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A land unfit for heroes

There will be no ticker-tape parades for the returning heroes of Gulf War II and, given the current political and cultural climate, I suppose that is understandable. However, one would have thought that Mr.Blair might at least see the benefit of a suitably discreet pause before publicly shafting them:

Tony Blair is prepared to radically scale down the Royal Irish Regiment as part of his proposals to persuade the IRA to destroy all its weapons and halt all paramilitary operations, army and political sources claimed yesterday.

So it appears as if the Royal Irish Regiment, whose members fought with such gallantry and tenacity in the Battle for Basra as far back as…ooh, let’s see…a few days ago, are to be issued with a whole new set of marching orders. Thanks very much, chaps, now fuck off!

The irony can surely only be desribed as breath-taking. Whilst neither Saddam’s Ba’athist thugs nor his Republican Guards could put so much as a dent in them, their very existance as a fighting unit is about to be sacrificed by a government that will stop at nothing in a (vain) attempt to appease the brooding war-dogs of Sinn Fein/IRA.

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16 comments to A land unfit for heroes

  • mad dog barker

    This is symptomatic of the “mixed message” spin machine that is the current New Labour administration. They have taken the “use once and dispose of” paradyne to a new limit.

    While it seems hard to contemplate, one can only wonder if they were hoping fewer would return from the foray into Basra – then there would less resistance to this depressing news that will greet their return to Blighty.

    One has to wonder why it seems we must prostrate our army before the IRA but call upon its self sacrificing qualities when the terorrist don’t have an Irish accent.

    The machinations of the administratin are difficult to understand – more so it seems for the people actually doing it.

    I suspect we will only have democracy when there is a, “non of the above” voting option…

  • Patrick W

    Wasn’t Lt.Col Tim Collins, provider of the best speech to his men of this war or perhaps any conflict of the last 50 years, from the RIR? He spoke of honour, shame, courage, civility, humility and humanity. Was Blair listening?

  • Arjuna

    Why would the IRA care if they have Irishman joining the British army? Can they just change the name and let them join up again?

  • Tom Burroughes

    I guess this is Blair’s way of saying something along the following lines: “Ok, for a brief period I gave an impersonation of being a principled leader willing to confront an evil regime, regardless of the usual sophistries, damage to my popularity. Having concluded said episode, normal fuckup service is resumed. Have a lovely Easter.”

  • Jay N

    Unbelievable, let me get this right, in order to placate a terrorist organisation we’re going to effectively disband a regiment?
    What the hell is going on?

  • Can you say ‘schizophrenic bi-polar disorder with a dash of megalomania’?!

  • Liberty Belle

    Good comment, Momma Bear – but I’d say more than just a dash.

  • Henry

    Well, I can’t bring myself to be upset about reductions of British troops in Ulster, but I’d think that reassigning as many members or the regiment as possible would be a much more sound approach in terms of PR than simply dismissing them. Surely they can be of use elsewhere seeing as how they are excellent fighting men. Hell, if they get dismissed outright, we’d love to have ’em over here. Let ’em join the Marines, we could use ’em.

  • Deaséan

    A chara,

    The ignorance displayed by right-wing Englishmen regarding Irish politics never ceases to amaze me. When will you people realis that what goes around, comes around?

    Is mise,
    Deaséan…

  • Thon Brocket

    As I understand it, the regular line battalion, 1 RIR, currently in Iraq, and the TA battalion(s) stay the way they are. What gets disbanded are the “home-service” battalions – that is, those units that were once known as the UDR – Ulster Defence Regiment.

    Merging the UDR and the Royal Irish Rangers (early 90’s, I think) was not a hugely brilliant idea. The UDR were (are, in their current form) essentially the Prod militia, and did not have an entirely spotless record, with several nasty cases of collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries through the years.

    We don’t need a sectarian militia anymore, hereabouts, if we ever did. Good riddance.

    Thon Brocket, Belfast

  • zack mollusc

    Whoever said ” every general is prepared to fight the previous war” was certainly not thinking of Britain. Over and over, throughout history, the government scraps our military to save money then finds the country unprepared for a conflict.
    ‘lets scrap all the warships ‘ – Doh!,ww2
    ‘We don’t need these carriers’ – Doh!,Falklands
    The destruction (as opposed to stockpiling) of captured arms is going on now in Iraq, how long until an infantryman dies for lack of an RPG or some rounds of ammunition (or a gun that fires)?

  • I wish they would organise a parade. After a year of anti-war demonstrations and the like, I for one would enjoy an event to which I could go and cheer heartily.

  • Molly

    oh what a load of shite Deasean. your simple world view must be a comfort to you.

  • I appreciate that National loyalties can be a natural, even a wholesome thing. I respect those loyal to Britain for this reason. I understand that British culture has contributed many valuable things to the world, and even to Ireland.

    What never ceases to shock, and deeply disappoint me, is how so many of the British presume that only the Irish are Nationalists – that the British are simply “Patriots”; that only the Irish commit acts of violence worthy of real condemnation; that somehow Britains role in Ireland constitutes a constabulary role, rather than as an imperial protagonist following the policy of “divide and conquer”.

    I don’t expect any British readers to give up your positions just because of what I or anyone else says – but it would be a refreshing surprise if you would stop maintaining an automatic, unthinking assumption of superiority always.

    Immoral coercion is not exempt from criticism simply because one wears a soldier-suit or a policeman’s badge.
    I would love to discuss libertarian ideas with both British and Irish people without preconditions; but unfortunately, when the subject of Ireland is raised, too many British libertarian types all too often lurch way to the Right, and seem to abandon with glee their reputation for level-headedness.

  • I appreciate that National loyalties can be a natural, even a wholesome thing. I respect those loyal to Britain for this reason. I understand that British culture has contributed many valuable things to the world, and even to Ireland.

    What never ceases to shock, and deeply disappoint me, is how so many of the British presume that only the Irish are Nationalists – that the British are simply “Patriots”; that only the Irish commit acts of violence worthy of real condemnation; that somehow Britains role in Ireland constitutes a constabulary role, rather than as an imperial protagonist following the policy of “divide and conquer”.

    I don’t expect any British readers to give up your positions just because of what I or anyone else says – but it would be a refreshing surprise if you would stop maintaining an automatic, unthinking assumption of superiority always.

    Immoral coercion is not exempt from criticism simply because one wears a soldier-suit or a policeman’s badge.
    I would love to discuss libertarian ideas with both British and Irish people without preconditions; but unfortunately, when the subject of Ireland is raised, too many British libertarian types all too often lurch way to the Right, and seem to abandon with glee their reputation for level-headedness.

  • Paddy

    As an Ex Royal Irish Ranger (The forebearer of the 1st Bn Royal Irish Regiment which served in Iraq) I think a lot of people have misunderstood what is actually happening here !! there has never been any talk of the Unit which was in Iraq being disbanded, only the HOME service Bn’s which are the former UDR.

    One of the few to write anything factual here is “Thon Brocket” who said

    “”As I understand it, the regular line battalion, 1 RIR, currently in Iraq, and the TA battalion(s) stay the way they are. What gets disbanded are the “home-service” battalions – that is, those units that were once known as the UDR – Ulster Defence Regiment.

    Merging the UDR and the Royal Irish Rangers (early 90’s, I think) was not a hugely brilliant idea. The UDR were (are, in their current form) essentially the Prod militia, and did not have an entirely spotless record, with several nasty cases of collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries through the years.””

    You uunderstand it correct ! and you are also very correct in saying the merger of the Royal Irish Rangers with the UDR was not a good idea at all ! as an Ex Ranger I feel sick at what happened. They could have just made the Rangers a One Battalion Regiment, i.e merged the 1st and 2nd together and just given the UDR a new title (as that was the major issue at stake here, make the UDR more politically correct)