Sunday, August 21, 2005

Tommy

The Brit private soldier is traditionally called Tommy (Atkins). Today a Brit general claims that the Army is losing respect because Tommy comes from a "morally corrupt and dysfunctional society". So confirming my thesis that the present Brit officer corps is ignorant and incompetent.

Here's the story.

One of the Army's most senior officers has warned that it is in danger of losing its reputation as a "highly respected British institution" because it is being forced to recruit soldiers from a "morally corrupt and dysfunctional" society, where young men idolise foul-mouthed footballers.

Maj Gen Graeme Lamb branded many recruits as "cocky and arrogant and brought up on a diet of football brats and binge drinking. . . who are not educated in and able to recognize self-discipline".


Sandhurst (the Brit military academy) is doing a terrible job to produce idiots like this. Every officer should know that the Brits have always recruited their soldiers from the bottom of their society.

For example, the Battle of Waterloo was won by a Brit army led by the Duke of Wellington (the Dutch, Belgians and Prussians helped!). After inspecting his drunken and unruly troops on the eve of battle he famously remarked:

I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me.

Adding later:

"Ours (our army) is composed of the scum of the earth - the mere scum of the earth."

The following day the scum of the earth beat the crap out the legendary Napoleonic legions that had terrorized Europe for a decade.

Later Victorian armies were recruited from the bottom layer of society, yet built the largest empire the world has seen. Kipling in his ballad Tommy says it all, here's part of it:

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

These poor, rough men fought so successfully because they were led by brave and experienced officers.

So Maj Gen Lamb and his fellows are the problem, not Tommy. The sooner he makes way for decent leadership, the better.