The first is a good reminder that it isn't just American voters who want impossibilities:
In other words, the public has a notion that matters should, in theory, be decided in Scotland but is afraid or opposed to any actual or major differences being introduced that would increase discrepancies in the provision of these government-paid services across the United Kingdom. Again, the idea of doing things differently is enough; actually setting different tax or welfare rates is not deemed necessary.We demand to make our own decisions, but we also demand they are the same decisions that are already being made for us!
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The Spectator | Alex Massie | The Poor Bloody Infantry Faces More Friendly Fire?Has this sort of thing ever been the norm before? Half a year fighting, then two years resting and training? Four units in the barracks for every one in the field? My impression is that any time before, say, 1950, you were shipped off to fight, and you kept fighting until the war was over.
At present the army has 36 infantry battalions. If a tour of duty overseas lasts six months and the army wishes a 24 month gap between operational tours (down from the current 30 months) then evidently it takes five battalions to support a single battalion's deployment. Granted, that assumes operations may, as has been the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, last for years but such assumptions would seem, to this interested amateur anyway, an important part of defence planning.
I'm not saying the current system is a bad one. I'm ready to believe five battalions with only one currenly deployed is more effective than all five in the field being ground down month after month.
I'm just saying this seems like a significant change that I don't hear discussed very often. People talk about the effect of cable news, etc. on how we view wars, but I think this has just as significant an impact. Certainly it changes the political leadership's motivations when it comes to giving approval to open-ended "kinetic actions." It seems there would be a lot more pressure to identify objectives and end-game when you commit to sending young men away from home indefinitely rather than six months at a time.