The Daily Mirror
by Charlie Catchpole
Who Cares Who Wins
It's kill or be killed in the ruthless world of the SAS - the Special Authors' Service (motto: Who Dares Wins Millions ).
On the command "Advance" these superbly-trained, highly motivated writers march boldly into publishers' offices and demand massive advances for their Gulf War memoirs.
When they receive the order to attack they go bravely over the top and attack their old comrades. Chris Ryan one of the eight man SAS patrol parachuted behind Iraqi lines to sabotage Saddam's Scud missile operation in 1991, launched a pre-emptive strike with The One That Got Away, which ITV screened more that a year ago.
Ryan who escaped the ensuing debacle and yomped more than a 150 miles to the Syrian border, portrayed himself as a super tough hero and his patrol leader Sgt. Andy McNab as an unstable, gung-ho clown who couldn't run a scout troup.
Now the battered BBC have regrouped and fought back with McNabs own account, Bravo 2 Zero.
And here's a funny thing. McNab is shown to be cool headed, unflinching and totally in control. While Ryan is a vain self -obsessed whingeing moaner. Well they do say the first casualty of war is truth.
Now I'm not one to name drop, but I met McNab once at a party and he didn't look much like Sean Bean. He looks even less like Ross Kemp who fancied the role himself and was - allegedly - not best pleased when the BBC held him to his Eastenders contract. But that's another story.
Anyway, McNab acted as technical advisor on the production and has pronounced himself satisfied with its accuracy and particularly pleased with Bean's performance.
So that's all right, then.
We now know that the whole operation was a classic military SNAFU.
No suprise that so-called "smart" bombs can be guided by remote control so they'll disappear down a selected chimney. But a group of British soldiers can be dropped right on top of an enemy unit, and equipped with radios that don't work.
Dozens of "Ragheads" bit the dust as Our Boys ran for it, firing from the hip. And from the lip. Cliches explode all around.
"I understand that you are still doing your duty."
"And you must understand that I must do mine"
"Who ever your god is you need him now." " War is barbaric."
Yeah. But doesn't it make great telly?
"Radio Times" warned about bad language and violence, and they weren't wrong. The humour was black as the desert night.
McNab giggled delightedly when he hit on the idea of dropping his underpants to prove to his captors that he couldn't be Jewish - but not for long.
Ouch! I bet that hurt.
This wasn't the war as Biggles fought it, eh, chaps?
On a personal note, I wish I'd known about McNab having to unblock Iraqi latrines with his bare hands, then being ordered to lick his fingers clean before we shared the same bowl of peanuts.
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