Friday, April 09, 2004
A Post-Modern Army?

What is a post-modern army? It is a work of fiction, a Potemkin village, designed to give the illusion of security, without the capabilities to achice such an objective.

The war in Iraq may be the last hurrah for the British armed forces, the final coda of Empire. The judiciary, in its sclerotic, left-wing senescence, is forgetful of the relationship between the rule of law and democratic consent with rulings that undermine our security and their own legitimacy. They have placed peacekeeping in Kosovo on a par with unlawful arrest police in Basildon.

But the issue at stake here is that Mr Justice Elias has extended the principle that the British Army must demonstrate a duty of care in all foreign "peacekeeping" operations - operations which can only grow in number in the 21st century. As a result, he ruled that the three Albanians bore no responsibility for the incident, despite the fact that the dead man was firing an AK-47 automatic in defiance of an embargo, or that they refused to stop their vehicle when asked, or that they were approaching a building containing frightened Serbian civilians being guarded from the local Albanian population by the British troops.

However, if they had killed a few Serbs, their relatives could have sued as well. In this Alice in Wonderland, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Soon, the al-Sadr militia, the Fallujahites and the jihadis will wash up at Dover, claiming asylum and demanding legal aid for British soldiers unlwfully shooting at them. Remember the Ba'athite who requested asylum.

Corrosive legal nonsense is accompanied by MOD incompetence. The long list of logistical failures and procurement disasters has been joined by Chinook helicopters that cannot fly in mist and depend upon landmarks to navigate.

The Chief of Defence Staff has stated that the Army will not be able to enter another campaign like Iraq's for five years. He's an optimist.

(17.51, 9th April 2004)


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