The only armed infantryman available to the Ministry of Defence after the latest round of defence cuts, Barry had been preparing to travel to the war torn region as the vote was announced and had already booked his flight. But, embarrassingly for Cameron, and the ‘special relationship’ with the US, Barry has decided that he will now spend the weekend playing golf instead.
Cameron had hoped to send a strong, clear signal to Assad by deploying Barry and was keen for him to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with at least one of the shoulders of the many hundreds of thousands of big powerful shoulders belonging to the US troops. Cameron had maintained how important it is for the UK to ‘punch above its weight’ in international affairs, and had provided Barry with the latest equipment for the difficult mission. His rapid fire NERF gun was due to arrive from Argos just hours before his scheduled departure. The order has now been cancelled, and Barry will get a full refund. He was still keen to keep the four-slice toaster though, which he’d ordered at the same time.
Barry is philosophical about the turn of events: ‘I’ve trained for this all week and missed out on a BBQ last weekend. I was ready to give the Syrian regime a bloody nose. I’m proud to be in the Army; in fact, I’m proud to be the Army. I only hope the US won’t find it tougher now without my logistical support. They’ll just have to muddle through alone’.
The Pentagon was urgently adjusting its approach for the assault on Syria, and is now relying on its contingency plans for battle. It had prepared these plans in advance in anticipation of the UK parliament voting against the action, or in the event that Barry pulled a sickie.
US military planners are dismayed at not having the UK at its side, in contrast with the last few campaigns. In a further set-back, they will now have to fight alongside the French. President Hollande announced that he’d managed to find six soldiers who were ready for action, although they would only be ready sometime in mid September when they’d returned from their holidays in the Dordogne. It was uncertain whether the US plans could go ahead until this strong coalition of willing forces was ready, or whether it could succeed without Barry, or even his French counterparts.
Mr Cameron announced that he’d probably be heading back to Cornwall to finish his holiday as he felt he’d done his bit, and there was nothing more he could do. He added that if it wasn’t exactly his finest hour, then ‘it was, at least, only an hour.’