A couple of years ago, I'd have argued that failed states breed terror, and the option to try had to be attempted, but I've come to the conclusion that the Romans had it right. We had no choice but to go into Afghanistan and turn out the Taliban after they harbored Bin Laden, but if we had to do it all over again, I think that leaving a salt flat where the Helmand Valley used to be makes more sense than trying to drag those troglodytes into the 21st century.
Originally Posted by Molon Labe
I try to be polite when people who I don't know, and who don't know me, thank me for my service, but there are times when I wonder if they are just going through the motions. Kipling got it right in 1890:
Originally Posted by Starbuck
I WENT into a public 'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, " We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away " ;
But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!
And it still holds true today:
We aren't made for cool Britannia; we leave boot marks on the floor.
We don't walk like Peter Mandelson or talk quite like Jack Straw.
Call us "forces of conservatism" if it suits your turn
But we're off like some world fire brigade when flash-points start to burn.
Yes it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' spend less on defence,
But who walks the streets of Basra when the air is getting tense?
When the air is getting tense, boys, from Kabul to Kosovo
Who'll say goodbye to wife and kids, and shoulder pack and go?
The Queen, she's sat in Windsor now for 50 years or more.
She'll see this government depart like other ones before.
And Blair and Bush and Chirac make their plans to no avail
But who remains to serve the Crown when politicians fail?
O it's Tommy change your values - now diversity's the game;
But when Christmas leave is cancelled, then whose tyrants are to blame?
There's tyrants in the mountains, boys, and tyrants in he sands,
So farewell to wives and risk your lives for them in foreign lands.