Tuesday, July 14, 2009

War Games and scapegoats

The warped tabloid world: Labour's vanity and 'diversity' are killing our soldiers in Afghanistan.

With the recent surge in casualties (8 British troops killed in one single day) in Afghanistan, you may have noticed a spike in right-wing commentators blaming Gordon Brown.

As you know, this blog is not fond of this New Labour government. However, we also think that, far too often, the same papers who are happy to beat the drums of war, any war, think of it as a game of Playstation 3. The only scenario they can envisage from their settee is: our Boys fly over, bomb the crap out of the bearded ones, raid a few villages and bob's your uncle, off they go and mission accomplished.

But our friends from the tabloids are simply incapable to fathom that war is war. Quite simply because, lucky them, they've never been in one. As they scramble for scapegoats, one comes in cheap and convenient: Punchbag Gordon.

And so you get Sun Defence editor Tom Newton Dunn writing that "Boys pay for mean Brown", while Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail states that "They're paying the blood price of putting welfare before warfare", with the added attack on "a Prime Minister who puts 'diversity' before defence and gives a higher priority to a Gay Pride march than to the mortal sacrifices being made by young men in Afghanistan in the name of Queen and Country". Highly relevant, you see.

Leo McKinstry in the Daily Express joins in, saying that "Labour's vanity" is what's killing British troops in Afghanistan. "Hundreds more brave young men are being sacrificed on the altar of Gordon Brown’s socialist arrogance", he writes, adding that British troops are there because Brown is "desperate to curry favour" with President Obama.

Is it possible that no-one was available at the Express to remind McKinstry that neither Brown nor Obama started the war? It happened to be a man called George W Bush who, the same McKinstry wrote in the Telegraph back in 2004, "through his toughness [was] successful[ly] demilitarising the most dangerous regimes on the planet".


Paul said...

Couldn't really disagree more. Defence cuts are killing soldiers particularly cuts in the provision of helicopters. Also it makes sense to criticise the government over this and other policies. I will concede however that I share your cynicism over some of the armchair critics. However when it comes from people like Lord Guthrie and Ed Butler they have a point.



Stan Moss said...

I don't deny some of what you say makes perfect sense. However, don't you think the mismanagement you mention pre-dated Gordon Brown?

Also, you've got to admit that especially Littlejohn and McKinstry are selectively supportive of the war in Afghanistan. All for it when it goes well, let's-get-the-fuck-out-of-there when the number of casualties goes up.

Chris Baldwin said...

Proof I think, that tabloid journalists are significantly worse people than the average person. I'm still just about in favour of carrying on this farce in Afghanistan, but how can anyone have thought it made sense to wage an unprovoked war of aggression in Iraq at the same time? What a mess. What a stupid, ugly decade.

Paul said...

Stan, I suppose in fact I'm more supportive of your stance than I earlier thought. I don't really follow populists such as Littlejohn but can see no reason to disagree with your sentiments re him and his ilk.

'However, don't you think the mismanagement you mention pre-dated Gordon Brown?'

Hell yes. However neither Brown as Chancellor, nor anyone else in Nulabour ever saw fit to mention to Blair that he needed to properly fund his adventures. Simply put if you're going to favour militarism then you need to man and equip forces to that end. One thing that Gates as US defence Secretary initiated was to ask Congress to increase the size of the US army and Marines. This was a far sighted and sensible policy.

However the UK attitude under Brown has been to simultaneously ask the army to fight wars whilst limiting the budget, a non-starter in my opinion. I couldn't agree more with regards to mismanagement. That goes back to the Thatcher period. I intend to blog myself some more on defence issues. I do not wish to see a return to cold war levels of spending. However some increases may be necessary. Alternatively the army could be lavishly equipped by scrapping Trident and using those funds.

claude said...

Paul, totally agree.
What is going on??? :-)

Patrick Gray said...

I don't agree with you guys.
The sooner we get the fuck out of Afghanistan the better. If the reason why we're fighting that war is terrorism, then this is not the way to fight it. I think we are aiming at nothing in particular.