Prince William Defends Trophy Hunting. Brave Call

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince William has bravely come out in defence of trophy hunting.

‘There is a place for commercial hunting in Africa as there is round the world,’ although he conceded: ‘It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.’

For this the heir to the British throne has inevitably been pilloried by the usual suspects.

The UK-based charity Lion Aid was among those leading the criticism, describing William’s comments as a “sad day”.

It added in a statement: “With likely less than 15,000 wild lions left in Africa, there is no place for commercial hunting of lions. With an estimated 1,500 wild male lions in existence and with current ‘offtake’ for trophy hunting of 300 per annum, continued trophy hunting cannot be deemed as sustainable.

But it’s the Prince who is talking sense on this occasion, not this two-bit animal charity. William has been getting an awful lot of stick, of late, in the UK media which has accused him of ducking his royal duties and being lazy. Under the circumstances, it would have been quite understandable if he’d taken the easy, populist line, rode the wave of post-Cecil-the-Lion hysteria and pretended to be frightfully upset by the idea of any big game being shot for pleasure ever again in Africa.

He didn’t take the coward’s way out, though. Instead William spoke the truth.

Trophy hunting brings millions of dollars a year into Africa’s wildlife conservation budget. Anyone who truly cares about wildlife should applaud it, not condemn it.

The only reason we don’t hear this more often is because of the vast and lucrative animal sentimentality industry. Aided and abetted by the bloviating of celebrities like Ricky Gervais, this industry makes millions of dollars every year by persuading rich, stupid people such as – I’m guessing, but fairly educatedly – the Kardashians to fork out gazillions for this endangered tiger or that threatened lion, bringing them the warm gooey feeling you always get when you think you’ve saved a cute, furry feline from being wiped off the planet. This industry does not deal in nuance (like, say, OK: how do we save all these animals given that natives who have to live alongside them consider them a dangerous pest?), only in raw emotion. You cross these animal-rights lunatics at your peril.

Read the rest at Breitbart.

The Lesson of Arnhem and Afghanistan: Heroism Is No Substitute for Strategy

Sixty-five years ago today on a pleasant, sunny September day like this one (only it was a Sunday, not a Thursday) began the greatest battle of the Second World War: Operation Market Garden.

At least it’s the greatest if you’re British. Of course there were many more strategically important battles – e.g., Stalingrad; El Alamein; D-Day; Midway – but Market Garden, especially the battle for Arnhem and the “bridge too far,” is the one that has always caught the public imagination.

It was the battle that had everything: red berets (faarsands of ‘em); countless acts of superhuman courage leading to five VCs (one of which was won by Jeremy Clarkson’s father-in-law Major Robert Cain); classic British pluck and sangfroid (Major Digby Tatham-Warter disabling an armoured car with his umbrella; the dispatchers in a doomed Dakota pushing out vital supplies even as their burning plane plummeted towards the ground); a fearsome opposition (battlehardened SS who rated the British airborne troops tougher than any they’d faced); plus, most poignantly and frustratingly, the dozens of “What ifs?” which mean that every time you read about the battle, you can’t help fantasising about an alternative universe where this time – as of course, we think we deserve – it ends in an Allied victory.

But it didn’t. Quite right though we are to worship and adore the heroes of Arnhem, the unfortunate fact is that they lost. Operation Market Garden was one of the biggest Allied military disasters of the war. Of the 11,920 mostly British and Polish troops of 1st Airborne Division who landed at Arnhem, no fewer than 1,485 were killed, 3,910 escaped back over the river two weeks later, while 6,525 were taken prisoner – at least 2,000 of them wounded. We achieved little if anything of any strategic value. We didn’t open the way to the Ruhr industrial heartland, nor circumvent the Siegfried Line, nor end the war by Christmas. Worse still, we made life significantly more horrible for the Dutch – briefly liberating them before dashing their hopes on our withdrawal and subjecting them to many more months of brutal Nazi rule.

Yet even the months immediately afterwards, Arnhem managed to acquire a reputation as something to be celebrated rather than mourned. (We’re very good at this, we British: see also, Dunkirk; Scott of The Antarctic; Eddie The Eagle). Indeed this used to infuriate veterans of the 6th Airborne Division (the one that succeeded in all its major objectives on D-Day, including the coup de main capture by glider-borne troops of Pegasus Bridge; the taking of the Merville Battery). They’d be wearing their red berets in a pub and people would come up to them and say, awestruck: “Were you at Arnhem?” “No,” they’d reply crossly. “We WON our battle.”

Look, I could give you more of this stuff, loads more. I too love Market Garden and I love the men who fought in it, some of whom I’m privileged to call my friends. If you like what I’ve written so far, you will totally love my account of the battle in COWARD AT THE BRIDGE. And no I don’t feel at all embarrassed to plug it. It’s a bloody good read and I’m proud of it.

But there’s another book I want to mention which I think you should also read – a fantastically exciting, vivid account of life on the front line in Afghanistan by Sam Kiley called Desperate Glory. It’s so intense, yet lyrically done, you could almost call it war porn. It captures perhaps better than any other book I’ve read the smells, the sounds, the fear and excitement of modern infantry warfare. Read it and you fully understand why men want to go to war: because though its the most grisly thing they will ever experience it’s also the most exciting and fulfilling.

But what you will also carry away with you – not that you didn’t suspect this is already – is a sense of the sheer hopelessness of our involvement in Afghanistan. The Government’s failure to provide our helicopters and mine-protected vehicles is, of course, a disgrace which has led to many avoidable deaths and injuries. The bigger picture, though, is more depressing still. What the hell are we doing there?

Don’t get me wrong. My heart swells with pride and I get a tremendous boysy thrill when I read stories like the one about Lt James Anderson bayonetting a Taliban machinegunner and shouting “have some of this” as he riddled another with bullets. I feel much about our boys’ (and girls’) performance in Helmand as I do about their predecessors’ performance at Arnhem: What self-sacrifice! What magnificence!

But in Aghanistan as at Arnhem, heroism is no substitute for strategy. Operation Market Garden failed for lots of reasons, mostly failures of planning. No matter how well the men fought there they were always going to lose. The same is true, I fear, of Afghanistan.

What is the point of our presence there?

To kill as many of the enemy as possible? But the supply from across the border in Pakistan is endless.

To win hearts and minds? Then why are we destroying their principal cash crop – opium – and killing so many civilians (the Americans rather more often than us, it must be said)?

To conquer and hold territory? When the Soviets were in Afghanistan, they allocated a whole division of 12,000 men to Helmand. We’re trying to make do with 5,000.

To create some semblance of democracy? Yeah right.

Related posts:

  1. Was Daphne du Maurier responsible for the attempt to cross the ‘bridge too far’?
  2. Who is Lieutenant Dick Coward of Coward at the Bridge?
  3. Ron Paul is right. Military adventurism is a luxury we can no longer afford
  4. Stung into stupidity – or heroism

 

Why are we still feeding our soldiers into the Taliban mincing machine? | James Delingpole

19th August 2009

The type of warfare all soldiers most loathe and fear is the type where you can’t shoot back. Every “Tom” relishes a firefight. It’s why he (or she) joined up. What takes its toll – as it did in Vietnam, and is now doing in Afghanistan – is the nerve-shredding anxiety of going out day after day on patrol knowing with near-certainty that somewhere on your route is the IED which is going to kill or maim you or one of your mates.

Talk to any politician who supports our Afghan engagement, and they’re quite likely to confide privately that the relatively small few deaths our military has suffered in Helmand is an acceptable price to pay for its front line role in the war on terror. I disagree. Sure the number of soldiers killed so far is quite small (we lost twice as many for example in the Fifties Cyprus “Emergency”) but what should concern us at least as much is the figure the MOD won’t give us: how many soldiers are being blinded, or losing arms or legs (sometimes both), or being otherwise maimed. The blessing of modern medical technology is also its curse: so long as they get to you in time, the military’s doctors can now enable you to survive the sort of wounds that given the choice you might not want to survive.

Why are we still feeding our soldiers into this Afghan mincing machine? I don’t mean “Why are we there?” – that’s a separate debate. I mean why are we adopting a strategy which seems to require tactics absolutely 100 per cent guaranteed to ensure that month after month (perhaps less in winter, when the fighting season stops) we get soldier after soldier coming back from Afghanistan, either in a coffin or crippled for life?

Reading the background to each new fatality is like experiencing Groundhog Day. Time and again it’s the same story: soldiers patrolling on a limited number of fixed (and easily recognised) patrol routes – “mowing the lawn” as it’s known – are either ambushed by the Taliban or blown up by one of several IEDs. During the evacuation of the casualty, another IED – cunningly placed for just this eventuality – takes out the rescue team. Carnage.

To lose one or two soldiers in this way might be considered unfortunate. But when you repeat the same mistake again and again, the phrase “Lions led by Donkeys”  comes to mind. And also “lambs to the slaughter.”

Don’t ask me what our exact strategy should be in Afghanistan. I don’t know. But whatever it is, as Richard North’s superb Defence of The Realm blog never tires of pointing out – simply cannot be one which requires our men on the ground to sacrifice their lives so unnecessarily. Obviously, we need more helicopters (to avoid the mined roads), more IED resistant vehicles (MRAPs) and as Gen Sir Richard Dannatt says today, more comprehensive surveillance. We also need many more men: a Coalition force level of at least 500,000 reckons an experienced former senior officer of my acquaintance.

What we most need, though, is understanding from our political leaders (less Brown, perhaps, who is beyond redemption, but at least from the coming Tory government) that this Afghan engagement is not something which can be brought to any even vaguely successful conclusion through half-measures.

Lt Col William Pender (rtd) nailed the problem exactly when he wrote to the Telegraph earlier this week:

The fundamental question, both for the Government and for Nato (if it is to remain a meaningful alliance), is whether defeat of the Taliban and establishment of a stable, long-term democracy in Afghanistan really is a vital interest.

If it is vital, then since national security is the prime duty of any government, whatever it takes in manpower – but primarily willpower – from all Nato member nations, must be allocated to fulfilling this aim. If this means putting economies on a war footing – fine.

If, on the other hand, these aims are merely desirable rather than vital – and with governments led by politicians with no personal military experience, and more concerned with interest rates, credit crunches and unemployment – why, let them say so. Then the nations that contribute combat troops can resign themselves to long-term attrition of their soldiers committed to an unwinnable war.

Or as one of the Toms sweltering out in Helmand might more succinctly put it: “Either **** or get off the pot.”

Related posts:

  1. Obama: when all else fails, blame Dubya and the CIA
  2. Where have Action Man’s gonads gone?
  3. Ron Paul is right. Military adventurism is a luxury we can no longer afford
  4. The lesson of Arnhem and Afghanistan: heroism is no substitute for strategy

 

The Officers Who Played Fireball Hockey with Me Have Been Scandalously Betrayed

Have you ever played fireball hockey? God, what a fantastic game! You wrap a bog roll in chicken wire, douse it in paraffin, set fire to it and then play hockey with it — preferably while drunk and wearing black tie, as I was lucky enough to do myself three years ago in front of the officers’ mess at the Norfolk HQ of the Light Dragoons. I’d been invited by their then CO, Lt Col Robin Matthews, who’d liked my book How To Be Right and wanted me to give his officers a pep talk. He explained: ‘A lot of these chaps are painfully aware how much money all their non-army friends are making [Gosh! That dates this story, doesn’t it?] and knowing you’re such a fan of the military I thought you could help remind them why they’re there.’

So that’s what I did. I told them how utterly crap life was in the real world (‘look at me: I’m a super-successful journalist, I meet lots of famous people, get dozens of CDs sent to me for review every week, am sent on the most stupendous travel freebies — but still it all completely sucks’), how soldiering was the most exciting and honourable profession, and the ‘war on terror’ was a noble and just one. At the time I was much more of a committed neocon than I am now, and was secretly quite pissed off when an earnest subaltern — one of the few non-public-school ones — came up to me afterwards to quibble with the general verdict that I was a splendid fellow who was quite right. ‘I still don’t see what we’re doing there,’ he said, meaning Iraq and Afghanistan. ‘Who are we to impose our values on cultures that don’t want them?’

After dinner, during the game of fireball hockey, I tried to show as much ‘form’ as possible. That lethal flaming bog roll could easily set your hair alight or char criss-cross marks into your skin, but you don’t want to be seen to flinch by men who are about to command light tank reconnaissance squadrons in Afghanistan, at the HQ of a regiment so dashing and brave that a mere squadron of its Hussar antecedents once captured a whole regiment of Frenchmen in the fog.

(to read more, click here)

Related posts:

  1. Ron Paul is right. Military adventurism is a luxury we can no longer afford
  2. Radio Free Delingpole XIV: Fracking, Thrones and Ninjas
  3. Climategate: sack ‘no longer credible’ Michael Mann from IPCC urges climatologist
  4. Obama: when all else fails, blame Dubya and the CIA

 

Obama: When All Else Fails, Blame Dubya and the CIA

Did you hear about the captured Russian gunship pilot shot down in Eighties Afghanistan? (If you’re of a squeamish disposition, I’d skip to the next par). First they gave him tea; then they gave him heroin, then they chopped his foot off, then they raped him; then, once he’d recovered from the first amputation – nurtured of course by traditional Pashtun hospitality – they raped him some more, before chopping off another of his limbs. And so on – nice, nasty, nice, nasty – until they had tired of their plaything and granted him the mercy of death.

The only detail of that true story that I’m not sure I’ve got exactly right is when they administered the heroin: was it before or after the amputations? But I don’t think anyone familiar with Afghanistan would doubt its essential veracity. Similar stories come out of Helmand every day: girls having acid thrown in their faces for attending school; school teachers being hung, drawn and quartered or crucified for having the temerity to teach girls or disobey the Taliban. It’s just how the Afghans are: tough on human rights; tough on the causes of human rights; definitely not the kind of people you’d ask to babysit your kitten while you were away on your summer hols.

President Obama: palpably upset and concerned at being forced, much against his will, to blame his predecessor for EVERYTHING.

So how come this message appears completely to have eluded the current President of the USA? Has none of his advisors read Kipling? Or the first Flashman book? Or heard or read a single thing about Afghanistan or the bad stuff that happens there? Only President Obama appears to have got it into his head that what the Afghans are really crying out for now to make everything better is for the US to launch an inquiry into how the human rights of certain captured Taliban might have been abused in November 2001 by an Afghan warlord Gen Abdul Rashid Dostum. To whit, he killed the lot of them – 100s, if not 1000s and buried them in a mass grave.

Now, POTUS has promised to launch a full investigation into the incident – for reasons of course which have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Dostum was on the payroll of the CIA and therefore, by extension, of the Evil Bush Administration. (Hat Tip: Jake Tapper)

“If it appears that our conduct in some way supported violations of the laws of war, then I think that, you know, we have to know about that,” said Obama.

Really? Of course, one is saddened by the terrible fate administered to those peace-loving Taliban by the horrid Gen Dostum; of course, it is a grievous pity that they are no longer around to blow American, British and Canadian boys to pieces with IEDs or throw acid at schoolgirls or mutilate schoolteachers. Yes, it goes without saying that this is not the way Western forces ought ever to be encouraged to treat their prisoners.

But the point surely here is that these prisoners weren’t in the hands of Western forces. They were in the hands of an Afghan general who found an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem. And isn’t this, after all, the thing the Allied coalition is supposed to be encouraging in Afghanistan right now? We have, after all, come to accept after eight years of near-fruitless slog that we’re not going to win total military victory, let alone transform Afghanistan into a Western-style democracy. So where’s all this nonsense suddenly coming from that the US’s most urgent priority there is to investigate the killing of Taliban  by a non-American in the chaos and mayhem immediately following 9/11? (And incidentally if killing Taliban – plus sundry innocent civilians – is really such a problem, oughtn’t Obama to be investigating himself?)

Surely it can have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Obama’s poll ratings are falling, his economic policy is failing, unemployment is rising, his universal healthcare plan stalling, his cap n trade running into serious opposition, and his Afghan adventure looking more and more likely to turn into his Vietnam?

Surely a man as palpably noble and decent as Obama would never be so unprincipled as to try – for a second time in three months – to court cheap popularity with his nation’s enemies by undermining his own intelligence services and blaming everything on the CIA and George W Bush?

Related posts:

  1. Obama’s won the Nobel Peace – WTF?!
  2. Where have Action Man’s gonads gone?
  3. Is ‘Kojak’ Obama losing all his hair?
  4. Benghazi and Obama: the media is trying to shore up this desperate administration

Burqa Ban: What Barack Obama Could Learn from Nicolas Sarkozy about Islam

Almost every idea that ever came out of France has been bad for America, from the structuralist philosophical gibberish which has poisoned US academe to the grotesquely over-regulated tax and spend socialism which is now ruining the US economy. But if there’s one area where the French do get it SO right it’s in their uncompromising approach to Islam.

President Sarkozy once again showed the way yesterday when in a presidential address to France’s two houses of parliament, he said the burqa is not welcome in his country and should be banned.

As he rightly went on to say the full-body garment which makes women in Afghanistan look like a cross between a prison cell and a walking tent is “not a sign of religion” but a “sign of subservience.” He added: “We cannot have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social ife, deprived of identity.”

Compare and contrast, the appalling cultural appeasement of President Obama’s speech in Cairo on June 4 when he boasted that the United States prized freedom of religion and would not “tell people what to wear.” And there was I thinking it was the French who were supposed to be the surrender monkeys, not the Americans.

Was there ever greater proof that, where the great clash of civilisations is concerned, President Obama is turning out to be the Islamists’ useful idiot par excellence?

Does Barack Hussein Obama really not understand that supposed “freedom” he is granting US Muslim women to wear the veil is in fact the most surefire way of guaranteeing their continued subservience to their men folk and their failure to integrate with the broader society?

It’s for precisely this reason – would that the rest of Europe had the courage! – that France bans religious head coverings in state schools. France understands, as so many in the pusillanimous, multi-culti West do not, that female Muslim girls of school age need protecting from the heavy pressure put on them by male relatives to wear the veil. Banning the veil in French schools is not the sign of an oppressive state taking away religious freedom. It is a rare example of a government setting a moral example and standing up for freedom: a girl’s freedom to choose whether she wants to spend the rest of her life in a kind of religious apartheid or whether she wants to integrate more closely with the host culture.

That President Obama cannot understand this reflects disgracefully on his supposedly vast intelligence. As a Democrat, he ought at the very least to be championing progressive values, and foremost among those values – for which generations of feminists have fought so hard  – is female equality. So here, just to remind you, is what he really thinks about female equality – at least where America’s Muslim girls are concerned:

“The U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.”

In other words: typical Obama lazy moral equivocation and disingenuous fluff. These “some in the West” who believe that “a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal” are straw men. They simply don’t exist. In parts of the Islamic world, on the other hand, such men are rife. And hair coverings are the very least of their women folks problems. How does being dressed head to toe in a sack compare with being banned from driving; or murdered for trying to attend school; or being stoned to death for adultery because a bunch of local lads have decided to gang rape you?
America, you won’t often hear me say this but in this particular case it’s true. Where Islam is concerned, you have a lot to learn from those pesky cheese-eaters.