Around sixty years ago, at the ungodly hour of 5.00 a.m. I was requested to get out of my stinking pit to go the Parade Ground as a matter of urgency, along with my colleagues.
We attempted to persuade the Sergeant to have a meaningful discussion about this change to our normal arrangements and to take account of our need to be treated as individuals each with his own human rights.
We were not successful, it seemed that the Duty Officer had been roused from his slumbers by an irate Commanding Officer of the battalion next door to us and our Adjutant wanted to have a not so quiet word.
A public house had been damaged in a dispute over differences of opinion between some of us and some of them. The local police were not happy and asked them what they were up to as the most likely candidates.
However, as some of us were involved they were making the case that we had started by our insults and offensiveness. Although I had left and signed in at the gate shortly before it all became physical there were suggestions that the origin lay in my views on logistics.
Briefly, I had advised some of them that contrary to their belief that they were superior soldiers they were actually pretty useless. We were able to make our way about under our own steam, knew where we were going and could read a map.
They, on the other hand, had to be put into lorries with their kit, taken to an airfield and then thrown out in the air at the destination to ensure their safe arrival. They could not be relied on to do it on foot or driving a vehicle.
They were the 2nd Battalion of The Parachute Regiment, chaps of a sensitive disposition and easily offended. Since then I have always had an interest in what they were up to. They seem to have a talent for being there in hot spots.
Now they are off again, back to Iraq, to do what soldiers have to do, although it is not exactly clear what that is to be, for what purpose and why we are putting men in numbers back in places that we should be avoiding, notably if cuts in Defence spending are intended never mind limiting our commitments to what we can do and can afford.
This news I picked up from the Army Rumour Service, one of the more reliable sources of information about government policy and the direction of action and intention. Some of the more perceptive comments are as follows:
Fred Frog asks "What can possibly go wrong?"
Postman Twit commented "I thought we'd moved beyond the 'send in the Paras' default setting???"
MotorBoat says" Good old mission creep, how come this does not have to be voted on in Parliament? I thought Dave said no boots on the ground?"
CAARPS says "All the 'experts' that keep telling us that the British Army will be barracks bound for the next 3 decades are remarkably quiet."
With David Cameron in his quest for votes becoming more like Tony Blair than Tony Blair perhaps it was only to be expected.
It can only get worse.