There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.
The Grave of the Hundred Head
is facing charges for cutting off the head of a Taliban commander, took the head so it could be identified and left the body behind. From Kipling's Grave of the Hundred Head, as retaliation for the killing of a single British soldier, we've gone over to the British government being horribly embarrassed because a Gurkha soldier beheaded the corpse of a Muslim terrorist, from a group that routinely beheads people while alive.
Why was this beheading such a terrible thing?
The incident is hugely embarrassing to the British Army, which is trying to build bridges with local Afghan communities who have spent decades under Taliban rule.
But who exactly are the Brits trying to build bridges with here, that they would be so worked up over a Taliban commander's missing head? With the Taliban of course. Who did you think?
While the American media is steadfastly ignoring anything coming out of the UK that doesn't involve disgraced pop stars, burqas or BP-- events are moving at their own pace under the Tory-Lib government.
Britain's new Chief of Defense Staff, General Sir David Richards, came out and said that this whole war thing is hopeless, and we need to start negotiating our surrender/withdrawal with the Taliban.
“There's always been a point at which you start to negotiate with each other," Gen Sir David said. In his “private view” there was “no reason why we shouldn't be looking at that sort of thing pretty soon,” he said.
His private view, being that of the British Army Chief, is of course not very private at all. The odd thing about it is that Richards was singing a completely different tune back in February, when he was claiming that we were on the verge of defeating the Taliban.
“The Taliban is now beginning to realise that they can lose this war, which was not the view they had a year ago. We have to reinforce the view that they can, and will, be beaten.”
What happened between February and today? For one thing, an election. And a new government. Which likely is why Richards has changed his tune in public quite this much. Richards is also being echoed by Brigadier Lowder, commander of the Scottish Brigade, and Scotland's most senior soldier, who was even more blunt than Richards, saying openly that negotiating with the Taliban would be an exit strategy. (Not that this is a particularly surprising view from a commander who led troops in Basra, where Shiite terrorists were allowed to take over, form death squads, and kidnap British troops.)
the Coalition of the Willing has been winning peace by providing payoffs to the Taliban in order to avoid attacks.
And so we go back to that lone Gurkha who hadn't gone the message from the top on down that the war was unwinnable, and that Britain's only hope lay in trying to bluff the Taliban into letting them leave with some dignity. Instead after three members of his unit were killed by Talib Hussein, a Taliban who had been posting as an Afghan soldier, instead of risking his life trying to drag the entire body of a Taliban commander back while under fire-- he took the head. But that soldier was clearly operating in a different era. An era in which the lives of soldiers mattered more than showing respect to the body of an enemy terrorist.
When you're waiting for just the right moment to surrender to the Taliban, you don't want to blow the deal by beheading one of their commanders after all. Why then they might refuse to accept your surrender. They might even set stiffer terms for your surrender. The Russians got off with their own exit strategy from Afghanistan by giving up a whole load of military equipment to certain key figures in the Mujahadeen, who just happened to also become pivotal commanders in the Taliban. It just happened to be one of those coincidences that probably wasn't a coincidence at all. What sort of equipment will be left behind this time and whose hands will it fall into? Probably not a question we want to ask at this point.
Instead let's turn away to another issue of the head involving Muslims and the UK. Cameron's Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, has helpfully the citizenry, 67 percent of whom would like to see the Burqa banned, that it is actually very empowering. Where did Caroline pick up this novel lesson from? Why from Afghanistan of course, the country most known for using the Burqa to empower women.
But Mrs Spelman suggested that wearing the burka could be seen as a feminist statement. She claimed that a visit to Afghanistan had persuaded her that “the burka confers dignity”.
Of course nothing says dignity like being forced to wear a garbage bag over your head, or be shot. Or feminism for that matter.
But this isn't really about feminism. It's about surrender. One of the uncomfortable questions arising from turning over Afghanistan to the Taliban, is the question of women's rights. The Taliban's approach to women's rights was a bullet to the head. Which means the question requires a little bit of whitewashing, such as say describing the Burqa as dignified clothing that women choose to wear. Case in point...
For her security, she wears a burqa — a different colored one each day — and she says she never takes the same route to and from work. The woman says she is interested in peace coming to Afghanistan, but isn't sure that a deal with the Taliban would mean real peace for her.
She says some in the international community are trying to forget how brutal the Taliban movement is toward women, because they're so impatient to reach a peace deal that will allow their troops to come home.
Revisionism. What revisionism? Damian Green and Caroline Spellman have you covered. The Burqa is all about giving women dignity, by refusing to treat them as human beings. So while 67 percent of Britons support a ban on Burqas-- government ministers insist that a Burqa ban would be "Un-British". This naturally raises the question of whether a Burqa itself is British. Apparently nowadays the Burqa is British. Banning the Burqa is un-British. It is however French, Belgian and possibly Spanish.
Surrendering to the Taliban is also British. Beheading them however is not.
How do we make sense of all this? Oh it's rather simple. Being British is now Un-British. But being Un-British, is British. Still confused? Do try to keep up. David Cameron explained this himself before he was elected by people hoping for something besides Labor, only to discover that it was completely possible to vote for three different parties, and end up with Labor anyway.
Many British Asians see a society that hardly inspires them to integrate. Indeed, they see aspects of modern Britain which are a threat to the values they hold dear - values which we should all hold dear. Asian families and communities are incredibly strong and cohesive, and have a sense of civic responsibility which puts the rest of us to shame. Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian way of life, not the other way around.
This was David Cameron back in 2007, when he discovered that Muslims didn't need to become more British, but Britons needed to become more Muslim.
It's another reminder that integration is a two-way street. If we want to remind ourselves of British values - hospitality, tolerance and generosity to name just three - there are plenty of British Muslims ready to show us what those things really mean.
Which is the real idea here. Islam is the new British value system. The old British value system is Un-British. Burqas are in. A pint at the pub is out. The Union Jack is out. The Hezbollah and Hamas flags are in. Michael Savage is still un-British and banned from entering the country. On the other hand, Muslim clerics are still free to spew their hate and their disciples are free to jeer returning British soldiers. On the other hand the English Defence League confronting them, is most Un-British. And official events for the 7/7 bombings are of course most Un-British. Instead there was the launch of a multicultural "Preventing Hate" campaign. Because as we all know, there's no better way to stop Islamic terrorism.
A joint statement pledged they were committed to promoting “a new sense of collective community responsibility” which has the power “to curb all manifestations and expressions of hate crime”.
So apparently 7/7 has been recategorized as a hate crime, in line with scrawling graffiti on walls, or even worse, the day was hijacked to promote yet more awareness of "Islamophobia".
Many said the lack of official recognition was in direct contrast to how America marks the 9/11 anniversary.
Graham Foulkes, whose 22-year-old son David was killed at the Edgware Road bombing, said: ‘On the fifth anniversary, the least the prime minister could do is attend and lay a wreath.
‘This was a national attack and it’s really disappointing. I know it’s upset many people.’
He contrasted Britain’s attitude with the active approach taken to remembering the 2001 attacks in the US.
‘The Americans had an independent inquiry. We can’t even get the inquests to run within a reasonable timetable,’ he said. Fifty-two people died and more than 700 were injured in 2005 when four Islamist extremists detonated bombs on three Tube trains and a bus.
Many survivors and families gathered yesterday at the Hyde Park memorial, where floral tributes were laid.
A note from prime minister David Cameron on one wreath said the victims ‘will never be forgotten’.
...when they already have been. But then remembering the dead was a very British thing to do. And we don't do that anymore. We wear Burqas. We surrender to terrorism. We surrender. Period.
So let us allow Kipling a final word on the matter of Taliban heads and London Burqas, and the mindset behind it, that one can buy peace and security by paying in the cheap coin of your self-respect.
"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"
...and the nation that pays it is lost.