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The Daily Fail does it again…

At 29, Lisa Head had one of the most dangerous jobs in the world – an Army bomb disposal expert in Afghanistan.

She was among just a handful of highly skilled women soldiers trained to save the lives of countless troops and civilians by finding and disarming improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

Displaying nerve and bravery, she took the ‘long and lonely walk’ to dismantle with her fingertips bombs that had been designed to murder and maim.

But on Monday tragedy struck. Captain Head was horrifically injured when a Taliban booby trap bomb she was trying to disarm blew up.

That’s from the online version.

She was subsequently CASEVACed to Selly Oak, Birmingham and died of her injuries there.

The front-page headline of the paper version says, “Army girl killed defusing Taliban bomb”. Captain Head was 29, an explosive ordinance expert, and held the Queen’s Commission as an Army Captain. By almost no resonable definition could she be called a “girl”.

The Daily Mail is not quite The Express – do they still use the tag-line “The World’s Greatest Newspaper”? – which is probably true by their own deranged metric.

Captain Head died doing her duty. That she is only the second British woman to die in the Afghan war is irrelevant because she was a soldier. That she was a “girl” is frankly terribly patronising. At a deeply underlying level one of the fundamental reasons we are at war in Afghanistan is the appalling sexism of the place. That, in some sense, is what NATO, male or female is fighting against. We are fighting people who don’t want girls to learn to read let alone become military officers.

At checkpoints for explosives British (and other NATO) soldiers conducting searches on the burkha-clad have had to strip to their bras because otherwise the searched wouldn’t believe “their” women were being searched by women too. I mean how can a woman carry a rifle and wear trousers? Or even that Captain Head issued orders to men! That is just how medieval the place is and that is almost the line of The Fail.

It is just part of it but not being sexist is a big part of why we ought to win.


  1. john in cheshire says:

    I am truly sorry that Captain Head has been killed. On a personal level it will be devastating for her family. On a national level, she is/was a very valuable commodity and as such she should have been protected; as should all her comrades. That the MOD has chosen not to do so, reveals something unhealthy at the heart of our defence forces command structure. Her senior officers should be ashamed of themselves and we, as a country, should be ashamed of them for their poor performance.
    In my view, soldiers are not social workers and they should be doing what they have been trained to do; kill the enemy, as quickly, efficiently and completely as possible with the minimal unnecessary risk to our forces.

  2. Senior says:

    I think the gender of Lisa Head is irrelevant. The Daily Mail isn’t the only media outlet to draw attention to her gender.

    The media should focus on what Lisa Head did in Afghanistan, from the point of view that she was a soldier. Her death should be covered as it would have been if she was a man.

    There are parallels between the UK media’s attitude and the Taliban’s attitude to women, but at least the media doesn’t use that attitude to advocate or justify brutal crimes against women.

  3. RAB says:

    I think what Nick was on about was the not drawing attention to her gender, but the disgraceful use of the word “Girl” as if she was just along to make the tea.

    She was some kind of Woman, with more balls than a field full of bulls! RIP.

    One thing I have never understood about IEB’s is why do we defuse them, and not just blow them up? During the Second World War, I have seen pictures of Churchill tanks with flail chains on the front of them, clearing minefields by exploding them. Why not just spot them and lob a grenade on them, or trip them off with a sniper shot from a distance?

    Any ideas?

  4. ivan says:

    RAB, I’ve been wondering that for some time. Maybe if they were in the middle of a shopping centre there might be a reason out in the open just pop them off from a distance.

  5. Nelsontouch says:

    RAB – I think they do that as well. Burning an IED is a good way, but they are often planted in village streets, under rubbish piles, or on bridges and culverts. Plus the “daisy chain” effect – which Capt Head was working on – would trigger other devices not yet seen.

    Best book I read on the subject is “Eight lives down”. Epic, set in Iraq – true story. British officer almost using up his nine lives. Get it from the library if you haven’t, it’s stunning. Nerves of steel doesn’t begin to describe it.

  6. NickM says:

    RAB – precisely!. Captain Head was a highly skilled soldier and to call her a “girl” is deeply patronising. She just pulled a deeply unfortunate one – shirt happens – especially in EOD. That women, not girls, fight, kill and die (alas) on our front-line is just one of the reasons why we are so much better than the Taliban. And shouldn’t that just fucking terrify the sexist bastards?

  7. Lynne says:

    Nick is spot on. Captain Head was doing the job she was trained to do, a very dangerous one, and the last word you would use to describe her is girl. Pity we can’t see some of the sexist gobshites in the MSM doing something useful like, I dunno, telling the unbiased fucking truth occasionally.

  8. BM says:

    It depends. If it happened to be Captain John Head would the headline have said “Army boy”?

  9. NickM says:

    I had thought of that but it’s the context. This isn’t like The Sun running a campaign along the lines of “support Our boys & girls”. It’s specific and the specific soldier was a 29 year old captain.

  10. nbc says:

    Sorry Nick, but it’s ordnance. No “I”…

    Ordinance is legal shit, it don’t go boom.

  11. David Gillies says:

    I used to support the Afghan campaign. No more. The job of the Armed Forces is to kill people and break things. They are not the paramilitary wing of Oxfam. Two days after 9/11 50% of the population of Afghanistan should have taken up residence in the stratosphere on the tail of a bunch of fucking huge mushroom clouds. The prescription should have been repeated for any other bunch of Islamic cunts who even look at us funny. A brave woman died defusing a bomb in a country where pretty much everyone would have cheerfully stoned her to death. We shouldn’t be disarming bombs in Afghanistan. We should be pulling the arming pins out of them right after we’ve loaded the whole 134,000 lb load onto the first of twenty thousand B-1 sorties.

  12. Paul Marks says:

    Yes to all you say Nick – but WE ARE NOT GOING TO WIN

    That is bleeding obvious (in all senses of the word “bleeding”) the Khazi is a double dealing sack of shit, the Afghan security forces are full of Taliban agents.

    And most important of all – the West IS NOT FIGHTING TO WIN.

    The whole “war” is tied up with political rules (just like Vietnam) – so “winning” is not even on the table.

    Every British high up I have heard talks of fighting to “get a political deal” who with?


    That is every high ranking British officer – and, in private, the stinking political leadership in Washington D.C. as well.

    A President John McCain might (rightly or wrongly) have really cared about WINNING.

    But the leadership that exists? They could not give a toss – it is just politics to them.

    Nothing to do with Obama’s Marxism – David Cameron and the rest are not fighting to win either.

    And that means people like Captain Head are being killed as part of a game.

    Not a war – a game.

    And that is not acceptable.

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