Posted By Sandra Alland

Oh. My. Gawd.

So I forgot I had received this magazine at the leftist bookshop where I work that the publishers thought we might consider -- Soldier: Magazine of the British Army!! And I just found it under a pile of stories and... well, here are some choice moments of absurdity, and also some racism and sexism to entertain the troops.

1. An ad for "Printed or Embroidered Leisurewear." Exhibit A: A stupid-looking Iraqui cartoon character with his hands thrown up, with the phrase "It's either Sunni or Shi'ite!" Exhibit B: The British flag laid on top of the Iraqi flag, next to a stupid-looking Iraqi with a camel and a big question mark coming out of his head. Exhibit C: A blonde woman with a big gun, giant breasts and a British flag for pants smoking between the two flags, also looking stupid. The slogan: "Time to Clean Up!"

2. Okay, forget the serious talk of army bullying in my previous blog -- the true reason for brutality and general unhappiness amongst British soldiers has to do with... tea, naturally! I quote: "Like many other soldiers I bought myself a 350ml thermal mug. After making a coffee on a recent exercise, I tried to dunk a biscuit fruit from my ration pack and was shocked to find it did not fit into my mug. I snapped the biscuit in two and dunked it sideways. Because it did not have as much length, I could only dunk a little before scolding (sic) my fingers. If biscuits were made 6mm smaller, they would fit, which would increase morale."

3. All the lovely ads for soldiers, who, once they've had their limbs blown off for wanting to go to college or get out of their shite no-job town, have to find a SOLICITOR to get a settlement. And also INSURANCE ads for your kit and your life, cuz why should the government pay for any of that when you're risking your life for 12 000 British pounds a year? Not to mention they don't even supply an adequate kit in the first place, as there are ads for that too...

4. The ad to quit drinkng that features a guy with a huge machine gun that is drooping at the end. "In need of a stiff one?" it says...

5. And who knew? Afghanistan is now a barrel of laughs thanks to the Brits: "On the subject of the monkey puppet (April), I have been in Afghanistan...I learnt that the Afghan people have a strong sense of humour. They like jokes and funny things. I think the monkey is perfect to start a conversation. Soldiers should be disciplined but if a bit of humour helps to get the mission completed, I think it is appropriate. Do not forget that during the times of the Taliban having fun was forbidden."

So you get the picture, kindof. It's actually endelessly fascinating and depressing. Like Britain. Get yourself a copy if you can, or you can borrow mine.



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