September 19th, 2007


Who put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong

I finished Sniper one this morning while inbound to Government Towers. Bloody excellent book, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have read dozens of books in the warfare genre in the last few years. Soldiers accounts from WWII, the first Gulf War, the Falklands to Journalists Accounts of Chechnya Vietnam, the Six day War. All good in their own way but this book is simply superb. What really made it stand out for me was that it was written by a sergeant commanding a platoon of snipers, a specialised for of soldiering but regular forces all the same. This is not one of the many SAS glory books that have been written following recent modern wars. Sgt Dan Mills gives an eloquent account of combat as any professional writer I have ever read, and it is delivered with a brutal clarity and frankness that no journo could ever give.

What really comes across in the book is just how fecked up the situation is there, and how deep the cultural gap between Iraq as a country and the west. Staggering to think that the powers that be thought that they’d topple Saddam’s regime and everyone would fall into the streets waving flags and serving tea and crumpets. Iraq is so much more feudal and fcuked up than that. Interesting that some of the aspects of society that featured in Wilfred Thesiger’s book The Marsh Arabs (1964) still seem to apply in modern day Iraq. And salutary to think than a squaddie can see that while your average politician can’t.

Interesting, interesting stuff….I wish I could spend the day thinking about it and following up some of the issues the book has raised in my mind. Unfortunately I have to sprinkle some fairy dust on a lousy task that fell in my lap. Could be worse…it could be a 82mil motar.

In other News : It’s nice to see that SoS has issued Ramadan- a-ding-dong greetings on a Departmental Website.

I don't have anything against other peoples religion, but there is something slightly/mind bogglingly insincere when politicians make such obvious efforts to acknowledge festivals of faiths that they wish to kowtow to. I mean we don’t have SOSs acknowledging Wiccan festivals and if they did that would be as big pile of yak turd as this….but where does the political correctness stop eh ?

Personally I’ll just look forward to Moqtada Al Sadr’s Christmas greeting on Al Jezera.

Oh and I learned a new acronym REMF - Rear Echelon Mother Fcuker. A term of derision used by front line soldiers to describe those in cushy jobs in the rear.

Now that can be applied to a few senior civil servants I know.