Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Vomiting for Britain

Samizdata have reminded me of this story from one of the Navy 15, Arthur Batchelor, who recounts how he was reunited with Topsy (Faye Whatsherface).
That was the last time Arthur saw Faye for six days as they were both put in solitary. Guards tried to make Faye crack by cruelly telling her she was the last of the 15 being held captive.

But, speaking of the moment they were reunited, he told how he wept and begged the 26-year-old for a hug. Arthur said: "I missed Topsy most of all. I really love her, as amumand a big sister. Not seeing her and not knowing if she was safe was one of the hardest parts of the whole thing.

"Then on the sixth day, when I was just about giving up hope, I was pulled from my bed in the early hours of the morning.

"They led me down a corridor and into a room, where I saw Topsy in a corner.

"I can't describe how that felt...just every emotion rolled into one. I ran up to her, threw my arms round her and cried like a baby.

"When I'd calmed down, she asked, 'Do you need another hug, a mother hug?' and I said, 'damn right'. She was just as pleased to see me because they'd told her I'd been sent home.

"Topsy said she'd always be there for me, to protect me and look after me.

For fuck's sake, here was I thinking that the members of the British Armed Forces were a breed apart, that they were trained not to behave like fucking children. More importantly, no one, but no one, should ever be allowed to write such maudlin, fucking drivel. Ever. Reading this, one knows who the big fucking girl is, eh?

Does this sort of thing diminish respect for our forces? Well, it certainly has diminshed these people in my eyes, so yes. What the fuck were they thinking?

Oh, and before anyone tries the "well, have you ever served or been captured" line, the answer is "no", I haven't. But that is because I am well-aware that I the armed forces life is not for me—I even opted for the "community service" option rather than the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) at school—and that's why I didn't join. My talents lie elsewhere and elsewhere is where I deploy them. Saying that I cannot comment on the armed forces because I haven't been in them is a totally specious argument; can I not comment on politics because I haven't been an MP? Should I declare that no one can comment on my designs because they aren't a designer?

Fucking shameful and vomit-inducing, the whole article. What the hell happened to the traditional British reserve, eh?

P.S. Here's some more.
Arthur met Faye when he joined HMS Cornwall in January last year.

He said: "I look young, so I guess she wanted to look after me. She's a great woman, kind, generous, funny. She'd do anything for anyone. I've loads of respect for her as she's my senior but also a massive amount of love for her as my friend.

Oh really? Am I the only one that suspects that this love is a little more than platonic, at least on Wee Arty's side? If I were Topsy's husband, I'd be asking some keen questions after reading this shite...

44 comments:

JuliaM said...

"Does this sort of thing diminish respect for our forces?"

Yes. Yes. And YES AGAIN!

It made me cringe to read it. One can only hope it was ghostwritten by some YTS-trainee at the paper, and not the actual words of the servicemen/women.

fido said...

I had to check the date on that, thought it was some April fools joke on the part of Iranian President Amijamiwhatsisname, anyway the mad loon with the beard.

Hell if that is the state of the armed forces, lets just give up now and become part of a greater France.

After all at least they are open about paying off terrorists and loonies.

Can't wait for this guys book deal: "How I cried in Iran"

Roger Thornhill said...

Court Martial. Nothing less will suffice.

This is what you get I suppose when "everyone is a winner" in Blairland.

The Englishman said...

http://haddock-somethingfishy.blogspot.com/2007/04/fighting-fit.html says it all...

Little Black Sambo said...

Revolting stuff. Fergal Keane, improved by Sylvie Krin.

archduke said...

I'll be the lone contrarian here, and remind people of Sun Tzu's classic quote

"All warfare is based on deception"

when your opponent is strong, feign weakness.

when moving against your opponent, appear as if you wont hurt a fly.

in other words - we're the bait at the end of the American fishing line...

CityUnslicker said...

words almost fail me; I am so glad they are free now to be able to spout this in our free country.

bah.

Daily Referendum said...

Wee Arty as you call him is twenty years old with a mental age I would guess of a reasonably well educated thirteen year old. As can been seen from what he has had to say in the article you quote him from he is not the stoutest of men. So why the fuck was he bobbing around in a rubber boat with a gun slung across his back, trying to board a vessel that could contain all sorts of nasty men with weapons. Wee Arty does this day in and day out and is probably shitting himself the whole time. Tell me, does that make him brave or cowardly?

Is telling a politician you think his policies are poor, or an artist you don't like his work, the same as telling a serviceman his actions are fucking shameful and vomit-inducing?

Daily Referendum said...

Just to clarify my last point, the worst you will have to face is nightmare scenario of someone criticising your artwork. Arty had to look down the barrel of a gun and decide if he was going to live or die. Can you see the difference?

JuliaM said...

"Arty had to look down the barrel of a gun and decide if he was going to live or die."

If little 'Arty' only realised this was a possibility at the moment he was captured, he's far too dumb to be in the Navy...

"in other words - we're the bait at the end of the American fishing line... "

Hmm, seen this hinted at a lot during the events of the last week or so, but I can't see what they would have gained from it?

Daily Referendum said...

Very funny Juliam,

You are indeed as humorous as you are brave. You've been listening to media hype, the fifteen were not captured, they were falsely arrested for trespass by a country they were not at war with. Seeing as they were not prisoners of war, at no time did they behave in a way to discredit the nation. They were treated very poorly by Iran for what was a minor crime. On returning home the MOD threw them to the fucking lions. Instead of being angry with Iran, the MOD, the Captain who made some questionable decisions or the media, the great people of Britain have turned on the fifteen and questioned their bravery. Makes you fucking proud to be British doesn't it?

purplepangolin said...

@DailyReferendum
"Arty had to look down the barrel of a gun and decide if he was going to live or die."

This is true and is the reason that I was uncomfortable with some of the criticism levelled at them whilst they were in captivity. However, this interview was given once he was safely back in Britain. It is one thing to lose control during a moment of high emotion but he should have kept his mouth shut about it afterwards.

George B Hawke Jr III said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Buncha fags.

C4' said...

I would like to nominate myself for a bloody Devil on this very subject

http://conservativemindblog.blogspot.com/2007/04/things-to-do-if-you-are-captured-by.html

Keir Hardie said...

Even by your usual standards, this post reaches a new low.

Daily Referendum said...

Puplepangolin,

Very true he should have kept his mouth shut. However the MOD allowed our lovely media to offer a not too smart boy and a women with a child a lot of money. That same media is now reporting how disgusted we all are that they took that money. The media have wrung every ounce of emotion they could get out of this situation and in the process have ruined the reputations of the fifteen. To the media they are now just yesterday's news.

JuliaM said...

"You've been listening to media hype, the fifteen were not captured, they were falsely arrested for trespass by a country they were not at war with"

The fifteen were not captured? Oh, well, all's well that ends well...

Thank God for semantics!!

"the MOD allowed our lovely media to offer a not too smart boy and a women with a child a lot of money"

Smart enough to go to war (potentially) but not smart enough to resist the deadly lure of the eeeevil press.

And it's all the fault of the MoD! No blame to the seamen/women themselves, of course!

What a lovely picture of our countrymen you paint.

Daily Referendum said...

Juliam,

Tell me, how would you have behaved in their situation both in Iran and back home?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Daily Referendum,

Your points are, naturally, valid and I believe that you have more experience than most. However, there have been several grievous errors here.

1) The capture itself was ignominious for Britain: people are thus less inclined to be forgiving of any errors.

2) The MoD should not have allowed them to sell their stories and, when asked why they had authorised this, definitely should not have equated the Navy 15 to VC winners like Beharry.

3) Large though the amounts of money were, the servicemen should not have accepted the media bribes (naturally, if they were ordered to do so -- as part of a propaganda war? -- then no blame attaches to them.

4) If they were going to talk to the media (and especially if it was for propaganda purposes), the kind of drivel like that printed above should not have been recounted.

Whilst we were all prepared to believe that our soldiers were put through a lot (no one, surely, believed all of the shiny, happy people films), we want to believe that those in our armed forces are better people than we are. This may not be the case, but what is fact and what is believed is crucial for maintaining confidence in those forces.

DK

Daily Referendum said...

DK,

1) They were falsely arrested for trespass by a superior force which they were not at war with. They had a choice, allow themselves to be arrested for a minor offence or die. I hope you are not going to suggest they should have taken the latter.

2) I totally agree.

3)Would you in their situation have turned down over £100,000? I cannot honestly say that I would, it would be a very difficult decision.

4)Yes it was drivel, but coming from a not so smart boy who was recalling a frightening experience I'm willing to forgive him. I'm wondering how such a critic of the media suddenly believes that they gave a accurate account of this young man's story and showed him in the best light?

You said: "we want to believe that those in our armed forces are better people than we are"

Judging by some of the comments on this post you have nothing to fear.

JuliaM said...

"Tell me, how would you have behaved in their situation both in Iran and back home? "

Irrelevant. I'm not in the Navy.

Are you suggesting that only those who are or were can comment on this story...?

Daily Referendum said...

Juliam,

No, I believe anyone should be able to comment on the situation.

However, I do believe that before you can question another man's moral fibre, you should be in possession of all the facts and have some appreciation of what he went through. You have neither.

JuliaM said...

"I do believe that before you can question another man's moral fibre, you should be in possession of all the facts and have some appreciation of what he went through. You have neither."

In your opinion. Pardon me if I don't consider your opinion negates me having one of my own! It's just the 'chickenhawk' argument again, otherwise...

Of course, none of us knows how they would react in that situation. But I think back to the airmen captured in the first Gulf war, and how they acquitted themselves. A lot better, I have to say.

Look, the sailors are supposedly mature individuals, well equipped and specifically trained for these kind of things - my tax revenues go towards making them so.

So when the words out of their own mouths (unless those evil journalists are supposed to have put them there..?) paint them as whiny, greedy, dim babies, true products of the 'gimmie, gimmie' culture of daytime TV & no win, no fee lawyers, who would have difficulty standing up to the bullies in an average secondary school, I'm entitled to ask 'Why' and 'How?'.

I'm not sure the taxpayers are getting a good deal here, if these are the cream of our forces.

Daily Referendum said...

Juliam,

The airmen captured in the first Gulf war were prisoners of war and they did acquit themselves well.

The fifteen were falsely arrested for trespass. This is not semantics it is a fact. There are no rules on how to behave when arrested for trespass by a foreign government.

What you definitely don’t do is strip, blindfold and bind the hands of people you have arrested for trespass. You don’t tell them that if they don’t sign a confession they will not see their child again.

You said: "Look, the sailors are supposedly mature individuals, well equipped and specifically trained for these kind of things - my tax revenues go towards making them so."

Do you call being sent to board possibly hostile vessels in rubber boats without helicopter or the ships support "well equipped and specifically trained". This fiasco was not of their making.

As for the "whiny, greedy, dim babies" bit, be thankful that you have the luxury of expecting other men and women to behave bravely when you don't have to.

Also I don't think the press have disclosed what branch these sailors were in. They will have been: Mechanics, stewards, chefs, seamen and operation room staff. Do you think that is a suitable force for carrying out this type of operation? I don't.

They have been put in a situation they should not have been in

Pascal said...

That they have been put in a situation they were not supposed to be in is true, if just by seeing the way they behaved.

It is all very well to pose with your shiny guns when you are safe, but when the time comes to do what you are supposedly paid and trained for, you should at the very least keep your dignity.

I am not in the army, I spent a few weeks as a conscript and decided that it was definitely not for me. Mostly because of the "getting killed" factor.

I think those people are an insult to the guys who are really putting it up with danger in Afghanistan.

Yes, we have the luxury of expecting others to behave bravely, or not in that case.

You make it sound like they were on the receiving end of a major Iranian force. Seems to me they were not. It smacks of amateurishness and sloppiness. There are no excuses for that at ANY level.

JuliaM said...

"There are no rules on how to behave when arrested for trespass by a foreign government."

Oh, good grief, you mean it isn't covered in the Navy handbook..? Whatever to do! Well, I guess we can't expect the poor little lambs to use their common sense & act in the way that might let them (and our nation) keep some self respect then?

"Do you call being sent to board possibly hostile vessels in rubber boats without helicopter or the ships support "well equipped and specifically trained". This fiasco was not of their making."

So it is the MODs fault then..? No personal responsibility for a jolly jack tar in the modern Navy, no sir!

"be thankful that you have the luxury of expecting other men and women to behave bravely when you don't have to."

Lay off the chickenhawk theme, it doesn't become you.

In fact, it becomes you as well as the greedy, whiny attitude displayed by most of these 15 little lambs becomes the legacy of the Navy we used to have.
The one my grandfather served in.

God alone knows what he'd have made of the spectacle playing out on the mass media today.

Daily Referendum said...

Pascal,

The vast majority of sailors get to touch a "shiny gun" once a year when they go down to the range to ensure they can operate it safely enough not to blow their own heads off.

You said: "You make it sound like they were on the receiving end of a major Iranian force. Seems to me they were not." Well you are wrong, they were sat in rubber boats surrounded by two steel hulled patrol boats fitted with heavy machine guns. Shortly after this initial contact four more boats turned up. I assume you would have liked them to have gone out in a blaze of glory rather than be arrested for trespass?

JuliaM said...

"I assume you would have liked them to have gone out in a blaze of glory rather than be arrested for trespass?"

Here's a thought; if instead of rolling over on their backs, wagging their tails & pissing all over themselves in appeasement, they stood firm and acted like what they were - servicemen acting under the authority of the UN - it might have been the Iranians who backed down...?

I guess we'll never know. At least we can safely say we have a Navy that truly represents modern Britain. The worst parts of it, that is...

Larry Teabag said...

I remember when the Right used to accuse the Left of hating our troops. Seems a long time ago now.

At least we can safely say we have a Navy that truly represents modern Britain. The worst parts of it, that is...

Why, have you signed up, Julia M?

Daily Referendum said...

Juliam,

Brave words, you are a real hero, if only you had been there...

kris said...

Daily Ref,

you are my soul-mate. I am sick unto death of people criticising(picking on) Arthur (the youngest guy onboard) and Faye (the lone woman).

There used to be a saying "walk a mile in my shoes".

Seems like no one will live up to the whingers' standard- not McNab, not John Nichol.

These attitudes are also indicative of a complete failure to understand how the navy works.

The CO calls all of the shots onboard. No criticism for Mr Carman, I see!

Who was the CO of HMS Cornwall who failed to to have appropriate air cover? Not a word about THAT guy!

What about Des Browne and his rules of engagement that left the crew hamstrung? Nope, not a word!

No DK et al, it's easier to go for the cheap shot. Well done.

kris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JuliaM said...

"Brave words, you are a real hero, if only you had been there..."

Again with the chickenhawk argument. Can't refute any of the other points, so you come back to this..?

"..have you signed up, Julia M?"

I'm a bit old for it, frankly. But on second thoughts, I doubt I could do a worse job...

"I am sick unto death of people criticising(picking on) Arthur (the youngest guy onboard) and Faye (the lone woman)."

Translation: The little babbie! The poor fragile lady! How could you heartless brutes pick on them!

Good grief man, have some balls! They are employed by the Royal Navy to do a seaman/woman's job! Is it expecting so much that they do it to the best of their ability, don't whine about it afterwards (or cash in) and try to show some self respect in the process?

"Who was the CO of HMS Cornwall who failed to to have appropriate air cover? Not a word about THAT guy!....What about Des Browne and his rules of engagement that left the crew hamstrung?"

I've got plenty of words for them both, none of them complementary. But they weren't the subject of the post. The conduct of these 15 sailors was the subject of the post. One thing at a time.

kris said...

Jesus H Jones you do talk alot of shite.

Step up to the plate- for anything-ever?

Whiney british brat. No wonder this country is in a state. Leave it for someone else to do the dirty work and they criticise them for the way they do it.

Muppet.

JuliaM said...

"Leave it for someone else to do the dirty work and they criticise them for the way they do it."

Leave them to do it? My taxes pay to have them trained, equipped & supported to do it. So I think I have a say in whether or not they've done it correctly...

Still, I guess it's the new modern educational system at work. Everyone's a winner! Even if you cowered in front of the enemy, don't worry, prizes for all! And no criticism, wouldn't want to hurt their feelings.

Daily Referendum said...

Juliam,

Who cowered? and to what enemy?

Are we secretly at war with Iran? Do you know something we don't?

And yes I know I've left an opening for you to spout more of your vile shite. I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't really care what you think. Your accusations are becoming more wild with each comment you post.

JuliaM said...

"..to what enemy?"

You need a hand identifying one...?

"I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't really care what you think."

I can see why...

kris said...

Juliam

From now on, whenever I hear the words, "Prawn Sandwich Brigade", I'll be thinking of you and your friends.

JuliaM said...

"From now on, whenever I hear the words, "Prawn Sandwich Brigade", I'll be thinking of you and your friends."

Well, at least you'll be thinking....

kris said...

and you'll still be parroting the Evening Standard.

JuliaM said...

"..and you'll still be parroting the Evening Standard."

There's only one newspaper that is criticising the sailors & the decision to publish their less-than-heroic exploits? Fancy!

Pascal said...

Some of you seem to forget that they should be able to KILL people if called upon.

I really cannot see them doing it, and their attitude begs the question of why they are doing this job in the 1st place.

The fact that we were not there does not lessen the fact that their behaviour was shameful.

They are an insult to the soldiers ACTUALLY risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As for the respective firepower, you must be kidding ?

As I said, it is a shambles at ALL levels.

I'm off to eat my prawn sandwich.

Daily Referendum said...

For the last time you morons, we are NOT at war with Iran. They were ARRESTED. They were NOT prisoners of war.

I would also like to know if you are calling every British serviceman who has been taken prisoner of war in the last century a coward for surrendering. (and I remind you we are NOT at war with Iran and the fifteen did not surrender)

JuliaM said...

daily ref, your last comment is pretty incoherent, even by the usual standards you've displayed here!

Never thought I'd be typing that sentence...