Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And the problem is ... what, exactly?

In news from Afghanistan, seems that the Brits identified a high-value target -- in this case a Taleban warlord.

Local British Command rounded up a Gurkha patrol, gave them the intel and mentioned that they really needed positive ID once the Gurks caught up with him.

Well, catch up they did, with the result that said warlord became intimately acquainted with the Gurkhas "Air In, Blood Out" diplomatic skills.

Things got a little too warmish for the Gurkhas to retrieve the body -- positive ID and all that -- so when the patrol returned to base and the CO asked if they were sure they got the bastard ...

... A Gurkha pulled the warlord's head out of a backpack.

*shrug*

The end of the tale should read: "The Gurkha patrol was issued one case of gin, and three days leave."

Unfortunately, we have discovered that the British Army has deemed this as being "culturally insensitive" and is in the process of disciplining the Gurkha who did the whacking and the carrying.

You have ...

Of all the ...

Are you sodding ...

Words can not ...

IT'S WAR, YOU SODDING NUMPTIES, NOT A DAMNED GAME OF CONKERS!

"... it offends the Muslim tradition of burying the dead with all body parts, attached or unattached".

Bushwa. How many body parts do you think they recover after a suicide bombing?

And I can sure tell that they're all sensitive about traumatic head removal, seeing as how they pretty much lead the world in beheadings, televised and otherwise.

Tell you jackanapes what: you stop cutting the heads off of police officers, engineers, headmasters, nuns, soldiers, journalists, Christians, women, geologists, and anyone else who trips your "We're Offended" trigger, and we'll stop cutting the heads off of your bloody-handed buddies.

Deal?

Seeing as how said body part is still in inventory -- so to speak -- sounds like an amiable solution to this stinker is to grab some good paper, write a nice little note explaining how you're sorry that the grieving kin got stuck with a terrorist dirt-bag as a relative, nail it to the forehead with a sixty-penny nail, and have Wee Jock hammer-throw it over the Hesco for the dearly bereaved to collect come sun-up.

See? That's diplomacy, that is.

While we're being all culturally-sensitive here, part of the Gurkhas culture involves lopping (significant) bits off of designated Bad Guys with bloody huge knives. Isn't it a bit "culturally insensitive" to chastise one who is, after all, just expressing his culture?

The allies are blowing quantities of Taleban into mincemeat with assorted artillery rounds, bombs, mortar shells, bombs, rockets, bombs, missiles, and bombs -- you damned well can't tell me that all the sticky bits are getting recovered after Abdul the Moderately Rabid catches a 500-pound GBU amidships -- so why are you getting all wrapped around the axle because one or more Gurkhas did the needful with a knife instead of high-explosive?

There is not one single, gods-be-damned thing "culturally sensitive" about war. It's war. It's killing the other guy, and breaking his stuff, in job lots, until his side gives up.

Period. Full stop.

The Afghanis know this. Britain used to know this, and they'd better jolly well remember it.

LawDog

42 comments:

Groundhog said...

Aw, c'mon LD. Tell us how you really feel :)

Goldwater's Ghost said...

BTW...Afghans are people. Afghanis are currency.

RobertM said...

You've said it better than I ever could have.

Now I've got to get myself one of those knives. A fella never knows when the opportunity to be culturally insensitive might come up, and I'd hate to be unprepared.

Farm.Dad said...

Bravo!

Phil Wong said...

Methinks the heart of the problem is this:

The Boh's head, it came not in the V.P.P.
From fat, old Harendra Mukerji,
Senior Gomashta, GBT.

Still, I'm glad to see the old Gurkha spirit and traditions from "The Grave of the Hundred Head" are still alive(at least for now)...

CDH said...

Do I hear an AMEN???

AMEN!!!

gene said...

And, in other news, the British Government expressed horror to learn that it's army is still equipped with guns. They plan to immediately recall them all and issue "STOP: OR I'LL YELL STOP AGAIN" signs.
Good Heavens, why dont we all just leave and lob cruise missles at any crowd of over 20 people there from now on.

BMiller said...

Ssssshhhhhhhhh
Nobody tell Argentina that the bulldog has been neutered. They might take another crack at their project from '82.

Ted said...

...a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

Suburbanbanshee said...

No, no. Phil Wong was right. This isn't "Gunga Din". It's "The Ballad of Boh Da Thone".

He shot at the strong and he slashed at the weak
From the Salween scrub to the Chindwin teak:

He crucified noble, he sacrificed mean,
He filled old ladies with kerosene:

While over the water the papers cried,
"The patriot fights for his countryside!"

GamerFromJump said...

Personally, I wouldn't go around annoying people who make a habit of carrying heads in bags.

5.11 Tactical said...

These kind of stories make blood shoot from my eyes!

I am a former infantryman is the US Army and now work for the Air Force.... I would like to THINK that all military is created equal but so many times I observed Officers wanting to be politicians first and soldiers second... this unfortunately means leadership that makes examples of good hard charging troops because they are too aggressive.

When I was in Iraq there was a story of a commander who simply fired his pistol near a bad guy who then promptly gave up information of IED's that probably SAVED lives... that commander???.. Court Martial'ed ...

Wars started being ran by whimps the day we introduced cameras to the battlefield.

Anonymous said...

WAR is WAR, Where's General Sherman when we need him.
Gunsmoke

KBCraig said...

I'm not a fan of war. Particularly not warfare of the variety waged by W.T. Sherman. Sherman's ideological descendents were Pol Pot, the Hutus (or Tutsis, depending on the year), and every other power that has waged a war of total destruction against civilian populations.

That said, when war is necessary, it should be waged fully, ended quickly, and won decisively. "In for a penny, in for a pound", eh, wot? Going all in early on tends to leave both sides better off, compared to protracted hostilities.

Never screw with the Gurkhas. Nor the Sikhs, for that matter. Both have an immense sense of honor that will not tolerate offense. The old saw about never engaging in a land war in Asia probably has more to do with those two groups than any other; other Asian nations might have numbers, but those two groups have fearless tenacity of the kind seldom encountered.

Norfolk Boy said...

I think you'll note that the only thing the army's done is give him paid leave back to the UK (which might actually be a punishment to a gurkha) while they investigate. It's the MOD that's getting it's knickers in a twist, I suspect some civilian PR man back here in blighty rather than anyone actually in green. The gurkha is out of the combat zone until this whole thing blows over (also meaning he cannot be specifically targeted for a face saving revenge attack by Terry), and when the fuss has died down, he's back to the front, and I doubt he'll get any offical condemnation, and I'm sure he'll get a fair share of unoffical praise and promotion prospects.

That's my expectation anyway. A fellow in my unit is trying to learn Nepalese to be a Gurkha Officer, I'll ask him if he knows anything about this.

Matt G said...

I seem to recall that our first operatives on the ground in Afghanistan in 2001 were sent with the directive to "bring back Bin Laden's head on a pike." Literally, that was the direct order given by the bureau chief.

But we're just the violent Americans.

Churchhill would have loved it, but he was PM of another land, once known as "Great Britain."

Anonymous said...

This is from the heirs to the government that delivered the head of the heir to the Mughal Empire to his exiled father - on a platter.

Old NFO said...

The Brits are turning into figgin idjits, just like OUR administration... sigh... Good on the Gurks though :-) I'd have loved to see the expression when the head was brought out!!!

Wraith said...

@ 5.11 Tac:

"When I was in Iraq there was a story of a commander who simply fired his pistol near a bad guy who then promptly gave up information of IED's that probably SAVED lives... that commander???.. Court Martial'ed."

That would be the illustrious Lt.Col. Allen B. West, and a finer American has rarely graced the Earth with the imprint of his boot.

He's running for Congress in FL District 22. Google videos of his speeches and you'll remember why this country's still worth fighting for.

Anonymous said...

1. Well put.
2. Fine, womanly behavior on the part of the Brits.
3. Having your cake and eating it too.
4. See it in many aspects of our life these days.
5. Military (and your profession) is rife with it.
6. Love buzz the Iranians, Chinese, Russians, Arabs of various sorts, gangbangers, etc -and they'll come around to our way of thinking and doing things.
7. It's easier and much cleaner than rolling up your sleeves and sorting the bastards out.
8. That it does not work is another issue entirely.
9. Keep up your good works.
V/R JWest

Anonymous said...

My dad served in the CBI theatre during WWII. He loved the Gurkas.

He said he watched a street full of angry 6 foot Shikh policemen get out of the way of one 5 foot tall Gurcha.

My dad said the Shikhs would not even make eye contact with the little soldier.

Gerry

Christina LMT said...

@ Goldwater's Ghost...I thought Afghans were hounds? Or maybe a nice blanket?

*ducks and runs*

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"I'd have loved to see the expression when the head was brought out!!!"

The CO's expression, or the head's? :D

Good soldier, stupid government.

fuzzys dad said...

This quote sums up my feelings about this matter.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
George S. Patton

TOTWTYTR said...

Bravo! For you and for the Ghurkas. Not so much for the pantywaists at the MOD.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the Muslims were being "Culturally Insensitive" to the Christian faithful when they ran a couple of loaded passenger planes into those high rises in New York. No one mentioned, at the time, how that might be culturally insensitive.

SpeakerTweaker said...

I thought CalvinsMom had the post of the day (if'n you haven't read it yet, do so), but this is pure comedy gold:

The allies are blowing quantities of Taleban into mincemeat with assorted artillery rounds, bombs, mortar shells, bombs, rockets, bombs, missiles, and bombs -- you damned well can't tell me that all the sticky bits are getting recovered after Abdul the Moderately Rabid catches a 500-pound GBU amidships -- so why are you getting all wrapped around the axle because one or more Gurkhas did the needful with a knife instead of high-explosive?

Brilliant!!!

Dave said...

I got to team up with the Ghurkas during a joint (peacetime) exercise at Ft. Bragg once. Those bastards got issued two cans of beer and a cheeseburger every day while we got MREs and cool-aid. I was so jealous, until I saw what their PT was like.

The thing is, I doubt much will come of this in the long run, and the "discipline" will likely just be a paid vacation and a round of drinks upon his return. The Brits have always taken great pains to be culturally aware; that's how they managed to rule an empire as long as they did (note I say "aware," not necessarily "sensitive"). In this case, they need to balance the "awareness" of the Ghurka and Afghan cultures, by making one take a vacation for a few weeks. That's their new policy; the old one would be to respect the Afghan culture AFTER winning the war, not DURING the war.

I leave it to history to show which policy served the Brits better.

They learned it from the past. Alexander required his officers to marry into families of conquered nations and to raise children in their culture, thus making the next generation less likely to rise up because it would mean killing their childhood friends. The Romans required local governments to continue running most local affairs while they concentrated on infrastructure, courts and measurements (ya know, like the USA originally envisioned the Federal government), and the Portuguese and Spanish empires brought modern health care and built schools as part of their conquests since it was the only way to keep a place calm after slaughtering most of a generation.

And with all those empires you can pinpoint the beginning of the collapse of the outer colonies right about to the point where they either got too forceful making the locals become like the homeland (which is what we almost always do) or when they let the locals revert entirely to their own ways (which is what we are doing in the middle east). This is not necessarily the point where the country collapses, but absolutely where the empire does (in some cases, the country dies too, but not in all of them).

Note that we don't seem to have many armed uprisings in the Indian reservations, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the Confederate States, WWII's axis powers or most of our other conquered lands.

We have or have had "mission accomplished" status in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nicaragua (and a host of other Latin American areas) we have since been booted out of), and so on. Some rise up, some don't, and the common denominator is our policies to them, rather than their cultures (which are pretty varied).

Food for thought.

Dave said...

I got to team up with the Ghurkas during a joint (peacetime) exercise at Ft. Bragg once. Those bastards got issued two cans of beer and a cheeseburger every day while we got MREs and cool-aid. I was so jealous, until I saw what their PT was like.

The thing is, I doubt much will come of this in the long run, and the "discipline" will likely just be a paid vacation and a round of drinks upon his return. The Brits have always taken great pains to be culturally aware; that's how they managed to rule an empire as long as they did (note I say "aware," not necessarily "sensitive").

They learned it from the past. Alexander required his officers to marry into families of conquered nations and to raise children in their culture, the Romans required local governments to continue running to an extent, and the Portuguese and Spanish empires brought modern health care and built schools as part of their conquests.

And with all those empires you can pinpoint the beginning of the collapse of the outer colonies right about to the point where they either got too forceful making the locals become like the homeland (which is what we almost always do) or when they let the locals revert entirely to their own ways (which is what we are doing in the middle east).

Note that we don't seem to have many armed uprisings in the Indian reservations, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands or most of our other possessions. Food for thought.

Dave said...

Just re-read the article you linked to. The utterly horrifying phrase "Nato forces are supposed to be ...bolstering the fledgling Afghan National Army" jumped out at me.

Why do we keep allowing national leaders who have not passed 7th grade history classes? I'm not saying every head of state should have a PhD in world history or anything, but ... (this is not my blog, so my manners as a guest prohibit me from finishing that sentence as it was mostly stuff I heard my old drill sergeant say).

Ok, basic instruction at least for USA leaders from here on out: We have trained, funded or equipped almost every military and terrorist force that has ever attacked us or wound up the subject of our invasion. Almost every bullet that has ever killed an American soldier was in some way, shape or form, made possible by the policies of the USA. Often less than a generation prior; some times as little as a couple years prior.

Osama bin Laden? We gave him a billion dollars and a stack of Stinger missiles to shoot down Russians. He used the money to form Al-Quieda, and buried the missiles until he REALLY needed them.

Hussein? Same story, only it was against the Iranians.

I can't recall Italian references off the top of my head, but Germany (both times) had officers we trained as part of international relations, Japan's military modernity was the result of our sending technical advisers there in the late 1800s, most Viet Cong officers had day jobs with us, Noriega was our man for decades. . . That pretty much just leaves Grenada for "wars of the last half century" that we didn't help create our enemy, right?

No bolstering the Afghan army. Or the Iraqis. Actually, let's go with a new constitutional amendment reading "we will not train foreign troops for fund foreign militaries in any way until said nation has shed blood in our defense and been our ally for three generations or longer."

Joseph said...

The western world hasn't waged unrestricted warfare since about 1945. By unrestricted, I mean "We are going to kill you and destroy your manufacturing capability until you cannot fight anymore. We will destroy the will and ability of your people and leaders until you surrender". Not today's culturally, MSM sensitive version of "we will go this far and only this far, to bring you to the bargaining table."

RauĆ°bjorn said...

Yet more proof that the Brits have too much of the Norman in their veins and not enough of the Saxon, Roman or Gael.

They have become as children, who play at war and then are frightened when someone is hurt.

Not that we've fared much better.

YoelB said...

Sherman's ideological descendents were Pol Pot, the Hutus (or Tutsis, depending on the year), and every other power that has waged a war of total destruction against civilian populations.


That is a distortion. Victor Davis Hanson's take is a bit better informed. Here's a quote; emphasis mine:

For Sherman, then, the attack on property and infrastructure was permissible, if the war was an ideological one against anarchy, treason, and slavery and if it would lead to a permanent peace based on just principles. Terror, as a weapon to be employed in war by a democratic army, must be proportional, ideological, and rational: proportional-Southerners, who fought to preserve men as mere property, would have their property destroyed; ideological--those who would destroy property would do so as part of a larger effort of abolition that was not merely strategic but ethical as well; and rational--burning and looting would not be random, nor killing gratuitous, but rather ruin was to have a certain logic, as railways, public buildings, big plantations, all the visible and often official infrastructure of a slave society, would be torched, while the meager houses of the poor and the persons themselves of the Confederacy would be left relatively untouched.


RTWT.

George said...

As a student back in the early 60s, I worked one summer with a foreman who fought in Italy in WW II. (I forget which regiment in the Canadian Army.)

He was brigaded with a Gurkha battalion. They terrified German sentries by doing one of two things when out on patrol. The Gurkhas would either cut the German's boot laces ... or cut the throat of one of the sentries in the OP. He said it would take about two nights before the German night time sentry posts were useless.

After the subsequent advance, the Gurkhas would start all over again. The Canadian infantry loved working with them.

Regards.

wuffa said...

It is funny I am far left on a lot of things .. but when it come to war
I head to the other side D*mm fast.
ALSO IF A BRIT ROYAL ARMY OFFICER ordered/told the Gurkha "we have a high-value target for you to go for and we would really needed positive ID once the caught up with him." and he did not know that was a hunt this guy down and bring me his head . he needs to be fired( 150 + years of Gurkha history of taking orders like that and then coming back head in hand )
I would not be here today if it was not for a group of Gurkha , High honor to them.

thats like telling the USMC to go take hill X and hold it till the army gets there.it will be done come hell or high water.

Firehand said...

George, a relative of mine in WWII was in an area where a Gurkha unit was operating. He said one of their other jokes was to sneak into a two-man German tent at night, kill one and remove the head and set it on the chest; so when the other guy woke up and looked at his partner...

Suburbanbanshee said...

Re: what's wrong with the English

Too much Norman??? Oh, yeah, because the Norse are so widely known for being sweet, forgiving, and taking over big chunks of Europe from Russia to Sicily.

And this from a man calling himself Rauthbjorn. What _are_ they teaching them in these schools?

Joel Rosenberg said...

The Grave of the Hundred Head, by Rudyard Kipling:
There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

A Snider squibbed in the jungle-
Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
And the back blown out of his head.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Jemadar Hira Lal,
Took command of the party,
Twenty rifles in all,
Marched them down to the river
As the day was beginning to fall.

They buried the boy by the river,
A blanket over his face-
They wept for their dead Lieutenant,
The men of an alien race-
They made a samadh1 in his honour,
A mark for his resting-place.

For they swore by the Holy Water,
They swore by the salt they ate,
That the soul of Lieutenant Eshmitt Sahib
Should go to his God in state,
With fifty file of Burmans
To open him Heaven's Gate.

The men of the First Shikaris
Marched till the break of day,
Till they came to the rebel village
The village of Pabengmay-
A jingal2 covered the clearing,
Caltrops hampered the way.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Biddin8 them load with ball,
Halted a dozen rifles
Under the village wall;
Sent out a flanking-party
With Jemadar Hira Lal.

The men of the First Shikaris
Shouted and smote and slew,
Turning the grinning jingal
On to the howling crew.
The Jemadar's flanking-party
Butchered the folk who flew.

Long was the morn of slaughter,
Long was the list of slain,
Five score heads were taken,
Five score heads and twain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back to their grave again,

Each man bearing a basket
Red as his palms that day,
Red as the blazing village-
The village of Pabengmay
And the "drip-drip-drip" from the baskets
Reddened the grass by the way

They made a pile of their trophies
High as a tall man's chin,
Head upon head distorted,
Set in a sightless grin,
Anger and pain and terror
Stamped on the smoke-scorched skin.

Subadar Prag Tewarri
Put the head of the Boh
On the top of the mound of triumph,
The head of his son below-
With the sword and the peacock banner
That the world might behold and know.

Thus the samadh was perfect,
Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris-
The price of white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
And Sniders squibbed no more;
For the Burmans said
That a white man's head
Must be paid for with heads five-score.



There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

phlegmfatale said...

My sister-- Blowfuzzy von Sassy-- squealed with delight over this post. She said she imagined the whole thing in the voice of Captain Jack Sparrow.

I admit that voice fits this rant. ;)

Randy in Arizona said...

" Suburbanbanshee said...

Re: what's wrong with the English

Too much Norman??? Oh, yeah, because the Norse are so widely known for being sweet, forgiving, and taking over big chunks of Europe from Russia to Sicily."

Suburbanbanshee, The Normans are from Normandy (France) the Norse are from Norway (or thereabouts - AKA Vikings)

wuffa said...

Randy in Arizona said...

" Suburbanbanshee said...

Re: what's wrong with the English

Too much Norman??? Oh, yeah, because the Norse are so widely known for being sweet, forgiving, and taking over big chunks of Europe from Russia to Sicily."

Suburbanbanshee, The Normans are from Normandy (France) the Norse are from Norway (or thereabouts - AKA Vikings)

dear Randy in Arizona

( cue history geek)
The Duchy of Normandy stems from various Danish, Norwegian, Hiberno-Norse, Orkney Viking and Anglo-Danish (from the Danelaw) invasions of France in the 8th century. A fief, probably as a county, was created by the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911 out of concessions made by King Charles, and granted to Rollo, leader of the Vikings known as Northmen (or in Latin Normanni)

from the wiki

( end geek)

Bergman said...

Beheading isn't culturally insensitive. For that matter, sewing the head onto the neck of a beheaded sow,photographing it, and posting the pictures in the town square isn't culturally insensitive. On the contrary, it takes a great deal of sensitivity to know what will offend someone that much.