Sunday, August 16, 2009

The floodgates open ...

With the announcement of the 200th British soldier to die in Afghanistan, the media floodgates will now open. This soldier, as yet unnamed, died of wounds in Selly Oak, having been caught in an explosion last Thursday. Sadly, he will not be the last to die.

We'll do what we can to monitor and report on the media, and provide an analysis of it. In the meantime, I've posted another piece on Defence of the Realm, written before the sad news came in.

Like so many of our pieces, it attempts to offer solutions to a seemingly intractable problem. For that, our efforts are much derided, not least on the unofficial Army forum (ARRSE) where, one suspects, the resident forum queens have never forgiven me for being right about Snatch Land Rovers, back in 2006, when so many took the MoD line that this vehicle was vitally necessary in Iraq.

We were thus much heartened, therefore, to see the following over at Captains Journal, a blog we respect hugely:

Richard North at Defence of the Realm is required reading every day. His latest piece awaits the howls that are sure to come when the Brits lose their 200th soldier in Afghanistan. Neither we nor Richard likes tracking this, and Richard doesn’t like to see British casualties. But that's why Richard always argues for more troops, better equipment and better strategy. Richard is the conscience of the military bloggers / new media in the UK. You can always turn to him for unvarnished prose.
I had never thought of myself as a "conscience" but, on reflection, that is a highly perceptive observation. On DOTR and this blog, we tell it as we see it, not holding back and taking no prisoners. I would sooner speak out and be wrong, and then be corrected in a robust, no-holds-barred discussion, than tiptoe round the edges, for fear that I might offend someone, as indeed I do so often.

This, however, is not a time for introspection. There are hugely important issues to discuss and, as a citizen of a democracy – where our catchphrase (one of them) is "democracy is not a spectator sport" – we feel that it is our duty to participate in that discussion. We will return to that never-ending battle later today.