A new series wherein I roadtest material for my imaginary standup tour, entitled "Give me money, I'm a scrounger".
Army cuts. Well we can't have that. Anything that threatens the esprit de corps and the proud history of our government's hired guns is a bad thing. These people serve, apparently; they serve queen and country. Ironically those are the two things that do not have a say in what they do. The country doesn't vote on wars or military misadventures, neither does the queen in whose name they kill funny looking brown people.
People say that the squaddies have no say in where they go and what they do, though I find that a bit spurious - what do people expect they are going to be doing when they are given a gun and trained how to use it. But really the idea that having no say in whom you kill and where strikes me as anything but a positive.
The government wants to cut the number of soldiers. Of course it could save money by not sending kids to fight and die in their political wars of convenience and resource control in the first place. Calling everyone back home would probably save a lot more, and also in the long run.
Actually though in lieu of common sense why not just leave them out there - or send even more people out there. The Taliban seem to be doing a good job of cutting the number of soldiers anyway; that and the complete inability of the MoD to properly resource the army in the fisrt place. I don't support the army but it seems wholly iniquitous to me to command them to fight and then give them no gear to work with - and then when they come home force them to live in shitholes and abandon them to psychological trauma, addiction, unemployment and family breakdown. Perhaps the government also thinks it can save money by leaving them to fade away in hostels, wethouses and living under bridges.
The reality of modern warfare, past all the Call of Duty style advertising, is that armies are largely a thing of the past. We aren't fighting an army in Afghanistan ('we', i hate that use of the word), we are fighting militia hidden in mountains. We didn't fight an army in Iraq (see Bill Hicks for that one) and we didn't fight an army in Libya (we dropped bombs on militia forces we hoped were the right target) - and we won't go into Syria because, actually, they have an army.
In the era of modern terrorism, conflict comes from furtive sources - hidden bombs and suicide agents buried in crowds. How does a traditional army fight that? Do we carpet bombs on our own cities to take out a few suspected terrorists? Of course not. So maybe we don't need a large army. But we need to be fighting wars even less.