Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17


Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

In fact, between 1918 and 1939, British forces were fighting in Iraq,

Sudan, Ireland, Palestine and Aden. In the years after the second

world war, British servicemen were fighting in Eritrea, Palestine, French

Indochina, Dutch East Indies, Malaya, Egypt, China and Oman. Between

1949 and 1970, the British initiated 34 foreign military interventions.

Later came the Falklands, Iraq – four times – Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra

Leone, Afghanistan, Libya and, of course, Operation Banner, the British

army’s 38-year deployment to Northern Ireland.

For more than a hundred years, not a single year has passed when

Britain’s armed forces have not been engaged in military operations

somewhere in the world. The British are unique in this respect: the same

could not be said of the Americans, the Russians, the French or any other

nation.Only the British are perpetually at war.


One reason that this is rarely acknowledged could be that in the years

following the second world war, and before the period of national selfdoubt

that was provoked in 1956 by the Suez crisis, Britain engaged in

so many end-of-empire scraps that military activity came to be regarded

by the British public as the norm, and therefore unremarkable. Another is

that since 1945, British forces have engaged in a series of small wars that

were under-reported and now all but forgotten, or which were obscured,

even as they were being fought, by more dramatic events elsewhere.

A great deal is known about some conflicts, such as the 1982 Falklands war

and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and Britain’s role in the two world wars has

become in many ways central to the national narrative. But other conflicts are

remembered only dimly or have always remained largely hidden.


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