These heroic US soldiers deserve welcome by us all
When next in Newmarket-on-Fergus, I intend to find Eamon Walsh, and buy him a pint. His daughter Amelia's marriage wedding last week was turned into another bogus anti-American media event.
Some reports declared that uniformed US soldiers, staying overnight in the Clare Inn, had gatecrashed the event, and were most unwelcome. In fact, the soldiers -- delayed because their Iraq-bound plane was grounded through a technical fault -- had been invited to join the Walsh wedding party. Eamon, Amelia and her husband Sean O'Neill later said they were proud to have them as guests.
Good. Those young people belong to the bravest generation of soldiers the United States has ever produced. They are not the conscript-soldiers of America's wars of the 20th century, who freed much of the world. They are volunteers. They knew when they enlisted in the US army or the Marine Corps that they would be going to war, with a real possibility of death or serious injury. No words are powerful enough to describe the esteem that I have for them.
They are not just fighting for the US. They are in the forefront to save western civilisation. I'm not glorifying war. Civilians who do that are disgusting, since war is so disgusting. One young British lieutenant recently lost both legs, one arm and his genitalia in a roadside bombing.
However, these men and woman in uniform have made their choice. They know what is going on. If Iraq slips from the comity of nations into the hands of Sunni fascists, a stunning blow for the West will have been inflicted. If Afghanistan were to follow, then Pakistan would assuredly go next. And then the world might be faced with the first ever nuclear-armed, death-worshipping jihadist-Nazi state.
Taliban now controls much of Afghanistan. No doubt elements of its complex alliance can be wooed into the sort of belligerent passivity which is the best kind of normality which that strange country knows. Others must be fought, lest they return to power again, and not merely banish women into an internal exile of illiterate sexual slavery, but turn their country into a vast terrorist training-camp. The Afghan military project is not another example of American adventurism: it is simply our civilisation's instinct for survival where it is most vulnerable.
Once it was at the gates of Vienna and Budapest. Now those gates stand just this side of the Khyber Pass. Such is the profound sense of cultural isolationism which our 70 years of bogus neutralism has engendered, that I'm not sure how many people in Ireland understand the scale of the Afghanistan problem. Total British casualties in Helmand province alone -- through enemy action, accident or illness -- stand at nearly 2,500. Three of the 191 dead -- 1.6pc - were Irish. More will follow.
The British army has been scandalously deprived of necessary equipment for a task which began an entire First World War ago. Use that as an example. It began in 1914; the first tank was invented in 1915; and in August 1918, 650 tanks launched a mass assault on German positions at Amiens.
That was Britain then. Consider Britain now, with its putrid array of armoured vehicles which are still vulnerable to the improvised bombs of illiterate peasants. (Google 'Jackal' and have a good laugh at the picture of soldiers sitting in the front this dune-buggy: they are out in the open, have no armour around them, and do not even have a windscreen; and then stop laughing, because good men -- including Marine George McKibben from Mayo -- have died in this criminally murderous abortion of a machine).
Most regular readers will know that I am Irish, Brit-born, and, generally speaking, pro-Brit. So without prejudice, I can say that the ineptitude of recent British military operations is in that same epic military tradition which gave the world Gallipoli 1915, Kut 1916, Narvik 1940, Dunkirk 1940, Tobruk 1942, Singapore 1942, Kos/Leros 1943, and Arnhem 1944. You could almost have added Basra, Iraq, 2008 to that melancholy list, but for the US Marine Corps' intervention there. And now in Helmand, the British have been getting around in three Morris Oxfords and two-a-half Hillman Minx helicopters. They have thereby forfeited the right to have a separate command in a coalition war. British soldiers -- those faithful, fateful warriors -- will surely find better leaders in the US Army and Marine Corps-- as should the Danes, the Estonians, the Poles and -- I hope, one day -- the Irish.
The USMC has now taken over in Helmand, with their hundreds of helicopters and near IED-resistant personnel carriers and, most of all, with their battlefield professionalism. Let the US rule. National independence of command merely confuses -- not just battlefield tactics, but the historical reality. Here we have it. One cause, one culture, one freedom. For the demographic fifth column is already across Europe.
Its historic self-belief could be lethally enhanced if the West is defeated in Afghanistan. Thus the cause of the USA is the cause of Ireland. And the welcome that Newmarket-on-Fergus gave to those heroic US soldiers should be seen as being on behalf of us all.