A Soldier Responds to a Commons Report on Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by alib, Jul 22, 2011.

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  1. The reports come up before. Thought this deserved a thread of its own, pretty devastating.

    From KoW A Soldier Responds to a Commons Report on Afghanistan by PATRICK BURY
    My bold, sweet Jesus what were they thinking. A bit of phone hacking really pales beside this.
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  2. Any of our resident anonymous journo's care to run with it?
    How about the Gruaniad?

    Anyone? No, a stunning silence will prevail...
  3. Good time to hide bad news?
  4. A very insightful and depressing read. Ironic that it took an Irishman to say this. Then again, he's giving voice to what plenty of others both think and say.
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  5. I love Mayonnaise, I can't believe that the bog trotter is knocking it?!
  6. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    Bury's book, Callsign Hades, makes for very depressing reading when taken in conjunction with this.

    It would be good if someone in the responsible press (I know, where TF do you start looking) picked this up and ran with it. Perhaps Bury should meet up with Maggie O'Kane and see where they can go with this.
  7. To be positive it's a good sign that they are making this commendably frank report public at all and I hope for a change some heads roll. What's happened here is wrong in so many ways not least that it will have exactly reverse affect to that intended on DC, they are not stupid and this is no way to score points with them.
  8. The British establishment has been burying similar reports since the aftermath of the Crimean war.
    The reputation of the British Army was built largely on the abilities of it's NCOs and men. There has been a lack of real intellectual vigour, flair and character amongst senior officers for a couple of generations. They were arrogant and complacent to a degree, falling into the comfortable trap of believing their own propaganda about being the best in the world. Taking 30 years to force the IRA to a stalemate and routing an appalling badly led South American army (in a campaign that hung on the edge of failure) were much of the basis for that belief.
    Platoon for platoon the British Army probably was (and might still be) amongst the best on the planet, but that ability isn't translating into sustained brigade and divisional sized ops. Courage and tactical acumen are worthless without sound strategic direction.

    The British army was under equipped and under resourced years before the 2nd Gulf War. Rather than show some backbone and hold the politicians to account, senior officers made a virtue of improvisation and doing more with less. I can remember all kinds of snide digs about the Americans having too much kit and being 'dependent' on it. 'All the gear and no idea' was a regular snotty little quip. The American approach to equipment and resources has certainly proved its worth over the last decade. The British approach has seen good men die for nothing.

    The British army is top heavy in senior ranks; I think it's time the spotlight was shined on the Brigadiers and Generals and some searching questions asked about their abilities and characters. I can think of at least one Brigadier who (based on his performance as an Infantry CO) isn't fit to dig latrines or stag on the gate in Catterick. We also need to look long and hard at the system that trains and promotes officers (my gut feeling is that too many good officers quit at the rank of Captain).
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  9. If you can get that post of yours published Abner, you should.

    Nail and bloody head.
  10. One of our cultural challenges is the 'Daddy Knows Best Attitude' from our senior officers, couple this with a healthy dose of "don't bother me with the facts, i've made up my mind already" and a drop of "the quality of the advice is directly proportional to the status of that of the giver" and you have the perfect storm for institutional incompetence. Mix in stifled 'old school' thinking, dangerous groupthink and a home-grown senior management system its hardly surprising that we're in the state we're in.

    A macro example of this is the explosive growth of H4H versus ABF over the past 4 years. Both thoroughly decent causes: one gripped the nation with a dynamic, imaginative, exciting and interactive influence campaign. The other, although managed by honourable, decent and distinguished retired senior officer stalled as the world passed them by trying to turn profit from Christmas cards, regimental slippers and advent calenders relying on their A5 glossy brochure for publicity as the didn't have a webmaster at that time...
  11. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Sadly, UK industry is like that too, so perhaps it is endemic in the British psyche. I used to call it Mahogany Panelling Syndrome. Erk comes in to boss with presentation. Boss sits politely through it, thinking all the timne: "I am a grand chap, I have a mahogany panelled office. This man lives in an open plan pig-pen. Therefore, although a specialist, he cannot see the bigger picture and cannot be as wise as I am. Therefore I have made up my mind, before he ever came through the door, to be my usual affable self but to ignore anything he says."

    The other industrial catch in large companies is cash frittered away at all levels in cross-divisional paper warfare. the only cure for this is leadership but if the leaders f off in the middle ranks, what eventually rises to the top?
  12. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    What a depressing thread.

    Still, this is the British way, have the issues out in the open, discuss until everyone is thoroughly fed up and then start the discussion again. Once that has been done we can say, "Look, we have discussed this and will take note of what has been said" - then crack on as before, no change!!!

    Very sad but symptomatic of the demise of Great Britain.
  13. Danny, wise words and describing behavours that I see on a daily basis. It has been decided, that irrespective of the facts of HERRICK, it will be represented as a win. This sort of mentality does not bode well for the future. Hopefully the forthcoming cull of senior officers will get rid of the right ones and reduce the groupthink.
  14. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    I meant to add a gem from the late Rear Admiral John Templeton-Cotill. One long-ago day I was trying to get him (as Executive Officer) to beard the Captain about something. He patiently heard me out and came out with "But, Seaweed, you don't really expect me to tell the King his crown's on crooked?"

    Curiously, not only was he promoted soon after serving in that ship but so were two officers I personally heard answering back, in fairly unmistakeable terms, to said Captain. One such exchange: Captain: "What is the delay?" Reply: "Just you f.cking well wait. SIR."