Guns and poses.

Despite indications to the contrary elsewhere in the story or these ramblings, I like Americans. I admire their unyielding faith in themselves and their nation, their generosity of acceptance, they tend not to be judgemental, they are friendly and open (if a touch loud at times) and, in addition to loving America, they seem to revel in being anywhere except America. Above all, I love but cannot explain their apparent devotion to the British, especially the English all of whom they seem to regard as being personal friends of royalty. (Oh, you're from England - how well did you know Princess Diana?) Moreover, they've all "graduated" from somewhere several times so their intense work ethic must start in the womb, if not at the point of emission. But, jeeze, they can be scary.

In the same way that everyone can be a friend, there are occasions alluded to elsewhere in these texts where they appear unable to differentiate and become somewhat excited and excitable. Back in the good old days of The Cold War (aah, happy days when we all knew what was what) certain British army outfits used to brief USA Special Forces in places like West Germany. We were tasked to provide lectures on the contemptible Russians and Warsaw Pact forces facing us across the border; their guns, tanks, positions, effectiveness, morale, probable routes of attack and all that. There was some good news, for example the fact that nobody beneath captain rank could read a map, so if we could confuse them a bit they might attack themselves. One serious bit of bad news however was that they outnumbered us by about 20:1 and had more overt and covert intelligence assets than we had entire ground units.

So, in we walk into the lecture theatre, immaculately dressed and prepared, only to be confronted by a gaggle of ruffians, vagabonds and thugs who didn't even have the courtesy to stand up. There was a distinct whiff of exotic tobacco in the air, absolutely no discipline or manners and a chill you could hack with an ice-pick. Eventually though, a sort of grudging mutual acceptance grew, followed by interest, then attentiveness, then fascination and, finally, abject fear as we gave them the numbers. Things changed from "Sheeit boy, we ain't got no problem wit' dem Russki muh'f'kers - we gon' kick some ass" to "Sheeit sir, y'all gotta be shittin' us sir". However, when they'd been given a bit more good news - like for example a certain Russian personnel carrier being like a mobile petrol tanker with tissue paper armour - they cheered up and the poses were restruck.

I have to say though that, much as I grew to like them good ole boys in those particular circumstances, I was rather glad they'd be operating some distance away. But, think about it: if they were behind enemy lines, which way would they be likely to be shooting? Gotta love 'em though eh, guns poses and all?