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Sunday, December 10, 2006
Top soldier blasts Noel Gallagher
Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher has been criticised for his comments about British troops wounded in Iraq. A military commander blasted Oasis guitarist, Noel Gallagher, for saying that British troops wounded in Iraq should stop whingeing.
Black Watch (3 Scots) officer commanding, Ben Wrench, said no soldier ever volunteered to get blown up.
Pop star Gallagher sparked controversy last month when, in an interview with The Sun, he criticised troops who complained about injuries sustained in the line of duty.
But, speaking from the Black Watch base at Shaibah, near Basra in southern Iraq, Major Wrench said: "I would caution anyone about passing comment on servicemen and women who are injured in the line of duty.
"Yes, we volunteer to join the army and, of course, everyone is aware of the operational risks. But, no, we don't volunteer to be blown up by roadside bombs, to be killed or maimed and to lose limbs.
"I don't think that anybody who has an injury could be accused of whingeing. We are a free society and people can say what they like. But, if we were all getting pop star wages, maybe we would have the luxury of whingeing a lot more."
The strong remarks by the British officer signalled the latest salvo in the ongoing skirmishes between Oasis and the military.
In 2002, the band ordered British forces to withdraw a recruitment video which used songs from their best-selling album, What's The Story (Morning Glory), without permission.
Top brass were forced to make a tactical retreat and bin the promotional material, filmed on exercise in Kenya, or face legal action.
But the band were accused of hypocrisy as they had hired two Gazelle helicopters from the British military for the filming of the video to their 1997 single, D'You Know What I Mean?
NOEL Gallagher is, as usual, unapologetic.
The Oasis guitarist and songwriter yesterday reflected on a controversial time, even by his standards.
Two weeks ago, a widely reported tirade about troops in Iraq landed him in hot water with veterans' associations.
"They made it sound like I was saying British soldiers deserved to get shot at. I was talking about soldiers in general in America, and I was just, like, 'If you don't like getting shot at, don't join the army'," he said.
Gallagher was also bemused by the storm that surrounded his "tongue in cheek" response to a question about the Socceroos.
"My point was, Australians are that good at cricket and rugby, why do you bother about football? Please leave football to the rest of us."
Gallagher, in Melbourne for the release of the greatest-hits set Stop the Clocks, reflected on the band's highs and lows.
"God knows how much money I've blown," he said. "You start in a Transit van dreaming of being a rock star … then you get the big shades, the big hair, the cars, the houses and the women, and after three years you realise you have forgotten who you are."
He and guitarist Gem Archer last night played a strong greatest hits set at the Forum and will tape an episode of Vodafone Live at the Chapel in Prahran today. Gallagher plans to take in the third Ashes Test later this week.
The tour is conspicuous for the absence of Noel's brother, Liam. "He's started to carry a man bag, which is very disturbing," he said. "Apart from that, he's the usual him. I kind of give him the wide berth. Liam doesn't do acoustic shows or interviews, anyway."
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