Saturday, April 21, 2007

Leftist politicians are making Britain's troops into wimps

During one of Britain's 19th century wars with China a British soldier in a force under Lord Elgin was captured by the Chinese and beheaded for refusing to Kow-Tow... The incident was in quite a contrast to the story of the British sailors and marines captured by Iran, admitting everything, and released flourishing gifts from Mr. Ahmadinejad. One of them told a press conference that he had cried himself to sleep after his captors cruelly called him "Mr. Bean" and took away the iPod which he had carried on a combat mission. The sailor said he also cried when he was reunited with the only female captive, Faye Turney. He further complained about the quality of the presents which the Iranians gave them when they were released.

I don't think that it's for me, who has never experienced such an ordeal, to blame him or any of them for being terrified. Possibly there were visions of years in an Iranian prison, lynching by fanatical mobs or videotaped beheadings in their minds. Further, we don't know what instructions they had been given on how to behave in such a situation -- possibly to co-operate with their captors and not provoke them or do anything to make the situation worse.

But to talk this way after release -- as well as two of them rushing to sell their stories to the media (the Ministry of Defense later changed its mind about permitting this, but that it was considered at all suggests the Government knows nothing about the ethos of the fighting services) -- seems a bit much to stomach. Surely even in a modern, politically correct Navy there is still dignity.

Anyway, one of Britain's most respected senior officers, General Sir Michael Rose, who led the UN force in Bosnia, is someone qualified by personal experience to comment. And he has claimed the incident has shown that the Royal Navy is no longer fit for modern warfare. The sailors failed to fight back, and behaved as though they were on a Mediterranean cruise, he said. The entire ethos of the military had been undermined:

"Nelson said that no captain could ever be criticized for laying his ship along the enemy and engaging him. We didn't quite get that here. There were junior soldiers in the Second World War who resisted heroically, in far worse circumstances, or in the Falkland Islands. What made young men in the Scots Guards or the Paras. charge with bayonets in the middle of the night when they had run out of ammunition, against enemy machine guns?"

General Rose appears to blame the Iraq war, and in this I disagree with him. Things started much earlier than that. Since before the Blair government took office -- and despite that government's willingness to commit the armed forces for war service -- there have been reports of a stream of initiatives forcing Political Correctness on the forces (combined with shortcomings in equipment, pay, housing and other support) that can only damage or destroy their traditions and morale. Here are a few examples: In 2004 it was reported that a Royal Navy ship, HMS Cumberland, in deference to the political correctness of Blair's Britain, had installed a Satanist chapel on board for the benefit of a Satanist crewman, a spokesman claiming: "The Royal Navy is an equal employer organization."

The Army set up a special school at Lichfield to teach drill-sergeants to be nicer to recruits. Shouting at recruits was banned, leading one 17-year-old to ask: "If Army recruits can't handle being shouted at by drill sergeants, how are they going to cope with the noise of gunfire or the screams of casualties?"

In 2001 women in the British armed forces were receiving breast implants at taxpayers' expense (costing about US $8,000 a pair) at make them "happier soldiers." If they were taken prisoner it might well make their captors happier soldiers too. Other service personnel had liposuction rather than route-marches to remove excess fat. Colonel Bob Stewart, DSO, former commander of the British forces in Bosnia, after pointing out that money needed to be spent on things like better guns and radios, said:

"Anyone who is so fixated about their breast size or so emotionally troubled about their gender has absolutely no place in a fighting army....The ideal soldier is physically tough and mentally balanced, so a serviceman who needs liposuction or a sex-change is in the wrong job. And, dare I ask, how a female soldier, who is so distressed by remarks about her appearance that she had to resort to implants, would cope under fire?"

At the Pirbright Depot, training-ground of the Guards Brigade and famous for producing some of the finest soldiers in the world, trainees were issued with red and yellow cards. Should they pull out a yellow card, it would show their drill sergeants they were upset and should be left alone for 15 minutes while their delicate nerves recovered from the shock of being shouted at. Should they be really upset and pull a red card, the drill sergeant would have to explain his behavior to a superior officer.

It was forecast that soldiers would be allowed to sue officers for giving the wrong orders, in accord with the European Convention on Human Rights. Eight other countries, from Russia to Liechtenstein, had asked for their armed forces to be exempt. General Sir Peter de la Billiere said that this was almost impossible to believe and that he could think of no decision that would do more to damage morale and discipline.

General Sir Charles Guthrie said the "creeping advance" of health and safety legislation in the armed forces might be creating a climate of "risk aversion" and future soldiers might be able to sue the army for putting them in risky situations.

A "task force" was reported to be investigating whether anti-discrimination legislation would mean disabled people would be taken into the forces -- leading to one cynical observation that blind paratroops would know to pull the ripcord when their guide dogs' leads went slack. One serviceman who quit the Royal Marines in disgust wrote:

"The government's obsession with political correctness has been applied to the military with such relish that at times it seems almost insane. I have lost count of the number of forms I have had to fill in giving details of my ethnic origin. These forms used to be anonymous, but the last one I had to complete carried my name, rank and service number. Perhaps this was a reaction to an earlier (anonymous) form, which had revealed that in our all-male unit there was a huge number of Bangladeshi single mothers. There was always a great reluctance to fill in these forms, the fear being that anonymity had been removed so that the government could check how many members of ethnic minorities were being promoted. In response, the military chain of command offered soldiers an inducement: if they did not complete the forms correctly, without jokes, on a Friday afternoon, they would remain in barracks for the weekend and fill them in at their leisure. No doubt that's what New Labour means when it talks about being 'investors in people'.... I would have felt a lot more 'invested in' had I been sent on operations with a gun that worked properly."

He continued, regarding the application of health-and-safety standards to training:

"The steep ravines worn into the slopes that recruits had to run up and down at various points on the seven-mile course were also contrary to all sorts of well-meaning legislation. The recommendation was for proper steps and handrails to be installed -- just like the ones you find in the mountains of Afghanistan or the wadis of Iraq."

Possibly the British sailors taken prisoner by Iran were simply following orders. It may have been just one of those things, and will be soon forgotten: all wars are full of SNAFUs and aberrant incidents. During World War II a British Admiral and former head of Naval Intelligence, Sir Barry Domville, was imprisoned as a security risk, but that did not mean the Royal Navy's traditions were crumbling. But the whole thing at present looks like political correctness coming home to roost. I doubt the sailors can be blamed: the fault is at a much higher level.


British jailbirds treated better than retirees

Michael Sams, who murdered the teenage prostitute Julie Dart and kidnapped the estate agent Stephanie Slater before imprisoning her in a coffin, has boasted that he is better off in jail than living as a pensioner on the outside. Sams, 65, who is serving four life sentences at Whitemoor prison, Cambridgeshire, wrote to Inside Time, a newspaper for prisoners, in response to a campaign for inmates to be allowed their state pensions.

"How many pensioners in the community, who are totally dependent on the basic state pension and live in rented accommodation, are able to spend around œ20 per week on luxuries?" the former tool repairer asked. "Most struggle to keep warm in winter, afraid to put the heating on, barely eating, let alone getting three square (ready-made) meals per day. And three or four choices per course at that! "Free access to the gym each day to keep those joints supple and no bills except for 1 pound per week TV rental. "Have you ever seen an OAP inmate in tatty clothes or scruffy trainers? Not a hope! Materially, we OAPs in prison are far better off than those in the community."

He opposed the campaign to give inmates a pension, but was in favour of allowing retirement-age prisoners who are unable to work the same weekly amount as those who can. He also advised younger criminals to invest their "gains" in a private pension so that when they "retired" in prison they would have a steady income.

Sams was jailed for life after his wife recognised a recording of his voice played on the BBC Crimewatch programme. The killer, from Sutton on Trent, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty in 1993 at Nottingham Crown Court to kidnapping Miss Slater, 25, in January 1992, to false imprisonment and to demanding a 175,000 ransom for her. He denied kidnapping Miss Dart, 18, from Leeds, in July 1991. He also denied murdering her, making two demands for a 140,000 ransom and blackmailing British Rail for 200,000 by threatening to derail a train, but was convicted.

Mervyn Kohler, spokesman for Help the Aged, said yesterday: "In material terms, Mr Sams is probably absolutely right. But there's one small shortfall here. Given the choice, I'd much rather be outside than inside." Norman Brennan, founder of the Victims of Crime Trust, said that he was appalled by Sams's claims. "I think the whole country is sick to death of listening to the bleeding hearts and hearing about the human rights and civil liberties of those who have committed the most appalling crimes," he said. A spokesman for Inside Time said: "Michael Sams is of course fully entitled to his opinion but I have to tell him that . . . he is very much in a minority of one. "We remain firmly of the opinion that it is morally wrong to deny state pension benefits to serving prisoners."


Pro-homosexual propaganda does work

LESBIAN kissing depicted on television has made young people more tolerant of same-sex liaisons. A research paper submitted to a conference of world sexual health experts in Sydney found that nearly half of adolescent girls surveyed through a Brazilian website considered it normal for a girl to kiss another on the mouth. Nearly one-quarter of those describing it as normal said they had held this view since a Brazilian TV prime-time soap depicted a lesbian relationship in 2004. In August 2003, pop stars Britney Spears and Madonna caused controversy for an on-stage open-mouthed kiss at a music awards show.

The research identified several other places where young people had witnessed same-sex behaviour. Of those who considered two girls kissing to be normal, 78 per cent said they had held this view since seeing it in a nightclub. Nearly half of the adolescent girls surveyed also said they had tried kissing a girl themselves.

Professor Eusebio Rubio-Aurioles, president of the World Association for Sexual Health, which staged this week's Sydney congress, said it was important to understand that images in the media did not turn young people into homosexuals. "We know from a large number of studies that sexual orientation is really not a consequence of what happens in adolescence," Professor Rubio-Aurioles said.

Adolescents who grew up in environments in which same-sex attractions were not seen or acknowledged were more likely to react violently when they encountered such behaviour later in life, he said.


Australia: Police furious at HIV 'cover-up'

Protecting homosexual criminals trumps all else for the Leftist government of Victoria

VICTORIA'S Department of Human Services called in the lawyers to try to stop police investigating three high-risk HIV carriers whose files were mistakenly given to police, Health Minister Bronwyn Pike confirmed yesterday. In the latest embarrassment for the department, Ms Pike admitted lawyers were called to try to retrieve the files after they had been given to the police who had a warrant to seize only a fourth man's file. The police discovery of the three other files led detectives to charge a second man with infecting a woman with HIV. Health officials were embarrassed by the mistake and called in taxpayer-funded lawyers to try to get the files back.

Police were infuriated by the department's actions, which have led to a shake-up of the public health unit and contributed to the sacking of chief health officer Dr Robert Hall.

Liberal leader Ted Baillieu asked Ms Pike in Parliament why government lawyers had been instructed to take action against the police to impede their investigations.

"More files were taken - well, handed over, taken - than the warrant required," Ms Pike said. "The Department of Human Services did seek to have those files returned."

The HIV scandal - sparked by the department's failure to detain Michael Neal, a man now accused of attempting to infect 16 people with the virus - has combined with the food poisoning deaths of five elderly people at a Camberwell nursing home to provide the biggest challenge to Ms Pike's career in the five years she has been Health Minister.

A doctor working in HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment, Jonathan Anderson, said yesterday he was concerned the growing scandal was impacting on people who were HIV positive. Dr Anderson, who operates a clinic at Carlton, said his patients were concerned that they would be targets, because of media reports of people having unprotected sex at sex-on-site venues in Melbourne, and of a subculture of people who sought to deliberately infect others with HIV. "Of all the patients I see, not one of them would want another person to have HIV," he said. "They are all very concerned that not one more person would become HIV positive. "Most [And what about those not included in "most"? We seem to have an admission there] new infections are associated with people who don't know their HIV status and pass it on to someone else before they are diagnosed."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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