Courting Public Opinion II: “Nyer nyer nah ner ner”
I did warn you, Ms. Harman. This, what you see around you? The slavering hacks of Wapping dragging all the senior members of your government through the Westminster Perp-walk, as people bay for your Prime Minister’s blood? This is the court of public opinion. This is what you turned loose on Fred the Shred; beating a man with the stable door has found you no horses. But nailing your trousers to the mast does make it very hard to climb down.
Well, it took ’em a while.
“Jonathan Wigley, 21, was fatally wounded on 5 December 2006 during battles with Taleban fighters near Garmsir, Helmand Province. The 21-year-old from Hook in Hampshire was lying in a ditch awaiting orders when he came under fire from an American F18 jet.”
I find myself remembering the early 90s a lot, recently. When they said unemployment was above two million back in March, I was thinking “It was above three million in the summer of ’93”. Now, I’m thinking that the Yanks killed more British personnel than the Iraqis did in Gulf War I, and it’s taken them a lot longer to start killing our boys this time around.
“I had a young lieutenant, once…”
In other, and for me more disturbing, news we have this from the front lines. The first and easiest observation is this: if your soldiers are so combat-stressed that they are shooting up the stress clinics, you might want to ask yourself if declaring “Mission Accomplished” 5 years ago was really such a good idea. In fact, when soldiers are running mad on a level comparable to what happens to school children when they are badly abused by the system for years on end, you might want to ask why your schools are so similar to your war-zones, and perhaps wonder if military, violently hierarchical cultures are the problem in both cases.
So far there’s been remarkably little of this kind of thing. Perhaps because the ideological indoctrinations were just that much more effective than in the time of the draft, perhaps for other reasons, but the kind of ‘fragging’ associated with the jungle war has taken a while to evolve in this one. Another probability is that the sheer difference in US body count makes it harder for a soldier to hide one body. But the implications are the same today as they were in the late 60s. Wars can go toxic; yes, one can argue they all start out that way, but what I mean is that war efforts can go toxic. People lose the fanatical focus which allows them to kill for a living but only kill the other guys. They start to redefine ‘enemy’ as ‘the guy who keeps making me kill’.
This war has been toxic for a while but it’s now starting to get away from their control. I can only hope President Obama gets his administration’s ass in gear and ends the US role in it as quickly as he can.