Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Because the history of Irish neutrality reminded me of some lyrics from an old Pogues song

As I was walking down the road
A feeling fine and larky-oh
A recruit'en sergeant came up-a-ta me
Says he, you'd look fine in khaki-oh
For the King he is in need of men
Come read this proclamation-oh
A life in Flanders for you then
Would be a fine vacation-oh

That may be so says I to him
But tella me sergeant dearie-oh
If I had a pack stuck upon me back
Would I look fine and cheerie-oh
For they'd have you train and drill until
They had you one of the Frenchies-oh
It may be warm in Flanders
But it's draughty in the trenches-oh

The sergeant smiled and winked his eye
His smile was most provoking-oh
He twiddled and twirled his wee mustache
Says he, I know you're only joking-oh
For the sandbags are so warm and high
The wind you won't feel blowing-oh
Well I winked at a cailin passing by
Says I, what if it's snowing-oh

Come rain or hail or wind or snow
I'm not going out to Flanders-oh
There's fighting in Dublin to be done
Let your sergeants and your commanders go
Let Englishmen fight English wars
It's nearly time they started-oh
I saluted the sergeant a very good night
And there and then we parted-oh

Back in the mid-eighties I took 30 days leave before I transferred from the 82nd Airborne Division to John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and Schools Special Forces Qualification Course.  I had no idea what to do on leave but seeing a movie, "The Eye of The Needle" filmed in Britain prompted me to take an Airforce transport to RAF Lakenheath and tour Britain with a backpack.

I first went to Aldershot and partied with some Paras, being an American para cousin myself.  I almost got into a brawl that I didn't really understand and the closest I came to being called a Feinian Bastard as I am Catholic and I really didn't understand how or why that question came up in conversation.

It came up from a Para from Northern Ireland, who then asked me if I was a member of NORAID.  I replied, in soldier bravado, "Hell no, those are Air Force weenies".  He then got incensed.

The problem came from my misunderstanding of his accent; I thought he meant NORAD, the Air Force missile tracking unit under Colorado Mountain that tracks missile launches from the old Soviet Union, an air-conditioned office job.

Luckily, the situation was diffused by an English Para who went on about hospitality and foreigners.

The rest of the leave was most memorable.  I ended up as a guest at the Prince Charles Barracks in Aberdeen Scotland courtesy of the 22nd Para (Territorial) through a RSM in Aldershot.  All I had to pay for was booze and food, they put me up.  Which was a good thing because my booze bill pretty much broke my savings, I mean, after all, I WAS in the pubs with Paras.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 05:58:22 PM EST

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