You see that rock over there? That's my contempt, that is. And right now, MoD Bureaushits are beneath it.
Back in 1994 I was involved with a NATO exercise, and I worked with a couple of USN reservists, both of whom had the Gulf Medal from 1991. I was impressed, and asked them about their experience.
"Oh no, we didn't go", they said. "We were in Basic Training, but everyone in the US Military got the medal". I can only assume it's because the colonials actually won a battle for pretty much the first time in their history.
The reservists in question were, understandably, mocked mercilessly for wearing a decoration to which they were not entitled.
Which brings me to civil servants. Specifically, those beancounters awarded the Operational Service Medal for their outstanding administration in the face of bureaucracy.
To qualify for award of the medal with a clasp, personnel must have served in Afghanistan for either five, 21 or 30 days continuous service between various dates depending on the operation.
And how long does a deserving serviceman spend on a tour of duty in Hellmand Province to earn the same decoration? A hell of a lot longer than that.
Medals are - at least, to date have always been - recognition of a HERO'S action in the face of the enemy. Bravery. Courage. Selflessness. Above and beyond the call of duty, in the face of gunfire and with the risk - often the result - of death in the line of duty.
They are NOT, I repeat NOT, some gaudy lapel decoration for some fucking REMF who exceeded his target of reducing bullet supply budgets to serving troops for the quarter preceding.
Those who wear their medal on a uniform deserve our respect and admiration. Those whose contribution has extended only to spending a few days conducting logistics surveys while trying to find a decent dry-cleaner in Kabul deserve nothing but our scorn.
Can you really, honestly, say you earned it? When was your life really at risk? You were in your air-conditioned environment, protected by the very uniformed personnel whose service you now dishonour with your wearing of a medal meant for them. You want to wear your medal? Go and wear it in Tidworth, or Aldershot, or on the streets of Wootton Bassett - places where they understand what valour means, when for you it's just a word you read in the despatches before you file your paperwork on another life lost. Go on, bureaushit - walk the streets of a garrison town with your undeserved decoration and see how long you last. I'll even wear a tie to the funeral.
You want to wear the OSM? Go and pick up a fucking rifle. I don't care if you sat on your fat, besuited arse in a hot climate for a couple of weeks, second-guessing the people who were facing the bullets. You haven't earned that decoration and you don't deserve it Get your pasty, bean-counting backside out onto the fucking front line and then we'll talk.