Young People Today

In this missive, I discussed 18 year old Anthony Myers, a TA soldier who continued firing despite having a bullet lodged in his shoulder. The Guardian reports a similar case from the day on which eight British soldiers were killed in action during Operation Panther’s Claw.

Trooper Anthony Matthews, 20, of the Light Dragoons, was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during Operation Panther’s Claw in Helmand province last week. He described how he managed to apply a tourniquet to his leg wound and to that of an injured comrade as he returned gunfire.

On that day, 7 July, Matthews’s close friend Christopher Whiteside, 22, was killed by an improvised bomb in a separate operation in Gereshk.


“When the bullets are whizzing past it’s terrifying,” said Matthews. “They sound like bees flying past your ears, and then you hear them land and it sounds like someone clapping their hands.”

After being hit, he said, “it was just adrenaline. I didn’t feel anything. I stabbed myself with morphine and held on until the helicopters came. They got us back to Camp Bastion in four minutes.”

The Light Dragoons in action on 3 July. Anthony Matthews was injured four days later. Photograph: Sgt Dan Harmer

Matthews described the combat as “like something out of Saving Private Ryan”, and I will take it word for it. I have not watched that film, but I have watched Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line which contained some of the most distressing battle-scenes I have seen on screen: Amos Gitai’s Kippur, also, contains a shocking rocket-attack on a military helicopter.

Matthews also recounted that it had taken his platoon all the daylight hours to advance just 800 metres. These are not squirmishes, this is a war.

But there is more. Four days previously Matthews had been on foot-patrol when a nearby Scimitar tank was hit by a roadside bomb, hitting his arms with debris. Unsuprisingly, he has been nick-named “Bulletproof” by his comrades.

The title story occured on 7 July. On 9 July, the Lord Ahmed of Rotherham – a convicted dangerous driver – hosted a conference in the House of Lords at which one guest was Anas al-Tikriti. In addition to being the chief executive of the Cordoba Foundation, al-Tikriti has deplored the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Not because they are depraved murderers who detonate bombs in tents full of women and children or use children as decoys, but because they did not spend enough time killing American and British soldiers.

Two days after that, the Miss Jean Brodie of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, John Wight, said on the oxymornically-named Socialist Unity blog:

The people who protect our freedoms are not the troops, never have been the troops, and never will be the troops.

And then:

If I see units of the British Army scabbing on behalf of Edinburgh City Council in the event of the binmen going on strike, I’ll be getting stuck in. I’ve got family and friends who work as binmen.

Fuck the troops.

Disgraceful human beings, both Wight and Ahmed.


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6 Responses to “Young People Today”

  1. Alec's Right Hand Says:

  2. Tacitus Says:

    Good piece, Alec.

    Thought you may be interested to know that someone’s been posting this picture of you.

  3. Alec Says:

    That willy doesn’t look anything like me. It’s not wearing a hat.

    (The previous two posts are, of course, from the same IP address.)

  4. Fabian from Israel Says:

    How come you haven’t seen Saving Private Ryan?????

  5. Alec Says:

    Never did get around to it, Fabian. I have watched Band of Brothers, though.

  6. Rt Hon Penelope Pitstop « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] least the Lord Ahmed stopped after crashing whilst texting on his mobile telephone. Maybe he was arranging a meeting with Anas al Tikriti, who believes Al Qaeda in Iraq spent too much time killing women and […]

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