Authors note. I apologise to my regular readers for not having contributed in recent weeks but I’m afraid that my Sophie is so ill that I have little time and energy to think about political things. However I had a wonderful reply to my proposal which I now propose to post for your information, followed by my reply.
1.. Middle Aged Spread Says: February 2nd, 2010 at 11:12 pm Dear Old Gaffer,
I read parts one and two of your unusual proposition with great interest. Having knocked a few heads together over the past 20 years I’m qualified in a small way to respond – and thanks for the chance to do so.
I agree with your sentiments as to the ultimate futility of war on so many levels; I agree it would be wonderful if war were obsolete. Sadly war has and always will be with us, ususally on about a ten year cycle for the last century or so. And whilst the collective police (UN etc) do exist, politicians cannot agree sufficiently to trust their national fate to the collective (and I dont really blame them). There will always be the irrational and often unpredictable fanatic who will, on either a small or a large scale, seek to enforce their will on others (usually those weaker than them). In my view turning the other cheek doesnt work against these sorts of people.
Therefore having the means to defend against and defeat threats is, in my view, essential for all our wellbeing. Developing a political class who understand the realities of their decisions and trusting in them to only use the military means for the right reason, at the right time and in the right measure is quite another thing! Thank goodness in the UK we have strong military leaders to keep the politicians honest!
Finally I would make the point that military power has proven its worth as a deterrent and as a means of achieving the political ends. Without the military intervention and support to the Police in Ulster I believe the IRA may not have been brought to the negotiating table quite so soon. War is after all, politics by other means – sometimes the only way to move on is to, literally, fight it out. War is not, and never should be, the desired goal but is often a means to a more peaceful and stable end. Soldiers know this. They also share your healthy scepticism of politicians. But as we all know soldiers fight and die for the mates beside them and to make a positive difference in foresaken parts of the world (at home and abroad) when politicians fail; and politicians are always going to fail at some point!