Let the North take on the Taliban!

taliban

I tell you what, George Galloway must be scundered. He’s been all happy since his mate Barack O’Bama won the US presidency, and now what? Barack wants an extra 2000 British troops for Afghanistan.

Well, at least he can’t say he wasn’t warned. We’d be talking here in terms of selective vision. It’s the same way that O’Bama won the Democratic nomination largely because of his opposition to the Iraq war, while at the same time promising anyone who’d listen that he’d escalate the war in Afghanistan. A lot of folks ignored that on the basis that he was electable in a way that the genuinely antiwar Dennis Kucinich wasn’t. But it was plain to see for anyone who looked.

How he’s going to do this is a different matter. Afghanistan is a classically unwinnable war. The Afghan state only exists in theory, to the point where the supposed president, Karzai, has to have American bodyguards. And, although Gordon Brown has used the spectre of the Taliban to try and make the Afghan war popular, most of your insurgents are village-based and aren’t particularly fundamentalist – in other words, they aren’t the Taliban.

And where are these troops going to come from? The US military is at the point where it’s sending detachments of National Guard and border guards on tours of Iraq. The Brits are in an even worse state. When you have serving generals talking about overstretch, you know things are bad. Recruitment is low, and every time some crusty conservative talks about conscription, the brass react with horror at the prospect of their professional army being flooded with hoodies.

Here’s a modest suggestion. On the basis of the popularity of the recent RIR homecoming parade in Belfast, why not recruit amongst Ulster loyalists, who are dead keen to prove how British they are? You could have a populist campaign in the News Letter. You could rerun those “Your country needs you” posters, with Peter Robinson in the place of Lord Kitchener. Orange lodges could run recruitment fairs, and Protestant grammar schools groom potential officers. You know how much the good folk of North Down love someone with a military rank.

You know, it couldn’t possibly fail. I can’t imagine the Norn Iron populace being unwilling to put their money where their mouth is. Can you?

9 Comments

  1. Luton Diesel said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Indeed. It would be just the morale-booster that Loyalism needs. The Spirit of the Somme. The 36th Ulster Division revisited. And doubtless Colonel Myers could launch a similar recruitment drive down south… just to show that, just as in 1916, Irishmen aren’t lacking in their commitment to Anglo-Saxon imperialism and all that. Sorry did I say 1916…?

  2. Garibaldy said,

    November 15, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Luton Diesel,

    Loved it.

    Splintered,

    You raise a good point. Even in WWI Ulster loyalists never pulled their weight, and they certainly didn’t in WWII. Then again, maybe Tim Collins could stand outside City Hall with a microphone like that other great Ulster rhetorician Big Ian used to.
    And I look forward to your British readers, and free staters, trying to work out what scundered means.

  3. Liam said,

    November 15, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Are there any grants going in Afghanistan? The Provies could help set up community organisations and run conflict resolution workshops. Let’s not carve the Fenians out of this.

  4. Danny said,

    November 15, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Isn’t scundered the same as scunnered?

  5. Phil said,

    November 15, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    A lot of folks ignored that on the basis that he was electable in a way that the genuinely antiwar Dennis Kucinich wasn’t. But it was plain to see for anyone who looked.

    Wouldn’t it need to be plain to see, or at least visible, in order for it then to be ignored?

  6. PJ Callan said,

    November 17, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Great idea! Time for sons of Ulster to take up the white man’s burden.
    The British army cemetery in Kabul probably has space aplenty for them –

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02E1D7103EF930A15751C0A9649C8B63

    ‘scundered’ is the same as Corkonians using ‘scarlet’!

  7. andrea said,

    November 17, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Maybe she said there is no reason.

  8. Binh said,

    November 17, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Loyalists are like the Klan – they’ll happily join a lynch mob against a defenseless family, but they don’t fight against people who shoot back.

  9. D. J. P. O'Kane said,

    November 18, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    You may find it easy to mock, but I once met a bloke who swore blind that in the 1970s some loyalists had gone off to what-was-then Rhodesia to fight for the Smith regime, while some republicans did the same for ZIPRA or ZANLA. My immediate reaction was that that one was a bit too good to be true, mind. But what if it was true? ‘Hegel says somewhere that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy. . .’


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