Meet the ladylike British army command 2

James Delingpole predicts mutiny in the British army.

We hope he’s right. It cannot come too soon.

He writes at Breitbart:

Sooner or later there is going to be a mutiny in the British Army.

As exhibit a) I present this essay  — titled The Army Needs More Feminists — by some brown-nosing major, presumably written with a view to ingratiating himself with his PC superiors.

British Army Centre for Army [email protected]_Leadership

‘The Army Needs More Feminists’. Intrigued? Read our latest #Leadership Insight by Maj Tim Towler available for you to read now. …

Picture a hall with a stage. You are part of an audience consisting mostly of women. You don’t know how you got there, but now you are there you’ll stay for the entertainment. .

Enter Major T. of the Royal Scots regiment. He stands center stage. He smiles and nods acknowledgment of polite applause.

He is dressed in black pantyhose and red high-heeled shoes. A pink tulle tutu. His fingernails are painted blue. He has shaved carefully, and put on red lipstick. He is buttoned into the jacket of his regimental formal wear, with medals. They remind you that he is a member of the armed forces of a country that once ruled over the greatest empire in history, whose soldiers won famous battles on all inhabited continents. Let martial music sound in your memory, the drums, the pipes. And attend to Major T.

In a small high voice – put on for the occasion – he delivers his speech, the text of the article.

A Good Time To Be A Girl [by Helena Morrissey] is not a title that will immediately draw soldiers to grab this book off the shelf. Ashamedly, I would not have read it a couple of years ago. Perhaps it is this shame that is forcing me to write now, or, the shame that previously I might not have acted when I should have done; a guilt knowing that I have let objectifying and discriminatory comments go by unchallenged in the past. As an infantry officer, my experience of working with women is limited, a poor excuse, but my recent roles alongside diplomats and business leaders have been a turning point. They have opened my eyes to some of the challenges and biases that still exist and have made me feel empowered and duty bound to act. I had not considered feminism a leadership issue before, but if 2 leadership is truly about enabling others to succeed, then feminism (and diversity more broadly) is critical. Embracing diversity, standing up for what is right, and maximizing everyone’s potential is vital to leading at all levels, and especially to leading through change. …

If leadership is truly about enabling others to succeed, then feminism is crucial … I felt ashamed … I felt guilty … now I feel empowered and duty bound to act … work towards a truly inclusive modern society …

Burble, burble, burble.

Feminism is a fight for equality … equal but different … celebrate the difference between genders … we need to embrace diversity  … change the patriarchal society … for the good of us all …

He raises a shoulder and looks at you coyly. He sways his hips.

He does not know that he is clowning. He is serious. He believes that what he is doing is virtuous. Very, very virtuous because politically correct and à la mode.

Do you leave feeling ashamed, guilty, determined to do better, to become a feminist? Or shaking your head, laughing bitterly?

Let’s return to Delingpole.

He comments on the article:

After [the first paragrpah, quoted above], it gets worse. Much worse. Apart from being badly written (“Ashamedly”??), it is simply not the kind of wheedling, breast-beating milquetoastery one would expect of an officer charged with defending Britain from her myriad enemies.

What, in heaven’s name, is this pantywaist pillock doing reading feminist tracts anyway? Surely, if he’s going to be remotely effective at his job, he should be reading Clausewitz. Or Sun Tzu. Or Churchill. Or Napoleon. Or, if he’s not up to those, tattered copies of War Picture Library and Commando.

That essay — or, more to the point, the fact that the Army’s PR department felt it was worth boasting about on Twitter — embodies so much of what is wrong with Britain’s armed forces. (And the United States’s, and Australia’s and the rest — for they’re all susceptible to the same social pressures): their emasculation and near-ruination by political correctness.

He proceeds to his “exhibit b)”:

As exhibit b) I present this video of a bunch of squaddies protesting at the fact that one of their ex-comrades has been chucked out of the Army for the ‘crime’ of posing for a selfie with Tommy Robinson. 

Please go there and watch the 30 second video. The laughing happiness of Tommy and the soldiers is wonderful to see.

Mutiny is not something you associate with the British Army and its proud traditions of discipline and loyalty to the Crown. But I see after a quick search that there was one as recently as 2013 when 16 soldiers of the Yorkshire Regiment were court-martialled for “disobeying a lawful command” after staging a sit-down at a parade.

Their complaint — apparently in response to an unpopular captain and colour sergeant — was that they were being “led by muppets”.

Since that incident, the number of muppets in senior positions in the Army has increased exponentially.

Hence, for example, the toe-curling recruitment ad the Army released earlier this year showing soldiers on exercise in the mountains pausing reverently, mid-patrol, to observe a Muslim comrade ritually wash himself in a stream, whip out his prayer mat, don his prayer hat and bow down in prayer. “Keeping my faith”, the ad was titled.

This rampant PC is causing huge damage to Army morale (not to mention operational effectiveness) and may go some way to explaining why the Army is having such problems attracting new recruits.

After all, who wants to sign their life away for a minimum of four years service if it’s going to entail endless lectures from [officers] on the vital importance of racial sensitivity and the valuable contribution to society made by women? You join the Army to be the best, prove your manhood and see the elephant. Everything else is for the birds.

You join the army to kill your country’s enemies.  

At the weekend, I attended a panel event on this very subject at the Battle of Ideas. It was called The Military: Muscle or Mindfulness — and one of the panelists was an obviously very pissed off ex-soldier called Beverley Henshaw. She clearly had no truck with all the New Age, touchy-feelie nonsense which her superiors think is the way forward. She wanted the Army to get on with its core business: defending the realm and — I’m guessing — killing the nation’s enemies.

A senior officer on the panel — Lt Gen Sir Simon Mayall — clearly sympathized with this view. But when I asked which of the top brass were to blame for the Army’s cuckolding he was too politic to name names. (I’m told privately that the rot goes right to the top with Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of Defence Staff, who apparently can’t get enough of all this PC stuff. He was educated at Winchester, the school which traditionally trains all our diplomats to suck up to and sell out to foreigners, so that explains a lot.)

The problem, of course, is that the people who get to the very top of the military tend to be creatures of the Establishment. And the current political Establishment, as we know, right now, is very, very squishily PC and excruciatingly risk averse.

This would explain the Army’s massive overreaction when some of the squaddies posed for photos with Tommy Robinson. The Army felt compelled to issue the following statement:

Far-right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces. The armed forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve. Anyone who is in breach of the army’s values and standards will face administrative action.

But this says more about the Establishment’s prejudice than it does about who the real Tommy Robinson is or what he stands for. He is only “far right” or “extremist” in the Guardian sense of “anyone to the right of Jeremy Corbyn”. But it suits the Establishment — led by his arch nemesis Theresa May — to pretend that Tommy Robinson is representative of some terrible far-right threat to Britain. In this, he performs the function of Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four – as the state’s officially designated hate figure on whom everyone can pour their righteous scorn in order to show their virtue and cement societal solidarity.

Ordinary people aren’t buying this. They just can’t see what’s wrong with a working-class lad making a fuss about all the Muslim gangs which, over a period of twenty years or more, have been raping the girls in mostly working-class areas. Also, they think he’s right to stand up for our troops and right to express his disgust when those troops come back from active service in hellholes like Afghanistan and Iraq only to be jeered at by the kind of jihadist sympathizers who, given half the chance, would be blowing up little girls at pop concerts or massacring kufar in shopping malls. They know what Britain’s enemies look like — and they don’t look like Tommy Robinson.

Since it’s ordinary people from whose ranks Britain’s soldiers are mostly recruited you can see why there’s a problem. The Army’s Top Brass are where the rest of the Establishment are: terrified of doing anything that might upset the Religion of Peace; painfully eager to give the Army some kind of post-conflict-era relevance as an agency for diversity and gender outreach and mindfulness.

And the squaddies are all thinking: sod this for a game of soldiers — I didn’t join the Army for this bollocks.

Losing wars to the New York Times 4

If Israel were to destroy every weapon stored in Gaza, it would still be in danger from that tiny, horrid, pathetic strip of what should be prime Mediterranean beach estate. Because the people who live there are so dedicated to hatred of Israel that the passion overrules all other possible interests, such as prosperity. And because more weapons will pour into Gaza almost as fast as they can be destroyed. And the new weapons will be more lethal than the old. And in any case the Israelis will not be allowed to get anywhere near to destroying all existing stocks of weapons because some pretend-truce will be forced on them by world powers of historically perfect moral purity (such as Russia, China, France, Germany …).

This is from an article by Daniel Greenfield at Canada Free Press; bitter, maybe a trifle exaggerated in spots, yet essentially true:

The military, whether in the United States or Israel, does not exist to win wars. It exists to win over the people who don’t want it to win a war. …

In Israel, the last time the military was sent to win a war, was 1973. Since then the military has been used as a police force and to battle militias in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. In the Territories, the ideal Israeli soldier was supposed to be able to dodge rocks thrown by teenagers hired by Time correspondents looking to score a great photo. Today the ideal Israeli soldier is capable of visiting an American college campus to dodge the overpriced textbooks hurled at him by the local branch of Students for Justice in Palestine or the International Socialist Organization, while explaining why the IDF is the most moral army in the world except for the Salvation Army.

The ideal Israeli soldier, like his American, British and Canadian, but not Russian or Chinese, counterparts, is supposed to avoid Incidents. That means operating under Rules of Engagement which make firing at an assailant almost as dangerous as not firing at an assailant.

The ideal American soldier is supposed to avoid the Taliban, or as one set of orders urged, patrol in places where the Taliban won’t be found. And that’s sensible advice, because if the goal is to avoid creating an Incident, then avoiding the enemy is the best way to avoid an Incident. Unfortunately the enemy has a bad habit of appearing where he isn’t supposed to be and creating his own Incidents, because Taliban and Hamas commanders …  actually welcome Incidents. The bigger and bloodier the Incident, the more hashish and young boys get passed around the campfire that night.

American soldiers operate under the burden of winning over the hearts and minds of Afghans and New York Times readers.

Israeli soldiers are tasked with winning over New York Times readers and European politicians.

But some hearts and minds are just unwinnable. And most wars become unwinnable when the goal is to fight an insurgency that has no fear of the dreaded Incident, while your soldiers are taught to be more afraid of an Incident than of an enemy bullet.

Israeli leaders live in perpetual fear of “losing the sympathy of the world”, little aware that they never really had it. The “Sympathy of the World” is the strategic metric for conflicts. And so Israel does its best to minimize any collateral damage by using pinpoint strikes and developing technologies that can pluck a bee off a flower without harming a single petal. But invariably the technocratic genius of such schemes has its limits, an Incident happens, the Israeli leftist press denounces the Prime Minister for clumsily losing the sympathy of the world, and international politicians order Israel to retreat back behind whatever line it retreated to during the last appeasement gesture before the last peace negotiations. And its experts ponder how to fight the next one without losing the sympathy of the world.

American and Israeli generals live in fear of losing political support and so they never put any plans on the table that would finish a conflict. Instead they choose low intensity warfare with prolonged bleeding instead of short and brutal engagements that would finish the job. They talk tough, but their enemies know that they don’t mean it. Worse still, that they aren’t allowed to mean it because meaning it would be too mean.

Incidentism leads to armies tiptoeing around conflicts and losing them by default. Avoiding them becomes the objective and that also makes Incidents inevitable because the enemy understands that all it will take to win is a few dead children planted in the ruins of a building; in a region where parents kill their own children for petty infractions and frequently go unpunished for it.

And send their children to be blown up by walking over minefields or detonating a suicide bomber’s belt.

The more an army commits to Incidentism, the sooner its war is lost. Prolonged low intensity conflicts are ripe with opportunities for Incidents, far more so that hot and rapid wars. And so the hearts and minds, those of the locals and those of New York Times readers, always end up being lost anyway.

War is no longer just politics by other means, it actually is politics with the goal of winning over hearts and minds, rather than achieving objectives. The objectives of a war, before, during and after, have become those of convincing your friends and your enemies, and various neutral parties, of your innate goodness and the justice of your cause. Propaganda then has become the whole of war and those who excel at propaganda, but aren’t any good at war, now win the wars. The actual fighting is just the awkward part that the people who make the propaganda wish we could dispense with so they can focus on what’s really important; distributing photos of our soldiers protecting the local children and playing with their puppies.

Take all that into account and the miserable track records of great armies are no longer surprising. Armies need to prove their morality to win a war, but are never allowed to win a war because it would interfere with proving their morality.  …

The war of words, the conflict of images and videos, the clash of arguments, has become the sum of war. And that war is unwinnable because it must be fought on two fronts, against the cultural enemies within and the insurgents outside. An army cannot win a war and win over the New York Times at the same time.

Big Green not too big to fail 1

We hope this is true.

It comes from PowerLine, by Steven Hayward:

The green energy bubble … is bursting …, and as usual environmentalists are slow to see that they’re about to get run over by a revival of the hydrocarbon economy. … Fossil fuels are crushing the so-called green “fuels of the future” beloved of fruit-juice drinkers and vegans everywhere. …

In an extremely curious New York Times story last week, Times environmental writer John Broder notes that President Obama pushed hard for the final approval of Shell Oil’s long sought permit to begin drilling in a new offshore oil field in Alaska, which has been held up for years by bureaucratic red tape and environmental lawsuits …

Watch out for that pig flying over your neck of the woods.

The fruit-juice vegans are upset about it.

“We never would have expected a Democratic president — let alone one seeking to be ‘transformative’ — to open up the Arctic Ocean for drilling,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club [one of the oldest biggest organizations of environmentalists]. …

Obama has grown very quiet about climate change. He can spot a political loser from a Chicago mile away. He’s not attending the UN’s 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit that started the whole climate diplomacy circus. Twenty years ago the greens browbeat President Bush to attend, which he ultimately did. But the craven greens seem to be giving Obama a pass.

As Roll Call reports: “President Barack Obama’s first Earth Day proclamation in 2009 was an urgent call to address global warming. This year? The word “climate” didn’t even get a mention… 

Gone are the urgent statements warning of melting glaciers and rising sea levels. …

This Washington Post headline tells why the enviros are about to get run over: “Center of Gravity in Oil World Shifts to Americas”

From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East. Central to the new energy equation is the United States itself, which has ramped up production and is now churning out 1.7 million more barrels of oil and liquid fuel per day than in 2005. . .

“We have a revolution here,” said Larry Goldstein, director of the Energy Policy Research Foundation in New York. “In 47 years in this business, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.” …

In Germany, too, … the pledge to phase out nuclear power is looking increasingly unrealistic and …  renewable energy subsidies are being cut sharply. … Some leading Social Democrats [party of the left] have called for building . . . more coal-fired power plants (gasp)! …

And the Berliner Morgenpost reports:

The German government no longer believes in the green energy transition. Doubts are growing in the ruling coalition government that the ecological project can succeed.

The news has not yet reached the middle-sized US town where we are headquartered. Our City Council is dominated by voluntary agents of Big Green. They say the town must “urgently” achieve “carbon neutrality” in its electricity supply. They seem pleased to add that there will be “significant rate increases to cover added costs”. One of the Councilmen, a leading shout in the movement, proclaimed this “the greatest moral issue of our time”. After which there was a rush for the doors as the hour had struck when fruit juice and broccoli are served in the grand marble entrance hall.

Thirty-six arguments for the existence of God 1

Very interesting is this extract from a novel titled 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, consisting of Chapter 1 and an Appendix in which the 36 arguments are set out and systematically demolished.

It is the work of an atheist philosopher and novelist named Rebecca Newberger Goldstein.

The 36 arguments are all worth examining to a greater or lesser degree. They have all been examined many times, often at great length. Goldstein’s presentation of them and her neat counter-arguments constitute a masterpiece of precise sufficiency. Only thorough familiarity with the subject matter and long and deep thinking can produce such conciseness and such clarity.

In the counter-arguments, listed as ‘Flaws’, she occasionally reinforces her case with an apt quotation. Having knocked down Argument 11, for instance, The Argument from Miracles, she adds an observation from David Hume which I like: ‘If the spirit of religion join itself to the love of wonder, there is an end of common sense.’

Number 25 is The Argument from Suffering. This is how she gives it and deals with it:

1. There is much suffering in this world.

2. Some suffering (or at least its possibility) is demanded by human moral agency: if people could not choose evil acts that cause suffering, moral choice would not exist.

3.Whatever suffering cannot be explained as the result of human moral agency must also have some purpose (from 2 & 3).

4. There are virtues — forbearance, courage, compassion, and so on — that can only develop in the presence of suffering. We may call them ‘the virtues of suffering’.

5. Some suffering has the purpose of our developing the virtues of suffering (from 4).

6. Even taking 3 and 6 into account, the amount of suffering in the world is still enormous — far more than what is required for us to benefit from suffering.

7. Moreover, there are those who suffer who can never develop the virtues of suffering–children, animals, those who perish in their agony.

8. There is more suffering than we can explain by reference to the purposes that    we can discern (from 7 & 8).

9. There are purposes for suffering that we cannot discern (from 2 and 9).

10. Only a being who has a sense of purpose beyond ours could provide the purpose of all suffering (from 10).

11. Only God could have a sense of purpose beyond ours.

12. God exists.

To which she answers:

This argument is a sorrowful one, since it highlights the most intolerable feature of our world, the excess of suffering. The suffering in this world is excessive in both its intensity and its prevalence, often undergone by those who can never gain anything from it. This is a powerful argument against the existence of a compassionate and powerful deity.  [Bold added here and throughout]

While I agree with her that every one of the arguments fails to prove the existence of God, I do not agree with all her contentions. For example, here is number 27, The Argument from The Upward Curve of History:

1. There is an upward moral curve to human history (tyrannies fall; the evil side loses in major wars; democracy, freedom, and civil rights spread).

2. Natural selection’s favoring of those who are fittest to compete for resources and mates has bequeathed humankind selfish and aggressive traits.

3. Left to their own devices, a selfish and aggressive species could not have ascended up a moral curve over the course of history (from 2).

4.Only God has the power and the concern for us to curve history upward.

5. God exists.

And here is the ‘Flaw’ as she sees it:

Though our species has inherited traits of selfishness and aggression, we have also inherited capacities for empathy, reasoning, and learning from experience. We have also inherited language, and with it a means to pass on the lessons we have learned from history. And so humankind has slowly reasoned its way toward a broader and more sophisticated understanding of morality, and more effective institutions for keeping peace. We make moral progress as we do scientific progress, through reasoning, experimentation, and the rejection of failed alternatives.

The sentence I have italicized is more a description of civilization than of moral progress in the heart or mind of the species. The idea of moral progress through human history is dubious, even when seen as a learning process rather than an evolutionary one. She does not discuss what it is that makes us behave morally. While she implicitly rejects the idea that God does, she does not introduce enlightened self-interest. Of course, such a discussion is not her immediate purpose. But it is a more efficient destruction of the argument to deny that there is any ‘upward curve  of history’ in the sense that mankind has become nicer, and she makes no convincing case that there is such a thing.

She makes a very good argument against Pascal’s Wager in number 32, The Argument from Decision Theory, ending with this analogy:

Say I told you that a fire-breathing dragon has moved into the next apartment and that unless you set out a bowl of marshmallows for him every night he will force his way into your apartment and roast you to a crisp. According to Pascal’s wager, you should leave out the marshmallows. Of course you don’t, even though you are taking a terrible risk in choosing not to believe in the dragon, because you don’t assign a high enough probability to the dragon’s existence to justify even the small inconvenience.

Number 32 is The Argument from Pragmatism, William James’s ‘leap of faith’.

1. The consequences for the believer’s life of believing should be considered as part of the evidence for the truth of the belief (just as the effectiveness of a scientific theory in its practical applications is considered evidence for the truth of the theory). Call this the pragmatic evidence for the belief.

2. Certain beliefs effect a change for the better in the believer’s life — the necessary condition being that they are believed.

3. The belief in God is a belief that effects a change for the better in a person’s life.

4. If one tries to decide whether or not to believe in God based on the evidence available, one will never get the chance to evaluate the pragmatic evidence for the beneficial consequences of believing in God (from 2 and 3).

5. One ought to make ‘the leap of faith’ (the term is James’s) and believe in God, and only then evaluate the evidence (from 1 and 4).

Of her refutations here the one I like best (though I’m not saying it is stronger than the others) is this:

Why should we only consider the pragmatic effects on the believer’s life? What about the effects on everyone else? The history of religious intolerance, including inquisitions, fatwas, and suicide bombers, suggests that the effects on one person’s life of another person’s believing in God can be pretty grim.

An important case is made in number 33, The Argument from the Unreasonableness of Reason, that ‘our belief in reason cannot be justified by reason, since that would be circular’ so ‘our belief in reason must be accepted on faith’.  Of her counter-arguments here, I particularly liked these:

[T]o justify reason with reason is not circular, but rather, unnecessary. One already is, and always will be, committed to reason by the very process one is already engaged in, namely reasoning. Reason is non-negotiable; all sides concede it. It needs no justification, because it is justification. A belief in God is not like that at all.


If one really took the unreasonability of reason as a license to believe things on faith, then which things should one believe in? If it is a license to believe in a single God who gave his son for our sins, why isn’t it just as much a license to believe in Zeus and all the other Greek gods, or the three major gods of Hinduism, or the angel Moroni? For that matter, why not Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy? If one says that there are good reasons to accept some entities on faith, while rejecting others, then one is saying that it is ultimately reason, not faith, that must be invoked to justify a belief.

And then there is the most interesting argument of them all to atheists, number 35, The Argument from the Intelligibility of the World – ‘Spinoza’s God’.

Whenever Einstein was asked whether he believed in God, he responded that he believed in “Spinoza’s God.” This argument presents Spinoza’s God. It is one of the most elegant and subtle arguments for God’s existence, demonstrating where one ends up if one rigorously eschews the Fallacy of Invoking One Mystery to Pseudo-Explain Another: one ends up with the universe, and nothing but the universe: a universe which itself provides all the answers to all the questions one can pose about it. A major problem with the argument, however, in addition to the flaws discussed below, is that it is not at all clear that it is God whose existence is being proved. Spinoza’s conclusion is that the universe that is described by the laws of nature simply is God. Perhaps the conclusion should, rather, be that the universe is different from what it appears to be — no matter how arbitrary and chaotic it may appear, it is in fact perfectly lawful and necessary, and therefore worthy of our awe. But is its awe-inspiring lawfulness reason enough to regard it as God? Spinoza’s God is sharply at variance with all other divine conceptions.

The argument has only one substantive premise … which, though unproved, is not unreasonable; it is, in fact, the claim that the universe itself is thoroughly reasonable.  Though this first premise can’t be proved, it is the guiding faith of many physicists (including Einstein).  It is the claim that everything must have an explanation; even the laws of nature, in terms of which processes are explained, must have an explanation. In other words, there has to be an explanation for why it is these laws of nature rather than some other, which is another way of asking for why it is this world rather than some other.

She points out that:

Spinoza’s argument, if sound, invalidates all the other arguments, the ones that try to establish the existence of a more traditional God—that is, a God who stands distinct from the world described by the laws of nature, as well as distinct from the world of human meaning, purpose, and morality. Spinoza’s argument claims that any transcendent God, standing outside of that for which he is invoked as explanation, is invalidated by the first powerful premise [‘all facts must have explanations’] that all things are part of the same explanatory fabric. The mere coherence of The Argument from The Intelligibility of The Universe, therefore, is sufficient to reveal the invalidity of the other theistic arguments. This is why Spinoza, although he offered a proof of what he called “God,” is often regarded as the most effective of all atheists.

There’s a feast for discussion here; not just dishes but whole courses. Bon appétit!

Jillian Becker    November 24, 2009