"Army of the People" - TA on ops

Major piece in today's Sunday Times magazine. LINK - TIMESONLINE
Army of the people
Report by Philip Jacobson

Andy Foster sells houses. And he fights in Iraq. He’s one of thousands of virgin soldiers — part-timers who lack previous frontline experience. Now they’re shoring up our dwindling regular army

A week or two before Christmas, about 800 members of the Territorial Army (TA) found a buff official envelope among the greetings cards on the doormat. It contained formal notification that they were being called up for duty in Iraq, attached to the regular army brigade that will take over responsibility for the British-controlled southern sector in April. Many of these part-timers would effectively become frontline combat troops....
Very good article,

Well done that unit, how many other countries in the world could equal the TA? it says a lot about the UK that our citizens will volunteer and perfom so well, despite what we all think of the current state of society. Even bringing a lump to this Paddys throat!
Good article. Though from the opening paragraph it would appear that we've just got back and that sending the TA to Iraq is something new. Brought a lump to my throat reading about Mark. He was a bloody good bloke and is sorely missed.
.. An excellent article,.. one to help the cause.

There are alot of people out there, that are still ignorant of the role the TA is fullfilling and the sacrifice both soldiers and families are making, ........ so this is a good start. Alot of my work colleagues were supportive once they understood what reservists were going through.

Don't know if Iraq is the reason recruiting is a problem, it problably is not helping.
fozzy (the bloke in pictrure) is my plt sgt his head is going to get even bigger now, :D but it didnt mention the bit when his mag fell off in the middle of a contact but thats another story :D . Very good article well written.
fusilier50 said:
very good article. goes someway to repairing the damage the media, including the Times, have done our forces :roll:
Not all the media seem to be against the forces... The Economist Is very influential especially amongst policy makers of all sorts. Anyone see the article on the abuse video that came out recently. Done a good job of being fair throughout and seems to show more understanding than most. While it condems its not sensationalist and rational.

Edited for spelling/content
British soldiers are shown beating up Iraqis. Is the army going to the dogs?

IT IS a lamentable fact that even the best men do ugly things in war. But only recently could their misdeeds be graphically recorded. This change may largely explain the recent scandals over uncouth American and British troops in Iraq and elsewhere. But it also makes their behaviour more damaging. This week a video was broadcast showing British soldiers kicking hell out of four unarmed Iraqi teenagers while the cameraman laughed and jeered. In response, the government of Basra, a province of southern Iraq, claimed to have severed relations with British forces there. Angry Basrans chanted anti-British slogans and burned the Union Jack flag.

By recent standards, the beatings were a fairly mild abuse. They were nothing to the obscenities committed by American troops in Abu Ghraib prison—fresh photographic evidence of which surfaced in Australia this week. Nor did they look as awful as photos circulated in 2003 showing British soldiers beating and trussing Iraqi prisoners, dangling one from a fork-lift truck. They seem to have occurred, moreover, in early 2004, on the fringes of a riot in the rebellious town of al-Amara. Under fire from small-arms and grenades, the soldiers of the Light Infantry regiment otherwise showed great restraint. But, as this did not feature on the video, it matters little. As a mark of its concern, the army arrested the alleged cameraman, a corporal, on the day the video was first broadcast, and three more soldiers two days later.

The incident is worrying for two reasons. First—as Basra's provincial government clearly appreciated—because in Iraq, and the wider war on Islamic militancy, propaganda is key. Abuses by British and American troops in Iraq are the stuff of dreams to insurgent and terrorist recruiters, including those in Britain. They also further erode support for the war among the wider British public, a majority of whom oppose it.

Another concern is what it may reveal about the army, which prides itself on its discipline and sensitivity. These are the qualities that underlie its fine reputation for counter-insurgency and peacekeeping. Senior officers therefore discuss the abuses in the gravest terms. One notes anxiously that the video shows several soldiers walking casually by without intervening, and that, for two years, some soldiers must have known of it, but kept quiet. Are standards sinking?

Probably not—or, at least, the video should not suggest so. British troops, in Kenya, Malaya, Aden and Northern Ireland, have committed worse abuses. Indeed, given a greatly increased likelihood of abuses being detected, on videos or mobile-phone cameras, it might be thought remarkable that only a handful of misdeeds have come to light.

Yet rancour over the war could have contributed to them. The British army, with its local and regional regiments, and its allegiance to the queen as a symbol of national interest above party politics, reflects British society. It cares acutely what its public thinks of it—previous abusers have complained that they felt bitter at having risked their lives in a cause to which many Britons were hostile. Their bad behaviour will only make Britons feel worse still about the war.
hackle said:
Just for clarification, I think the above post from machina is in fact the Economist article which he mentioned earlier.
lol....yea sorry. (you need a subscriber password to read it online so I posted it)
Good article and great work by the Rifle Volunteers. Certainly sounds like they had a sporting time and acquitted themselves very well indeed.

I was a bit surprised by the observation that "Very few of them were aware that joining the “Terriers” had made them legally liable for active service." I do seem to remember the possibility of being mobilised cropping up in passing on several occasions during my TA career before the big day came. They may have doubted it would ever happen but that's not the same thing.

Also surprised by this statement: "Before Salamanca Company’s six-month tour was over, it became the first TA unit in Iraq to be given full responsibility for its own area of operations, a 40-square-kilometre patch in which regular troops came under its command." So, they must have been doing that before my TA unit did the same (albeit in a different area) from mid-April to mid-May 2003. Well done them, if so.

Finally, it was a shame to see the "Kill the STABs" stories resuscitated without a single statement from another TA soldier saying that he (like me and many others) never experienced any treatment of that sort.
Yes - I thought it a good article until the "STABS" references. Can anyone actually report that they were treated that badly by regulars. I hope not.
RABC said:
Yes - I thought it a good article until the "STABS" references. Can anyone actually report that they were treated that badly by regulars. I hope not.
problem is that many of us dont want to air our dirty washing in a public arena :roll:

i for one wouldnt want to add to our problems in this regard

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