Sunday, 25 January 2009

'Calibrate expectations', 'kinetic' , 'civilian stabilisation' - newspeak on the NW Frontier

Some of the words quoted in a report from the frontline in today's Sunday Herald sound more as if they should have been spoken by a nuLabour spin-doctor rather than by a senior commando in the middle of a warzone.
But whatever the words used, this report from the Sunday Herald's correspondent at FOB Inkerman (or FOB Incoming as it's more affectionally known) gives a stark account of what daily life is like for the guys at the spearhead of the war on terror.

At 24, L/Cpl Rory Ottway says he is "quite old compared to most of the lads"...... "During one operation our section swept round and came up on the Taliban by an irrigation ditch, and one of them stuck his head out from behind a wall to take a burst," remembers Ottway. "Some of our snipers managed to get him though," he added, almost as an afterthought.

"What impresses me most about the lads is that one minute they are out there searching for weapons, the next they are talking politely to local people, and then again within an instant they can be in a firefight or combat situation."

A simple wooden cross stands at the top of a pile of stones. On one side in a small concrete alcove, a few brass plates are inscribed with the names of the fallen. Men from the Royal Anglian and Parachute Regiments, the Grenadier Guards and the Royal Marines. All were young men whose lives were lost a long way from home in a bleak, unremitting land, against an uncompromising foe.
One can only guess at the extent to which those of us who are fortunate enough never to have been in places like Forward Operating Base Inkerman, can truly gauge the nature of their sacrifice.