January 09, 2004


A.L. Kennedy, writing in The Guardian, puts on her best Tokyo Rose act:

Perhaps you've just finished a tour for Uncle Sam. Maybe you're one of last year's lucky amputees, or you've suffered a recent "mystery illness" or "mental breakdown". Well, give yourself a shake, shine up those new prosthetics and re-enlist today. In other wars you'd have been left idle, but no matter what levels of physical and mental trauma you've endured, this time the Department of Defense Inc still needs you. And with veterans making up 9% of the US population but 23% of the homeless - and Veterans Affairs taking care of 40,000 out of 500,000 - what better options have you got? You have a 50% chance of substance abuse and a 45% chance of mental illness - and let's not even talk about Gulf war syndrome and depleted uranium. In fact, let's not talk about that, ever.

How long before she asks: ďAre you enjoying yourselves while your wives and sweethearts are running around with the 4F's in the States? How will you get home? Here's another record to remind you of home.Ē

Posted by Tim Blair at January 9, 2004 10:58 AM

That "23% of the homeless" is almost certainly bogus. Lots of homeless claim to have been in the military, but as people in homeless services know, many are lying. Ask the average "homeless vet" their unit, rank, and specialty, and most of the time you won't get a convincing answer.

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 9, 2004 at 11:18 AM

You mean life is tough for soldiers?! OMG! Like, that's terrible. I mean, like, I thought that life got bad for us here in NYC as we watched hundreds of people jump to their deaths one morning, but it never occured to me that to prevent another, you know, like really BAD day like that we'd have to make those soldiers endure that kind of stuff. Yuk. Now I wish we never sent them. I thought the military was just a good gig while you got money for college. No one ever told me they got killed. You know, I'll probably get lucky when those Arab guys strike again like I did a couple of years ago. I was really lucky, man, you shoulda seen it.

Posted by: brett at January 9, 2004 at 11:26 AM

I would guess that whatever the number of homeless that are vets is, most are probably from the conscirption days of the armed forces, rather than the volunteer service. Standards are a lot higher now.

Posted by: charles austin at January 9, 2004 at 12:16 PM

If anything, I think that charming little diatribe will only increase the resolve of the soldiers in question.

Posted by: gaz at January 9, 2004 at 12:47 PM

Say that to any of the Marines I've met over the years and expect an arse-kicking. Deservedly so too.

Posted by: Jake D at January 9, 2004 at 12:57 PM

What exactly is the point of what she wrote? I mean, who cares?

Posted by: g wiz at January 9, 2004 at 01:20 PM

And people like this wonder why current armed services personnel and all us vets despise them. I'm sure she's gonna make lots of us change our minds.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at January 9, 2004 at 01:24 PM

Wasn't there a Tokyo Rose in the first Gulf War? I think she told our troops that their girlfriends were sleeping with Bart Simpson.

Posted by: Bob71 at January 9, 2004 at 01:29 PM

Last year the Guardian featured a What I Know column where A.L. Kennedy lets us know what she knows. It ain't much:

I always knew I didn't have any skills and that I was unemployable, so I've ended up doing this.

She may be unemployable in the real world but that won't stop her from counseling American soldiers.

My mother taught me how to be polite in company, but sometimes I'm not. She taught me how to eat properly, but often I don't, and how not to be a mess, which I am.

Impolite, sloppy eater, and messy. Sounds like the perfect person to judge well-trained and highly motivated American soldiers.

You can make anyone look like a moron.

Apparently that also includes American soldiers.

The Scottish are evil drunks. It's because we've been very bad, it hasn't been as good as we thought it was going to be, and we're going to hell.

Hey, evil isn't all about Americans. Let's spread the hate!

I stay in everybody's spare rooms, so I hear things. In all these respectable, middle-class spare rooms, I think, 'Jesus Christ'; I hear people fighting at a level that would make me leave, particularly in London. They're constantly bitching, and are so used to it, it becomes part of their witty routine, but it's obviously deep loathing. They think they're chilled out because they're not actually throwing stuff at each other. It's horrifying.

At 36, she's still living in spare bedrooms but the married couples putting her up are even bigger losers and their lives suck.

The Scots invented the Ku Klux Klan. It was a Scots Irish social club and no one knows that, so I tell everyone I can.

Translation: I'm one of those humorless bitches who makes sure that everyone around me knows the worst aspects of Western culture.

I'm good for Trivial Pursuits. I have two inches of knowledge on lots of areas.

Two inches seems mighty generous.

English people need a mob or a structure to behave badly. They have to be a skinhead, or in a group or wearing a football shirt.

Translation: The English are okay as long as they don't actually form groups of two or more.

In school, you have to do what everybody else is doing, but it's very difficult to work out what that is. I was terribly embarrassed because my mother taught me to read, but no one else in school could, so I used to pretend I couldn't. People thought I wasthick because I genuinely can't add up, and to all appearances I couldn't read. I was horrified that I might get myself beaten up, so they would be working through lists of three-letter words and I would be miles away.

We donít need no education.
We donít need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
Teacher, leave those kids alone.
Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone!

Self-loathing is my default setting. If all else fails, that's my reaction.

America loathing is her secondary setting. After this column, though, she should have some comfort in knowing that she's not alone when it comes to loathing A.L. Kennedy.

As a teenager, I was confused about everything. I still am, but I thought at the time that it was unusual and important, whereas now I know it's commonplace and unimportant.

Being confused about everything really isn't unusual. It's just you.

George W Bush's email address is president@whitehouse.gov. When you email him, they send you back these wonderful messages, like 'President Bush will consider your email'. Will he shit, he won't even see it. But then they know where your computer is and you're on their hit list.

The President of the United States gets plenty of nutty e-mails. Don't flatter yourself. If there really is a hit list you're about 223,216 on it.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at January 9, 2004 at 01:44 PM

"The Scots invented the Ku Klux Klan. It was a Scots Irish social club and no one knows that, so I tell everyone I can."

That's funny, I could have sworn it was a former Confederate general named Nathan Bedford Forrest. Have I been lied to with revisionist history all these years? Does this mean the lefties will stop blaming the South for the KKK? Does this mean that the Confederate flag no longer represents racism, but St. Andrew's Cross does?

[Steve Martin] Naaaaaaah! [/Steve Martin]

Posted by: Ken Summers at January 9, 2004 at 02:18 PM

And with veterans making up 9% of the US population but 23% of the homeless

As alluded to in a comment above, this is complete and utter bullshit. A leftie thought left over from whining about the Vietnam War. And it wasn't even true of Viet Vets. Read B.G. Burkett's fine book "Stolen Valor" debunking this and other myths. www.stolenvalor.com

[a Vietnam Vet who has an MBA, owns his own fine estate and his own oil and gas business, thank you]

Posted by: Wallace at January 9, 2004 at 02:19 PM

Wasn't there a Tokyo Rose in the first Gulf War? I think she told our troops that their girlfriends were sleeping with Bart Simpson.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be fiction, inspired by a joke told by Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show."

Urban Legends Reference Page: Baghdad Betty

Posted by: Joshua at January 9, 2004 at 02:23 PM

Good job there were plenty of US vets at Omaha

Just so slags like this are still free to write
this fucking drivel.

Makes you wonder just how low the Guardian
can stoop.

Posted by: doug at January 9, 2004 at 02:35 PM


I recommend you take yourself to the nearest mental health clinic or shelter. You see, you really don't have an MBA, a business, or property -- you're just a homeless guy who hasn't yet recognized that these experiences are actually delusions and hallucinations. Some heavy duty medication will help...

Posted by: Jerry at January 9, 2004 at 03:17 PM

Her "23% of the homeless" statistic is phony. But, 99% of imbeciles are journalists.

Incidentally, ask Vietnam vets their MOS number. That is their Military Occupational Specialty number.

Posted by: Perfectsense at January 9, 2004 at 03:25 PM

Now that's unfair to imbeciles. If you were to say that 99% of journalists are imbeciles, that would be a fair statement, but many imbeciles are fine and honorable people, if more than a little slow. To accuse those poor folks of journalism, that's just unacceptable.

Posted by: Gary Utter at January 9, 2004 at 06:24 PM

I wouldn't mind inviting this harpie to a meeting with my Vietnam ex service association.

Wouldn't be pretty.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at January 9, 2004 at 07:17 PM