Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Soldiering Blues

Whinge, whinge, whinge. That's all I bloody hear from the military these days. They spent years complaining that they weren't allowed to fight the wars they were trained to, but now that they've got two at once - Afghanistan and Iraq - they're still bloody griping. What the fuck do you people want? Now you've got your wars, you spend all your time moaning about how badly the government treats you - how some mythical unspoken 'pact' has been broken. What 'pact' is that? Well, apparently it is that they do these awful jobs under shitty conditions and the government gives them some kind of special treatment in return. Hmm. I thought that they were paid by us, the taxpayers, to do a bloody job. Most of the time, as they themselves used to moan, they didn't actually have to do it. Now they're being asked to do it, they don't seem to like it. Maybe that's the problem, too many of them joined up to a peace time army, thinking that they could get all the privileges without doing the dirty work. Tough.

OK, I know that I spend a lot of time slagging off the military, particularly the army, and that when I'm bent over the bonnet of a jeep being bum-raped by some heavily bearded Islamic insurgent/Bolshevik/IRA bomber, I'll be wishing that I'd been nicer about them, but the fact remains that there is a dangerous tendency in this country to worship at their feet and try and make out that they are beyond reproach. As I've pointed out before, not only did I have the misfortune to grow up in a town with many nearby barracks, but I also had to work with the bastards for many years. Trust me, up close and personal, you find that they are extremely fallible. Indeed, a significant proportion of them are simply drunken thugs and bullies with the intellectual capacity of a midge. let's not forget that these guys are all volunteers, nobody forces them to play at soldiers - they're in a war zone through choice. They are also - despite what the press will try and tell you - very well paid, get subsidised health care, food and housing, and very generous pensions.

Having said all that, I suspect that much of the 'moaning' isn't coming direct from the military, but rather being done on their 'behalf' by the right wing press and politicians, as an exercise in political point-scoring. However, that doesn't change the fact that I still don't like this bunch of public servants with delusions of grandeur. They're a necessary evil, nothing more, nothing less.



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