Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tales From The Far Side

Having read this piece by Bill Lind over at Defence and the National Interest I felt the need to get something off my chest. I thought about discussing it with my brother or calling one of my friends, but then I remembered that the ghost of Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer lives in the airing cupboard so I decided to go and have a chinwag:

GT: Hello there you young rapscallion. Been making mischief?
AJC: Always. How's your hiatus hernia?
GT: Playing merry hell. By the way, your Kevin Kline boxer shorts are dry. Thought you might like to know.
AJC: Um... thanks.
GT: Only they keep wafting in my face.
AJC: Oh, sorry, I'll move them.Anyway, I've brought you a packet of Peak Freans.
GT: I say that's very kind of you. No good though.
AJC: Oh dear, what's the problem?
GT: I'm a ghost. No digestive system.
AJC: Oh. Sorry. How embarassing.
GT: Failure to think things through, right there. We couldn't fail to think things through during the War. Different breed back there of course.
AJC: Well, yes. Sorry.
GT: Think I failed to think things through when I was in Italy and got squashed by that piano?
AJC: Most likely not, I imagine. Anyway, shall I take the biscuits away?
GT: No, no, leave them there. They'll give me something to look at besides your underwear gussets. Anyway, if you need to talk you'll have to make it chop-chop, I'm playing golf in half an hour.
AJC: Golf? Are you still playing with Robert E. Lee? I thought you hadn't spoken since-
GT: The Unpleasantness, yes. No, I've got a new chap, don't know if he ever crossed your radar - Liberace.Bloody silly name if you ask me. Good golfer though. Got the hips for it.
AJC: Ah. Er. Er. Ah. How's that working out?
GT: Pretty fair. Pretty fair. Just one thing though. Beginning to suspect the chap may be a covert homosexualist.
AJC: Oh dear.
GT: Not a problem of course. I'm as liberal as the next man. Just so long as they don't make it compulsory eh? Eh? Of course, if he ever comes round for dinner I'm going to have to get the wife to get a seperate set of cutlery and a disposable chair cover-
AJC: Um, anyway. Er. I was just thinking that it's curious the different members of the living dead with whom members of the defence community choose to chew the fat.
GT: Example?
AJC: Well there's Michael Ledeen who claims, claims mind you, to be in touch with James Jesus Angleton via Ouija Board-
GT: Angleton? Ghastly man. Vulgar. Doesn't know how to eat soup. What's more, I overheard him the other day saying that he's convinced our current Prime Minister is a secret communist.
AJC: Well I'm not a fan of his stance on fox hunting but that's going a bit far.
GT: Queer thing is that he was talking to Pol Pot at the time. Can't tell his arse from his elbow. Wood from the trees. Spends so long chasing after the small fry that he never sees the big fish. That's no way to run a whelk stall.
AJC: Er... yes. Quite. And now there's Bill Lind consorting with Kaiser Bill. Funny choice of drinking chum I thought.
GT: Well there are two types of Americans in this world my boy, Anglophiles and Teutonophiles. And Mormons. So that makes three. Anyway, point is that if they've got the Prussian fever there's no talking them out of it. What sort of things are they talking about?
AJC: Well the funny thing is that he seems to think that Kaiser Bill was something of a sound military strategist. Now, I'm as big an admirer of Mr Lind's work as anyone but it seems to me that the Hun was not so much a great strategist as perhaps the worst strategist who ever lived.
GT: Yes quite. Took Germany from a leading strategic position in Europe and pissed it all away over a period of not so very many years. Didn't realise that you can't detach strategy from politics. No realistic vision. Not like that Bismarck fellow.
AJC: Do you know him at all?
GT: Bismarck? Yes. Nice chap. Maudlin when drunk. Drunk often. Cries a lot. But it's a strange myopia, that. I mean, a fellow could argue that the USA is taking its pre-eminent world position and pissing it away right now. Horrible strategic fubar at the top. A fish rots from the head you know. Certain parallels with Imperial Hunland. Rather thought that might be something this Lind chap might latch onto. Strange that. Still, it takes all sorts.
AJC: And furthermore he seems to think that battlecruisers are what Messrs Sellar and Yeatman might refer to as a Good Thing.
GT: Gad, sir! Wait until I tell Jackie. He'll have a turn. Poor fellow has never lived it down. Still blushes. You just have to look back and laugh really, that's the only way to get over it.
AJC: Indeed.
GT: Rather like that Cliif Richard "Heathcliffe" musical.
AJC: Yes.
GT: And Little Jimmy Osmond.
AJC: Well, quite.
GT: I'm unconvinced he was ever in Liverpool you know.
AJC: Hmm. On top of that he seems to think that the Luxury Fleet could have beaten the Grand Fleet in 1918. The usual guff about flash explosions and assertions that the Mackensen class battlecruiser could have gone toe to toe with the Queen Elizabeths. Which seems to me somewhat whimsical.
GT: Whimsical? Barking mad! First of all, the Queen Elizabeths were battleSHIPS, super-dreadnoughts, not battlecruisers. And perfectly servicable into the Second War. No, they'd have gone hugger-mugger in any rumpus with Johnny Hun. Whatever that means. Second of all, flash was only ever really a problem with the battlecruiser squadrons and then only when they were under the command of that blithering arse David Beatty, Jellicoe's dreadnoughts went by the book. No, that Beatty, he was a terror. Chap puts his cap at a jaunty angle and sticks his hand inside his jacket and thinks that turns him into Horatio Nelson. Absolute oik of the very first water. No, flash wasn't really a problem after Jutland. Lessons learned you know - which is incidentally how the Germans sorted their own house out.They had the same problems with flash, ships going boom at the drop of a hat, only they had them earlier on and realised the dangers. Just lucky for them and unlucky for us that they found out about it before the big show. We had much better fire control systems by 1918 too - rounds on target regular as if you'd been eating prunes.
AJC: Yes it's strange isn't it? Generally speaking he's very good, but really I think he needs to start mixing in new circles.
GT: Or brown rice.
AJC: Er... yes.
GT: Sorry, what were you saying?
AJC: That I think Mr Lind needs to mix in new circles.
GT: Quite right. I'll have a word with Richard Simpkin. I think he might be prepared to go and haunt his microwave for a couple of weeks or somesuch. Help him see the error of his ways.
AJC: Well that's very good of you. I'll let you get off for that game of golf.
GT: Splendid.
AJC: Oh, just before I go...
GT: Fire away.
AJC: How do you think Iraq is going?
GT: Shite.
AJC: Ah.
GT: Well, toodlepip you young whippersnapper. Thank you for the biscuits.
AJC: Er...
GT: What?
AJC: Well... at the start of the conversation you say that you couldn't eat on account of being a ghost. But then about half way through you talk about Liberace coming round for dinner.
GT: Er... well...
AJC: It's just that it looks like some sort of glaring continuity error
GT: Well... the thing is... LOOK OUT!!!!!

At this point the zombie Marc Bolan hit me over the back of the head with a half empty bottle of gin and I knew no more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this is funny ;)

9:27 AM  

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