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Nonsuch
08-04-2014, 05:11 PM
Reading this Pit thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=729644) brought to mind a question I've been turning over in my mind for a while now. I don't think I'm alone in seeing, in our post-9/11 US, a conspicuous rise in "we support our troops"-type stories and messages in the media. There's the emotional reunions between servicemen/-women and their families that are staged for TV, and discussed in the above thread; our summer is bookended by holidays recognizing those who served; and I'm noticing ever-more-frequent invocations of "the troops" in places you never used to see them, especially in ads for car dealerships and other local businesses.

You would expect an uptick in this sort of thing in the ramp-up to the invasion of Iraq, say. But we're out of Iraq (minus those few hundred new advisors), and we're winding down in Afghanistan. So where does all this come from? How widespread is this attitude outside the US (not including heavily militarized states like North Korea)? Is this a matter of the US simply fielding a lot more troops than any other country, so naturally, we talk about them more? Or is there really some aspect of our culture that sets us apart in this way?

clairobscur
08-04-2014, 05:21 PM
Since the end of conscription, French people mostly ignore their military. They need to get at least killed, preferably a number of them to raise some small interest. And even then, it doesn't cause much emotion. They certainly aren't revered, and there's no "we support the troop". As I said, ignored, mostly.

silenus
08-04-2014, 05:29 PM
Sparta maybe.

RickJay
08-04-2014, 05:32 PM
There's the same basic idea in Canada, to be sure. It doesn't permeate life to the same degree, but it's certainly there, especially now that we have a lot of fresh combat veterans to "support," a term I use with some skepticism because the extent of most people's "support" is in saying they do, be it through Facebook posts or bumper stickers or what have you.

davida03801
08-04-2014, 05:36 PM
My guess is this is a counter reaction to the Vietnam era treatment of vets returning home.

That group of vets was ignored, spit upon and worse by many that opposed the war. I witnessed a lot of this at the time happening to my older brother when he came back.

Poysyn
08-04-2014, 06:08 PM
There's the same basic idea in Canada, to be sure. It doesn't permeate life to the same degree, but it's certainly there, especially now that we have a lot of fresh combat veterans to "support," a term I use with some skepticism because the extent of most people's "support" is in saying they do, be it through Facebook posts or bumper stickers or what have you.

Well, I always find it a bit humourous when someone with a support your troops car magnet either cut me off or act in another jerking manner when I am in uniform. :)

We get a lot of support here, I have lost count of how many people walk up to thank me, but it's more of a polite "thank you" than parades.

Chessic Sense
08-04-2014, 06:27 PM
we have a lot of fresh combat veterans to "support," a term I use with some skepticism because the extent of most people's "support" is in saying they do, be it through Facebook posts or bumper stickers or what have you.

Basically this. You have to keep it in perspective, OP. Sure, there are a lot of news stories about soldiers coming home, but there aren't a whole lot of volunteers at the VA hospitals and charities for vets aren't exactly overflowing with cash.

Soldiers might march in national holiday parades, but they don't have marches just to glorify themselves for no reason. It's hardly veneration.

Shagnasty
08-04-2014, 07:14 PM
My guess is this is a counter reaction to the Vietnam era treatment of vets returning home.

That group of vets was ignored, spit upon and worse by many that opposed the war. I witnessed a lot of this at the time happening to my older brother when he came back.

That is my take on it as well. The general phenomenon didn't really take shape in its present form until Gulf War I in 1990 - 1991. The most recent actual, large combat missions that U.S. troops engaged in before that was Vietnam in the late 1960's - early 1970's. There was the omnipresent Cold War that lasted from the 1950's until the early 1990's but it involved very little actual combat by definition.

The treatment of returning troops from Vietnam left a really bad impression in the nation's collective consciousness. Hippies versus wounded, drafted soldiers doesn't make for very inspirational message. I am sure some of it was exaggerated but the stories of the atrocities committed by the hippies against honorable young soldiers became a source of national shame over time (I am just repeating what the standard claim came to be, not taking a position on it myself).

The public response as soon as Gulf War I flared up was to head the demonstrators off at the pass and give such an overwhelming and public show of support to the troops themselves that any contrary opinions would be overwhelmed and probably denounced as near treason. That strategy worked and you can still see the legacy of it today. Gulf War I was when it became not only socially acceptable but sometimes expected to display things like ribbon campaigns and bumper stickers supporting the troops. It also became common to give public thanks to service members and for businesses to extend courtesies like pre-boarding for military members on airline flights.

All of those things existed in some forms and places before then but they really took off during Gulf War I and have remained a fad/tradition in the U.S. since then.

UDS
08-04-2014, 08:35 PM
Well, American culture is noted for its particular embrace of the myth of redemptive violence, and veneration of the troops could be part of that.

But, yes, it's largely symbolic. Bumper stickers and TV moments, fine. But the Bush administration reckoned that Americans would not tolerate tax increases to pay for the Iraq war and substantial downstream costs of providing benefits to veterans, so they financed the whole thing by borrowing instead. Evidently they felt there was a limit to the degree of practical support that the American people were willing to offer.

dstarfire
08-04-2014, 08:54 PM
I've noticed that ones proximity to a military base* to be a major factor in a regions attitude towards troops. With 2 military installations close by, any troop movement becomes headlines news. An hour or so north and most people could care less what soldiers are doing.


* actually, it's the number of families in the area with people in the military, but ...

Wesley Clark
08-04-2014, 08:57 PM
Well, American culture is noted for its particular embrace of the myth of redemptive violence, and veneration of the troops could be part of that.

But, yes, it's largely symbolic. Bumper stickers and TV moments, fine. But the Bush administration reckoned that Americans would not tolerate tax increases to pay for the Iraq war and substantial downstream costs of providing benefits to veterans, so they financed the whole thing by borrowing instead. Evidently they felt there was a limit to the degree of practical support that the American people were willing to offer.

I've noticed this too, its heavily lip service. Veteran unemployment is high, if an emotionally disturbed vet commits a crime all the empathy stops. Benefits for health care are being cut, stop gap happened, etc.

What do we get out of being a culture that offers lip service to veterans? I've always assumed the US was more jingoistic and nationalistic than most other wealthy nations, but we get off on lip service and have no real concern for the substance of the matter. I do not get it. It reminds me of Louis CK bit, how it gives one pleasure to pretend one is magnanimous and charitable without acting on it. You get all the benefit with none of the cost.

UDS
08-04-2014, 11:04 PM
What do we get out of being a culture that offers lip service to veterans? I've always assumed the US was more jingoistic and nationalistic than most other wealthy nations . . .
Actually, I wouldn’t assume this. What might be the case is that the US is more prone to express itss jingoism and nationalism in identification with/veneration of the armed forces than some other nations are. And I think there could be a couple of factors at work here:

1. Embrace of the myth of redemptive violence, as already suggested.

2. History. The US’s emergence as a nation with its own distinct identity was closely tied up with emergence from colonial status and the establishment of national independence. Hence American identity is closely connected with health, strength, success, independence etc of the United States. This wouldn’t be the case for other nations like Ireland, Germany, Italy, etc, whose national identity was established and secure long before political independence or a unified polity were secured.

3. Flowing on from that, federalism. If American identity involves identification with American government and political institutions to a greater extent than in other countries, for much of American history most people’s direct experience of the Federal government was (a) the armed forces, and (b) the post office. Most governmental functions - schools, roads, police, prisons, the bulk of taxes that - were state functions. The armed forces, small as they were for much of the history of the US, were probably the most visible, and certainly the most glamorous, aspect of the federal government’s activities that most people ever observed directly.

. . . but we get off on lip service and have no real concern for the substance of the matter. I do not get it. It reminds me of Louis CK bit, how it gives one pleasure to pretend one is magnanimous and charitable without acting on it. You get all the benefit with none of the cost.
Well, maybe that’s not entirely fair either. Americans pay hugely in support of the armed services. The US, with 4% of the world’s population, accounts for something 40% of the world’s defence expenditure. That’s an awful lot of dollars that Americans could be spending on education, healthcare, art, music, travel or beer but that they’re spending on guns instead. To put it another way, Americans spend 4.4% of GDP on defence; the coming superpower, China, gets by with 2.1%. Comparable prosperous democracies with their own military heritage and traditions - France, 2.3%; UK, 2.5%; Australia, 1.7%; Germany, 1.4%; Italy, 1.6%. Obviously all these countries are differently situated and differently circumstanced, and they have different interests and different geopolitical ambitions. But the bottom line is that Americans pay to maintain the armed forces that they think appropriate to their situation and aspirations, and what they think appropriate is very, very expensive. I don’t get the sense that Americans resent this.

Rick Kitchen
08-04-2014, 11:41 PM
That veneration of the troops ends the minute they come home. The Republicans in Congress aren't interested in supporting them monetarily.

Wesley Clark
08-05-2014, 12:04 AM
Well, maybe that’s not entirely fair either. Americans pay hugely in support of the armed services. The US, with 4% of the world’s population, accounts for something 40% of the world’s defence expenditure. That’s an awful lot of dollars that Americans could be spending on education, healthcare, art, music, travel or beer but that they’re spending on guns instead. To put it another way, Americans spend 4.4% of GDP on defence; the coming superpower, China, gets by with 2.1%. Comparable prosperous democracies with their own military heritage and traditions - France, 2.3%; UK, 2.5%; Australia, 1.7%; Germany, 1.4%; Italy, 1.6%. Obviously all these countries are differently situated and differently circumstanced, and they have different interests and different geopolitical ambitions. But the bottom line is that Americans pay to maintain the armed forces that they think appropriate to their situation and aspirations, and what they think appropriate is very, very expensive. I don’t get the sense that Americans resent this.

Spending on the military is higher, but that is not the same as supporting people in the military. Doing that would entail things like providing quality health care, employment assistance, diversionary courts if the traumas of war cause them readjustment problems, adequate breaks between rotations. Instead we just get off on hearing ourselves say 'we support the troops'.

We may spend 1-2% of GDP higher than other countries, but I do not know if our active personnel as a % of the nation is much higher. It is about 0.4% which is not much different than the 0.3% you'd see in some other nations in western europe.

AK84
08-05-2014, 12:23 AM
Most countries and their citizens "support their troops". But, that is a shorthand for supporting the armed forces as an institution, not the individuals therein, which it seems to be the case for the US.

I will admit, I find the whole "thanking for service" rather weird and may I say it, tacky. But, then again, foreigners are weird people:D

njtt
08-05-2014, 01:56 AM
My guess is this is a counter reaction to the Vietnam era treatment of vets returning home.

That group of vets was ignored, spit upon and worse by many that opposed the war. I witnessed a lot of this at the time happening to my older brother when he came back.

Of course the spitting stories are not actually true, and did not start to circulate until quite a few years after the war was over. No doubt the Vietnam troops were not given a returning heroes' welcome, and were, unfairly, made to bear the brunt of much of the anger about the war itself, but the spitting myth is part of the very reaction to the anti-war counterculture movement of the '60s that has pushed America so far to the right since then. Somehow, now, this mythical spitting is remembered better than the actual peaceful anti-war demonstrators who were shot to death by the National Guard.

bob++
08-05-2014, 05:05 AM
I think these things come and go. Back in the 70s and 80s British soldiers were not allowed to wear their uniforms off camp for fear of attracting unwanted attention. After the Falklands, where they were much praised, and with all that shit in the Middle East, they were rehabilitated and now parades through city streets are pretty common, as are uniforms off camp.

Twas always thus as this poem by Rudyard Kipling, and written over 100 years ago, relates: (Tommy Atkins is the British equivalent of GI Joe)

http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_tommy.htm

"Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll."

engineer_comp_geek
08-05-2014, 01:43 PM
Moderator Note

That veneration of the troops ends the minute they come home. The Republicans in Congress aren't interested in supporting them monetarily.

Unless you can come up with a cite that this is part of the Republican Party's current platform or ideals, this comes off as a partisan pot shot against Republicans and that sort of thing isn't allowed in GQ.

No warning issued, but let's keep the political jabs out of GQ.

RickJay
08-05-2014, 05:39 PM
Spending on the military is higher, but that is not the same as supporting people in the military. Doing that would entail things like providing quality health care, employment assistance, diversionary courts if the traumas of war cause them readjustment problems, adequate breaks between rotations. Instead we just get off on hearing ourselves say 'we support the troops'.
I would again point out, though, that the same phenomenon is demonstrated in Canada, which has a relatively small armed forces and spends more in line with other Western nations.

Rudyard Kipling's poem about Tommys shows the same thing over a century ago in Britain, and at the time nobody thought his sentiments puzzling. The propensity of people to see soldiers as saviours when they're absolutely needed and to not see them at all when the war's over probably goes back even longer than that.

Rick Kitchen
08-05-2014, 05:49 PM
Moderator Note



Unless you can come up with a cite that this is part of the Republican Party's current platform or ideals, this comes off as a partisan pot shot against Republicans and that sort of thing isn't allowed in GQ.

No warning issued, but let's keep the political jabs out of GQ.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/199480-gop-blocks-veterans-bill

UDS
08-05-2014, 09:00 PM
I would again point out, though, that the same phenomenon is demonstrated in Canada, which has a relatively small armed forces and spends more in line with other Western nations.

Rudyard Kipling's poem about Tommys shows the same thing over a century ago in Britain, and at the time nobody thought his sentiments puzzling. The propensity of people to see soldiers as saviours when they're absolutely needed and to not see them at all when the war's over probably goes back even longer than that.
Well, yes.

Possibly the difference in America is that appreciation of the military service rendered by soldiers is often dressed up as appreciation of the soldiers as individuals, but this is lip service and universally understood as such. Nobody seriously thought that the "Support Our Troops!" stickers and badges that proliferated during the Afghan and Iraqi wars were calls for more spending on mental health services for veterans. They were calls for support for the war policy.

Sage Rat
08-05-2014, 09:36 PM
The British seem to have at least a subgroup who try to support the troops, from what I can tell from watching Top Gear.

The Japanese are positive about their armed forces, but the JSDF is more like a domestic Peace Corps than a military, to some extent, so I'm not sure that it's a relevant example.

Hari Seldon
08-05-2014, 09:52 PM
The recent VA hospital flap demonstrated how little the American people (or their representatives, but I think in this congress reflects them) is interested in supporting the troops if it means paying higher taxes. And whether failure to support the troops is obviously not a policy of either party, there is not doubt which party is unalterably opposed to raising taxes for any reason.

RickJay
08-05-2014, 11:24 PM
The recent VA hospital flap demonstrated how little the American people (or their representatives, but I think in this congress reflects them) is interested in supporting the troops if it means paying higher taxes. And whether failure to support the troops is obviously not a policy of either party, there is not doubt which party is unalterably opposed to raising taxes for any reason.
This constant "but people won't pay more taxes" refrain is just silly.

Until the VA hospital flap, most Americans were largely unaware such a problem existed at all or that insufficient tax dollars were being dedicated to it. You cannot blame people for refusing to pay for a problem they do not know exists - a problem that in fact elements of the VA had apparently gone to very considerable lengths to hide.

And that problem now being known, who says higher taxes are an obvious solution? I suspect a great many people would be quite rightly suspicious that higher taxes would help no veterans at all, since the mendacious and abysmal VA administration apparently cannot be trusted with the rather large sums of money it gets now. For that matter why not simply spent the money on the VA that is not being spent on fighting a war in Iraq? Or stop paying for ethanol programs or other such nonsense? There is not that obvious a connection between higher taxes and instant relief for needy veterans.

Nava
08-06-2014, 01:44 AM
In Spain people mostly ignore the military and tend to think of them more of a "source of low-level, well-organized labor for emergency situations" (cf. cleaning up black tides, helping after an earthquake) and "organizers of large events" (cf. providing tents and food to thousands of pilgrims on Papal visits) than "people who may go to dangerous places and get killed". The third part is highly disapproved of, and even more the part where "they may go to dangerous places and kill someone".

The military tend to be a sort of separate caste: they have their own housing, they often don't make civilian friends where they are living (even when living there for decades). Since the conscription ended, this is even more so than when a large amount of low-level coms and non-coms were conscripts.

They are also not allowed to wear their uniforms when not on duty; this is normal for uniformed jobs in general, but in the case of the military it's an actual ban on it. If you meet someone who's military in a context in which professions don't get mentioned, you won't know it.

It's also one of those cases where some people have a negative, or even very negative, opinion about a group, but no problem at all with the immense majority of those who make up the group. These people will be quick to tell you that "the military" (or "the border guards", or "the police") do this and that wrong, but individual members get the same treatment as everybody else of "you're ok until you prove you're an asshole".

UDS
08-06-2014, 02:21 AM
This constant "but people won't pay more taxes" refrain is just silly.

Until the VA hospital flap, most Americans were largely unaware such a problem existed at all or that insufficient tax dollars were being dedicated to it. You cannot blame people for refusing to pay for a problem they do not know exists - a problem that in fact elements of the VA had apparently gone to very considerable lengths to hide.
On the other hand, if people genuinely cared about the welfare of soldiers, wouldn’t you expect them to find out that this problem exists? I mean, it’s not rocket science; service in a war zone is traumatic, mentally and often physically, and you’d expect long-term consequences for those who serve. And in a society which cared about such matters, you’d expect media attention. A media which gives lots of coverage of photo opportunities of service personnel being reunited with their loved ones, but rather less coverage of ex-service personnel doing it tough in the community, is possibly reflecting a society which appreciates the former but would prefer not to know about the latter.

And that problem now being known, who says higher taxes are an obvious solution? I suspect a great many people would be quite rightly suspicious that higher taxes would help no veterans at all, since the mendacious and abysmal VA administration apparently cannot be trusted with the rather large sums of money it gets now. For that matter why not simply spent the money on the VA that is not being spent on fighting a war in Iraq? Or stop paying for ethanol programs or other such nonsense? There is not that obvious a connection between higher taxes and instant relief for needy veterans.
That could be equally true of any government expenditure. And, as already pointed out, scepticism about the efficiency or efficacy of government spending hasn’t prevented Americans from supporting - or, at least, bearing uncomplainingly - the absolutely staggering amounts of their tax dollars which go to the armed services. If they don’t express scepticism about that actual tax burden, but do express scepticism about even the possibility of taxation to pay for the welfare of veterans, we’re tempted to draw a certain conclusion.

filmstar-en
08-06-2014, 04:17 AM
In the UK the army is the least glamourous of the three armed forces. It is a small army, professional army. More attention goes to the Navy, which calls itself the 'Senior Service'. I guess this stems from the island geography and the role of the navy in the protection of sea routes, national defence and the projection of power around the word. The airforce also has had a greater profile since the Battle of Britain when airmen became seen as heroes. The army, in contrast,.....well the Duke of Wellington called them the scum of the earth.

There certainly is not the American propensity for grand parades and I have heard stories of American passengers spontaneously applauding service men in uniform flying on civilian passenger jets. They certainly don't do that sort of thing over here.

Some other countries admire their armed forces. In India, for example, the army is one of the most respected institutions (I believe.)

Echo Charlie
08-06-2014, 04:56 AM
I think these things come and go. Back in the 70s and 80s British soldiers were not allowed to wear their uniforms off camp for fear of attracting unwanted attention. After the Falklands, where they were much praised, and with all that shit in the Middle East, they were rehabilitated and now parades through city streets are pretty common, as are uniforms off camp.Are military parades through UK streets actually common? I live and work in central London and can only think of the military parading on Remembrance Day and on a few occasions dedicated to the Queen.

Certainly, boarding a flight on the US carrier and hearing "active servicemen in uniform" being called for early boarding still gets a big old :confused:. I've also never heard anyone in the UK thank a member of the military for their service, outside of a formal government-led occasion.

ralfy
08-06-2014, 05:52 AM
One can probably see this topic in light of the presence of mandatory national service.

MrDibble
08-06-2014, 10:51 AM
Nowadays, hell no. Too much history of the military being used as a tool of oppression. Back in the day, by the White minority, there was a certain degree of "support the troops on the Border" mentality, but it was far from universal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_Conscription_Campaign).

RickJay
08-06-2014, 01:28 PM
On the other hand, if people genuinely cared about the welfare of soldiers, wouldn’t you expect them to find out that this problem exists?
Well, no, actually. People do have jobs, families and lives to lead, and engaging in a detailed investigation of the VA administration is not something most people have the time or capability to do. I personally do not have the ability or resources to engage in a detailed audit of all the government departments whose functions I consider necessary, and know of no one who does.

Gatopescado
08-06-2014, 01:48 PM
Well, American culture is noted for its particular embrace of the myth of redemptive violence, and veneration of the troops could be part of that.



Not just Americans. Plenty of cultures embrace suicide bombing, revenge/honor killings, executions without trial, torture, mutilation etc etc. You might get debate over the term "myth", also.

Revenant Threshold
08-06-2014, 02:12 PM
In the UK the army is the least glamourous of the three armed forces. It is a small army, professional army. More attention goes to the Navy, which calls itself the 'Senior Service'. I guess this stems from the island geography and the role of the navy in the protection of sea routes, national defence and the projection of power around the word. The airforce also has had a greater profile since the Battle of Britain when airmen became seen as heroes. The army, in contrast,.....well the Duke of Wellington called them the scum of the earth. I think arguably having a longer history than the US (depending on how you define it) and having been in putative power over a lot of the world for so long, there's a considerable, wide-ranging (both in time and distance) and accepted history of British soldiers... well, being the sort of people and doing the sort of things that aren't at all worthy of veneration. When we were even there for a "good" cause in the first place. That's not to say that it's assumed all soldiers are evil cads, but I'd agree that there seems to be a lesser offering of the benefit of the doubt as to their heroic character.

That said, specific instances of soldiers being heroic are celebrated, and things like the Victoria Cross (our equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honour, loosely) are still a big deal. Too, I'd say that while the average soldier might not be venerated so strongly.... veterans of specifically WWI and WWII very much are, as are those conflicts in general. You wouldn't be expected to wear a poppy around Remembrance Day, but you'd see a lot of them about.

This is a loose idea that I'm not entirely sure of, but my impression also of American reactions to military service takes the form of a more "our heroes" type of thing (and I apologise if I have got that wrong), where here it's more like... a respect for having been through a lot of shit. To put it mildly. I don't know that that's really a difference exactly.

Nonsuch
08-06-2014, 06:17 PM
This is a loose idea that I'm not entirely sure of, but my impression also of American reactions to military service takes the form of a more "our heroes" type of thing (and I apologise if I have got that wrong), where here it's more like... a respect for having been through a lot of shit. To put it mildly. I don't know that that's really a difference exactly.

I think that touches on a big cultural difference. We tend to romanticize our servicemen as "defenders of freedom," since freedom is such a big part of the founding story (I won't say myth) of the US. I know that every country enshrouds its wars in higher ideals, but we tend to think this way whether we're at war or not. A common bumper sticker you see in the US is "Love your freedom? Thank a vet." I have a hard time imagining an equivalent slogan in, say, most of the European countries.

vontsira
08-07-2014, 07:30 AM
In the UK the army is the least glamourous of the three armed forces. It is a small army, professional army. More attention goes to the Navy, which calls itself the 'Senior Service'. I guess this stems from the island geography and the role of the navy in the protection of sea routes, national defence and the projection of power around the word. The airforce also has had a greater profile since the Battle of Britain when airmen became seen as heroes. The army, in contrast,.....well the Duke of Wellington called them the scum of the earth.


I think arguably having a longer history than the US (depending on how you define it) and having been in putative power over a lot of the world for so long, there's a considerable, wide-ranging (both in time and distance) and accepted history of British soldiers... well, being the sort of people and doing the sort of things that aren't at all worthy of veneration. When we were even there for a "good" cause in the first place. That's not to say that it's assumed all soldiers are evil cads, but I'd agree that there seems to be a lesser offering of the benefit of the doubt as to their heroic character.

[snip]

Too, I'd say that while the average soldier might not be venerated so strongly.... veterans of specifically WWI and WWII very much are, as are those conflicts in general. You wouldn't be expected to wear a poppy around Remembrance Day, but you'd see a lot of them about.


Re the long-term, professional military: I have the impression that in the UK -- independently of the "virtuous / brave, versus not so virtuous / brave", issue -- people widely perceive the army as generally less clued-up about things, than the other armed forces. When the British army bungles some operation; or when something stupid is done (including in civilian contexts) by an individual, or a group of, army or ex-army person(s); a favourite saying is, "Thank God we've got a Navy !"