US troops ordered to avoid London

Monday July 11, 2005

I really don’t know how to take the news that:

Thousands of US military personnel based in the UK have been banned by commanders from travelling to London in the wake of Thursday’s bomb attacks.
BBC News

especially in the light of:

…US President George W Bush said the US would “not retreat in the face of terrorists”.
He said: “In this difficult hour, the people of Great Britain can know the American people stand with you.”
The president said the US remained committed to military action against terrorist groups.
“We continue to take the fight to the enemy and will fight till this enemy is defeated,” he told the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

and I suspect that many of my US friends will be at least as puzzled as I am. What was that line in the old Saturday morning cowboy movies? Something like: “White House man speak with forked tongue,” perhaps?

I’m not here to judge. I do think it a shame, though. My observation of military service, based on my own experience, is that you gain life lessons of inestimable value from visiting and seeing other peoples in other lands, going about their daily lives in whatever circumstances, good and bad. In London right now, the lesson is plain, good and bad. We Brits don’t, never have, and shall not, allow terrorism to stop us going about our daily lives. These American kids, ambassadors from the land of the free and the home of the brave, are not to be allowed to witness that.

And, to me, that’s a shame. A crying shame.



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