Buttle's World

25 September, 2009

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 7:57

Michael Yon’s dispatch on his fight with the British Ministry of Defense can be summed up as: British soldiers are great. British leaders, not so much.

I had a specific incident with this British Media Ops Major.

The Major and I were driving in Camp Bastion around midday when it was very hot.  A British soldier ran by wearing a rucksack. He was drenched in sweat under the blazing, dusty desert.  I smiled because it’s great to see so many soldiers who work and train hard. Yet the Major cut fun at the soldier, saying he was dumb to be running in that heat.  I nearly growled at the Major, but instead asked if he ever goes into combat.  The answer was no. And, in fact, the Major does not leave the safety of Camp Bastion.

That a military officer would share a foul word about a combat soldier who was prepping for battle was offensive.  Especially an officer who lives in an air-conditioned tent with a refrigerator stocked with chilled soft drinks.  Just outside his tent are nice hot and cold showers.  Five minutes away is a little Pizza Hut trailer, a coffee shop, stores, and a cookhouse.

This very Major had earned a foul reputation among his own kind for spending too much time on his Facebook page. I personally saw him being gratuitously rude to correspondents.  Some correspondents—all were British—complained to me that when they wanted to interview senior British officers, they were told by this Major to submit written questions.  The Major said they would receive videotaped answers that they could edit as if they were talking with the interviewee.  (Presumably, senior British officers are avoiding the tough questions, such as, “So, when do you plan to send enough helicopters?”)

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