Gosh, this is fun, isn’t it?

It was a boom business. That is, until Universal sued in 1929, accusing Winkler­Koch of stealing its intellectual property. With his domestic business tied up in court, Fred started looking for partners abroad and was soon doing business in the Soviet Union, where leader Joseph Stalin had just launched his first Five Year Plan. Stalin sought to fund his country’s industrialization by selling oil into the lucrative European export market. But the Soviet Union’s reserves were notoriously hard to refine. The USSR needed cracking technology, and the Oil Directorate of the Supreme Council of the National Economy took a shining to Winkler-Koch – primarily because Koch’s oil-industry competitors were reluctant to do business with totalitarian Communists.

Between 1929 and 1931, Winkler-Koch built 15 cracking units for the Soviets. Although Stalin’s evil was no secret, it wasn’t until Fred visited the Soviet Union, that these dealings seemed to affect his conscience. “I went to the USSR in 1930 and found it a land of hunger, misery and terror,” he would later write. Even so, he agreed to give the Soviets the engineering know-how they would need to keep building more.

So, if you’re a right winger then by 1929 Stalin was obviously a monster. If you’re a leftie then you get the Pulitzer in 1932 for saying it was all just great.

Isn’t this fun kiddies?

61 thoughts on “Gosh, this is fun, isn’t it?”

  1. UVA was criminal but getting McChrystal sacked “for funzies” (it’s no secret to anybody with a brain, or a Facebook account, that many in the US military loath their current Commander in Chief. Hillary will be worse) got people killed.

  2. I’ll let Gamecock answer that but I’d be willing to be he’s not.

    While he’s at it I’ve been curious if his handle is a reference to the University of South Carolina or if he just enjoys cock fighting?

  3. This came up over at Winterings, and I left the following comment:

    “It all sounds a bit desperate, to be honest. Aside from the possible relevance of the activities of somebody’s father 80 years ago (and note how little the press makes of Joe Kennedy having his own daughter lobotomised), doing business with the Nazis in 1934 is somewhat different from doing business with the Nazis during WWII. European manufacturing and heavy industry was crossing borders centuries before the Nazis came to power, and whatever the Nazis turned into it’s a bit unreasonable to expect Papa Koch to have gotten the measure of the Nazis’ true colours and boycotted Germany. This is nothing more than a smear campaign, and a pretty desperate one at that. Why don’t they go after Hugo Boss or Volkswagen?”

  4. Note how the Left never blames the children for the sins of the father, except when the father’s crime was to have made too much money.

  5. “This is nothing more than a smear campaign, and a pretty desperate one at that.”

    You hit the nail on the head. While I personally can come up with about as many reasons to defend the Koch family’s actions as I can those of Hitler your link as well as the Rolling Stone piece are obviously biased. I find it interesting that the Koch response link is currently broken.

    It is here. I haven’t read it yet so I’ll return when I have finished.

  6. LY – I’ve read it and they seem to either refute the claims or note that they were either pre-Kock ownership of the facilities or, frankly, the rare instances of controls failures that will happen in a large industry that were reported by Kock to the appropriate state or federal regulators.

  7. Years ago (2006), after debunking a MSM ‘controversy’ regarding the purchase of P&O by Dubai Ports World by observing that companies cannot buy dock space at quasi-public facilities in the USA (something any adult with half a brain could have discovered with Google and five minutes), I was offered a journalism position with a MSM company here in the States.

    I emailed the gentleman back and informed him I was insulted by his offer. I was credentialed in a real profession and saw no reason to start a career in a un-credentialed non-professional vocation. As far as I am concerned, a job in MSM journalism is one step down from a career shoveling shit out a dairy barn.

  8. Dear Mr Worstall

    ““I went to the USSR in 1930 and found it a land of hunger, misery and terror,” he would later write. Even so, he agreed to give the Soviets the engineering know-how they would need to keep building more.”

    And probably helped reduce the duration of the hunger and misery by many years. The terror, however, was the product of pure evil and no amount of cracking units would dispel that.

    @Gamecock February 9, 2016 at 1:49 pm – spot on. Long may it remain so.

    DP

  9. While I don’t trust what Koch says it makes more sense than the article. My dislike of Koch is for the politicians they support which is obvious instead of the vague or outdated charges Rolling Stone targets. I do like that they fund PBS’s Nova so like everything else in life they aren’t pure evil.

    Cricket matches here cost $299(about £200 depening on the exchange rate) or more so no I’m not watching it.

  10. Dennis the Patrician Peasant:

    “I was credentialed in a real profession and saw no reason to start a career in a un-credentialed non-professional vocation. As far as I am concerned, a job in MSM journalism is one step down from a career shoveling shit out a dairy barn.”

    The problem with today’s journalism is that it has far too MANY credentials, most of them qualifications in cultural Marxist bullshit from CM-controlled Unis.

    Let reporters find their trade skills the old way: toddling about looking for stories.

  11. No, sadly not. Although if you buy anything at Amazon after you have clicked through then I get, at no cost to you, a bit of beer money out of your purchases.

  12. So in other words if I follow your link then go on to what I want to buy that day you get a free lunch.

    How do I get in on this action?

  13. @SE re McChrystal, I agree with you re the vile journalists and their disgusting and cowardly behaviour, but otherwise surprised to see you say that given ‘courageous restraint’.

    *McChrystal* got people killed with that doctrine – guys who were killed by Taliban snipers in eg positions in treelines who could not be engaged because their precise location could not be identified. (Thinking of a particular RM sgt who was killed when his patrol was caught in open ground with little cover and the inevitable happened, when a more robust response would certainly have saved him. But there are lots of others.) I could take you to meet blokes who saw it happen and were screaming for artillery or air support and having it refused by people in air-conditioned trailers miles away, thanks to Stan the Man!

    McChrystal it was who had troops in contact unable to drop HE on the enemy, and had them drop smoke shells instead. And who insisted on repeatedly flying jets over the heads of the enemy without dropping anything on them – scary the first couple of times, but eventually even the really dim ones understood. All it really did was expose the pilots to unnecessary danger.

    I’m not saying he was the only one, though he was the principal architect, and I’m also not saying that indiscriminate fire/carpet bombing was the way forward either (I’m actually saying we cannot ever fight that sort of war again, not if we want to win: it’s either all or nothing and if it’s all then women and children and non combatants will die as in a traditional war as fought down the ages – very regrettably) but it was in many ways a good thing when McChrystal went.

  14. Since just a few pennies a day would cover hosting costs and I have the free time right now it doesn’t hurt to see what could happen. Thanks for the tip.

  15. My dad taught at USC Aiken from ’76 to ’85. Although I was only 9 when we moved I still remember what a good peach tastes like.

  16. The Leftards value equality above prosperity.

    The purely fucking miserable Russians were all* purely fucking miserable. Western dingbats thought that wonderful!

    The paradigm is so bizarre, it must come from a gene mutation, or they were dropped when they were babies. The Left really, really is that FU.

    *Yeah, I know some were more equal than others, and had a dacha down on the Black Sea. The Left envied the Commissars – they wished they had their power. Mr. Obama once infamously told Hugo Chavez that he envied his power.

  17. Thanks Dennis. Nice to know people like the way I make my living….

    Come now, don’t try to shame me… You are a free-lance writer. That is quite a bit different (and many career steps above) from being a reporter/journalist.

  18. As did mine. Maybe our fathers know each other.

    History shows that without an attempt at equality the masses will revolt. Even the Magna Carta, why the spell checker does not recognize such an important document is beyond me, was due to nobles rebelling against the king they felt was taking too much wealth.

    The only reason Sanders is doing so well is due to inequality. The current wealth imbalance is simply too high leading people to look towards bad options. Sadly with Paul dropping out there just aren’t any better realistic options left, or right. It was fun watching Christie destroy Rubio in the last debate.

  19. “The only reason Sanders is doing so well is due to inequality”

    despite the population being richer and longer lived than any other group in human history. They’d pull that all down into a socialist shitheap just because a few people make fortunes out of the businesses they built.

    People are stupid, aren’t they?

  20. but otherwise surprised to see you say that given ‘courageous restraint’.

    The previous, particularly USAFian, way of doing things – turning large areas of mud brick in to large areas of mud with added dead civilians – wasn’t working.

    who was killed when his patrol was caught in open ground with little cover and the inevitable happened

    If you are in open ground (if you have cover, it isn’t open ground) and are ambushed (or, more normally, caught by an IED to pin you then ambushed), air cover isn’t going to help. A patrolling AH in DS might well do, but you are going to take minutes that you don’t have to get the air asset tasked.

    Much the same with artillery – hence infantry with the embedded mortar assets.

    Counter-insurgency wars are not usually the place to employ the “big bang” assets. The McCrystal inspired “why are they in the Taliban” show was a bit American-glib but got people thinking a different way. And got us more support from the population. Which may, or may not, have made any difference.

    Are you by any chance watching the cricket?! 🙂

    Err, not exactly. I’m pretending to work. Although the BBC website is auto-updating.

  21. ‘The only reason Sanders is doing so well is due to inequality. ‘ – LY

    Equality is NOT a desired state. It is a lesson that must be learned over and over.

  22. Rob people tend to look at the “good old days” when the wife stayed at home. Granted many of these people spend an entire month’s pay on cell phones, cable, take out, child care and shiny disposable tat. Yes people are stupid because they only look at what they can get today and don’t consider the full costs of their actions.

  23. The only reason Sanders is doing so well is due to inequality.

    No, he’s doing well because he allows those who support him – almost all of whom relatively well off – to virtue signal their concern and thus feel less guilty about being relatively well off.

    Bernie Sanders isn’t talking about who’s going to pay for reducing income inequality, which has a lot to do with why is numbers are where they are.

    You don’t see poor coal miners from Kentucky at a Sanders rally… you see white college kids (and their dimwit parents). When the coal miners show up, you can begin to take his shtick seriously… Until then, no.

  24. “The only reason Sanders is doing so well is due to inequality”

    And his solution to inequality – more government power which is the root cause of inequality – i.e. the ability of the rich to buy politicians and influence policy to protect their entrenched positions.. just like in the EU.

    He’s a fucking moron twat, and so are his “followers”

  25. So Much For Subtlety

    Liberal Yank – “History shows that without an attempt at equality the masses will revolt. Even the Magna Carta, why the spell checker does not recognize such an important document is beyond me, was due to nobles rebelling against the king they felt was taking too much wealth.”

    Nonsense. History shows that demands for equality simply lead to more demands for equality. Once people learn they can take stuff from other people without consequences, they simply want to take more stuff from other people. The only solution is to accept the natural and inevitable level of inequality that emerges in any society.

    “The only reason Sanders is doing so well is due to inequality.”

    Again, nonsense. Sanders is doing well because Clinton is such a horrible person and because the number of people who want to take stuff from other people in the US has reached a critical mass. There are not enough married White people, the ones who make stuff, and there are too many non-married and/or non-White people who take stuff. It is as simple as that.

  26. So Much For Subtlety

    Bernie Sanders took his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. He holidays in Cuba. No one cares.

    This is just an absurd double standard.

  27. “You don’t see poor coal miners from Kentucky at a Sanders rally”

    I’d have to say that we don’t know yet if poor coal miners from Kentucky will show up for a rally yet since Iowa and NH are not representative of the whole nation.

    The eastern coal states don’t hold Democrat primaries until April so we’ll be waiting a while for your test, assuming there is still a race at that time.

    “Bernie Sanders isn’t talking about who’s going to pay for reducing income inequality”

    Actually the only thing that has really impressed me about the Sanders campaign are the proposals to pay for the policies. Unlike the other candidates I’ve looked into he at least tries to pay the bill. A candidate that wants to spend $1T on the military but also wants to lower taxes looks like a far worse option to me.

    What everyone needs to keep in mind is that Sanders can make all the proposals he wants and it means almost nothing. Unless something shocking happens the Democrats will not have the needed majority in the Senate to just force through any policy they want. I see no reason to believe that Republicans will be more likely to support a Sanders proposal any more than they have Obama’s.

    “And his solution to inequality – more government power which is the root cause of inequality – i.e. the ability of the rich to buy politicians and influence policy to protect their entrenched positions.. just like in the EU.”

    For reasons already stated I do not see a massive shift due to successfully enacted Sanders policies. Additionally Sanders and Trump are the only 2 candidates without an affiliated super PAC. Both have unaffiliated super PACs. Google reveals multiple similar articles from multiple sources if you don’t like those. The corruption you fear is more of an issue for all of the other candidates as they are already directly involved.

    I have enjoyed this argument for Sanders. If someone would like to take up his torch for me I will gladly argue the anti side.

  28. “History shows that without an attempt at equality the masses will revolt.”

    Not an attempt at equality, an attempt at “fairness”, though that isn’t quite the right word either.

    If the vast majority is frozen out of opportunity, and kept relatively and unnecessarily poor, then that majority may well decide to use force. This is especially true if the Chosen Few are chosen through fortune alone.

    Socialism will always create a rigid aristocracy. Because someone has to be in charge, and they aren’t going to ket go without a fight.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    Jack C – “If the vast majority is frozen out of opportunity, and kept relatively and unnecessarily poor, then that majority may well decide to use force. This is especially true if the Chosen Few are chosen through fortune alone.”

    Then again they might not. It is a long standing cliche that the poor do not rebel because they are poor. They rebel because of rising expectations – when the state starts to reform, but the demands for more of other people’s cash rises even faster. The danger point is when a regime undertakes moderate reforms. Gorbachev was over thrown. Stalin was not. The Kim family rules in peace.

    “Socialism will always create a rigid aristocracy. Because someone has to be in charge, and they aren’t going to ket go without a fight.”

    Someone has to be in charge. They may as well be the people who have always been there. Because at least they probably know what they are doing and they have better taste than the newly rich or the ghastly socialists.

  30. “The danger point is when a regime undertakes moderate reforms. Gorbachev was over thrown. Stalin was not.”

    Forgive me if I’m reading this incorrectly but did you just imply that Stalin was the better ruler since he wasn’t overthrow?

    I will argue the point that the rebellion is sparked by rising expectations. In the USSR food was scarce well before Gorbachev gained power. Gorbachev’s reforms came after the rebellion had started in the countryside and softened the transition. Without the reforms the revolution could have been far bloodier than when the Bolsheviks gained power.

    “Someone has to be in charge. They may as well be the people who have always been there. Because at least they probably know what they are doing and they have better taste than the newly rich or the ghastly socialists.”

    I agree with the first two statements. Any history book will give you plenty of examples of your last sentence being untrue. I propose that we have the best leaders and the brightest minds of all the groups gather to debate the merits of each policy option. If the majority of those gather agree that a policy is a good idea it should be recorded. Stop me when I’ve stopped being subtle…

  31. SMFS,
    “The danger point is when a regime undertakes moderate reforms”

    Absolutely untrue of Britain, which has been slowly reforming for centuries. The Soviet Union was different: the system relied on total obedience. One crack, and it’s gone (see also Romania, which collapsed in, quite literally, a few minutes or at most a couple of days).

    “They may as well be the people who have always been there.”

    No, because you can’t enforce it. Would you really ban Thatcher in favour of Cameron? I’m surprised.

  32. @SE the situation I outlined happened as outlined. I’m not telling you the name of the sgt but you could probably find it via the Internet because it came out st his inquest. Re open ground you’re splitting hairs over a blog comment. I can be more technical if you like but on anything bar asphalt you can usually find some cover, even if it’s a little depression or a rock or two. You’ve also completely lost me when you say air cover / arty won’t help when ambushed? Helps massively if you can use it and if your attached arms are on the scene (as opposed to controlling from the FOB), have pre ranged and targeted the guns and are on their game; you can engage with artillery very quickly indeed (and before and after CR it happened all the time!). Not to mention under CR there have been times when soldiers have been refused permission to engage with small arms, never mind proper stuff. Potshots from a tree line, can we put the GPMG in it? Answer comes back no. I completely understand the rationale re CR – but it does get your own blokes killed and in my opinion, which is all it is, is no way to fight. You’re right re counter insurgency. But wrong in the conclusion. Fact is we could just about handle CI warfare in an NI situation where plenty of the civpop were onside, and bad as the Provos were they were not prepared to behave like the Taliban. In the ME the insurgents are so brutal that they can turn the locals against you by pure fear. Additionally, they are well armed, funded and supported by state actors who can advise them on the manufacture and placement of highly sophisticated IEDs. All way ahead of PIRA or anyone else we have ever faced. We should never again send men to war in that kind of theatre without a big leaflet drop saying everyone is fair game. Horrible as that is.

  33. You’ve also completely lost me when you say air cover / arty won’t help when ambushed? Helps massively if you can use it and if your attached arms are on the scene (as opposed to controlling from the FOB), have pre ranged and targeted the guns and are on their game;

    How do you pre-range and target guns against an ambush?

    Please not, I said that AH in DS would help (as would mortars). But the release process for gun artillery and fast air won’t allow you the quick reaction needed if you are ambushed _out of cover_ but will allow you to be subsequently dug out, or protect your line of evacuation, if you are fixed but in some form of cover or otherwise out of the direct line of fire.

    (And, yes, I’ve been in the Brigade HQ when counter-fire decisions were being taken. Not by me, though.)

    PIRA had direct funding and support from Libya, remember?

    We should never again send men to war in that kind of theatre without a big leaflet drop saying everyone is fair game.

    Unilaterally withdrawing from the international Law of Armed Conflict is a bit Yank of you?

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    Liberal Yank – “Forgive me if I’m reading this incorrectly but did you just imply that Stalin was the better ruler since he wasn’t overthrow?”

    No. On the contrary. I specifically said the opposite.

    “I will argue the point that the rebellion is sparked by rising expectations. In the USSR food was scarce well before Gorbachev gained power. Gorbachev’s reforms came after the rebellion had started in the countryside and softened the transition. Without the reforms the revolution could have been far bloodier than when the Bolsheviks gained power.”

    What rebellion in the countryside was this? Gorbachev came to power in a Russia that had never been richer in its history. This is not like the Stalin years when Russians ate worse than American slaves. Some of them even had cars. The Russians tolerated a great deal of suffering, but no amount of moderate reform could offer them enough tyo make them happy.

    “I agree with the first two statements. Any history book will give you plenty of examples of your last sentence being untrue.”

    I don’t think that is true. I think that history shows it is true. There may be tasteless aristocrats but their middle class peers were probably worse.

    “I propose that we have the best leaders and the brightest minds of all the groups gather to debate the merits of each policy option. If the majority of those gather agree that a policy is a good idea it should be recorded. Stop me when I’ve stopped being subtle…”

    University educated people often think that university educated people should run the country. The problem is that Hitler and Stalin were extremely popular among the university educated. Not so much among common people. We would be better off being ruled by a committee of yokels picked at random than the Harvard University faculty. You are not being subtle, you are defending your class and being naive.

  35. Tim Newman,

    I do think that people really should try and understand the past and how attitudes were different. You watch shows like Downton Abbey and they’re ridiculous. They’re written today, with our social concerns. If you watch Upstairs, Downstairs, that’s really about social topics of the 1970s, like women running a business, or sex before marriage.

    One thing about the past is how much people saw their world as being much more local. Russia would have been an utter irrelevance to a blacksmith in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1930s. Hell, Illinois would have been pretty much irrelevant. Most of his trade and interactions would have been with people in his town and the surrounding towns.

  36. You watch shows like Downton Abbey and they’re ridiculous.

    I quite agree, but they are mining a rich seam nonetheless: people are eating this stuff up with a knife and fork. Genius.

  37. @SE

    How do you pre-range and target guns against an ambush?

    It all depends what you mean by ambush. If you’re pushing through the greenzone and are being hit from multiple novel firing points in undergrowth through 300 degrees it’s hard (though not impossible). But many ambushes are not like that. When you’ve been in FOB X for three months, and every time you patrol to village Y to ‘reassure’ the locals you get hit from treeline blue 5 then it’s a simple thing to fix treeline blue 5 into whatever manual the artillery use at their fixed emplacement 10ks away. As soon as you leave the gate they know you’re out and about, and they’re waiting by the 105 for the order. In the event that you get contacted from treeline blue 5 (or any other of a range of known firiing points) the shells can be in the air and landing in the treeline in short order with good accuracy (as opposed to people creating grid refs on the hoof, which would also need to happen of course and is necessarily a lot slower). But what happened a lot was the RHA bod in the ditch alongside gets on the blower to his boss who speaks to his boss who speaks to her boss and her boss denies him authorisation to fire (or tells him to fire smoke – this actually happened, a lot, I’m not making it up!). The technology is there, and it doesn’t need to be Apache or A10 or whatever which I accept is not always on station (though they were often around and about and could get quickly switched to troops in contact). It takes will, and will was what CR denied people. I’m not positing a perfect world where no soldiers ever die, I’m talking about proportionate response to the use of deadly force by an enemy. Never mind ambushes, in the FOBs many times people were contacted and denied the right of self defence. (I don’t actually think this isn’t known?)

    Re PIRA and Libya, sure I know that, and others too. I know blokes who spent half of the 1990s in the Balkans undercover stopping boatloads of AKs and Semtex getting to NI. But that’s a world away from trying to stop men and materiel coming across the Pakistan border, or preventing Iranians from hosting six month courses to train people how to make bombs. It’s noticeable how the early amateurs died off Darwinially and then they got better and better and better. Not just technically, but tactically and ultimately strategically and you don’t learn this, certainly not that quickly, if your raw material starts as and remains $20 a day goatherder/fighters.

    I do take your point re international law but I also gave the option of never again being involved in that sort of war under those circumstances. To be brutally honest, I do view the lives of Brits as being worth more than those of Afghans (which is not the save as saying Afghans have nio value) and I am sceptical that they thanked us anyway for taking more care. They culturally are different to us and they view this kind of thing as weakness. And the Taliban PR/torture operation was quite sufficient to turn them anyway.

    But I would propose an alternative. Either we go in and do total war, and try to clean up afterwards, or we go in on a Courageous Restraint ROE footing, but every FOB and every patrol must include the following as ‘observers’ throughout the tour to ensure that troops don’t ‘overstep the mark’:

    – at least one international lawyer
    – at least one MP from any party with more than two MPS
    – at least one general
    – one cabinet minister
    – the son or daughter of another cabinet minister
    – one shadow cabinet minister
    – the son or daughter of another shadow cabinet minister
    – one BBC anchor
    – Polly Toynbee
    – Penny Red

  38. Tim Newman,

    “I quite agree, but they are mining a rich seam nonetheless: people are eating this stuff up with a knife and fork. Genius.”

    Indeed. The genius is that it combines stories that people want to hear, with lots of nice houses, frocks and men in uniform. And I think the houses, frocks and men in uniform matter most. It’s really the equivalent of pornography for middle-aged women.

  39. The genius is that it combines stories that people want to hear, with lots of nice houses, frocks and men in uniform. And I think the houses, frocks and men in uniform matter most. It’s really the equivalent of pornography for middle-aged women.

    That’s exactly what it is, but you’ve missed off one crucial factor: the foreign viewers. The middle-aged foreign women eat this up because there is something they absolutely love about the British upper classes of yesteryear (or at least, how they are portrayed on programmes like Downton Abbey). Two addicts I know: one is a Dutch woman in her 60s, another a Turkish woman in her 30s. Genius.

  40. BTW, I’m finding this exchange between Interested and SE very interesting. I have good friends who served with the RM in Afghanistan, and having heard all the dits, I have half an idea what you’re both on about. Please do continue.

  41. ‘This is not like the Stalin years when Russians ate worse than American slaves.’

    You need a new metaphor. American slaves ate well.

  42. Downton Abbey can also, in extremis, be watched as a comedy or a satire on period drama and it works very well indeed.

    I thought the first series and a half was very good, but like to think that Julian Fellowes did the rest solely for money.

  43. I remember constant rumblings about denial of self-defence in NI as well, so this not entirely new.

    The balance was eventually adjusted by adding the SAS.

  44. SMFS I did use only the single sentence in your paragraph that I felt illustrated the point most concisely. To be fair your full statement was:

    “Then again they might not. It is a long standing cliche that the poor do not rebel because they are poor. They rebel because of rising expectations – when the state starts to reform, but the demands for more of other people’s cash rises even faster. The danger point is when a regime undertakes moderate reforms. Gorbachev was over thrown. Stalin was not. The Kim family rules in peace.”

    It still appears to me that the point you are trying to make is, when you measure a ruler on the single metric of whether or not they are overthrown, Stalin was superior to Gorbachev. I that regard your response actually is worse than the original argument.

    As to the rest I don’t see a use in further discussion. We both obviously have different sources regarding the condition of the Soviet agricultural system. The statement “Some of them even had cars.” did make me laugh.

  45. @Tim

    If your mates are from 40 Cdo ask them for Corps stories about the pre deployment in 2010, when everyone who’d been before thought Courageous Restraint was a wind-up, as in literally could not believe what they were hearing and assumed it was a joke, or maybe a cunning plan to make guys take the deployment more seriously (as though that was reqd).

    Ask if anyone can recall Boomerang at various locations repeatedly alerting them to the firing location of incoming fire which was bracketing the location and being refused permission to return fire into a treeline (say) with the GPMG because the actual shooter was hidden from view! You could basically only shoot at people who were pulling Gary Cooper/High Noon stuf.

    If any served with Bravo Coy ask them if they can tell you anything about the death of a man initials SD, and whether they think it’s right that Royal Marines should be disallowed from mortaring enemy combatants in a river bed and should intead have to pursue a four hour contact with rifles alone.

    I could go on.

    @Jack

    NI was a similar kettle of fish for similar reasons – it was the theatre, the potential outcomes and particularly the threat level that were (very) different.

    There are 22 blokes currently being investigated over Loughall, which tells you all you need to know about the utter, utter cunts who run this country. I like my idea: let’s go back to Afghanistan and introduce Soviet style political officers. They can go on patrol at the tip of the spear just to make sure any response is proportionate. Andy Burnham can go first. Or Emily Thornberry. Cover from view and fire behind her.

  46. I remember Loughall well, and the context around it.

    1) There had been increased tension, and a vague feeling that the IRA were taking the piss.

    2) The previous day there was a BBC report from NI discussing this piss-taking, the need for a firm hand, and the rumour that the SAS “might already be there”.

    3) They certainly were. There was some ritualised whinging from the IRA about “martyrs”, but they always did that and it was just politics. Everyone else was delighted.

    4) I don’t think anyone seriously suggested that it wasn’t a fair cop, and there’s no doubt that this sort of action nudged the IRA towards a political solution.

    One of the problems with investigating now is that the circumstances are so entirely alien to us now. If the Ulster troubles were a film, the plot would be regarded as utterly ludicrous.

  47. So Much For Subtlety

    Liberal Yank – “It still appears to me that the point you are trying to make is, when you measure a ruler on the single metric of whether or not they are overthrown, Stalin was superior to Gorbachev. I that regard your response actually is worse than the original argument.”

    If. Not when. And as I don’t nothing else follows.

  48. So Much For Subtlety

    Jack C – “There had been increased tension, and a vague feeling that the IRA were taking the piss. There was some ritualised whinging from the IRA about “martyrs”, but they always did that and it was just politics.”

    Birmingham Seven are back in the news because of a coroner overstepping the limits of the job again. This time demanding information relating to an informer who told the police who what done it.

    But it is interesting where the IRA did not take the p!ss. They went out of their way to deny that those convicted of the Guildford bombing did it. The people who did do it were clearly annoyed they did not get the credit. They never denied that the Birmingham Six did.

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