Defence: admissions of failure


by Richard North

Note by Sean Gabb: I agree with Richard that military spending should be cut to the barest minimum. I suggest that we need a navy big enough to see off any threat to our own sea approaches, and an airforce subordinate to the navy. As for the army, this should be abolished and replaced by an armed citizen militia. SIG

Defence: admissions of failure000a BBC-024 AFG.jpg

Suddenly in the news again is Afghanistan, with the BBC trailing its programme, “The Lion’s Last Roar”, to be shown on BBC 2 on 26 October.

Then, it seems, we are supposed to go through the charade of watching the dismal breed of men that have been taking money under false pretences as Army generals, admitting to their mistakes in Afghanistan. And that is more than five years after they had become obvious to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together.

It was, for instance, on Monday 17 August 2009 that we wrote on our sister blog, the Defence of the Realm:

… As we have watched the train wreck that masquerades as strategy in this benighted country, we have become more and more convinced that it is wrong – totally, completely, fundamentally wrong.

It cannot succeed. It will not succeed and the inevitable outcome is that, after the expenditure of much more of our treasure – which we can ill-afford – and the death of many more fine men (and, probably, some women), we will be forced into a humiliating retreat, dressed up as victory, leaving the country in no better a condition than when we found it – if not worse.

And now, those five years later, we have the BBC telling us that: “Military leaders failed to calculate the magnitude of the conflict in Afghanistan”, with Gen. Wall admitting they “got it wrong”. “We had put forward a plan saying that for the limited objectives that we had set ourselves, this was a reasonable force. And I freely admit now, that calculus was wrong”, Wall says.

Yet Dannatt, CGS from 2006 to 2009 – and possibly the worst head of the Army we’ve had in living memory – is still more interested in covering his back.

Having completely misread the tactical position in both Iraq – where he thought the military effort could be scale down at the height of the insurgency – and in Afghanistan, where he thought he could Hoover up the Taliban with fast-moving squads of men in eight-wheeler mine-trap APCs – now has the gall to tell us:

Looking back we probably should have realised, maybe I should realised, that the circumstances in Iraq were such that the assumption that we would get down to just 1,000 or 1,500 soldiers by summer 2006 was flawed – it was running at many thousands.

We called it the perfect storm, because we knew that we were heading for two considerable size operations and we really only had the organisation and manpower for one.

And therefore perhaps we should have revisited the decision that we the UK would lead an enlarged mission in southern Afghanistan in 2006. Perhaps we should have done that. We didn’t do that.

Then we have the commander of the British forces in Helmand in 2006, Brig Ed Butler, saying: “We were underprepared, we were under-resourced, and most importantly, we didn’t have a clear and achievable strategy to deliver success”.

It is all very well having these ex post facto confessionals, but the point is – as we argued time and time again on Defence of the Realm – it was obvious at the time that the campaign was failing and was doomed to failure. So obvious was it that, in July 2008, we wrote a 12-part analysis called “Winning the War“, setting out why we thought things were going wrong.

Now for these highly-paid fools to be admitting that they got things wrong, when they were paid to get it right – and amply rewarded with rank, baubles and privileges for so doing – is simply not good enough.

But the worst of it is that nothing will change. It has only taken the Army five years as a corporate body to convince itself that it scored a stunning victory in Iraq, despite the evidence to the contrary, and by the time the whitewash machine has gone into action, the Army will emerge unblemished from Afghanistan as well.

And nor do I buy the Oborne line that this was a case of “Lions led by donkeys”. For sure, amongst the very small fraction of troops in theatre that actually saw combat, there were some amazingly brave people, but there were crass, ill-informed decisions made at all levels, and by all arms.

In terms of the bigger picture, in every theatre in recent times, the Army has been badly led, badly generalled and under-performed. One warms to the idea of slashing the Armed Forces to the bare minimum.

At least then our politicians will not longer be tempted to deploy them. We simply cannot afford any more of these corporate victories that the Army Brass insists on delivering.

 

52 comments

  • The share of the economy taken by the military (in Britain, the United States and most Western countries) has been in DECLINE for more than 50 years

    To complain about British military spending, given the above, is like screaming “fire” in the middle of Noah’s flood.

    As for the weak (although brave) forces sent to Afghanistan (and so on), how their success is made more likely by making the forces even WEAKER, is hard to see.

    If a small number of not very well backed up men are sent to a war, they do not tend to win that war. This is about as shocking as the statement “water is wet”.

    As for the incompetence of generals (and so on) – this is as old as the hills. Mistakes (indeed blunders) should be assumed in any campaign. Enough (well backed up) forces should be sent (with sufficient speed) to do the job required, in spite of the mistakes of their commanders.

    The world is not likely to get more peaceful over the next few years (rather the reverse) so the effort of Prime MinisterCameron (and others) to cut the budget of the armed forces, is misguided. For example the Royal Navy is already too small to adequately protect British shipping.

  • Sean: What happens if there is only a militia if

    1. A full scale invasion of Britain is mounted

    2. There is armed insurrection by a fifth column, for example, Jihadis ?

    Militias are notoriously ineffective especially against season soldiers..

    PS – emails to your “sean libertarian” account are bouncing with the 550 no such user message this morning. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • Robert,

      Thanks for the notice of bouncing. I have changed our server, and forgotten to do anything about e-mails. I will set to work at once.

      Therefore, I must ask you to wait for my answers on your substantive point.

    • Robert –

      1. We have no enemies capable of invading us, except the Americans, to whom there can be no resistance.

      2. The kind of insurrection you mention could be dealt with by a militia membership of which was confined to those willing to swear the Oath of Supremacy.

      Having armed forces as we now have them simply allows the Government to invade other countries with which we have no dispute.

  • The difficulty about armed citizen militias in a world where other countries can field large and technologically-kitted-out standing armies of professional soldiers, is that the citizens arrayed against them will last less than five minutes. And that’s not just against the Americans. If, say, China, India, Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, France (quite potentially able, that one) or even some medium-sized “Arab” countries decided to invade the UK. and all they faced was armed, semi-trained or mostly untrained citizens, all of these could make a good go of it: even Australia, despite the hazards of distance.

    As long as there are other big busy states, all of whose politicalEnemyClass will fear, hate the idea of, and will try to do down with force if need be, any other state that shows even slight signs of breaking ranks and giving its citizens more liberty progressivley rather than less.

    My dear colleague’s suggestions are greatly to be desired. However, as his Principal Military Adviser (modern global scenarios as opposed to medieval Byzantium, of which I claim to know still little!) I see that I will have to keep injecting a sad sense of pessimistic reality.

    I mean to persuade him of the urgent need for actively attacking varieties of space-based weaponry, plus the absolute and unconditional denial of same to any other nation. Only in this way will Libertarianism be “made safe for democracy to be allowed”. (Or would that work better the other way about?)

  • Sean – David is correct. An invasion force would not need to be overwhelmingly large or well equipped to defeat a Britain with no professional army. Citizen militias would fall as grass before scythe when faced with professional soldiers.

    • Robert/David – I am assuming quite a large navy and airforce. And I repeat, we have no enemies at the moment who can invade or want to invade us.

      • All right then: I agree with a Blue-Water-Navy as large and as submarine in character as we can manage. Surface-ships are increasingly vulnerable to enemies’ air arms (and space-based weapons, remember, for these will arrive soon) which are relatively speaking to ships, cheap.

        (But we have no dockyards, and BAe-Systems here in Lancashire only wants to build warplanes for the Saudi and Omani Princes and nobody else….it’s really rather odd.)

        The Air Arm ought to have two possible objectives. The first clearly is to act as a demolition-subcontractor to the Navy. Insofar as we would have what Sean and I call “The Army”, this ought to be the same objective. “Air strikes” and all that…

        But we must not neglect the possible need – and it may arise – when we have to “take down” a possible ground-threat from another “country”. This would be cheapest and most effective if it was to be done while it was being planned at “cabinet and ministerial level” in the “offices” of the potential enemy’s “government”. This will almost certainly being _not_ planned with the approval of “the Democratic People’s People” concerned. “The People”, being most interested in going for a McDonald’s and then planning their holidays in each other’s countries, will not be on the side of cabinet cabals planning wars against minimal-statist countries whose tax-regimes represent _UNFAIR TAX COMPETITION_ (an EU phrase used in all seriousness for 20 years.) So, for those foreing people’s benefit, we may have to take-down their governments, which they “elected” while they were not paying attention.

      • Sean – technology is about to radically change warfare. We already have a glimpse of how with drone warfare. Soon there will be autonomous battlefield robots. It is only too conceivable that a future invasion might be made using intelligent machines.

        • Robert – The reason I want to cut spending on the army is threefold:

          1. We currently lack any first class conventional enemies, the Americans always excepted, and are not likely to acquire any in the foreseeable future; 2. The army is currently rotten with political correctness, and this is best addressed through mass-sackings; 3. Any spending on the army as it currently is will simply make it more user friendly for Blairite “humanitarian intervenors.”

          I have no objection whatever to dealing with real threats to the country. I am not even against higher spending on the navy – so long as this is to protect our own sea approaches. Nor am I against higher spending on the air force – again, so long as it is made subordinate to the navy. What I don’t want to see is money for our defence sprayed all over places like Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan, and wherever else our juvenile politicians think they can “do the right thing.”

          As for a citizen militia, it would need a radical change to our current victim disarmament laws, and would allow large numbers of our young men to come together for manly pursuits. Its capacity to defend the country from external attack would be at best a collateral advantage – and see 1. above.

          • In this scenario, we might manage to create a modern, well-armed and trained citizen’s militia, even capable of repelling most sorts of invaders. But it would take quite some time: even showing people a picture of a hand-gun these days provokes howls of terror.

          • Sean- whether we lack any serious enemies at present is irrelevant to the question of defence. The whole point of defence is to always be prepared to defend the homeland. Things can change very rapidly. Saying there is no obvious immediate threat and thus we do not require much of an army is a very dangerous route to go down.

            I quite agree that we need to keep out of foreign NWO sponsored adventures, but that is a separate issue., The defence of the homeland is the first priority. That defence includes the possibility of having to put down an insurrection, most probably from Jihadis.

            As for whether a surface navy would be the best way of guarding against enemies equipped with modern military equipment, frankly, I doubt it because surface ships are very vulnerable to missile attack. Morever, there is nothing to stop an enemy simply exploding a small nuclear device around a capital ship and destroying that and the numerous other ships which are required to support capital ships such as our two new white elephant carriers. Any future war is likely to be fought primarily in the air.

            • Robert – We both agree that the country needs to be defended. However, we are arguing from different assumptions. You are imagining a state of affairs in which the armed forces are directed in the obvious national interest. Give us that state of affiars, and I might have no objection to any number of red uniforms and bagpipes – though I still think an armed citizen militia would be preferable. But I am arguing in the context of where we are now. Higher military spending will simply go on Health and Safety Awareness courses for the officers, and recruitment outreaches to Islamic leather fetishists (preferably female), and wars in places that have been none of our business since the early 1950s. Since you talk of insurrection, the most likely domestic use of the armed forces is against us.

              Bearing in mind where we currently are, the most patriotic response is to make sure that the tanks are all a generation out of date, and that there is no money to buy petrol for them.

            • Robert – We both agree that the country needs to be defended. However, we are arguing from different assumptions. You are imagining a state of affairs in which the armed forces are directed in the obvious national interest. Give us that state of affairs, and I might have no objection to any number of red uniforms and bagpipes – though I still think an armed citizen militia would be preferable. But I am arguing in the context of where we are now. Higher military spending will simply go on Health and Safety Awareness courses for the officers, and recruitment outreaches to Islamic leather fetishists (preferably female), and wars in places that have been none of our business since the early 1950s. Since you talk of insurrection, the most likely domestic use of the armed forces is against us.

              Bearing in mind where we currently are, the most patriotic response is to make sure that the tanks are all a generation out of date, and that there is no money to buy petrol for them.

    • You guys are talking nonsense. What Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate is that you can waltz in and flatten a standing army but you have achieved nothing if you are not then able to occupy the ground. You need a guy with a rifle on every street corner to keep control. That’s why a militia is perfectly capable of defending a country against any enemy, foreign or domestic.
      We should have a citizen militia and no standing army. Quite apart from anything else, purely on ethical grounds.

  • If dear Sean will allow me to be his War Secretary, I will “let his treasury abolish” most ministries and all quangos and ngos. the money saved, or at least as large a part of it as I could persuade Sean’s Chancellor to release, will be spent on arming the libertarian UK to the teeth, without any restriction on weapons used or how many of which kind.

    I will denounce, also, the British signing of the Ottawa treaty on Mines. I have been meaning to say this for some years, but was looking for the right moment.

    We shall leave “Ottawa”, and I will de-sign. The USA (whose PoliticalEnemyClass is also not made of stupid morons) has not signed: why do you think that is then?

    Dictators that don’t view, with as much positivity as we do, our diplomatic and educational efforts to foster the quick spread of individual liberty in their nations, will find their palaces and ministries ringed with all sorts of intricate airdropped or cruise-missile-delivered weaponry, of the “land mine” variety. Indeed, it may prove impossible, perhaps for weeks or months, for their staff to lave their buildings safely to go to their gold beds and mistresses.
    I’m rather sure that all of the mistresses will find sexual consolation elsewhere, perhaps with those of their security guards that didn’t get trapped inside the very large and carefully-air-laid minefields.

    We’ll reinstate JP233 “runway denial weapons” for the very start, or indeed the later, plagiarized French version or ours, which is rather more deadly and sophisticated and is more targettable against civil airfields also, so they won’t get any tourism revenue from gullible British chavs.

  • If we are a “global trading nation on one planet” (for the time being, one planet only) then we need a British Navy powerful enough to not only see off approaches to our coastlines and ports as domestic protection (the approaches are rather large actually – that’s why we succeed) but also to be able to minimise the insurance-costs for overseas shipping firms and traders that want to sell us their stuff and buy ours.

    We need the stuff: they want to be paid to ship it. If the possibility that our enemies will sink it even in the South China Sea (because it’s for us here) rises, then they won’t sail their ships, not even for us at our offered rates! It’s rather expensive to build a ship, ships are now very big, and friendly yards may at that time be relatively few.

    Remember that an enemy-Blue-Water-Navy can almost fully interdict any trade whatsoever, to the UK, from, or in, any region of the world’s oceans.

    Another problem is that at the present time the UK has _NO SHIPYARDS_ ….

  • As so often Dr Gabb is being counter factual. The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force have been gutted from the 1960s (Denis Healey’s vile work as Defence Secretary), they are far too weak (not too strong). Further defence cuts would destroy the army, navy and air force.

    As for military spending in the United Kingdom – it is about 2% of the economy. If Sean really believed that high military spending was a big problem for the United Kingdom he would be delusional – however he (as so often) does not really believe his own stuff (he is just messing about – yet again).

    As for Afghanistan – one of the most depressing things is to listen to all the idiots (including Generals) going on about “talks with the Taliban” being the vital thing. If they were lying I would not be that upset (deception has a long history in warfare) – sadly I suspect they actually believe the total and absolute P.C. crap the come out with.

    They really do not understand the theology that motivates the Taliban (that treaties with infidels would be meaningless to such followers of evil). The failure to even have a basic understanding of the enemy (after 13 years) is astonishing. What is taught to the elite (including the military elite) in university (and by the media) seems to trump everything else.

  • In an ideal world, Sean is 100% correct that military spending ought to be as little as can be got away with. That is why the job of the War Secretary in pre-1914 days was to cause his government to avoid wars as far as possible. It saved money and caused taxation to stay as low as it could be. Most of the fellas doing that job for most countries then, were great and respected diplomats.

    Apart from other considerations of realpolitik, about 90% of all the most expensive kit becomes obsolete in under three years anyway, and has to be “updated”/ replaced. This irritates taxpayers, who have been brainwashed into thinking that “schools’n’hospitals” is what they should shout from their children’s banner-decorated push-chairs that they are told to say that their toddlers want.

    But sadly the world now is rather less than ideal.

  • Julie near Chicago

    It does not do you good to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.

    –J. R. R. Tolkien

    Today, we live near all of them.

  • Julie is correct – and the world is very small place these days (everything is “near”).

    Mr Pate is wrong (utterly wrong) – there are many cases of militia being defeated by professional military forces.. What it needs is ruthlessness, something the modern (P.C.) British high command (and culture) rather lacks – but our enemies do not lack,

    As Mr Henderson knows the vital technological development of the British armed forces (especially the Royal Navy and Royal Air Forces) was undermined by “Supermac” in the late 1950s and early 1960s and broken (terribly broken) by Denis Healey in the late 1960s. I remember being told about at a talk by Erik Brown (the famous test pilot – and the man who led the team into Belson).

    Military spending now is about as low (as a proportion of the economy) as it has ever been. The idea that the military can be an area of (net) savings for the taxpayers is delusional. It is just yet another effort to dodge looking at the real problem – the out-of-control Welfare State.

    • Yes, it was Macmillan who began the rot by cancelling Blue Streak as a delivery system for our nuclear deterrent, a cancellation which led to Britain putting herself entirely into the hands of the USA when she purchased the nuclear Polaris system. The cancellation of Blue Streak also put paid to Britain developing a rocket to join the space race.

      This was followed by the cancellation of TSR2 – by far the most advanced fighter bomber of the time – by the Wilson government, from which point onwards Britain ceased to be a country which made all its own major weapons and military equipment.

      • The problem with “Blue Streak” was that

        (a) we seemed to be no good at rockets. This was because we didn’t “Get the best Germans” – the Soviets and the USA took those in the middle of 1945.

        And
        (b) WHERE ON EARTH could you place “hidden missile silos” in the UK – a tiny island even compared with the USA let alone Russia – that could not be found through our very leaky security at the time, and “strategically-targetted”? Rockall?

        The other trouble was that either the Mac-Traitor (chief finger-man “Supermac”) or Traitor-Wislon (can’t remember exactly which at this range) also cancelled Skybolt, which with a few £million more would have worked as a stand-off nuclear missile from the V-Bombers which we still had.
        The Americans had a similar system at the time and even got it working fairly well. The USSR had no anti-missile systems at the time – only early-warning radars, the plans of which had been stolen by the Czechoslovak STB on behalf of their Russian masters, because they employed very, very, very much prettier and sexier girls as the honey-trappers of British scientists than the Soviets could actually afford to deploy at the time.

        I did invent some possible cosy night-time conversations now here, as to how and why the USSR got all our stuff. But I then “cutted” them out because they sounded too sexual, and might belong in a Richard Blake novel or even a “Sean Gabb Alternative History”. I’ve saved them in a word file locally, if people want to see how we might possibly have lost our secret stuff.

        Traitor-Wislon, on the orders from his KGB-minders and the “Left feet”, even cancelled the TSR-2 which would be regarded as a formidable modern warplane even today. He was of course, as is natural, ordered by Moscow so to do. I remember it with anger as a young boy.
        It even flew rather well: I saw it at Farnborough, and we had advance orders for it from several other nations, and then it got binned, really rather suddenly and quite quietly.

    • Paul Marks, as usual, making ex cathedra statements about stuff he knows nothing about. I was actually in the British Military and I’ve doubtless been studying this a lot longer than Paul Marks. According to Paul Marks the reason for failure in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan is because there aren’t enough Concentration Camps (and presumably insufficient Falujahs). Twat.
      FYI British military spending has generally been higher as a proportion of GDP than other european countries (even France), right now that’s true and during the Cold War that gap was enormous.

      • The present 2% on defence in Britain is historically low, viz:
        Defence Spending since 1900

        Defence spending in the United Kingdom has fluctuated in the last century, starting at 6.5 percent of GDP during the Boer War, peaking at 46.4 percent in World War II, declining from 10 percent in the early years of the Cold War to under three percent today.

        Chart 2.22: UK Defence Spending 1900-2015

        Defence began in 1900 at 3.69 percent of GDP but quickly expanded during the Boer War to 6.47 percent. After the war it contracted down to about 3 percent of GDP.

        World War I saw an extraordinary mobilisation of nation resources, beginning from a standing start of 3.15 percent of GDP spent on defence in 1914. Defence spending soared to 21.68 percent of GDP by 1919. But spending quickly contracted after the Great war, slipping below three percent of GDP by 1927, and staying below three percent thereafter.

        Defence spending began to increase well before World War II. Starting at 3.01 percent of GDP in 1935, it reached 3.71 percent in 1936, 4.82 in 1937, 8.72 in 1938, and 15.19 in 1939. Appeasement or no, Britain started to rearm as the storm gathered. After the start of World war II, Britain mobilised all its national resources for the war, spending over 40 percent of GDP on defence for four years, peaking at 46.37 percent of GDP in 1943. ”
        http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_history#defence

        The other problem is what the money is spent on. Increasingly, it is very expensive kit and ever diminishing numbers of servicemen. Not a good combination.

        • Robert – I don’t deny your statistics, only that we should be spending money on an army remade in the image of Tony Blair.

          • The Word Bank maintains comprehensive statistics on spending of various sorts by countries and you can use their website to take a look.
            Even given Britain’s defence spending is at a historically low level… in comparison to defence spending that was far above what other european countries were doing at the time, it’s still too high, and unwarranted in a post Cold War world where politicians have to go actively creating enemies to justify “defence” spending.
            As Smedley Butler said, “war is a racket.” Eisenhower’s valedictory address was all about that. But, go ahead believing the black propaganda and blithely ignoring people who actually know what they’re talking about.

  • Yes Robert – it was Macmillan who started the real decay of the armed forces, and then Wilson and Denis Healey (the so called “moderate”) broke their back. Investment was also hit by taxes (both in the late 1960s and the late 1970s) that were over 90% at the top end (i.e. on the people who actually do the investing – or used to). including special taxes and “levies”. Taxing investment is sneaky – because everything looks find for awhile (all mini skirts and candy floss) – but then (normally when the party that has taxed things to bits has left office), industry collapses.

    It also works with government spending – the wild government sector pay awards (and other wild spending) promised in the dying months of the Labour government in 1978 and 1979 were paid for by the massive recession of 1979 – 1982 (yes there was a world recession – but what happened in Britain was WORSE, partly due to high taxes crippling investment in the late 1970s and partly by the massive post dated cheque the out going Labour government left to the new Conservative government).

    At the time I remember Enoch Powell dissented from the “Tory Cuts” narrative of the media – he kept pointing out that government spending was higher (much higher) in 1979 than it had been in 1978. 1979, 1980 and 1981 was when I learned that the media could just LIE (day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year) talking (endlessly) about the “cut” in government spending when it was, in fact, going UP (due to promises made by the Labour government – INSANELY kept by the new Conservative government – “we can not break commitments that have already been made Margaret, there will be another WINTER OF DICONTENT if we go back on written agreements”).

    Of radio and television I can only remember Brian Walden (ironically an ex LABOUR M.P) telling the truth.

    On his programme “Weekend World”” Mr Walden used to spend the first half of the show with bar charts and so on (cardboard held up to the camera – no electronics stuff in those days) showing that government spending had in fact gone UP and that there had been no reduction in the “money supply” either – in short that the basic narrative about the government (“cuts in government spending” and a “straightjacket” on the money supply”) was a vast stinking lie.

    “Weekend World” (under an ex Labour M.P. – the show was destroyed when that useless “Conservative” M. Parris took over) was an island of truth in a sea of lies – the radio and television.

  • Leaving aside the bar charts and pie charts (and so on) of Mr Walden (for he always made a point of spending the first half of the show making sure that viewers had the FACTS – before he had the interview in the second half of the show, he did not patronise the viewers by just have “talking heads”” with no factual basis for the discussion)…… I now return to Sean Gabb.

    Dr Gabb you mention “political correctness” – that is hypocritical of you, as more defence cuts (destroying what little is left of the British armed forces) is exactly what the P.C. leftists want.

    Then we will, of course, be told “we must stay in the European Union – it is vital for our defence, Britain is too small to even defend its shipping and so on”” a common “European” armed forces (via E.U. “cooperation”) is clearly the objective of the P.C. elite.

    And cutting what is left of the British armed forces is playing straight into the hands of the P.C. elite – which operates on a pan European (indeed world) level. It would make British independence impossible – or, at least, so we would be told.

  • “Bottom line”.

    Sean Gabb wants to get rid of what little is left of the British armed forces – so that the security of the United Kingdom will become a European Union responsibility (under some sort of common armed forces).

    No other interpretation fits the facts.

    • Paul that is _NOT_ what Sean said! Please do not go all disingenuous now….He said that he’d favour a large Navy (so would you and I) backed up by an Air Arm subordinate to it, which I labelled as the Navy’s demolition-subcontractor.

      This is not altogether a very bad position to take, but as I said, it doesn’t address the _Problem of Not Having Space-based Assault-Weapons_, nor does it address the tactical problem of some anti-liberal regime deciding to “take a punt” on assaulting the UK directly. There are at least 10-12 nations whose gobblentments could achieve this quite easily today, provoking at the very least a constitutional crisis, an election, a “Run On The Pound, and other baleful matters besides.

      A Citizens’ Militia is a long-term-sensible notion, and to be desired. It means that weapons will have to be put back into the hands of Sovereign Individuals, even if these guns etc are kept under lock and key in their own houses until deployment orders come.

      But it would take time: firstly to overcome the horror of “guns” now ingrained in the British People’s Psyche. Secondly, to have to reverse at least two generations’-worth of lost firearms knowledge and also familiarity with much larger and more exciting weapons. Since loss of life will be deemed socially-unacceptable (intellectually right but practically unachievable in a war) the buggers will have to be taught how to use “The New Drones”, assuming they were to be allowed any. Computer-games and X-Boxes simply will not do as surrogates for the learning.

      A main problem with anti-libertarian statist-States is that they love, being all fascist nazis, very very large standing armies, of droids all stepping to music in rectangular-droves, and incidentally probably all made up of highly-trained killers. The silly theatrical goose-stepping marching-theatre is really neither here nor there: the fellas still carry lethal weapons, and are all trained in the standard “19th-century-Prussian Model” to kill all the civilians in “suspect” villages: this is to “encourage early and also very general compliance with the occupier’s instructions”.
      Militias on their own, on seeing all their local women and children torched and machine-gunned inside the barred church along with all the surrendered males and pensioners and local traders caught outside, will crumple up in a minute.
      Do not for a minute think that the “operatives” of UNKILLBRITFOR, or indeeed any of their “mandated National contingents” will hesitate to do any of this stuff to us.

  • I suppose I am half way between Sean and Paul on this one.

    I think that the army is being depleted – perhaps on purpose, including the theory of generating a ‘need’ for a European Union Army – but that Sean is right to not want to carry on the kinds of escapades that now happen, particularly when, in my own opinion, we are not defending the integrity and future of our own nation in the real sense of the word.

    (There is no point guarding a shop if the people working there deliberately leave the back doors open, the the till wide open and allow squatters to eventually turf out the original owners, whilst the ‘guards’ dutifully just ‘guard’ the shop front irrespective of whose inside).

    However, because I am a bit of a cynic, I suppose I actually question the fundamental premise that there were ‘mistakes’ and ‘misjudgements’.

    What if it all actually ‘went to plan’ at the deeper level, that certain objectives were in fact fulfilled during this period, that certain ‘side effects’ were intended to happen all along, both politically and financially and for the interests of others who are not British or American, but more ‘international citizens’.

    The British have arguably fighting wars on behalf of such interests since the Battle of Waterloo. I have no longer got the innocence to believe that ‘good intentions’ or ‘doing the right thing by others’ is the motivator for wars. I just think that there is always more to it than we are told on the surface.

    Whether it is toppling powers, pipelines, asset stripping, funding the war machine companies, lucrative contracts for ‘rebuilding’, the financial meddling, financial debt and changes to banking systems, division, chaos for diversion reasons, I really don’t know…maybe all of the above… but “going out there to help little girls have the right to go to school?” or to “bring democracy” etc – pull the other one.

    I find it astonishing that military professionals can be so idiotically blind and ignorant of history and the fundamental issues around Islamic doctrine and vested interests for their presence there. I find it hard to believe that they are all incompetent, misguided, or that shallow to just swallow the government bull shine.

    I find it amazing that military spokesmen can be heard on the radio news saying that the efforts in Afghanistan have made the streets of Britain safer… so much so that they said the same comments three times in less than two minutes on the clip I heard.

    Who are they trying to convince, themselves, the public, or both? It is clearly nonsense that any serious military personnel should question the validity of, so who is driving this narrative and for what reason?

    Whilst they were ‘duped’ into being out there, the government that sent them there have been letting in hundreds of thousands of Muslims to this country, people with attitudes and agendas we will never really know until it is too late. It does not make any sense to me at all!

    It gets back to failing to guard the real reason for having an army or ‘defence’ in the first place.

    What is it they are defending? Liberal values? Liberal imperialism? Because the future of this nation and the indigenous people is NOT being secured in the real sense of the word. That should be the primary interests of an army in my opinion, not ‘humanitarian intervention’ and other ‘mission creep’ in the lands of other people for matters which are none of our concern.

    I am sure the ‘boys and girls’ out there did what they thought was the good thing out there. I am sure there were good aspects to what was done. I know I would not have wanted to be doing it and I don’t want to attack those who have seen horrors and suffered out there. Yet I do think they were duped somewhat into this line of thinking and that, after it all, nothing will really change.

  • In the ultimate extremity, we must defend the Homeland. This may have to become the Citadel, but we hope, fearfully, not. The Homelands are where we live, where our people live, and have always lived. That’s why we have a Property Right in them (so some people say, but not post-modern “lawmakers”…)

    Unless the Home-state tries to take it away (see: wealth taxes, all deliberately made more “progressive” by Inflation. Especially in France, which is why the French People are all fleeing – many to here, for they see which way the wind blows.)

    So you see, Sean’s objectives are correct. But we also have to take account of unpredictable scumbags elsewhere. What is it that Enoch Powell said?

    “The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils.”

    That was the single most important sentence uttered by any human being after 1945.

  • For the record I thought the Iraq war was a bad idea (not “illegal” or “immoral” – much worse than that, a tactical mistake).

    I was in favour of the Afghan war (because I was incredibly stupid – I should have known how deluded Western leaders were about mainstream Islam, but I assumed they were just lying).

    .Ian has a point when he says that I assume people are lying when they say something that is false – they may believe the false thing they state.

    However, this is no excuse for my extreme stupidity concerning the Afghan war. It was obviously going to be a “nation building” enterprise (obvious – but not obvious to me at the time).

  • Robert Henderson – yes.

    Mr Parkinson warned that the time would come when there were more admirals than ships, but even he did not foresee a time then British sailors would surrender without a fight (and when a British warship near by would do nothing), and then cry about having their computer game thing taken away.

    The P.C. spirit has corrupted parts of the armed forces – there at least I do agree with Sean Gabb.

    Watching senior army officers talking about the “social necessity of getting round the table with the Taliban” (as if they were social workers not British soldiers – whose job is to KILL THE ENEMY, especially the leaders of the enemy) was chilling.

  • Mr Pate – being in the army tells you nothing about military history. And you clearly know nothing about it;

    You may be personally good at killing people, but that is beside the point.

  • A professional military with modern weapons (poison gas and so on) defeated by militia – people-with-rifles-on-street-corners….. As if the Belgium people could have defeated the German army in 1914. Or the South Koreans could have defeated the Communist tanks and heavy artillery.

    And it is defended by “I was in the military, I know what I am talking about”.

    How did Britain fall so low?

  • John – I am indeed not a general, but some of the best generals did indeed sit down.

    For example the Earl of Surrey (one of the Howards) who never even bothered to get up as his artillery (and so on) cut the Scots to pieces at Flodden.

    But still go ahead John – lead your people’s militia (waving their “rifles at street corners”) against artillery, tanks and aircraft (against missiles and poison gas), You will get killed – and the world will be, marginally (slightly), a better place.

  • Citing Ike’s farewell address is an old Marxist tactic John (I thought you were NOT a Marxist?) Radio Moscow used to cite it all the time – which is why Ike regretted making a speech that could so easily be quoted out of context (by the way American defence spending was then about 10% of the economy, now it is less than 4% of the economy.

    As for Marine General Butler – I prefer Supreme Court Justice Butler.

    The latter was a not a stooge who made up details of a “Fascist Plot” to make him (General Butler – of all people) dictator – for the good of “big business” (him – who had been smearing “big business” for years).

    Lying on oath before Congress is perjury John – perjury.

    No matter how many medals you win you are not above the law (as Judge Butler would have explained to you).

    Ex U.S. Marine Commander Butler should have gone to prison for the perjury.

    Remember how many of the Comrades were sent to prison for perjury.

    It is a bit like getting Al Capone for tax evasion.

    Still you have my thanks – my sincere thanks.

    You have, once again. proved that (in practice) there is no difference between a Black Flagger and a Red Flagger.

    • Julie near Chicago

      Yes, Paul, but the issue is, Do you still have that bridge for sale? 🙂

      • Julie near Chicago

        Oh well, this was intended to be a reply to Paul’s comment below, at 9:46 p.m. 😦

      • Julie I always have the bridge for sale – but the Black Flaggers would confiscate it anyway (and I would get to watch them on television as they died taking on modern military forces – I have the popcorn ready).

        Still I must be fair – the Black Flaggers are not against private property, they are just against property that has not been “justly acquired”, and it just so happens that everything they want to steal has not been “justly acquired”, But they are not really like the Red Flaggers – oh dear me, not at all….

        ISIS claims to be an Islamic “state” – but mostly it is considered a “non state” organisation (a people’s militia thing), and it even has a Black Flag…… perhaps John could join it and give them the benefit of his military experience. They might disbelieve him and decapitate him, or they might believe him (and he dies as a result of a Western airstrike). Either way……

        The Mahdi organised a similar thing in the Sudan in the 19th century (did well against Hicks and then Gordon). Had a problem in 1898 – see Winston Churchill’s account of the battle.

        Next reaction from the Black Flaggers?

        That Western intelligence agencies created ISIS – they heard it on Mr Putin’s “Russia Today” so it must be true.

    • As usual, Paul Marks thinks verbiage, assertion, and ad hominem will somehow alter reality and manufacture truth and consent.
      The HUAC largely vindicated what Smedley Butler said, that’s a matter of record. Butler’s political beliefs in general are irrelevant to the fact of him being right or wrong in particular cases.
      Eisenhower said what he said and there’s video of it on the tubes. He was only telling half the story of the graft and corruption.

      Why isn’t there a “bullshit” button for Paul Mark’s posts?

      • There is a thumbs down button, though i am too polite to take advantage of it, and too ignorant of WordPress to turn it off.

  • David.

    Sean said he wants (or has hinted and implied – he does not express himself clearly, has not done so for years) less money spent on the military, and the British military is falling apart already.

    If a man says “I am going to put a big bomb in your bedroom, whilst you are sleeping there, and set it off – but I do not want to hurt you” he is contradicting himself.

    Just as when someone takes a (threadbare) military and says (or implies) he is going to cut it more – and then says “I want a strong navy and air force”.

    The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are not strong now – cutting the money is not going to make them strong. And the army is not very big either – in fact when has it been smaller?

    As for the idea that the P.C. types in the MOD are going to be cut – I have heard that for many years.

    Of course – the British armed forces are going to be turned into the IDF (much more “teeth” in relation to “tail”).

    And I am a slim, six foot tall man, with a full head of hair.

  • Julie near Chicago

    1. There are examples of successful guerilla fighting. (Usually the good guerilla fighting has been done by bad guys — at least as far as the general public, which would include me, knows — but that doesn’t alter the point.)

    Therefore, both modern Western armies and properly-trained and well-regulated *grin*, meaning well-practiced in both discipline and the execution of tactics, citizen militias might become successful guerilla fighters themselves.

    2. So-called “Total War” has been with us going back to pre-Judaic times. That’s what “sacking a city” means. Thinking that our countries will never have to cope with the most advanced weaponry, including WMD, is fantasizing. We managed to dodge the bullet in two World Wars, and the following Cold War, and actually so far in the present War against Islam (if that’s what it is), but “past history is no guarantee of future performance,” as the financial prospectuses say.

    3. Could citizen militias armed only with “conventional” (Geneva-Accord-approved) weapons, let alone only with the sort of arms that Joe Public, even in the U.S., thinks should be allowed to private citizens, stand off an enemy well-equipped with no-holds-barred WMD (highly unconventional weapons!) AND well-trained guerilla (or urban-warfare) fighters as well?

    4. Once more, Everything has a downside, and a country’s maintenance of a standing army is no exception. Neither is a country’s reliance on a citizen militia.

    5. No country or people will prevail in the long run if it loses its moral self-confidence. I have made this point over and over, and was gratified to discover that I was far from the first. Among many others is Jean-François Revel, whom I never see quoted on my favored UK boards for some reason. But if you haven’t, see Why Democracies Perish (yes, the dread word “Democracy”) and Last Exit to Utopia.

    5. And, in the oft-spoken words of my father: “Circumstances alter cases.”

    (At one time I hated that quote, as I thought it meant “to hell with principle.” Now I love it, as expressing a fundamental wisdom about the reality we are stuck with. See the earlier discussion on Market Forces = Humans’ Choices, and the role of System and Planning in human affairs.)

  • Yes Julie – the Spanish were famous for guerrilla fighting (hence the word). But, even with the technology of centuries ago, the French would have destroyed them eventually – had the Duke of Wellington not turned up with a conventional army. The Romans destroyed irregular resistance often – as Jews know to their cost (courage is not enough).

    The American example is often (mis) cited. For example the British army was blown out of Boston by heavy artillery (not in the Hollywood version of events). Both the conventional American army and French military assistance were vital – which is not to downplay the role played by the “Swamp Fox” (whom Mr Gibson seems to have based his film character upon – or whoever did the writing based his character on) in South Carolina.

    “Kings Mountain” is sometimes presented as guerrilla victory – and the “Rednecks” did indeed well (they shot the pro British side to bits) – but note I said “pro British side”, the British army was not defeated at King’s Mountain because it was not there (it was American Tory forces – under a Scottish commander), in short militia on both sides.

    The British army was defeated in several battles – but normally by conventional American forces (backed up militia shooters – ;placed in such a way that it was hard for them to withdraw without being ordered to do so), relying on firepower.

    A classic mistake made by the British army was to rely on the charge (either cavalry or infantry bayonet) – such an assault can work against forces given to panic, but against steady troops (or men who have been placed in such a way that running away is actually physically difficult) such an attack is likely to shot to bits. Beware the macho commander who says “we are going to go hand-to-hand lads, they will taste cold steel….” (he is likely to get everyone killed).

    Still at least they were brave these 18th century British commanders – the commander of the British “American Legion” cavalry (they wore GREEN Mr Gibson – you moron) led the cavalry charges himself (including the one that destroyed the Legion). And British infantry commanders were expected to do the same.

    This bravery could be a mistake – for example the Duke of Wellington brother in law (who led the British forces at the Battle of New Orleans) led the second attack in person – he was, of course, killed. The men then just stood there (there being no order to retreat) and were shot and shelled.

    It was like the second day of the Battle of Loos a century later – ten thousand men (reserve divisions – no combat experience and little training) officers to the front – on horse back.

    The officers died first – so there was no one to order retreat. The men tried to continue the attack (after all those were their orders) and the Germans (behind barbed wire many feet high and thick – and in earth and concrete) just shot them down.

    Most of the ten thousand men were killed or wounded – the only German casualties were mental (some German soldiers suffered mental breakdowns having spent the day shooting men who were walking up a down trying to get past unpassable barbed wire).

    By the way – on the Battle of New Orleans.

    General Jackson did not rely on frontier men with “coon rifles” (as the legend has it) He had artillery and prepared defences – General P. had no chance what-so-ever he led his men (and himself) to certain death.

    As for militia generally.

    The example of the militia men who were thrown at the Germans by the French in the latter stages of the war of 1870.

    The classic exchange goes as follows…..

    “You promised me reinforcements of soldiers”.

    “Well here they are”.

    “NO – these are brave men who are going to get themselves killed, they are NOT soldiers”.

    Of course even the professional French army was smashed – by German superiority in artillery and German use of the RAILWAYS.

    John Pate is half right – war is a “business” (in the sense of a serious enterprise), but it is no “racket” it is a serious business on an industrial scale. The Germans put everything into the war effort in 1870 – the French did not (for example civilians were still allowed to use the French railways at the peak of the struggle). Napoleon III was not really like his uncle – in his heart he knew that. He was actually a much nicer man than his uncle – but the time did not call for a nice man.

    The French did not lack courage – but they (in 1870) lacked organisation (planning and iron discipline).

    Some British First World War Generals could plan (they were not all like Haig) – for example General Plumer appeared to be the classic British amateur (unlike “educated solder” Haig) – but under “I am just going down to the tuck shop” act (aided by the whiskers and the old buffer routine) he was a professional soldier who knew his trade (Boar War guerrilla tactics were no great problem for Plumer – as he was a lot less gentle than he worked hard to give the impression he was) – as the Germans found out to their cost.

    The balance between militia (armed population) and professionals – with technology and planning.

    I am giving a talk on Israeli history next week (I did NOT ask to give the talk – it is about the last subject I would want to give a lecture on, as I can not read a word of Hebrew, but I was asked)

    This is, inevitably, a talk on this military balance. Israel being a nation that is always (and has always been) at war.

    The points you have made Julie are on my mind – but I am not certain what my position is on them.

  • In case anyone points it out – I do know that the Battle of New Orleans was in 1815 – that is why I said that Loos was a century later.

    But to General Jackson it was a continuation of the American War of Independence.

    The scar on his face was from a British sword – an officer cut him across the face (as a boy) for refusing to shine the officer’s boots. Although Andrew Jackson’s mother was not sympathetic.

    When young Andy cried (having been cut across the face) his mother flogged him without mercy screaming “boys do not cry, boys FIGHT!”.

    I believe they were an Ulster family.

    Senator Benton (“Bullion Benton” for his hatred of paper money) summed up Andrew Jackson.

    “President Jackson – oh yes, I shot him once, a fine man”…..

    Senator Benton was not being sarcastic – remember he was another Ulster type (shooting someone does not mean you dislike them).

    Having run out of enemies (or at least people to fight with – not the same thing) Senator Benton decided (in spite of having been a slave owner himself) to come out against slavery – in Missouri just before the Civil War. However, everyone decided to tactfully avoid him. By the way I am NOT saying that Senator Benton (he was always sincere) – but he did like to fight (at least he fought very much indeed – so it is hard to believe he hated doing it).

    It was much the same with Governor Houston in Texas – few people (even in Texas) know that Governor Houston came out AGAINST secession in 1861.

    Everyone just worked round him (rather than fighting him) which must have been incredibly frustrating for him (like Jackson and Benton, Houston was, I believe, of “Scots-Irish”, i.e. Ulster, line).

  • John Pate.

    I am still waiting for you to go lead your people’s militia against a modern military.

    When you arrive in Hell please give that lying (perjuring) General Butler my regards.

  • For the record……

    Former Marine Commandant Butler claimed (testified on oath – before Congress) in the 1930s that “big business” had approached him to overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt and become a “Fascist Dictator”.

    Odd – as Mr Butler had been attacking “big business” for years (he as just about the last person in the country in the 1930s that “big business” people would approach for help), also why would anyone want Mr Butler’s help to introduce “Fascist” policies when the “New Deal” (the National Economic Recovery Act, National Recovery Agency and an on and) was openly based on Mussolini’s Fascist Italy?

    When you already have Fascist policies (see above) what is the point of a coup to introduce such policies?

    Also what of the standard Black Flag (“anarchist” or “libertarian left”) claim that that the polices of Franklin Roosevelt (the New Deal) was for the BENEFIT of “big business”? If Franklin Roosevelt ruled for the benefit of “big business” why should they wish to overthrow him?

    In reality……

    Former Marine Commandant Butler was a small (and indirect) part of a large scale NKVD inspired (Soviet intelligence) disinformation and propaganda campaign (no different from “Western Intelligence agencies created and trained ISIS” – a standard bit of B.S. that one gets on “Russia Today” which has abandoned formal Marxism, but kept up Soviet traditions of propaganda).

    Since the 1920s the Soviet intelligence (and their friends and allies) had been spreading the legend (the lie) that Mussolini’s Fascism was for the benefit of the “capitalists” – just as (in the 1930s) they pretended that Mr Hitler’s National Socialism was for the benefit of the “capitalists”.

    Making up coup plots against Franklin Roosevelt (the New Dealers had recognised the Soviet government in 1933 and key New Dealers, NOT Franklin Roosevelt personally, had tried to destroy the files of the old “Russian Section” of the State Department so they could pretend that they did not know that the Soviet regime was MURDERING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE,, this pretence that “we did not know”” was carried on even after World War II by key “fellow travellers” of the 1930s) was just a part of a general NKVD inspired disinformation and propaganda campaign – in which the usual suspects (the “fellow travellers”) played their normal role.

    What interests me is not that Marxists are still coming out with this stuff (that one would expect) – but that such people as JOHN PATE are still coming out with it.

    Hence my point that there is no PRACTICAL difference between the Red Flag Marxists and the “libertarian left” – which explains why they cooperate in such things as the Occupy movement and the Chicago Teachers Union.

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