Palestinian rockets are like the Nazi V1s. Civilian casualties were inevitable then and now
‘The Israelis are doing it all wrong. The RAF didn’t fly off to bomb Belfast in the troubles.”
These words from a respected media commentator embody the extraordinary lack of understanding by so many in this country who think the Israelis’ fight with Hamas is like ours with the IRA and can be dealt with in the same way. Continue reading
The British government should deny its enemies the opportunities for exploitation presented by the International Criminal Court and withdraw now from the process. Any other course would represent an unprecedented and historic betrayal.
Today the United Kingdom sits alongside Libya, Darfur and Sudan as the International Criminal Court [ICC] launches an investigation into alleged war crimes by the British Army in Iraq. Continue reading
During my conduct-after-capture training we were instructed not to draw attention to ourselves but to melt into the background, to be the grey men. No one told that to the “Old Contemptibles” or to the men of Kitchener’s Army. But to a man they were the product of a
society that inculcated the virtues of pluck, patriotism and duty. And to their eternal glory, they did resist when they fell into German hands. Every step of the way.
COLONEL RICHARD KEMP says Sergeant Blackman should be given special pleading when he is sentenced
The Chief of the Defence Staff says ‘murder is murder’ and there must be no special pleading on behalf of British Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman when he is sentenced today for murdering an injured insurgent in Afghanistan.
But General Sir Nicholas Houghton could not be more wrong. I believe it is imperative there should be special pleading for a fighting man our government sent into battle with orders to forfeit his life if called upon to do so.
Some 47 per cent of the British public understand this, according to opinion polls, and want leniency to be shown. Continue reading
446 British lives were lost not for Afghanistan’s reconstruction but to kill violent Islamic extremists
As our final year of combat engagement approaches, the experts and activists are eager to dismiss as pointless the 446 British military deaths in Afghanistan. This perspective arises from a combination of delusional anti-war dogma, the innate ambiguity of unconventional
warfare and the failure of successive governments to explain the reality of the Afghanistan conflict. Continue reading
Despite the self-righteous pomposity of Edward Snowden, who claims from his FSB-protected Moscow hideout that he doesn’t want to live in a society that places its citizens under surveillance, his revelations about the secret state have told us little.
GCHQ exists precisely to do what Snowden has ‘uncovered’. Who is genuinely surprised that, in its efforts to protect this country, GCHQ is monitoring all possible terrorist means of communication? Who wouldn’t be outraged if it were it not? Continue reading
Review: Meeting the Enemy: the Human Face of the Great War by Richard van Emden
This tour de force of research casts new light on meetings
between the British and Germans in the First World War
As Guardsman Norman Cliff passed two decomposing bodies on the Western Front he was overcome by conflicting emotions. Two soldiers, one German, the other British, lay hand in hand “as though reconciled in mutual agony and in the peace of death”.
This grim yet deeply moving scene evokes Wilfred Owen’s great poem Strange Meeting, written shortly before he was killed in action in 1918. One line, “I am the enemy you killed, my friend”, sums up the often paradoxical relationship between deadly enemies on the Western Front which is the central theme of this book. Despite industrialised carnage, fighting men at the front could often feel greater comradeship with their enemies-in-arms than their own countrymen back at home. Continue reading
Plans to replace regular soldiers with part-timers are in desperate trouble
Senior officers have been busy flashing out immediate operational orders. Has a rampaging jihadist army landed on our shores to threaten the capital? No, what is causing brass to jangle is an entirely predictable recruiting crisis.
In the past three months, barely a quarter of the numbers needed have enlisted in the Army Reserve — the TA — and the outlook is no better. This bleak picture is also reflected in the Regular Army, but the impact is most serious in the Reserve because a swell in their numbers is the cornerstone of the Government’s fundamentally flawed plan to replace 20,000 professional regular soldiers with part-timers. Continue reading