Armys reputation at risk.

#1
One of the Army's most senior officers has warned that it is in danger of losing its reputation as a "highly respected British institution" because it is being forced to recruit soldiers from a "morally corrupt and dysfunctional" society, where young men idolise foul-mouthed footballers.

Maj Gen Graeme Lamb: 'If trust is lost the road back will be blocked'

Maj Gen Graeme Lamb branded many recruits as "cocky and arrogant and brought up on a diet of football brats and binge drinking. . . who are not educated in and able to recognise self-discipline".

His stark assessment came in a speech to senior infantry officers about the war in Iraq, entitled "Operational Success - Strategic Failure". He said that allegations of prisoner abuse against soldiers could fatally undermine the Army.

"We are in very real danger of losing our place in society as a highly respected British institution, an institution built on over two centuries of bloody investment and one which today stands virtually alone in the eyes of this and many other nations. . . This trust, this underlying admiration, is today under direct and sustained attack.

"This trust afforded to us by the Government and the public allows us to operate as an army unlike any other. If we lose this trust - like parts of the medical profession, the political parties, the police and even more recently the Catholic Church - the road back is simply blocked. Heed the warning, the road back if trust is lost will be blocked for the better part of my life if not a generation."

Gen Lamb, the commander of the Army's 3rd Division, received the DSO after leading troops in Iraq from July to December, 2003, when the Army was under almost daily attack from insurgents.





The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that his comments, made to the Infantry Conference in Warminster, Wiltshire, recently, reflect concern among senior officers, including Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff, that the military's reputation is being eroded by allegations of abuse in Iraq, bullying and sex scandals and the deaths of recruits at Deepcut.

In a reference to abuse in Iraq, Gen Lamb said: "The officers and men under our command did not live up to the standard we expected of them. Those who failed were empowered when they should not have been, were left unsupervised when we probably knew they should not have, were allowed to embrace and populate a culture that was simply unworthy of us all."

He appeared to suggest that the problems were exacerbated by having to recruit and retain soldiers of poor quality because of the pressure of military commitments.

"In striving to achieve hard manning targets we retained some of those we might not have, while we recruited from a society which has in the last 30 years become marginally more dysfunctional and increasingly self-interested and in places morally corrupt. And all the while being told we were out of step with 'Cool Britannia'.

"The argument over whether highly paid and very public football stars should be allowed to swear blind mouthed and in public at authority, in this case the referee, has a bearing on my point. These are the role models our recruits and soldiers are brought up on."

A senior officer who was at the conference said: "Gen Lamb is a highly respected officer and he didn't pull any punches. His reference to foul-mouthed footballers, which we all knew was a reference to Wayne Rooney and others like him, was absolutely accurate. It needed to be said."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "These are the personal views of Gen Lamb. The Army plays an important role in the personal development of new recruits and seeks to ensure the highest standards are maintained by providing first class training for all.
"http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/08/21/narmy21.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/08/21/ixportaltop.html
 
#2
Is this the best that can come from a presentation entitled "operational success - strategic failure"? 8O

The General makes some good points, but I am sure that generals have been making similar observations about recruits from younger generations since before Julius Caesar signed out his sword from the armoury.
 
#3
How does he propose to instill in the younger lads the virtues we once had.

He is right. Football "stars" are some of the worst role models going, from gobbing off at the Ref on the pitch or fighting in bars.

Remember the good old days of Gary Lineaker?

Ditto fools like the Gallaghers and other "stars".

Any ideas how to turn it around?
 
#4
MrPVRd said:
Is this the best that can come from a presentation entitled "operational success - strategic failure"? 8O

The General makes some good points, but I am sure that generals have been making similar observations about recruits from younger generations since before Julius Caesar signed out his sword from the armoury.
Doubt it, the Romans didn't take any sh1t from anyone. In fact, no society has ever been as liberal as ours. But that's a good thing, right?
 
#5
The Gen made quite a few points but missed one that I think should also be taken into consideration. The press. Granted that allogations of abuse have come from the civilian population but are jammed down the publics throught without proper investigation into their accuracy and or source.

InBeds, as has been shown cause more harm than good, both in the field and back at home. It is this same press that promote football, music and movie stars constantly whether we like it or not.

I am not advocating "censorship" of the press but promoting common sense within that organisation but I am advocating the brainwiping of all the pretentious morons that play football without any understanding of the impact of their actions on or off the field.

And no I'm not a football support in any form.
 
#6
As long as the Army (and the other services) are able to select the recruits of a required standard and maintain an appropriate disciplinary code and ethos based on tradition and service before self, then standards should be maintained.

Recruits should replace the value system of the society they leave behind and willingly embrace their new military ethos, which all of us in uniform have done at some point. There are many tools - cameraderie, tradition and shared adversity - that underpin the military culture.

I would be more concerned with the civilianisation of the Armed Forces - creating a hybrid of civilian and military values - that is driven by cutbacks and expediency and which the generals might be able to do more about, than the woeful trends in society.
 
#7
Absolutely correct, Awol. Each generation of soldiers is considerd to be "soft" by it's predecessors.
There is some truth in this view. Every generation has less need of physical and mental toughness in civilian life, mainly due to advances in technology. I am stronger and tougher than most of Generation X. But my father's abilities and experiance far surpass my own.
I certainly have not lost faith in the British Army(or the other Services). I believe they are still the best in the world...inspite of the politicians and MoD Mongs who do their best to cripple them.
 
#9
Frankly I expected better from a General. The vaulted position of the Army in society has always been a misnomer. Abuse of prisoners is not a new phenomenon and certainly has nothing to do with the adoration of footballers. Read a history of any of the post WW2 colonial campaigns all of which are awash with stories of abuse. These disdainful actions come from putting young men in hard conditions beyond there control after being in Iraq I can understand why abuse went on but I don’t condone it.
To a certain extent the Army has always recruited from the lower echelons of society if I was a academically brilliant go getter I would work for IBM for 6 figure sums instead of sitting in a rain filled trench on SPTA. The strength of the army has always been that it turned its recruits into highly trained well disciplined young men. The raw material is still out there its for the Army to stop being directed by the PC brigade and start to do what its always done best .
 
#10
Oh well, when he retires it looks like a career as a columnist on the Daily Mail beckons for the good general.

The successive failure of the general staff to stand up to political correctness in the military is probably more of an issue here than Wayne Rooney's lack of self-discipline.

Wellington's army was composed, largely, of drunken, feral scum kept in line with the threat of capital punishment. Didn't do too badly, did they? The army survived the Mods & Rockers generation, conscription, the trippy hippy 60's and 70's and the selfish, "is that all your paying" 80's and still turned out fine soldiers who kept turning in the goods when required.

Discuss.

V!
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#11
To a greater degree, I agree with what he says. I base this agreement on my dealings with young soldiers and the JNCOs who's hands are tied when it comes to disciplining them. The point missed is that in recent times we have not had our pick of the crop when it came to recruits. To be fair to recruits, those who were convicted of the offences in Iraq, weren't new to the Army. They'd all had a few years behind them. HAve a look around some of the Garrisons in which you serve and you'll see the chav attitude of some of our Toms. They couldn't give a sh*t what you or I think. It hasn't always been like this, despite the need of some posters to delve into ancient history. Just look at the complaints from some on the R SIGNALS thread about AGAI 67. They don't like discipline and when they face it, they accuse the disciplinarian of being heavy handed. In their eyes they are right. Any form of discipline as far as certain soldiers are concerned is over the top. They just don't like doing what they are told. There is no getting away from it and there are no excuses for it. We are a disciplined body. If you don't want to be part of that then go. In fact, those who don't feel the need, should be aided to leave.

We're not the attractive offer we used to be either. We have weak and selfish leadership in quite a few quarters, who are ready to use whatever means they can to rise through the ranks. This isn't teh best example to set to young soldiers, yet those same leaders ignore their own failings and blame the likes of professional footballers for the state of the military. Those same leaders are the first to jump on the PC bandwagon and condemn those who make any robust attempt to maintain discipline (and by 'robust' I do not mean assault).

HAve a look at the RAMC forum. It is the intention of their Head of Shed to appoint a previously recommended for commission WO1 as their Corps RSM. WHat they want isn't a RSM, its a lap dog. SOme one that they can have a hold on. RSMs have lost their bite over the years and the support for them continues to diminish as the 'RSM' is viewed by the trendy PC loving career officer as a dinosaur. You'll miss the old school RSM, before he misses you.

We lack leadership, compassion, direction and morale courage, so despite my agreement with the General, I would like to see him and his fellow senior officers, examine closely, the motives of those who aim to replace them in the years to come, before having a dig at those on the coal face. Sort your own house out first Sir, and then support your Warrant Officers, SNCOs and JNCO when we sort out our house.
 
#12
Vegetius said:
Oh well, when he retires it looks like a career as a columnist on the Daily Mail beckons for the good general.

The successive failure of the general staff to stand up to political correctness in the military is probably more of an issue here than Wayne Rooney's lack of self-discipline.

Wellington's army was composed, largely, of drunken, feral scum kept in line with the threat of capital punishment. Didn't do too badly, did they? The army survived the Mods & Rockers generation, conscription, the trippy hippy 60's and 70's and the selfish, "is that all your paying" 80's and still turned out fine soldiers who kept turning in the goods when required.

Discuss.

V!
I think the difference in the past was that the youth were aware they were rebelling against something and that society disapproved of their actions. I'm not sure that this is the case now.
 
#13
silas said:
They have been recruiting this type of person for a while it seems if some of you on this site are anything to go by
Quite possibly, as the army has always recruited from all walks of life and from all classes, so with the good guys you get a good proportion of undiciplined, back chatting wasters. Always has been and if you really what an army that represents the country it serves it'll always be so.

But the differance was, in the not oh so distant past, was that the army could take all types and really train them as they needed to be trained. If the recruit was self diciplined and motivated he took the hardships and worked hard. If he wasn't, he tried the back chat and found out that it only brought more hard work, pain and dicipline was learned. If you tried to buck the system you payed. If you played the game, you found the 'path of least resistance'. Either way you found out that self dicipline was a lot easier than imposed dicipline, or you couldn't hack it and you got out.

Today, if you single out the 'bad' individual or group of individuals you are open to the charge of bullying, so it is the instructers who find the safe option is not to pick on anyone and not 'beast' everyone for the errors of the few. The good ones will always be 'good' but the 'bad' ones never learn. When they get to the Field Army, the bad ones are memorable and give the impression that all new recruits are backchatting, undiciplined, unmotivated wasters. This isn't the case..... but it's getting there.
 
#14
Leadership and moral courage is lacking at the highest levels. There is an unprecedented breakdown in trust in society, mirrored (to an extent) in the Armed Forces.

The "overstretch" issue is an example. Everyone knows (or knew when I left) that we were doing more with less, yet the word "overstretch" could not be used in public for political/PR reasons. Add to this the cutbacks - which defy common sense - and there is little wonder that, if someone is told the sky is green, they will also question the sea being blue.

Also, Iraq. We know that unprecedented lies were told to get Our Tone his little war. So it is unsurprising that a level of cynicism develops among soldiers that is later translated into brutality. This is not to condone the behaviour, but to observe that if "fcuking around" with people takes place on the world stage level, it will occur lower down the chain as well.

This may be mirrored by what is reportedly (large pinch of salt, but worth raising) happening after the Brazilian shooting. The Mirror was apparently briefed by a copper claiming the "blame game was in full swing" with surveillance and firearms teams blaming each other for overreacting and mis-ID'ing the target respectively. When the Commissioner is taking up camera time absolving himself of any blame after obscuring the truth, it is likely that this behaviour will be repeated further down the chain.

Leadership is most certainly lacking, with senior figures and ministers unwilling to take responsibility and more concerned with keeping their jobs and blaming others.
 
#15
I will never forget what I was told by my training screw on my first day. He stood in front of us and merely said that while he was physically unable to make us do any thing he would very soon make us wish that we had. That to me is the corner stone of discipline in the Army. and something that has to be returned.
People forget the lessons of history so quickly the most essential tool of any sovereign government is a well equipped well trained professional Army. George Orwell said that those who live under an army’s protection should not trouble themselves on how they achieve there results but should be merely be grateful that rough men are prepared to commit violence on their behalf. If I serve to my 22 year point I still have 15 years soldiering left the way things are going I will dust my passport off I don’t see my job becoming redundant any time soon.
 
#18
Biscuits AB has, from my position as an observer who served, hit nail firmly on head. The majority of officers I hear and the few I meet seem to have swopped care of their troops for care of their career. Idea of seeing to horses, men and yourself in that order appears unknown. This may be because effort needed to get to officer position is now harder and the post-Military job prospects are better than they used to be has induced selfishness. The 'be tender to recruits' that seems to rule means that faults of extremes such as yobbishness and vicious behaviour are never tackled because they are the hardest to eliminate. Somehow, the Army needs to reinvent itself so that recruits fight to get in and have to maintain that effort until first stage of promotion. Seeing the services as 'just another job-seekers opportunity' is something that must be destroyed. As for Vegetius point about the soldiers of Wellington, they could certainly fight but their actions in peace-time or looting suggest that they were what we would call badly disciplined unless Frog was at throat.
 
#19
Instead of posting bad tempered sniping comments "Silas" why don't you introduce who you really are, who you really represent , and why you appear to yet again be trawling on this forum?

There may have been some sympathy for you, if you had bothered to actually say who you really were, and why this subject is important to you , but a series of ill-tempered and trolling posts is not going to help your "cause" now is it?

I can only presume you are here again , because the media channels you co-operated with last time, are asking you for a follow-up , and you are here again for that reason?

PTP
 
#20
One of the Army's most senior officers has warned that it is in danger of losing its reputation as a "highly respected British institution" because it is being forced to recruit soldiers from a "morally corrupt and dysfunctional" society...
Harking back decades if not centuries ago, non-commissioned ranks always came from dodgy areas anyway. Officers were toffs, soldiers were underclass scum - simplistic but largely accurate.

Without wishing to sound like a fan of SF fiction (Sgt Jonny Biceps ex-SAS now on deniable ops blah blah...), look at yer man 'Andy McNab', he's an example of a council estate wrong 'un who joined the army to escape jail. Our Army's history is littered with tales of dysfunctional blokes who have joined the Army and proved to be excellent soldiers. Our ethos comes from historical precedent, not the council sinkholes from where many of us (including me) grew up. In the late 1970s we had Punks gobbing and cursing on TV - that was a decade before I joined up - and no one could argue that the Army was ruined as a result.

The corruption and self-centrification (I might have made that word up) of our society is upstoppable. I can't stand that chav Rooney - I think he's a disgusting, foul mouthed little piece of crap, but it's not his fault if a young squaddie has no respect for authority. It's the media who are making him famous, although responsibility lies with parents, not footballers.
 

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