British army.

    David Lee, commander of British Army Training Support Unit in Belize told WorldNetDaily, “The British are tribal in nature. The soldiers in our units will most likely spend their entire military career with the same peers.”

    So in the way of the world it’s the bottom line that induces those young men from poor mountainous regions to choose to sign up in foreign armies, to kill strangers with whom they have no quarrel.

    Sad.

  • John East Belfast
    Bin Laden was a CIA protege.
    Do you think the British should bomb Saudi Arabia,after all the 9/11 attackers were mostly Saudi, and spread democracy there?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    John East Belfast,

    It appears John that’d you’d believe everything that the British and American governments say regarding foreign policy, even despite all the hypocrisy of the Middle East over the years ie Afghanistan, the Taliban, Bin Laden, Iraq, Iran, Saddam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Ayatollah, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine, etc… etc…

    Coz the likes of SKY news says something it doesn’t mean it’s true either!

    Masking conflicts with the veils of patriotism, national honour and duty etc…is how governments win over public opinion for support of such conflicts no matter how just or unjust, legal or illegal, and it looks like you’ve been suckered all the way and all the time.

  • Reader

    Big Maggie: Whoops!
    Are you suggesting that there are British Army Gurkhas double jobbing with the Sultan of Brunei? If not, then what is your point?
    Big Maggie: At the present time they’re busy slaughtering for whatever government will pay them.
    That’s a bit sweeping. How much slaughtering are they doing right now, and who for? And are you counting the UN missions in that?

  • John East Belfast

    GOF

    I really dont know how you conclude that I agree with ALL US & UK Foreign policy from anything I have posted and I can tell you I dont as I have my own views.

    However on the particular policy I did comment on I have no doubt that attacking Afghanistan post 9-11, routing the Taleban and scattering Al Qaida was the right thing to do – do you believe otherwise ?

    However equally I could conclude from many of the posters here that there are some who will disagree with all US & UK Foreign Policy no matter what it is.

    More to the point – and the subject of this thread – there are some who will disapprove of everything the British Army does no matter if it is fighting Nazis, the Taleban or Al Qaida. ie there is an in built Irish Republican prejudice against the British Army.

    In my support for Armed Forecs Day in Northern Ireland i was basing it primariliy on the fact that it was about the troops and not about policy. The troops do as ordered accoring to the wishes of our democratically elected Government. If we dont like that policy then the people can change the Govt via elections and campaigning. However it is wrong to blame the troops. Ultimately the people get the Govt they deserve so dont blame others for acting out their policies.

    The US discovered that grave mistake in Vietnam and they dont intend to make it again this time round. The UK is, in a very British and very tame way, trying to do something similar.

    Ultimately it is about showing the troops that we give a damn.

    It is not about the rights and wrongs of British Foreign Policy – past and present – nor is it about US Foreign Policy. It most certainly isnt about the British Army in Ireland.

    Manfarang

    “Do you think the British should bomb Saudi Arabia,after all the 9/11 attackers were mostly Saudi, and spread democracy there? ”

    No and with hindsight I would have opposed the Iraq War as well

  • Once the Union Jack is behind anything, the unionists will blindly support it, be it mass murder or any other nefarious activity, just wrap it up in the union jack and they’ll follow. They’re more loyal than most of the people in Britain. Remember the Scotland v Norn Iron football game last year when the Scots booed God Shave the Queen, the NI unionist supporters were totally outraged. They’ve been conditioned all their lives to blindly support Britain through anything.

  • Guest

    JEB,
    ” ie there is an in built Irish Republican prejudice against the British Army”
    Yes.I think scientists and other “thinkers” are calling it “memory”.

  • John East Belfast

    Guest

    “ie there is an in built Irish Republican prejudice against the British Army”
    Yes.I think scientists and other “thinkers” are calling it “memory”.”

    So scientists are studying the Irish pscyhe now !

    Perhaps psychiatrists or psychologists – anyhow it is not memory just ugly bitterness.

    And if the pro British Irish started to search their not to distant memories they could drag up lots of reasons to have such as a view of Irish Republicanism.

    Anyhow you just took the debate full circle – it is about those who want to live in the past and those who want to move on and judge every situation with the British Army in Ireland on its own merits.

    Those British squaddies in Afghanistan deserve our support and cheer – I have no time for the begrudgers.

  • Guest

    JEB,
    “And if the pro British Irish started to search their not to distant memories they could drag up lots of reasons to have such as a view of Irish Republicanism.”
    So you understand.

    The whole 15%!!

    Lets judge every British army action in
    Ireland on it’s own merits.Nothing begrudging in that their biggest failure was to not stand up to unionism when the vast majority of Irish people wanted Independence.
    “Perhaps psychiatrists or psychologists – anyhow it is not memory just ugly bitterness.”
    Damn right it is, and they cannot be the same thing because?

    what was that Freude quote about the Irish?.
    Personally, I’m thinking of a completely different famous quote involving Nuremberg and the victor writes history.

  • Guest

    JEB,
    Sorry to respond with 2 posts, but hats memory for you.
    “And if the pro British Irish started to search their not to distant memories they could drag up lots of reasons to have such as a view of Irish Republicanism.”

    Its very interesting that you infer that because you ( or the they you speak of) don’t feel the way they could because both sides could feel that way.It is “otherness” instead of “WEness” in all its nakedlory.It is “notaboutery”.And the very reason NI will never be a country.

  • NCM

    Ironic that Britain defends the right of Iranians to protest yet blocks men and women in territory it calls its own from peaceful assembly and protest [http://www.eirigi.org/latest/latest280609.html].
    Nice stormtrooper outfits, by the way. Very sharp looking — très fascist-chic.

  • sinless

    “It is simply the State making a belated gesture of gratitude to men and women serving in the UK Armed forces (Catholic, Protestant and whatever, unionist and probably nationalist)from whatever part of the UK they come from.”

    These people are war criminals. Their only defence of “I was only doing my duty by invading Iraq, looting Iraqi houses, blowing up mosques, breaking up Iraqis’ bones with my Brit buddies” is not a cause of celebration.

    There should be a march to celebrate the victims of the “Armed Forces”: Not only the civilians they kill and maim but their own families too. The “Armed Forces” are notorious wife beaters, child molesters and drunkards. Ever been near a barracks on “the mainland” with these vermin around?

  • Big Maggie

    Reader,

    “Are you suggesting that there are British Army Gurkhas double jobbing with the Sultan of Brunei? If not, then what is your point?”

    Not at all. There are Gurkha mercenaries hiring themselves out to him. But try googling the sultan and you’ll see what kind of man the Gurkha’s are guarding for cash. His people are on their uppers.

    “That’s a bit sweeping.”

    Is it? Try googling what they do with their kukris.

    “How much slaughtering are they doing right now, and who for? And are you counting the UN missions in that?”

    You can google all that as well.

  • Excellent stuff then, with the usual bunch of bible bashers ‘out’ in force praying for the ‘lost souls’ as they view the parade.

    Gragoir, just catching up with the thread. There were a record 8,000 people on last year’s Belfast Pride parade and many thousands more enjoyed the parade from the sidelines. They included nationalists, unionists and people who are neither.

    The total number of bible bashers was less than a hundred. I know it’s quintessential to your being to look down your nose at us (especially those who are Prods) but it doesn’t actually fit the reality of Belfast. I’m well aware of its problems; its good side is much better than sneering Dub fellow travellers would allow.

  • However Afghanistan is a just war and a different conflict – are nationalists going to make the same mistake of 1939 to 1945

    John invokes Godwin’s Law! And in such spectacularly crass fashion, too… Please do explain the comparison between the NATO campaign in Afghanistan since 2001 and World War Two, John. Because it’s gone way over my head. This is perhaps the stupidest comment I have read in six years of hanging out on Slugger.

    Even if you want to make a moral comparison between Osama bin Laden and Hitler (in which case I suggest you read Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews before you spend the rest of your life making such a tit of yourself) the fact is there are many tin pot dictators with a callous disregard for human life, motivated by some form of racial, religious or political hatred. However, they aren’t all mini-Hitlers, because the states they control mercifully tend to lack the resources of Nazi Germany. I mean, the Taliban were supposed to be a threat to world peace when they controlled, only partially, a country with a GDP roughly the same size as County Tyrone’s and with absolutely no industrial base to speak of? Wise up.

    Afghanistan is a fiasco. A total fuck up from start to finish. It’s certainly possible for a foreign power to pacify Afghanistan; but only by devoting resources (in terms of dead young people as well as money) grossly greater than those which NATO countries are willing to spend. The Bundeswehr, for example, don’t patrol at night and don’t patrol on foot. And I’m not making that one up. No-one really takes Afghanistan seriously any more; it was Bush and Blair’s baby and they are thankfully gone. But more people will die in the fag end of a campaign that is going nowhere until troops are finally pulled out, as they inevitably will be.

    You want to show your loyalty to the troops? Get them out of pointless foreign wars.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Reader: “A Nationalist can perfectly well be in the army of another country with which his own country is at peace. Only the dissident republicans still think there is a war on.”

    Frank Ryan, f’r’instance.

    Manfarang: “Bin Laden was a CIA protege.”

    Actually, Bin Laden was the product of the Saudi’s parallel aid programs to Afghanistan during the same period, funded by monies from around the Arab word, but, hey, nice try. If this were a game-show, you’d likely get a nice door prize just for playing.

    dave: “Once the Union Jack is behind anything, the unionists will blindly support it, be it mass murder or any other nefarious activity, just wrap it up in the union jack and they’ll follow.”

    Of course, you should equally acknowledge the parallel equation — once the Union Jack is behind something, nationalists will reflexively disparage and mock it, be it aid to starving kittens or any other laudable activity — just wrap it up in the Union Jack and they’ll howl.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sammy: “I mean, the Taliban were supposed to be a threat to world peace when they controlled, only partially, a country with a GDP roughly the same size as County Tyrone’s and with absolutely no industrial base to speak of? Wise up.”

    Disingenuous, at best. A threat to world peace takes merely a small cadre of fanatics willing to die for their cause, a little money for the necessary materials for a good “false flag” operation and the means to move them into position. The Taliban, with the aid of Al-Qaeda, or, more accurately, Al-Qaeda, hosted by the Taliban, had all of the above.

    If they had any real imagination, being located near the Chinese / Pakistani / Indian geo-political nexus, such a threat would be fairly easy.

  • Reader

    Big Maggie: There are Gurkha mercenaries hiring themselves out to him.
    And to you, all Gurkhas are the same? Just like all Travellers, all Roma and all Unionists, I suppose?
    Oh, and by the way, since you say that Gurkhas are ‘slaughtering’ people right now, it’s up to *you* to provide the evidence.
    And are the (generic) Gurkhas any worse than the (generic) Irish:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article6123026.ece

  • Wilde Rover

    If a Land of the Toddlers were discovered and Gordon Brown decided that carpet bombing them with live burning kittens and puppies was the only way to protect Britain’s interests, I have no doubt that there would be those who would shrug their shoulders and say that these two year old terrorists should have just given up their gumdrop trees so Britain wouldn’t have been forced to attack them.

  • John East Belfast

    Sammy

    Were you drunk or upset at 3.20 am this morning when you directed that angry rant at me ?

    If you read what I said I was making the point that no matter what conflict the British Army are engaged in there are some nationalists who will always feel the need to oppose the British Army regardless of the opponent. I said this after a couple of nationalist commentators had said unionists would support any conflict by the British Army regardless of the cause – both fair points that deserved to be discussed.

    I pointed out the ambivalence by De Velara in World War II and the only recent recognition of the British Legion by nationalism/ROI Govt and the role of non unionist Irish in the First World War.

    I wasnt comparing Hitler to Bin Laden or World War 2 to Afghanistan – it was you who did that.

    Therefore you and no one else are taking offence at conclusion drawn by no one other than yourself.

    As for your down grading Afghanistan – are you saying that post Sept 11 it was wrong to enter there in October 2001 and route the Taleban and scatter Al Qaida ?
    Are you suggesting some other strategy – eg we should have left things as they are ?

    Please tell what you would have done in October 2001 ?

    Because if it is what I said we should have – and indeed did do – then why do you have a problem giving tribute to the troops who laid their lives on the line ?

    As for

    “I mean, the Taliban were supposed to be a threat to world peace when they controlled, only partially, a country with a GDP roughly the same size as County Tyrone’s and with absolutely no industrial base to speak of? Wise up.”

    In all honesty I have to say that is the stupidist and crassest thing I have read on Slugger. Perhaps you think Bin laden wasnt being protected in Afghanistan and he wasnt using it as a traing ground for Al Qaida and using it as a base for launching attacks ?

    Infact why dont you go and tell it to the families of the several thousand victims of 9-11.

    I suppose you would also say there would be no problem with the Taleban getting their hands on Pakistan’s nucleur weapons ?

    Try and think clearly if it is possible for you.

  • Big Maggie

    Reader,

    “And to you, all Gurkhas are the same? Just like all Travellers, all Roma and all Unionists, I suppose?”

    Did I say that? I referred to Gurkha mercenaries aka soldiers of fortune/for hire. They’re hardly putting their guns and curved knives at the Sultan of Brunei’s disposal because they admire his tailoring, are they? (He’s Muslim BTW and they’re Hindus.) By the same token they have no affinity with Britain, have they? Britain is simply another paymaster.

    “Oh, and by the way, since you say that Gurkhas are ‘slaughtering’ people right now, it’s up to *you* to provide the evidence.”

    Since you’re reluctant to google the evidence, here’s a lead or two go get you started. Plenty more to be found—if you’re minded to confront it. (If you’re related to the Gurkhas I’ll understand.)

    They’re following an ignoble precedent of course. The Gurkhas slaughtered over unarmed civilians in 1919 in Amritsar. They were under the command of the aptly named Brigadier-General Dyer.

    Take a look at what Robert Callen MacKenzie’s Gurkhas got up to in Sierra Leone, 1995-2003.

    And nearer to our own day, the Iraq war. I quote:

    The British-based Global Risk Strategies is using a far cheaper source for its 1,500-strong private army, which is protecting CPA buildings and other high profile facilities. The company hired over 500 Fijian soldiers and a similar number of Nepalese, who had served in the British Army’s Gurkha regiments, and flew them into Iraq. The Fijian and Nepalese mercenaries are paid just $1,000 per month. An unnamed PMC executive told the Economist: “Why pay for a British platoon to guard a base, when you can hire Gurkhas at a fraction of the cost?”

    “And are the (generic) Gurkhas any worse than the (generic) Irish:”

    Did I say they were? What’s the relevance of your linked story?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “I know it’s quintessential to your being to look down your nose at us (especially those who are Prods) but it doesn’t actually fit the reality of Belfast.”

    Eh na, Sammy Morse, but I’m just reciprocating with the sarky attitude that I find most Unionists are very adept at here on Slugger toward Irish Nationalists, the Catholic faith and the Republic of Ireland. Kinda very easy to do too and I see you are a master at it as well.

    BTW, do you find that Unionists live in denial by painting NI as some sort of UK utopia of civil rights, fair play, etc…even despite the recent racist attacks and of course the abominable history of the Troubles?

    Gréagóir O Frainclín

  • Big Maggie

    Gréagóir,

    Ah, now I’m beginning to understand! I asked on some thread or other about the spelling of your name: it was coming up as “Gragoir” I believe.

    Now I see that my browser tends to drop the sínte fada in certain circumstances, together with the particular vowel it’s lengthening.

    Sorry if this is double-dutch to you, Sammy :^)

  • HeadTheBall

    Genuine question, since we seem to be into mercenaries and so on. What about the so-called “wild geese”? When they took KIng Louis’ 5 francs, did they cease to be Irish (or Irish Nationalists, if “nationalist” had any meaning in the 17th century)?

  • Big Maggie

    HeadTheBall,

    Of course the wild geese were mercenaries, as were the Hessians who fought here and in the United States. However, like the Gurkhas they didn’t stop being Irish. In fact in hindsight their taking the King’s franc was a well-thought-out strategy to get in some good work experience before returning to Ireland to put it to good use.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Actually, Bin Laden was the product of the Saudi’s parallel aid programs to Afghanistan during the same period, funded by monies from around the Arab word, but, hey, nice try. If this were a game-show, you’d likely get a nice door prize just for playing.’

    Poor attempt to absolve the CIA there. Bin Laden’s front organistaion the Maktab al-Khidamar (MAK) was used to funnel money, arms and fighters from around the world into the war aginst the soviets. The MAK was mentored by Pakistan’s ISI which was guess what……the CIA’s primary conduit for prosecutiing the covert war against the soviets. Hekmatyar, a rather unsavoury character was best buds with the CIA for a long time and guess who was a close associate of his…?
    Apparently some US recrutied Mujaheedeen were sent for training to Camp Peary…guess who runs it?

    So while Bin Laden might not have had tea and busicuits at Langley, Manfarang aint far off either.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Republican Stones: “Bin Laden’s front organistaion the Maktab al-Khidamar (MAK) was used to funnel money, arms and fighters from around the world into the war aginst the soviets. The MAK was mentored by Pakistan’s ISI which was guess what……the CIA’s primary conduit for prosecutiing the covert war against the soviets.”

    Parallel tracks have to go through some of the same stations, RS — interviews with folks in-country clearly defined two operations — the CIA, primarily involved with the Afghani resistance and the Islamic mujaheddin, manned funded by the Arab world and containing elements, such as Bin Ladin, who would kill an American ras soon as look at them. Seeing as both operations were making use of Pakistan as part of their logistical arrangements, of course both operations came to their own accommodations with the ISI.

    However, as subsequent events would clearly indicate, the ISI and the CIA were not and are not simpatico — their half-hearted and kack-handed pursuit of AQ is a perfect example — one does not give a couple weeks notice to a guerrilla organization that they’ve been located and an offensive is in the planning stages to go off in near future, as the Pakistanis recently did.

    Sometimes, RS, the enemy of my enemy is just my enemy’s enemy. Stalin was just as big a bastard as the other fella and, while the US and the UK aided the Soviets, it certainly didn’t make them friends or fellow-travelers and no-one was terribly surprised when that went to skittles.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘the CIA, primarily involved with the Afghani resistance and the Islamic mujaheddin, manned funded by the Arab world and containing elements, such as Bin Ladin, who would kill an American ras soon as look at them.’

    Right Dread, sure there was no such thing as Camp Peary and Zbigniew Brzezinski was completely wrong when he stated….

    “We immediately launched a twofold process when we heard that the Soviets had entered Afghanistan. The first involved direct reactions and sanctions focused on the Soviet Union, and both the State Department and the National Security Council prepared long lists of sanctions to be adopted, of steps to be taken to increase the international costs to the Soviet Union of their actions. And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible; and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the Saudis, the Egyptians, the British, the Chinese, and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again—for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians and the Chinese. We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives; and at some point we started buying arms for the Mujaheddin from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.”

    “the ISI and the CIA were not and are not simpatico”

    Nobody stated that they were dread, where did you pick that up? They did however have the same aim…namely to punish the soviets. Everyone is well aware the ISI aren’t exactly zealous in their pursuit of AQ but your attempt to absolve the CIA from helping to create a monster which has turned round and bit it is strange to say the least.

    ‘Stalin was just as big a bastard as the other fella and, while the US and the UK aided the Soviets, it certainly didn’t make them friends or fellow-travelers and no-one was terribly surprised when that went to skittles. ‘

    Who said they were best mates? Again where did you get that from? But the US has a sordid little history of intervention (particularly South America) and there are plenty of people who weren’t surprised now that their little afghan adventure has turned to ‘skittles’.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Point of fact, RS — Zbiggy didn’t work for Reagen, he worked for Carter. As such, the latest he would have had any involvement would have been 1980 (and probably earlier than that — he spent the twilight of the Carter administration making a balls-up of the Iranian hostage crisis). As Bin-Laden didn’t go “in-country” until 1979 and didn’t create M-a-K in 1984, Zbiggy’s comment may be 100% accurate and have absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. Nice try, tho.

    Secondly, nothing in Zbiggy’s statement indicates the level of tutelage / association you are trying to boot-strap — that Bin-Laden is some sort of CIA creation. M-a-K was funded through Arab donations and, while both they and the CIA liaised with the ISI, there is nothing to demonstrate CIA funding of M-a-K, nor CIA training of the same. Wishing it so and misrepresenting a quote does not make it so, RS.

  • RepublicanStones

    Point of fact dread I never said he worked for Reagan. But he was a US official involved in helping the mujaheedin in Afgahnistan against the soviets.

    ‘that Bin-Laden is some sort of CIA creation.’

    Please show where I have tried to state he was a CIA creation. All I have done is demonstrate your incorrect assertion that the CIA had NOTHING to do with the rise of Bin Laden and his cohorts is exactly that…incorrect.

    ‘Wishing it so and misrepresenting a quote does not make it so, RS.’

    Islamic mujaheedin recieved training at Camp Peary from the CIA. Wishing they didn’t doesn’t make it so Dread. Nice try tho.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    RS: “Point of fact dread I never said he worked for Reagan. But he was a US official involved in helping the mujaheedin in Afgahnistan against the soviets.”

    Mayhap, but it has no bearing on the topic at hand. Anyone capable of reading a calender would have realized the above. The M-a-K was not the whole of the mujaheedin. M-a-K wasn’t even a significant fraction of the mujaheedin (about 100 fighters).

    RS: “Please show where I have tried to state he was a CIA creation. All I have done is demonstrate your incorrect assertion that the CIA had NOTHING to do with the rise of Bin Laden and his cohorts is exactly that…incorrect.”

    Firstly, you asserted that Manfarang was wasn’t far off in his original assertion that “Bin Laden was a CIA protege.” This is, on its face, incorrect.

    Moving beyond that, you’ve not demonstrated *any* direct links between the CIA and O-b-L. You have noted that there is a single potential nexus point in the ISI, but, seeing as both entities were using Pakistan for logistical purposes, that’s hardly surprising and hardly proof of any association. If anything, the Russians created the atmosphere in which O-b-L took to the field

    RS: “Islamic mujaheedin recieved (sic) training at Camp Peary from the CIA. ”

    Hardly a secret and not proof of the CIA aiding O-b-L. M-a-K received no CIA training. Their funding was donations from the Arab world and Muslims in the west, not the CIA or the US gov’t. His contacts in the US were radical, not guys in Langley.

    If any entity was responsible for the rise of the Taliban and, as a consequence, the rise of the AQ and O-b-L, it was the American Congress during the period that lavishly funded the proxy war against the Russians and nary a nickel for the post-war rebuilding.

    But, then, you’re the fella who cannot tell the difference between the hundred fellas in the M-a-K and the Afghani resistance… or read a calendar. What’s the matter, RS — do they all look alike to you?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Ah, now I’m beginning to understand! I asked on some thread or other about the spelling of your name: it was coming up as “Gragoir” I believe.

    Now I see that my browser tends to drop the sínte fada in certain circumstances, together with the particular vowel it’s lengthening.”

    Exactly Big Maggie, spot on!

  • Brian MacAodh

    Dread, keep it up.

  • HeadTheBall

    Hi Maggie,

    Apologies for delay in replying (time zones again).

    “..a well-thought-out strategy..”

    I have never been sure that robbing the Irish people of their natural leadership to serve the reactionary regimes of Europe was a good strategy longer term, but we may have to agree to differ on the “Wild Geese”.

    Regards,

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘the CIA, primarily involved with the Afghani resistance and the Islamic mujaheddin, manned funded by the Arab world and containing elements, such as Bin Ladin, who would kill an American ras soon as look at them.’

    Sorry Dread, the above is what you stated. But you then proceeded to admit islamic mujaheddin were trained at Camp Peary by guess who…?

    ‘If anything, the Russians created the atmosphere in which O-b-L took to the field’

    Jesus wept would there have been a soviet invasion without the russians?

    ‘ M-a-K received no CIA training.’

    But islamic mujaheddin did…on US soil. Which you have now admitted after first saying the likes of them wouldn’t have.

    ‘If any entity was responsible for the rise of the Taliban and, as a consequence, the rise of the AQ and O-b-L, it was the American Congress during the period that lavishly funded the proxy war against the Russians and nary a nickel for the post-war rebuilding.’

    It seems you have now come round to agreeing with me that the USA are partly responsible. Well done.

    ‘But, then, you’re the fella who cannot tell the difference between the hundred fellas in the M-a-K and the Afghani resistance… or read a calendar. What’s the matter, RS—do they all look alike to you?’

    Sorry Dread but you are the fella who first said the likes of the MAK would have nothing to do with yanks they finally admitted that indeed Islamic mujaheddin were trained by yanks on US soil. And btw, you were the first one to mention Reagan, not I. I merely have shown that you were incorrect…it was you who tried to slap a timetable on the issue, not I. Fianlly your being a little naive if you think none of the billions that the CIA funnelled through the ISI ended up where you are desperately trying to convince us it didn’t.