Friday, September 18, 2009


It is not of my nature to criticise command decisions of the service chiefs but today I make an exception.

The sending home from Afghanistan the three soldiers who chalked a message on a 2,ooolb bomb and attached a drinks sticker to it is a sad one made by a PC cowered hierarchy from the safety of their desks back in Wellington.

They need reminding that loyalty goes two ways ... up and down ... and there is no sign of the 'down' bit there.

Ok, the world has moved on since the writer took the 'shilling' but some things don't change and I suggest the military will reap what they sow. Like it or not they are breeding the initiative and individualism out of today's soldiers to the point they will think twice before they fart and three times before they shoot.

The only people breaking out the champagne today are the Keith Locke's of this world in celebration of another wound inflicted on military morale.

And it was a self inflicted wound by commanders that should have known better.


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

While I agree with you in your criticism, is it not the case that the offense was the publication of the photos on the net rather than the the actual activity which raised a problem. It could be argued that the publication might cause the Taleban to target Kiwi civilian and Military engaged in rebuilding and relief work.

However, you've got to wonder at the severity of the punishment. Surely they could have been given a verbal bollocking and told not to be so stupid in future?

muz said...

Couldn't agree more veteran, do you think it is possible that the softcock who gave that order has never been closer to live fire than all to the front on a controlled military range. His/her idea of danger would be the step at their back door,likewise all the K Lockes of this world.

The Veteran said...

Adolf ... the Taleban targets everything and everybody.

It's called war.

frog said...

They broke rules designed to protect themselves and others in a war zone. I wouldn't want a military where discipline was slack for any reason, PC or not.

Having spent my share of time in war zones and under fire, I too have personally sent people home who endangered the lives of my people with their stupid stunts.

It's all harmless fun until someone gets hurt, right?

I don't know what punishment they got besides being sent home, so I cannot comment on that. That's probably what I would have done, and ten weeks scrubbing a latrine with a toothbrush...

The Veteran said...

Frog ... just about what I expected from the taxpayer funded Green Party Research Unit.

My only suprise is that you didn't advocate shooting them before the Courts Martial.

Enjoy your championing of the Teleban much like when Keith Locke was promoting Pol Pot as the best thing since sliced bread.

frog said...

If you were a real veteran you'd appreciate the need for discipline. Instead, you resort to pathetic name calling.

I guess you'd support a referendum before sending anyone home for doing stupid things?

Focus on the real issues faced by the military, not the beat up from either side of this particular incident.

The Realist said...

Frog. The man IS a real veteran

Oswald Bastable said...

Take a look at youtube some time- you will see HUNDREDS of clips of actual fighting and operations going on.

Of course, these troops could be trying to be sent home...

Psycho Milt said...

Maybe there are armies out there that are blase about soldiers on active duty in operational areas publishing photos of personnel and equipment on the internet, but hopefully ours won't ever be among their number.

The Veteran said...

Frog ... some of us have been privileged to command troops in combat. Not sure that you have.

What I do know is that you cut your soldiers a piece of slack at times to make up for the occasions when the going gets really tough and you need them to go the extra mile.

IMHO this was one of those times.

Its easy to adopt a holier than thou attitude from the sidelines but the reality is that sending them home in disgrace (with their military careers effectively in tatters) is way way way over the top when a good old fashioned bollocking by their CSM would have done the trick. That is how I would have handled it anyway.

And its not name calling to remind people that YOUR Foreign Affairs and Defence Spokesman was a cheerleader for Pol Pot.

He has zero, zip, no credibility with me.

Grant said...

You've gotta laugh dont ya.

It appears that during the last part of WW2 the Germans sent misbehaving and miscreant soldiers off the the Rusian Front.

We do we send ours?...

KG said...

Of course this would normally have been dealt by their CSM or even the CO giving them a good bollocking and maybe some extra duties.
Sending them home is the effing bureaucrats behind desks way of appeasing the peacenik lobby which will only tolerate the idea of troops as social workers.

baxter said...

It seems to me to be very poor leadership. I would have thought they were displaying a high state of morale and dedication to the task in hand...If they were committing some unexplained breach of discipline then surely the best form of punishment would have been to extend their period of duty not to terminate it.

Flashman said...

Clearly NZ Defence HQ's yellow bellies have no trust or confidence in the officers assigned duty in Afghanistan.

Frog: When you've got your knees brown and seen the elephant by serving a tour of frontline duty as a trigger-puller in a hot combat zone, then you can trail your wet PC crying towel and I might sympathetically listen to your point of view. Until then I suggest you STFU.

Btw: At one stage my unit had a human skull called Alfredo mounted on the front of our armoured car. He brought us good luck and we all came home intact and happy. It's just soldiers doing what soldiers have always done. Having a bit a laugh, y'see. And Froggie, when combat soldiers stop doing that - that's when duty-focused commanding officers and junior leaders start getting very, very worried.