Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Bring the Welsh Army Home to Wales (as featured in the Western Mail 12/09/07 - Letters)

It was quite obvious, despite government denials and prognostications of a successful outcome, that the highly dubious adventure which George Bush and Tony Blair led us into would be an unmitigated disaster. So it has proved. Now comes the delicate and tricky exercise of extricating the Welsh and English, known as the British, army from the field of operations in Iraq. Hundreds of millions of Pounds, not to mention Dollars, have been squandered in the attempt to introduce, or rather impose, western democracy upon an Arab state substantially different in cultural, political and religious outlook from the invading forces. What was the plan for administrating Iraq following the successful invasion? Apparently there was none, and if there was, it was ineffective and poorly envisaged. What was the strategy for melding together the diverse religious and political elements, particularly the Sunnis and the Shias, to ensure harmony and co-operation for the purpose of rebuilding the nation and installing stable government? Apparently, there was none or there was nobody capable of understanding the complexities of Arab and Islamic culture and the aspirations of the Iraqi people.

The overall effect of these incursions into foreign territory has been little short of disastrous. The training of an indigenous army and police force has been mismanaged, with hundreds of police would-be recruits killed by determined suicide bombers, while waiting outside the recruiting area, when this carnage could have been easily prevented by flying them in to the compound and out again. The government that was eventually set up was a puppet government, unrepresentative of the various political and religious groupings. So now, with the assistance and connivance of Iran the Shias have attained prominence and the bloodshed continues. Far from creating a stable democracy in Iraq the allied interference has produced chaos and confusion.

What is the Welsh army doing there, battling under the unrepresentative flag of the Union, and losing gallant soldiers by the dozen? Of what concern to Wales is this foreign war, a war which does not threaten Wales in the least? As an independent nation Wales would be a threatened by nobody, but also Wales would not be a threat to anybody. In the whole of past history the only threat to Wales has come from England.

So bring back the Welsh army home to Wales and let there be no more Welsh troops fighting for a cause which was lost right from the beginning, through the mistakes and misconceptions of a British government which wilfully pursued aggressive policies against a sovereign state in company with its republican American colleagues. Democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to evolve as a natural and desired growth from within.

Note for objectors to the use of the word "mercenary".
"As a result of the assumption that a mercenary is exclusively motivated by money, the term "mercenary" carries negative connotations. There is a blur in the distinction between a "mercenary" and a "foreign volunteer", when the primary motive of a soldier in a foreign army is uncertain. For instance the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkhas are not mercenaries under the laws of war, but some journalists do describe them as mercenaries." - Wikipaedia
I have therefore removed it from the text.

30 comments:

johnny foreigner said...

Whilst I agree with much of your posting, soldiers obey orders. End of.

Your pal.

johnny.

Ordovicius said...

and let there be no more Welsh mercenaries fighting for a cause which was lost right from the beginning

And who exactly are you calling 'Welsh mercenaries'?

johnny foreigner said...

Welsh mercenaries is a bit strong.

Maybe, Alan, you should go to Brecon and say that.

It would surely be an uplifting experience.

Your pal.

johnny.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Alan, as much as I admire your zeal for the Welsh national cause, sometimes your prose dose more harm than good.

Welsh soldiers in Iraq are not "mercenaries", they are proud young Welsh men and women doing a good job in difficult circumstances


Whatever the political merits of why Welsh lads are there, they have done their duty in an exemplary way, we can be proud of them, even if we are ashamed of their political masters. Don't blame the workers for what their bosses have done.

As you are so fond of symbols of nationhood, do note that English, Scottish and Northern Irish troops always fly the Union flag, the Welsh regiments, uniquely, always fight under Baner y Ddraig.

alanindyfed said...

I used the word "mercenaries" for the following reason.
Welsh soldiers are fighting in the service of the British government and they have chosen to do so, and they receive pay for it. This futile war has little to do with Welsh interests and is a British government decision.
However, I will remove the offending word from the posting.

alanindyfed said...

Note for objectors to the use of the word "mercenary".
"As a result of the assumption that a mercenary is exclusively motivated by money, the term "mercenary" carries negative connotations. There is a blur in the distinction between a "mercenary" and a "foreign volunteer", when the primary motive of a soldier in a foreign army is uncertain. For instance the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkhas are not mercenaries under the laws of war, but some journalists do describe them as mercenaries." - Wikipaedia
I have therefore removed it from the text.

Keir Hardly said...

Alun,

I am sorry but my step father fought in Basra for 9 months, and he was only in the TA's. He was taken away from his family and had to cancel his wedding day until he returned. How dare you call people a 'mercenary', you are frankly trashing decent and honest people. Soldiers are doing their job, part of that job is that they show a 100% committment to doing that job no matter what the circumstances.

A real mercenary would be Owain Glyndwr, as he knowlingly fought wars for the english for money and wealth.

Anonymous said...

This is a disgusting post. You should be ashamed of yourself. These are fine young men and women fighting for their country. You may not consider it their country, but they do. Show some respect.

And an apology would not go amiss.

alanindyfed said...

Anonymouses :
As you may note I have removed the offending word, and posted an explanation. I cannot change my opinion as you would wish, which is that I believe troops should be withdrawn. As a pacifist along with Gwynfor Evans I do not believe that war, especially this particular venture, solves anything. I also wished to make the point that Welsh soldiers, though they may be committed to it, are in the pay of a 'British' army, by which we mean 'English', even though they display Ddraig Goch flags. They still serve under the Union.
I anticipated some flack from this controversial posting.

Christopher Glamorgan said...

Alan, as with the others, I agree that you have gone too far with this post. Your use of words to describe soldiers serving in the British Army would disgust most people, whether they believe that war is a sin or not.

Personally, if I were you, I would put this one down to bad blogging experience and delete the post. Your other posts stretch the imagination quite a bit, but at least you were contributing to the blogging debate. This post is an insult to those that serve their country, whether Welsh or not, and alienate you as a person out of touch, showing no understanding of what these men and women go through in their chosen career.

P.S. You know very well that there is no such thing as a Welsh Army, and don't forget that Scottish, Irish, and Commonwealth soldiers also serve in the British Army. It is almost as if you think that the Welsh have been drafted in to fight these wars - show a little respect!

Anonymous said...

May I suggest you express those opinions to a senior warrant officer in the Royal Welsh? I think you will find you get a pretty forthright reply.

alanindyfed said...

I understand that it stretches the limits, but it also opens up the debate about why are these troops (of all nationalities, not only Welsh) are there and what is the purpose of it all. I do not agree that it is bad blogging. Witness the TV programme about three Scottish soldiers who resigned and left the army following the tragic death of their best mate. Others are seeing the futility and are leaving.
Although it is the chosen career of many I do not agree with blind obedience to government directives especially if they are flawed (note: First World War slaughter in the trenches).

Anonymous said...

You really are mad, aren't you?

alanindyfed said...

Hey - let's have some supporters on this comments page!!

alanindyfed said...

I certainly have touched a nerve this time, haven't I?

Anonymous said...

before everybody gets misty eyed and starts singing 'men of Harlech' or whatever you sing....Alan is correct. I don't know of many who are in Iraq because they believe in the cause and I have spoken to a few. Doing their duty? You're talking about another era! It's purely economic......I mean for the paltry salaries they receive.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you have touched a nerve. But because you are a nationalist pacifist you don't understand why.

We are all pretty proud of these lads and girls. They, in turn, are proud of their regiment and their country. Which in the case of the Welsh troops is Wales AND Britain. They don't have a problem with their dual identity. In fact, they are very happy with it. Most of us are.

But you and your kind will never understand that, will you?

Keep your prejudices. But don't insult them.

johnny foreigner said...

Listen here, fool.

I initially saw your posting and was prepared to dismiss it as another hot-headed alanindyfed diatribe but your responses since have contained nothing but excuses and a complete lack of contrition. In fact, you have the gall to attempt to justify your position

You're f*****g right, pal you have touched a raw nerve.

You enjoy the Wealth, Security and the Freedom that these so-called 'mercenaries' have bestowed upon us all by gift of their lives and deaths.

The rights and wrongs of the particular conflict that British troops are involved in, are of no significance to your Nationalist stance, and by your disparaging insult to these troops you show yourself to be no more than an unprincipled opportunist.

Presumably, you, Gwynfor Evans and your mentor, Saunders Lewis, would have had us all ground under the Nazi jackboot in order to achieve your pacifistic yet traitorous ambitions.

I would like to think that you have done irrepairable damage to the Nationalist cause, but quite honestly, I couldn't give a flying f**k. Your Nationalist fervour is now shown in its true colours and disgraces Wales.

You, Sir, disgust me and bring shame to Wales and its brave soldiers.

I'd like to see you in a war zone preaching your clap-trap and accusing others of being mercenary.

In fact, I doubt that you would have the courage to be there anyway.

In fact I've had my suspicions about you from the start. What is a native born apostate and proselyte Englishman doing as a proponent of Welsh Nationalism anyway?

Oh yes, I forgot. You don't do 'personal information' do you?

Well, take it from me, pal, you have displayed more than enough personal information in the content of your posting and the quite frankly contemptuous responses that you have made to your clearly outraged respondents.

Your intemperate posting has caused much offence to people who, quite honestly, you are not fit to lick the boots of.

I think that the time has come to up the ante.

I now call upon representatives of PLAID CYMRU, CYMUNED and CYMDEITHAS to disassociate themselves from this person and his outrageous remarks.

He has done us ALL a great disservice.

I'm waiting.

johnny.

Anonymous said...

johnny.....fcuk off to Basra and stand shoulder to shoulder in the front line......and shed a tear. Bring them home I say before more pointless deaths occur....on both sides. You are an opportunistic idiot.

alanindyfed said...

Right.The time has come, inevitably :

I hereby BAN this so-called Johnny Foreigner from posting on my blog.

alanindyfed said...

To a rather more polite anonymous:

I do not hold prejudices.
I have not insulted Welsh soldiers.
Rather, I sympathise with them.
"They know not what they do."
I and my kind understand a lot more than you give us credit for.

I stand my ground.

Keir Hardly said...

Alun,

You have shown known remorse for offensive comments. Johnny Foreigner was merely putting across the many views expressed in digust on this blog by many other people.

It is no coincidence that the only people sticking up for you, on this blog and my own, are 'anons' (which basically means it is you).

Keir Hardly said...

You have also banned me, or deleted my comment?

Looks like another comment to add to the 'people who moderate comment to suit their own needs' post i did before.

alanindyfed said...

No Mr Hardly a nationalist :
I have not banned you, don't be so touchy.
Secondly, I have never used an 'anon' and never intend to.
I am quite happy to use my own name and don't need to hide from view.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Welsh soldiers in the British Army are mercenaries - nothing wrong with that. There is no more honourable calling in a democracy than that of the soldier. The Welsh mercenaries in the British army are fighting against a vile enemy. I salute them.

alanindyfed said...

Chwarae teg - fair comment

Anonymous said...

But they are not mercenaries, are they?

Ordovicius said...

I believe that Welsh soldiers in the British Army are mercenaries

What a pathetic attempt at sock-puppetry!

Charlie Marks said...

The tradition of unquestioning loyalty by members of the armed forces and their families is not a good one. For those people who send soldiers to fight wars of conquest do not value their lives. Why else would service men and women be underpayed, overstretched and ill-equiped? They have no representation, no mechanisms for challenging their employers.

Used of the term "mercenaries" was a big mistake, however I don't think Alan has anything other than a desire to see Welsh soldiers defending the people of Wales. I know I don't want to see men and women killed and injured on foreign soil in wars that are about conquest, not about defence.

alanindyfed said...

Correct, Charlie, thx!