Sunday, December 11, 2005

An Open Challenge to Britain's Chick Hawks

The Territorial Army announced today it needs another 7000 volunteer recruits to stem the flow of people leaving the organisation (currently running at 600 a month). The T.A. denies that the Iraq war is having an effect, but it's hard to believe otherwise.
To bolster the numbers of Britain's reservists, I would like to make an open challenge.
To Mr Stephen Pollard, Mr Oliver Kamm, the bloggers at Harry's Place, Mr William Shawcross, Mr David Aaronovitch, Mr Nick Cohen and indeed to all those 'chickhawks' who cried 'war', from the safety of a London office, to go out and enlist. The Henry Jackson Society calls for the spread of 'democracy' by non-peaceful methods if necessary- so what are you laptop bombadiers waiting for? If you really feel so passionately about the merits of the military operation- why don't you take the next plane out to Baghdad? Dodging the bullets in the Sunni triangle is surely more exciting than hedge fund management or trying to flog a biography of David Blunkett.....
ps the challenge is open to Melanie Phillips and Andrew Roberts too.


Anonymous said...

The TA have never been in the Sunni triangle.
Stick to horseracing Neil.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be the Sunni triangle. Baghdad would be fine! So long as our not so gallant chick-hawks get a feel for what war is all about- something they can't really get from their London offices or book launch parties.

Ken said...

Most of the HP crowd that you mentioned are kids in their late 20s or ealry 30s as well - the perfect age to go off and risk their all for the greater glory of Blairism.

I think that this is a great idea and one that should be pushed on all the blogs. They would not even have to serve in Baghdad: the British army is based in the south, but that is not the point, is it?

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant idea! But only one downside- Stephen Pollard is too fat to be accepted into the T.A.- they may be desperate for volunteers, but surely not that desperate.....

Bob Doney said...

As one of your anonymous commenters said, what a brilliant idea! No, really. And I really like that phrase "Chick Hawks". Sums it up nicely! And Stephen Pollard too fat! That's good, too. Mind you, Churchill wasn't skinny, was he? But that's OK because he'd nearly had his head blown off in the Sudan or somesuch foreign part. So he was allowed to decry Nazism and urge everyone to fight it. But if you haven't been in a war zone, you shouldn't expect to have a point of view. It's all becoming clearer now. I'm really getting it. Good work!

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob,

Nobody is saying that only people who've been to war are allowed political opinions, a la Starship Troopers.

What we are saying is that it's hypocritical to urge your fellow citizens to fight and die for a cause you aren't willing to die for yourself.

I was too young to remember the Falkands but something like that happened again I would join up to defend my fellow British citizens. Because the cause is just and honorable and in the national defense. The same if France ever tries invading here - maybe they will over the CAP.

On the other hand Serbia and Iraq and Rwanda and Sudan are not worth the bones of a single British grenadier. The Iraq war was immoral and more important, it was against our national interest.

Bob Doney said...

Is it also hypocritical to dial 999 when a mad axeman breaks into your house? Or to call Cave Rescue when your best mate is trapped 600 feet down a pothole? Or call the Coast Guard when your yacht turns over in a gale? Or send your blood sample to the Path Lab when you get avian flu?

And at what point do overseas problems become worth the life of a British grenadier? When British people get killed? When the lights go out? When the planes are flying towards the Canary Wharf tower and St Paul's Cathedral?

It also seems problematic to me to run our armed forces on the basis of a civilian militia, all of whose members have a clipboard. "Yes, I'll do Kuwait, but I don't fancy Serbia. Mind you, I've got a soft spot for the Kosovans, as my cousin married one. And you can put me down for the Atlantic convoy, so long as it's not a winter job...."

Anonymous said...

Ezra Pound once said that "If a man is not prepared to die for his ideas, either he or his ideas are useless."

So Bob D- when your call up papers to serve in Basra come to you via the post, will you do the decent thing and serve Queen & Country in a war which has nothing to do with us?

Bob Doney said...

This is Ezra Pound the anti-Semite and racist who was a big fan of and propagandist for Mussolini? The one who was charged by the Americans with treason? As far as I understand it his ideas were worse than useless and he wasn't prepared to die for them (and definitely not his country).

As for my call-up papers, I'm much too old, and in any case I thought I'd made it clear that soldiering is a job for the professionals.

Anonymous said...

Bad day for Neil tomorrow.
Millions of Iraqis vote.

Anonymous said...

Millions may vote, but the big decision on what sort of economy Iraq will run has already been taken. Do you honestly believe the occupying forces would allow any government to take power in Iraq that would challenge the whole neo-liberal, privatising agenda? If so, I think you are very naive.

Leighgionaire said...


Just discovered your site after googling your name taken from the article "Why left and right should unite and fight".

I've had a quick search through your blog and I agree with virtually everything you write, although I must admit to not knowing much about the events in Yugoslavia.

I regard myself as a traditional old school Labour supporter and believe the first step to destroying the Neo-Liberal agenda is for each soverign state to nationalise their banking infrastructure.

Regards Jimmy.

Bob Doney said...

Millions may vote

No, millions did vote. Even the Beeb couldn't hide the fact that a lot of Iraqis thought it had been a damned fine day. And John Simpson was particularly grumpy about it. There's no pleasing some folk.


PS I don't want to intrude on Mr Clark' hospitality, but I am fascinated to know what would be achieved by nationalising the world's banks - apart from the impoverishment of billions of people, that is.

Leighgionaire said...

Freedom From Debt Slavery.

Anonymous said...

Neil Clark sends his challenge "to all those 'chickhawks' who cried 'war', from the safety of a London office, to go out and enlist."

His profile says that he favours the restoration of capital punishment; does he proclaim this from the safety of his own office?

Or does he already have the experience of administering lethal injections that he would apparently be required to have before holding such an opinion?