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?

One thought on “The Sound Of One Hand Clapping.

  1. Mike

    You must learn to listen to your slightly older brother when he tells you his “Warry Stories” of life in N/I. Your description of what happens today when a Brit squaddy comes under fire and has to refer to the rule book before returning that fire is PRECISELY that which happened 30 plus years ago on the streets of Derry and Belfast. When fired upon by the IRA / Loyalists ( The rounds from the different sects caused exactly the same damage to the human body) from the cover of a RC church or Church of Ireland establishment, we had to refer to a our Buff coloured card and alert higher echelons of incoming attacks. The delay caused by such ridiculous rules often allowed the perpetrators to escape long before we could even investigate the incident, never mind return fire. That all ended on Bloody Sunday, but then I don’t suppose you want to hear about that?

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