Monday, 7 March 2011


Dear me. The apparently urgent Operation Al-Need to land a diplomat and "special forces" by helicopter in rebel-held Eastern Libya at 2 am last Friday was approved by our 14 pint (half pint) Foreign Secretary. Even Minging Campbellsoup, the Limpdim foreign affairs "statesman" (why are all former Limpdim leaders except Charlie Kennedy lauded as knowing their way around the globe?) has criticised the fiasco, and he's part of the Coalition. If anyone landed without notice on the lawns of Gallimaufry Towers in the early morning, I wouldn't be inclined to get the dates and goat stew ready; instead, a brick through the cockpit window and a pack of hungry badgers is worth a thousand words, though only two are neccessary.

One thing fashionably-maligned Field Marshal Montgomery was good at, as was his counterpart Field Marshal Rommel and just about every other German from unteroffizier upwards, was planning battles methodically. He was hated for it by the brigade level and above former cavalry chaps whose limited grasp of strategy was mainly learned from fox-hunting. It's all very well claiming that even the best plans fall apart once the enemy gets involved (they're allowed to do that in a war), but the planning process is a formal, flexible tool to gain an overview of the whole situation. Initiative, courage and elan are very noble military traits but phoning up beforehand to check is one of those boring things for which not even the Americans award a medal or a badge. Muddling through is wasteful and unnecessary.

Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Lessons will be learned. And then forgotten.


Michele said...

It's Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance ... well it is in the Australian Army; :D

Brian said...

@Michele: Prior it is. I shall amend my post accordingly in honour of the brave and resilient Australians who held out for 240 days during the siege of Tripoli between April and November 1941 and most particularly Corporal John Edmondson VC.

Brian said...

And just to prove PP&PPPPP I should have reread my comment and changed Tripoli to Tobruk. Doh!