Saturday, February 17, 2007

A modern war...

It feels strange to think that this country is at war because here at home everything is still the same, the country's economy is booming so much that the Bank of England is trying to put the brakes on it, house prices rise by the day and consumer spending and consumer confidence has never been higher.

It shouldn't be like this in a country at war, we should feel threatened, we should be digging air raid shelters in our gardens and being reminded on every street corner to always carry our gas masks with us, we should be hacking down our iron railings to build ships with and handing in pots and pans for aircraft builders to use.

We should be despondant, we should know someone in our street who has lost someone in action, at least one of our nearest and dearest should be "fighting abroad somewhere" and we shouldn't have had a letter from them "for ages".

Our newspapers should be severely censored and only carry news of advances and victories and predictions that "it will all be over by christmas".

Our shops should be empty and we should have coupons for clothing and meat and we should be digging up our gardens to plant vegetables and raising chickens and rabbits for food, life should be austere and we should all be suffering in the name of patriotism and "for the war effort".

But we are doing none of these things.

We have a professional army who don't want volunteers, who don't need tens of thousands of men to make futile gestures on controlled battlefields in some foreign land - this is a professional war, a modern war, fought in the main, although not always, by technology without the need for trenches and constant conflict.

We see and hear everything that goes on in the modern theatre of war now, our news media are not censored in the way that they used to be and yet in the recent case of the Oxfordshire coroners court we ralise that cencorship still exists, and yet again we realise that in todays modern warfare the media can pressurise governments at the very top level into relaxing their grip on the little bit of censorship that they still posses.

More than anything we understand that modern warfare is driven by politics and not a need for land or riches and if the politicians thought for one minute that a war would affect their chances of winning votes then the war would not exist.

Three war news stories are in the headlines today...

The Oxfordhshire Coroners inquest is to hear a transcript of the American pilots who attacked a British vehicle convoy in Iraq, killing one soldier in a mistaken "friendly fire" incident and still the US military stand in the way of an official release of the cockpit video that we have all now seen on our TV News several times over - the coroner has finally accepted that this is as good as he is going to get and to wrap the thing up quickly he has no other choice but to accept the transcript - he also knows that every single person in the country knows the truth of the matter now and to be honest I doubt there is one person who does not accept that this was a tragic accident of war that happens far more often than we understand.

It happened here again where Cpl Bryan Budd was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the nations highest and most prestigious military medal and one which is awarded very sparingly to only the bravest of individuals on the battlefield. It is revealed that it is now very possible that Cpl Budd was shot and killed by his own collegues in the confusion of close fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan - another tragic accident of war that happens far more often than we understand.

Should we send Prince Harry to Iraq asks most of the nations press today as his regiment The Blues and Royals prepare to go there on a tour of duty. The Prince (son of Saint Diana, Princess of Hearts of course) is an officer in the guards regiment and will be expected to lead a small group of soldiers in whatever scenario they are placed into, although you can't help but think that if you were a foot soldier under the Prince's command then you'd be very happy to be a foot soldier under the Prince's command as the Prince's command are probably not going to be placed in too much danger by the Generals further up the tree - what sort of General dare come home to face HM The Queen and admit that he was the one who commanded her grandson to lead the attack that lead to his death ?

Shit happens in war, but at least we get to know about it as it happens now, not forty years later.

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