The Curmudgeon


Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Best Chance of Protecting Life

The raid to rescue a British citizen from the forces of darkness, in which one soldier, one expendable and a couple of nonentities were detrimented, has drawn from a western diplomat in Kabul the strongest possible condemnation: "It's playing very badly," the diplomat said. "They initially thought this would be a good news story"; but, as with so much that is regrettable about our involvement in justifying the Iranian government's wish for a nuclear deterrent, the all-important public-relations side of things was permitted to slide. The soldier, of course, was the usual paragon; another unfortunate aspect of the present crusade is the way in which the only soldiers who seem to make it back are the ones who take to drink or ask the Government for more money. The expendable was a fixer, a member of a superior class among the Untermenschen who are "well-paid" for the "considerable risks" they take, but who have a tendency to "complain of being treated as second-class journalists by western organisations when things go wrong". Had this particular expendable taken the trouble to keep up with the British government's attitude towards those who helped our boys in Iraq, he might have gained a more realistic perspective. It is not clear as yet whether the expendable was murdered by the Taliban or whether he underwent the less painful fate of being collaterally detrimented by brave men doing a splendid job in difficult circumstances; but a group of Afghan journalists has expressed irritation at a NATO press release which paid fulsome tribute to the martyred paragon whose corpse was deemed worth recovering but failed to mention the expendable whose second-class mortal remains were left for the natives to tidy up.


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