Anyone else concerned by Blair’s speech a while back (11 January 2007)? Here are some choice extracts.
On the troops’ will to fight
“Over these past years I have visited our troops in Iraq, in Afghanistan and many other places. I have always come away inspired by their buoyant determination, professionalism and extraordinary spirit. Indeed, very often those with the most dangerous task are those most up for it, most resolute.”
On British values, as seen by Blair
“There are two types of nations similar to ours today. Those who do war fighting and peacekeeping and those who have, effectively, except in the most exceptional circumstances, retreated to the peacekeeping alone.
“Britain does both. We should stay that way. But how do we gain the consent to do it?”
On how we gain consent, apparently it costs £Negotiable. See, for instance, the recent security service job advert for a lawyer. They want someone who is good at “Finding practical solutions to complex legal problems, frequently within tight deadlines, you’ll provide ways forward that may not be immediately apparent.”
No conscription if and only if we have nuclear weapons?
“… deterrence, rather than direct deployment, became the pivot of policy. Nuclear weapons did a lot of the work. Manpower and conventional forces were trimmed. The Armed Forces reduced from 690,000 to 375,000 by 1962 and conscription was ended.”
On reduced censorship of the media
“Public opinion will be divided, feel that the cost is too great, the campaign too long, and be unnerved by the absence of “victory” in the normal way they would reckon it. They will be constantly bombarded by the propaganda of the enemy, often quite sympathetically treated by their own media, to the effect that it’s really all “our”, that is the West’s fault.
“That, in turn, impacts on the feelings of our Armed Forces. They want public opinion not just behind them but behind their mission. They want the “people back home” to understand their value not just their courage.”
On becoming peacemakers
The irony is: the one group of people who I am sure do not want this to happen, are the men and women of our Armed Forces. They would be horrified by such a thought.