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Kevin Myers spot on regarding the Defence Forces

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  • Kevin Myers spot on regarding the Defence Forces

    Brilliant stuff - the Government and the public should be embarrassed by this...


    Unprincipled neutrality is neutering our defence forces


    Tuesday September 16 2008

    Commandant GarryMcKeon has issued a timely warning about the woeful logistical deficiencies of the Army in its Chad deployment. So, if you believe in the power of prayer, then I bid you grind your kneecaps to the gristle in order to end this mission without loss. However, that wish offered, the problem with such a benign outcome is that we will, once again, learn nothing from it, and will still smugly declare that the negotiating skills of Irish soldiers are the best in the world, and that our peacekeepers are without peer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    Soldiers are not armed diplomats, nor are they nurses with guns, nor uniformed social workers who salute one another. Yet in the popular perception, Irish soldiers are seen as a miraculous blend of that pious trinity. Thricefold wrong. Soldiers are members of armies, whose first particular duty is to obey orders; the second is to train to kill, and the third is to kill. And one of the central and defining features of any national army worth its name is that it's capable of a robust defence of its national territory. Another is that it can, unaided, get from its base to its operational area, where it can then fend for itself for the duration of the mission.

    So only the most elastic and meaningless definition of the term "army" -- one which also includes Salvation and Barmy -- would include the land component of our Defence Forces. Whereas I genuinely believe the men and women of our Defence Forces to be the very cream of Irish life, merely because I respect them more than I can say, and merely because they wear the uniform of the Republic, does not mean that they are what they are palpably not.

    It is not an air force which cannot put up a single combat-fighter, it is not a navy which cannot defend a single square nautical square mile of territorial waters against armed threat, and it is not an army which cannot, unaided, rapidly project its power across the national territory. Thus, the Defence Forces cannot properly be called the "Defence Forces" without the earlier consumption of hallucinogenic substances.

    Though, if our soldiers really want know what it is to take a hallucinatory drug, but without breaking the law, all they have to do is to join the Chad mission. For when they arrive in N'Djamena airport, they can admire the Lockheed C-130 Hercules of the Chad Air Force. And that pretty much sums it all up. Chad, with a GDP of Bohola, Co Mayo in a wet February, and with an average annual income of that fine place during the Black Death, can afford Hercules aircraft. We, amongst the richest countries in the world, cannot apparently afford a single strategic transport aircraft for the Air Corps.

    And this accords with a wholly frivolous definition of "defence", which has existed throughout the history of the State. Indeed, the very first concession in the Treaty negotiations -- actually during the opening session -- and never analysed by historians as a measure of this intended "independence", or rejected by anti-Treatyites, was an abandonment of any pretence that our territorial waters would be guarded by us. What kind of "republic" is it which has studiously declined to mind its own seas?

    The first Congo Mission, nearly 50 years ago, depended upon USAF C-124 Globemaster IIs collecting our troops at Baldonnel. So naturally, that hero of the left, Noel Browne, denounced the use of American aircraft, declaring that we should depend on our own resources to get our men to the Congo. We had, of course, no such resources and still haven't. Better still, Noel Browne would probably have been one of the first to have opposed the creation of a grown-up air force, with proper air-defence and troop-carrying capacities.

    Half a century on, and we still expect others to carry our soldiers into theatre. This is not merely degrading, it also has created a whingeing dependency culture of querulous, poser-nationalist scrupulosity. Thus, a Fianna Fail minister for defence not long ago refused to fly in a UN aircraft when he discovered that the aircrew were RAF.

    Moreover, this failure to create an air force has generated a diseased naivety. When Tony Blair came here, the Defence Forces imported a surface-to-air missile to protect him from airborne terrorist attack, but without creating a command structure to fire it. So, a light aircraft enters a prohibited zone; in the absence of a fighter-plane to intercept and make visible signals to force it to land, or to turn, who was to order the plane to be shot down over a heavily-populated Dublin city centre? One military expert dryly suggested that the Army Chief of Staff, the Attorney-General and the Garda Commissioner would have to be perched on the rooftop, alongside the missile-operator (Advice 1. Shoot! Advice 2. DON'T SHOOT! Advice 3. Call a tribunal! Followed by sighs all round).

    Underlying this defencelessness is a childish addiction to the concept of an utterly unprincipled neutrality i.e. defenceless. This is called virtuous in Ireland, but parasitic elsewhere, and, as the RAF/UN episode shows, not merely parasitic, but picky too.
    There may be only one time in your life when your country will call upon you and you will be the only one who can do the nasty job that has to be done -- do it or forever after there will be the taste of ashes in your mouth.

  • #2
    He's bang on, unfortunately.


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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    • #3
      Well that sums it up fairly well

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      • #4
        I'm curious to know who the FF TD is who wouldn't fly with an RAF aircrew - what a muppet.
        There may be only one time in your life when your country will call upon you and you will be the only one who can do the nasty job that has to be done -- do it or forever after there will be the taste of ashes in your mouth.

        Comment


        • #5
          Myers for all his faults is accurate to a tee on this one.
          Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

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          • #6
            Brilliant by Myers more need to raise these issues.

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            • #7
              Yes he is bang on. But 90% of the population will dismiss him as some sort of armchair general fantasizing about a huge army while playing Age of Empires and watching reruns of Bands of Brothers.
              Meh.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ARNGScout View Post
                I'm curious to know who the FF TD is who wouldn't fly with an RAF aircrew - what a muppet.
                I heard that story before..... Someone who you would think would have had more sense, if I recall correctly. Said it was a matter of Political correctness rather than neutrality.


                Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                • #9
                  my god...I cant believe I actually agree with Kevin Bloody Myers
                  "Many a time a man's mouth broke his nose"

                  "Don't waste money buying expensive binoculars. Simply stand next to the object you wish to view."

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                  • #10
                    Myers has never hidden his admiration for Defence Forces and while he is not advocating we spend our entire gnp on tanks F22's and subs, he does make a good point about buying a single c130.

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                    • #11
                      Even a transall...


                      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                      • #12
                        kevin myers...bloody brilliant as usual!!!
                        Fate whispers to the warrior, "There is a storm coming"

                        And the warrior whispers back "I am the storm".

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                        • #13
                          Yes, Myers is right, although as usual he goes over the top. We've never taken 'Defence' seriously in this country, but on the other hand, we are spending €1 billion a year on it, as Willie O'Dea proudly points out. Is it time to re-prioritise our current spending?

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                          • #14
                            70% on Wages?


                            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                            • #15
                              Myres is bang on with this one. It really shows how poorly equipped we are. Has anyone really taken willie seriously??
                              Only the dead have seen the end of war - Plato

                              "Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory" Proverbs 11-14
                              http://munsterfireandrescue.com

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