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  • Thawk
    replied
    I see it directly proportional to the education of the civilians about the military as a whole. I'm in the unique position of getting to study my biggest interest as a degree and am hoping to get to write my dissertation on the DF/Civi relationship, or lack thereof. And what I have seen in the last while studying it, is the exposure of military and general awareness of the civilian populace to the army, the most accommodating they are.

    Let's take the biggest example: The US is quite possibly the most patriotic country in the West, if not the world (Actors in N Korea don't count!!) and I have a retired Marine in the family as well as two buddies currently going through basic in the US, one as a 68W and the other as an 11B. They are treated like kings most of the time, discounts in shops and restaurants, the people are genuinely appreciative of what these guys do. And it is reflected in the day to day interactions they have. Next on the list is the Brits, two retired officers in my family again and I have some buddies scattered around, 5 SCOTS, 2 R WELSH and some RAF hopefuls. My uncles were treated far better then my friends now, I think that comes from the sense of national pride the British had as a whole in the years following the second world war which has slowly dwindled to modern day Britain. I think it's a mixed bag really, on one hand you have some good public exposure of the army and as a whole, I think the Army is appreciated, however on the other hand, the individual soldier I believe is treated with a bit more contempt and at times, the entire Armed Forces is.

    The last international example I have is the Danes, two buddies of mine here, one back from his first Afghan tour in 3 days (He's in the JDR) and the other already has one tour and retraining to get placed in a TACP. I would liken Denmark to us in many ways, the only real difference with them being a monarchy and of course, deployed to Afgahnistan as part of ISAF/NATO. But in general, small country, similar to us. From the various chats/informal interviews I've done with my buddies the perception of the military by their public is quite like us here in Ireland. A lack of understanding and little media exposure. When the media does cover it, it's normally negative and very rarely an achievement. Constant budget cuts and not in many people's minds. My buddy, on his leave back to Denmark during his tour said that, and I quote, "On the way back I was in my uniform, obviously, sitting on the bus waiting for it to leave and the people across the bus were staring at me like I was some baby-killer fresh out from Afghanistan". There is such a detach between civilian and military due to the lack of exposure that the idea of being viewed as some sort of "baby-killer" is a sort of misconception, albeit a dramatic one, but you get the point.

    Lastly, is my experiences, as you may have guessed, I have a fair about of ex-military in my family and since I was very young I wanted to be like them, an Infantry Officer but the first Irish one in the family. If I say this to people when I meet them, the most common reaction is "Why am I wasting my intelligence" or something along the lines of it being a waste, or another one, "Ireland doesn't even need an army." Even some of my best friends would still come out with that if we get onto myself, or the army in a conversation. People just seem to view careers in the army as this massive waste..."oh what a shame" type thing. I joined the reserves as soon as I could and to get to my barracks I must take a quick ride on the luas, most of the time in uniform and I've been keeping track of the reactions I get (hopefully to use in some form of academic essay) and they are mixed to negative. Most people keep their distance, like I might suddenly "snap" and kill someone. My favourite story is sitting on a packed, rush hour luas with the only seat free next to me....that no one would take. The idea of "baby-killer" always comes into my mind when I see some of the faces and the only positive reactions I seem to get are from excited kids before their mother, or minder, quickly moves them away like they might "catch" the army and think of how bad that would be. I also get used time to time in the discipline of a child; "If you don't stop now that soldier will come over!" :D

    I put this down to the same cause as Denmark, a serious lack of exposure and understanding of the Defence Forces as well as a lot of the old stereotypical ideas still firmly in place. As I said, I do believe that as public exposure and positive media increases then a civilian populace would be more accommodating and understanding. However, in Ireland, it seems that this will never happen, or is a long way away.

    Anyway, sorry for the essay, got a bit carried away.

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  • Shaqra
    replied
    It has always been like this throughout history. We happen to have a period at the moment in the UK and US where soldiering is valued and respected but it wasn't always thus. Soldiering in the US in the 20's and 30's was as bad as Ireland in the 50's. Similarly for the UK. What is different in Ireland is that we don't even have a sizeable cohort in the Oireachtas who have served - indeed as a former wearer of the green who is still in the Dail said to me - "we have more retired members of the illegal Oglaigh than of the legal Oglaigh in this place !!!!"

    The Defence Forces, Regular and Reserve, are the State's insurance policy and like any Insurance policy no-one likes paying for it and they will always pursue the lowest quote and will badmouth the supplier. I don't think we will ever change Public perception. But that should not be our motivation - we do our duty, stand out watch and value the comradeship of those who have also borne arms in the service of whatever State that we serve.

    Kipling said it well over a century ago:

    "I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
    The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
    The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
    O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
    But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play."

    Leave a comment:


  • pym
    replied
    We're an odd nation, with a portion of the population operating simultaneously on a mix of twee nationalism & national self loathing.

    One can pick out example after example of it in action, be it with the Defence Forces, any major national infrastructure project, sport, whatever.

    They're generally very loud and terribly sure of themselves, they'd "do a better job themselves".

    Stand in a queue anywhere, turn on the radio, you'll hear them.

    They talk. Loudly. A lot.

    Thing is, when they talk - everyone is meant to nod along and occasionally say "he's right y'know!".

    But if you interject, challenge and calmly lay out some facts, they tend to wither away and say they were "only joking".

    Calm, reasoned discussion is not really encouraged, but loud & lazy bulling is - whether it's in the Dáil, on the radio, or on the street.

    Leave a comment:


  • Connaught Stranger
    replied
    Originally posted by BANDIT View Post
    The UN is increasingly viewed by many countries as too closely linked to US policy. One only has to recall the way it was used to authorize the invasions of Iraq , the lies , misinformation regarding WMDs provided by the US. So in the real world we need to understand that we are small fish and that we also need to be cautious about putting our troops in situations where the real agenda may have more to do with oil than any other higher cause.
    One only has to look at the US and general western media regarding Iran.. Yes they are not saints but why should they trust the west, The US , the Brits when they are the very people who ignored the wishes of the Iranian people , overthrew a democratically elected secular leader and installed a peacock, paving the way for the mad Ayatollah(S) . The USSR were no better , organizing a coup in Afghanistan, taht was becoming secular in the urban areas, and contributing to the mess that it is now, . And now lets mention Somalia and Cold war politics and intrigue, 25 yrs ago in Mogadishu U could sit at Cafes on the beach, Drink wine and watch Somalia women walk by in skirts, sans Hijabs, Burkas, etc Very Mediterranean, very liberal etc Now its increasingly full Ninja
    so lesson think before u act..same for sending troops.
    The only thing wrong with the above is both Russia and China have as much say in the United Nations as the USA.

    WMD info was also reported by the multi-National UN Teams who were refused admission into Iraqi research facilities by Sad Damn Insane.

    Not a week goes by with Iran calling for Israel to be wiped off the map, as well as their creation of and continual support of the Hezbollah infrastructure.

    And again 7-12 Irish troops as training personnel is not exactly a lot now is it.

    UN Service was a great boost to the Irish military, a change from the monotones rounds of training, re-training, re-re-training border duty etc..etc.. it bought the PDF into contact with other countries militaries and new equipment.
    Now even the Border has gone so it will end up being just training, and re-training undertaken by the small band of regulars who remain if U.N. and like type missions are declined.

    Connaught Stranger
    Last edited by Connaught Stranger; 5 February 2013, 19:21.

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  • Battletour
    replied
    Spot on. Plus ca change.....
    And as I approach my 40th anniversary (March) of donning the green I heard Pat Kenny reading out a letter from a 'concerned citizen' ranting about the cash escort that had fatal consequences in Lordship. He asked why the Army was not used for cash escorts. In fairness Kenny answered well but I just rolled my veteran eyes to heaven!

    Leave a comment:


  • Captain Edmund Blackadder
    replied
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again.


    The Irish Public reaction to The DF Cycle.

    Step 1.

    Why do we need an army or a Defence Force?

    Wahwahwahwahwah.

    What do they do all day wahwahwahwahwahwah Costing us money wahwahwahwahwahwahwahwah Earning more than managers in companies wahwahwahwahwah Overtime on everything wahwahwahwahwah.

    Step 2.

    Insert:
    {natural disaster/ forest fire/ Major Accident requiring specialist equipment, expertise, etc/ terrorist attack/ Drug importation/ IED campaign undertaken by our Friends in black ski masks/ humanitarian crisis in some sh*tbucket sandpit/ post conflict turmoil or impending repeat of the jolly old Rwanda/Srebrinica roadshow}

    Step 3.

    Why aren't the army there helping?

    wahwahwahwahwahwah
    How can this be allowed happen? Wahwahwahwahwahwah. Why don't we have enough men/equipment/facilities to deal with this? Wahwahwahwah.
    (because you allowed it, and your elected officials saw fit to anally, orally, and aurally rape it when times were good and when savings needed to be made that could have come from other places within the DoD or public sector at large)

    Step 4.

    DF does the best it can with the resources it has. Represents the country in the best possible way. Changes lives for thousands/hundreds of thousands/millions.

    Step 5.

    Crisis over.

    Step 6.

    Begin step 1.
    Last edited by Captain Edmund Blackadder; 5 February 2013, 13:08.

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  • BANDIT
    replied
    The UN is increasingly viewed by many countries as too closely linked to US policy. One only has to recall the way it was used to authorize the invasions of Iraq , the lies , misinformation regarding WMDs provided by the US. So in the real world we need to understand that we are small fish and that we also need to be cautious about putting our troops in situations where the real agenda may have more to do with oil than any other higher cause.
    One only has to look at the US and general western media regarding Iran.. Yes they are not saints but why should they trust the west, The US , the Brits when they are the very people who ignored the wishes of the Iranian people , overthrew a democratically elected secular leader and installed a peacock, paving the way for the mad Ayatollah(S) . The USSR were no better , organizing a coup in Afghanistan, taht was becoming secular in the urban areas, and contributing to the mess that it is now, . And now lets mention Somalia and Cold war politics and intrigue, 25 yrs ago in Mogadishu U could sit at Cafes on the beach, Drink wine and watch Somalia women walk by in skirts, sans Hijabs, Burkas, etc Very Mediterranean, very liberal etc Now its increasingly full Ninja
    so lesson think before u act..same for sending troops.

    Leave a comment:


  • sofa
    replied
    Originally posted by Infy View Post
    My father and brother have both done leb trips, 3 in the early 80's and the other two more recent. Some of the stories from my father would fairly get rid of the holiday camp on the med notion! But unfortunately the public see lads coming home as brown as a brownie and think it is a cushy tour.

    I suppose it all boils down to pride. Most people have pride in wearing their uniform and swearing an oath to their country. Manys the PDF/RDF/FCA person over the years were proud to do their bit. It's a pity more people in this country haven't the same traits in themselves, then some of the bitching an moaning that appear on a daily basis would ease. I guess I'm just pissed at the general nature of the Irish, you see on holidays in shops all these proud to be irish t-shirts etc. When asked, how many of them would do something to make a change/differnce. Going off my own topic I know!
    You are talking about the ola ola Irish. All tricolour wrapped around them when the Boys in green are winning. Then in every day life, just looking for what

    the county can do for them. or slagging off anything Irish to distance themselves from it, in case it fails . It's called an being Irish inferiority complex

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  • sofa
    replied
    Originally posted by Connaught Stranger View Post
    With regards perceptions and in this particular case misconceptions with regards the role of the Irish Defence Forces,

    I think it sad to see these type of comments on F.B. with regards Mali and a possible Irish.D.F. Training Mission.

    The original poster is an ex-PDF Veteran with UNIFIL Service:-



    While a person is entitled to their opinion, some are saying things in Public that have no bearing on reality of the gravity of the situations faced in the real world, I love the comment about the U.N. being converted to "global Americanisation" here's hoping Russia and China toe the line.

    Connaught Stranger.
    He is someone who has a chip on his shoulder with the Americans.

    Leave a comment:


  • Infy
    replied
    Originally posted by midnight oil View Post
    Lets not forget how dangerous the Leb is, we lost on average a man a trip during out commitment there previously, it is not a holiday camp on the edge of the Med!
    My father and brother have both done leb trips, 3 in the early 80's and the other two more recent. Some of the stories from my father would fairly get rid of the holiday camp on the med notion! But unfortunately the public see lads coming home as brown as a brownie and think it is a cushy tour.

    I suppose it all boils down to pride. Most people have pride in wearing their uniform and swearing an oath to their country. Manys the PDF/RDF/FCA person over the years were proud to do their bit. It's a pity more people in this country haven't the same traits in themselves, then some of the bitching an moaning that appear on a daily basis would ease. I guess I'm just pissed at the general nature of the Irish, you see on holidays in shops all these proud to be irish t-shirts etc. When asked, how many of them would do something to make a change/differnce. Going off my own topic I know!

    Leave a comment:


  • Connaught Stranger
    replied
    With regards perceptions and in this particular case misconceptions with regards the role of the Irish Defence Forces,

    I think it sad to see these type of comments on F.B. with regards Mali and a possible Irish.D.F. Training Mission.

    The original poster is an ex-PDF Veteran with UNIFIL Service:-

    I hope the government aren't jumping too quickly offering the services of the Defence Forces. It was reported on RTE that the Malian Army are summarily executing people who are "suspected" of helping the Al Queda militias. It seems as the French forces roll through and clear areas,the Malian Army are taking up and holding these areas and it looks like old scores are being settled. We seem to be ready to get involved in these conflicts at the drop of a hat now that every mission seems to be mandated by the U.N. It used to be the case where a mandate had to be sought out from the U.N. but now it looks like the U.N.sign of on every mission. Very convenient for a "neutral" country like ours to become immediatly involved. . . . . . .

    Gentlemen. Firstly to to confirm the authenticity of my comments, it was reported on RTE. Look at their news website to see it. Secondly, it seems that Ireland is becoming less "non aligned" as we put small amount of specialists into situations that are not reported in the press or need to have the "triple lock" in place. Again I refer to the global Americanisation of the U.N. It seems to me that the U.N. has become the instrument of American foreign policy.Also as some might know,we have a detachment of EOD in Kabul, Afghanistan operating with and instructing Allied forces there. Some ARW are on ops there too. Can I confirm it? No, but Friends of friends etc etc. Not only that ,we are in breach of the Hague convention as we allow armed soldiers and aircraft with war cargo to transit through Shannon airport on a daily basis. Our neutrality is a joke and I'm surprised our country has not become a target of foreign terrorism. Only last week the Chairperson of Shannon airport authority said that American military movements were the very DNA of Shannon airport.To me thats very worrying that we are supporting wars and completely ignoring our neutrality and the Hague convention. Strange to think,that a country who's Defence minister is hell bent on destroying the Defence Forces,is willing to put the integritiy of the very same forces into very dubious foreign situations. . . . . .

    I really don't care what the Mailian Army do.What I do care about is that the Defence Forces will be involved in training these people.It puts out the message that the Irish government condone murder,torture and human rights abuse.Oh sorry we already do I believe.Jim the point I'm making is that the Defence Forces could be training these people in the near future.Not something we need to be associated with. . . . . .
    While a person is entitled to their opinion, some are saying things in Public that have no bearing on reality of the gravity of the situations faced in the real world, I love the comment about the U.N. being converted to "global Americanisation" here's hoping Russia and China toe the line.

    Connaught Stranger.
    Last edited by Connaught Stranger; 4 February 2013, 20:33.

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  • Buck
    replied
    The best bit of PR in recent years was the DF display on the Late Late Show a while back with General Earley and the lads heading to Chad. Thomond Park was good too when the Air Corps delivered the match ball. But apart from those, the DF either doesn't register or has a negative opinion among the public IMO.

    RDFers won't be doing public displays because of limited recruitment. We're still viewed very much with the FCA goggles. I hate being called that to be honest. I was never even in the FCA for flip sake!

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  • midnight oil
    replied
    Exactly, the DF are told to do something and we just get on and do it. GS are told do the same and they bitch, whinge and moan about it, demand allowances and threaten all sorts then walk away from the negotiation table.

    Manpower levels are not "stupidly low" we now have an organisational structure to reflect our strength. We now have regiments squadrons and battalions that are full, some for the first time ever.
    Another mission like Chad was a no runner when you look at the costs associated with that mission there is no way that we as an organisation in the current climate could afford another mission.

    The DF still has not been paid by the UN for the Chad deployment, in fact last year or maybe the end of 2011 when I was talking to OIC Logs Admin about it we were still negotiating payment for the 2006 UNIFIL deployment so it is not a case of money sitting waiting to be collected.

    to the public, the Leb is the only place the DF has ever served in. It might not be as advanced as some of the missions we were involved with over the recent years but it still gives commanders at all levels a real test of their leadership which they just do not get at home. Lets not forget how dangerous the Leb is, we lost on average a man a trip during out commitment there previously, it is not a holiday camp on the edge of the Med!

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  • DeV
    replied
    Originally posted by midnight oil View Post
    RDF will be able to work more closely with PDF counterparts in the reorg and take on roles previously never imagined - e.g. res elements of 1 Mech Inf Coy and 1 ACS.
    I wonder will the MOWAG Crewman and Commanders Courses fit into 7 days FTT ?!

    Leave a comment:


  • DeV
    replied
    Maybe the DF are doing better because they cut their numbers by 21% and closed almost 33% of their barracks over the last 16 years ?!

    Leave a comment:

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