Friday 22 November 2013

"Not even a bagpipe band?"

This is a fascinating lecture in all sorts of unexpected ways, but the biggest revelation is Lyndon Johnson's surprisingly pathetic and increasingly desperate pleading to Harold Wilson to provide British troops to help the Americans in Vietnam. You even start to wonder if the USA was ever really a superpower at all, but rather a much smaller country that found itself in the invidious historical position of having to imitate one.


William said...

I was talking to a guy in a pub back in the summer, who said he had been in the Royal Marines in '60s and had been stationed off the coast of North Vietnam. I didn't really believe a lot of what he was saying, now maybe I do.

Phil Knight said...

I once talked to a bloke in the pub who had been a Royal Military Policeman during the Kenyan Emergency. He casually told me how he used to gun down Mau-Mau prisoners (this was long before the Elkins book brought this kind of thing to public prominence).

"We used to give 'em a burst of Sten" he said, "they stopped giving us trouble after that."

After this brief confession, he then went into a bitter, seemingly endless rant about a minor charge for leaving his post that he failed to get rescinded. All the way up the chain of command he went in order to be cleared, but no, they weren't going to judge him on his integrity or length of service.

In hindsight, I think this may have been the very moment when I started to realise just how strange people are.