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December 24, 2004


I've said the same thing about the newest members of the US services - they have proven themselves every bit as brave and capable as their forbears, even as we elders wondered if this generation had any mettle - and they've shown us their metal.

So too, in Great Britain.

Such as Corporal Mark Byles and his fellow soldiers.

I slashed people, rifle-butted them. I was punching and kicking. It was either me or them. I got back to camp covered in blood from head to toe. The first thing I did was pull out a photo of my family

A fact that has not gone un-noticed elsewhere.

There is a temptation to be rather gloomy about contemporary society in general and youth in particular. Many adults are guilty of assuming that youngsters spend all their time hanging about on street corners wearing hooded tops, punctuated only by spells slouched in front of the television. But the performance of the Army in Iraq goes to show that today's young people are just as capable as previous generations were of exhibiting the timeless military virtues: discipline, service, stoicism and, of course, that mischievous mixture of respect for authority and insolence that can be so entertaining in adversity. Even the Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, must have chuckled to himself when presented with a group photo in which he should have featured, after being late to a dinner at a sergeants' mess.

So, while I take exception to this characterization, "pound for pound and man for man, the British Army is still more efficient than the mighty US army" and snark that even if true (a premise I don't accept) efficient does not equal capable... you should read the rest of this little bit from the Telegraph.

Hat tip to CAPT H and Mr. Wilkinson.