Wednesday, July 26, 2006

BBC 2 now

BBC2 is showing it's excellent "A Company of Soldiers" documentary. It was on a while ago but I think it's even more poignant now since I remember hearing that another of the soldiers involved has been killed in Iraq a couple of weeks ago. During filming I think at least a couple of them were.

I think it's interesting in at least 2 respects. Firstly, that these soldiers do not know an awful lot about what they're fighting for and why (the US army does tend to recruit from poor districts and I can't imagine they have lots of access to free media out there). But also, I know a lot of people will hate the American army for what they're doing, but in reality the philosophy they have is much like any soldier's philosophy going back hundreds of years - what they're concerned about is getting out alive and helping their friends get out alive.

I remember watching this program a couple of years ago, and it did change some of my views about Americans. See, even I'm flexible sometimes. Especially when you see them at a funeral for one of their friends. The soldiers on the ground, they're not there to 'kick ass' or be all 'gung ho', they'd much rather just go home without another shot fired. But their commanders, and the ultimate chief of the armed forces, Mr Bush, would rather they got busy getting their extremities shot off. It reminds me a little of tactics in the First World War.

And you see some people in this program who genuinely think they can make a difference, and if you added everything up on paper, they probably could. But no one can possibly account for the wide and varied human dynamics of the Middle East. It's a situation that stretches far beyond country boundaries and quite clearly demonstrates that foreign policy cannot exist from country to country in isolation. There's no point offering billions in aid to Iraq if we ignore Syria and Lebanon. As I'm sure I've said before, we now live in a global society, where our actions towards the rest of the world govern how we are perceived. Even if we believe we're helping Iraq, it won't better our position in the global community unless we extend that to the rest of the Arab world, and indeed, the rest of the world.

This piecemeal approach to foreign policy adopted by our government just doesn't cut it any more.

You know, I wish I could finish this post with an insightful, perhaps unique perspective on resolving the West's current problems with acceptance by the rest of the world to it's good intentions to conflict resolution, but frankly I don't have one.

But I can add my cynical mind to what might happen in the near future:
1. Huge war in the Mid East, we're talking millions killed because everyone's too chicken to make the first move for peace, and Israel feels threatened, so uses atomic weapons.
2. Huge war in the Mid East, we're talking millions killed because in fact the Iranians aren't as slow as we think they are, so they drop a big ol' nuke on Israel.
3. Americans get bored of trying to resolve the whole situation, so nuke the whole Mid East, and want to start again, a la a new strawberry crop (they never grow first time, the fuckers).
4. Israel just nukes everyone nearby next week. Peace in the Mid East because there's no one alive there. And China & N Korea learn that Israel's got an itchy trigger finger (whilst obviously the UK are so peaceful they wouldn't use nukes unless they were targeted first....hmmm - defeats the object surely??!) So as soon as they've both got big hairy nukes, they use them on Israel.
5. Huge nuclear stand off - US/UK/Europe (perhaps) vs. China, N. Korea, Iran (still at theory stage, but have far too many oil reserves to be ignored).
6. We all decide that Einstein was wrong and that if we unleash another nuclear weapon it's sure to implode the entire universe. Unfortunately someone already dropped some atomic bombs a while ago, and the universe didn't implode. But many of the scientists at the time weren't sure that it wouldn't. That makes you feel all warm inside doesn't it?
7. The West spends so much effort on sorting out the Mid East that it ignores the rest of the world, and N Korea threatens the rest of the world with it's beardy A-bombs. But more importantly, Pakistan and India are still going at it like a couple of indoor cats on heat.... (you see where my mind is at right now?).
8. I reckon I might just go and live in Antarctica right now, if we weren't making it melt.....
9. Pictures of Thames Water incompetence coming tomorrow.
10. The numbering's really becoming irrelevant isn't it?
11. Don't watch Lost next week - it's hella scary.
12. So Rachel, Elgar managed to find a way out this evening, however he was still sitting on the outside windowsill when I went to find him. So either he's scared of heights, or I caught him mid prison break.....
13. Please, someone way smarter than me, sort out what is going on. Is it just me, or do people think that perhaps if the people in charge of each country were removed from the process, we'd actually make some progress? If people were not worried about losing face, maybe this world would get somewhere.

It's sad though. As my career progresses, one of the things that I try to stay true to is that people make mistakes, that's life, just learn and move on. Working for such a huge organisation I find that most people are not happy to take responsibility, but not me. And when mistakes are made, or even that no mistakes are made, yet something doesn't go exactly as planned, they always look for someone to blame. Give me the responsibility and I'm happy to take it. If my team mess up, then that's ultimately my fault and I'll deal with it. But the responsibility is mine, not an individual within my team. I really don't have a problem with admitting I've made a mistake. I'm 27 ffs, how could I be expected to know everything, how could my colleagues that are learning from me?

This is a monster post and we've sort of got away from the original point... whatever it was. But I reckon what I'm getting at is that responsibility should be delegated to those at the front line, whatever profession you find yourselves in.

1 comment:

bagelmouse said...

Please try not to lose my cat. I did tell you he was an escapologist, didn't I?

I've found the same blame culture as you've described everywhere I've worked - even the places where it's enshrined in their HR standard thingies. I had to take a stand the other day and bitchslap some people into not making changes to the web because ultimately, every word on that website is my responsibility and if we get sued because a phrase is ambigious, it's my ass. And I got told "oh no, we're all one team" which is utter rubbish - we're all one team when everyone wants to play, but if the shit hits the fan I'll step up, and saying "sorry, that wasn't me" isn't going to wash with the senior management team. So Tony, still clinging to the belief there's weapons of mass destruction are we? Grow a pair and take some responsibility for your own fuck up.