Good times with Joshua

There is a line of verse from this song by Abba, which goes:-

“Times of joy, and times of sorrow,” and that is what this life is really all about.

Yesterday afternoon, I sat on the the carpet in my son’s living room, and watched and played with my younger Grandson. I helped him load toy cars into a garage, and taught him that the winding path down from the top of the toy garage is called a ‘Ramp’, and then he smiled and repeated ‘Down the Ramp’.

He eventually sat on my knee, and I knew that all was well with my world.

We all have to play the cards we are dealt, and the deck which I have been dealt from has given me a few lousy hands, but as I looked at my grandson, I realised that there are always aces in the pack!

The Sound Of One Hand Clapping.

There is no noise from such an activity, because the other hand has been tied behind the back. Zen Buddhists claim to think on “When both hands are clapped a sound is produced; listen to the sound of one hand clapping.” as an exercise in mysticism. I have my own thoughts on that particular exercise, most of which could be gathered under the heading, ‘Why Bother’. But that is for Buddhists, and really none of my concern. I quite like Buddhism, and Buddhists in general, mainly because they do not try to change anyone’s mind by the application of Semtex, or a home-made hydrogen peroxide nail-bomb, as perhaps some of another major religion’s adherents are prone to try. But I digress, back to the hands.

Let us look at the one hand which is free, especially when that hand is attached to say, a U.S. Marine or a British squaddie on patrol or in base in the sandy dung-heap which is Afghanistan. If they come under fire, they must not return fire immediately, but refer to the Tactical Directive where it states, and I quote,

The use of air-to-ground munitions and indirect fires against residential compounds is only authorized under very limited and prescribed conditions,’ as well as ‘No ISAF forces will enter or fire upon, or fire into a mosque or any religious or historical site except in self-defense. All searches and entries for any other reason will be conducted by ANSF(Afghan National Army)’ and ‘I expect leaders at all levels to scrutinize and limit the use of force like close air support (CAS) against residential compounds and other locations likely to produce civilian casualties in accordance with this guidance. Commanders must weigh the gain of using CAS against the cost of civilian casualties’.

In other words, the lives of British and American servicemen and women were being placed at further risk by the actions and orders of an American general whose one desire was to please Obama, politicos in Washington, and a corrupt and venal Afghan Administration. I am surprised they fired MacCrystal, as he was indeed their type of soldier.

With regard to the Tactical Rules of Engagement, which usually get gold-plated by the time they come down to the ‘grunts with the boots’, and with the arrival of General Petraeus, will we be seeing a revision of the ‘no round in the chamber rule whilst on patrol’ which stripped our forces of the ability to react fast; and will we be seeing a dilution of the ‘no mosque searching’ tactic, which almost guaranteed a weapons build-up, all carefully aligned towards Mecca?