Attitudes Brit / Yank

#2
jon

I've read this article, read about the author of the article and read the reviews of the play he leads with. I have to say, the article is a sloppy cobbled together piece that just reflects the author's views rather than any journalism. The First Post doesn't strike me as a news source of merit.
 
#3
The First Post aside, has anybody seen the play The Black Watch. I heard about it when it was on in Scotland and would like to see it if it ever travels that is.
 
#4
Berg and other members of the audience at the Freud Playhouse were also surprised that the officer in the play was prepared to question aspects of the mission in front of his men. "It just wouldn't happen with US forces," said Berg.
That's definitely been my experience with US Officers, both Regular and Reserve. No matter how intelligent, sociable and open they are they always seem to be "on message", even in the bar after a fair few. I've always put it down to the fact that their CinC is POUS, whilst ours is the Queen, so we possibly find it more acceptable to discuss and question decisions of politicians that do not form our line of command.
 
#5
DarkBlueLoggie said:
Berg and other members of the audience at the Freud Playhouse were also surprised that the officer in the play was prepared to question aspects of the mission in front of his men. "It just wouldn't happen with US forces," said Berg.
That's definitely been my experience with US Officers, both Regular and Reserve. No matter how intelligent, sociable and open they are they always seem to be "on message", even in the bar after a fair few. I've always put it down to the fact that their CinC is POUS, whilst ours is the Queen, so we possibly find it more acceptable to discuss and question decisions of politicians that do not form our line of command.
Considering that for US officers the lowest acceptable standard is exceptional, it is not surprising that they are all 'on message'. To be otherwise will ensure you are passed over.

I think one of the reasons we have always tended to punch above our weight is that traditionally we fight for our mates, our regiment/ship squadron first, it is that loyalty that binds the fighting unit and makes it so effective. Perhaps that is because our navy was spawned out of Elizabethen privateers, and our army out of mercenaary units who fought in the continental wars before the arrival of William and Mary.
 
#6
maxi_77 said:
DarkBlueLoggie said:
Berg and other members of the audience at the Freud Playhouse were also surprised that the officer in the play was prepared to question aspects of the mission in front of his men. "It just wouldn't happen with US forces," said Berg.
That's definitely been my experience with US Officers, both Regular and Reserve. No matter how intelligent, sociable and open they are they always seem to be "on message", even in the bar after a fair few. I've always put it down to the fact that their CinC is POUS, whilst ours is the Queen, so we possibly find it more acceptable to discuss and question decisions of politicians that do not form our line of command.
Considering that for US officers the lowest acceptable standard is exceptional, it is not surprising that they are all 'on message'. To be otherwise will ensure you are passed over.

I think one of the reasons we have always tended to punch above our weight is that traditionally we fight for our mates, our regiment/ship squadron first, it is that loyalty that binds the fighting unit and makes it so effective. Perhaps that is because our navy was spawned out of Elizabethen privateers, and our army out of mercenaary units who fought in the continental wars before the arrival of William and Mary.
Strikes me that the British Squaddy is encouraged to think for himself and should be proud of himself for doing so. Only problem is it's a double edged weapon as when it goes wrong you end up in court defending yourself. Maybe the septic model is better in that respect but I would still rather have troop of lads and lasses capable of filtering right from wrong in their own heads.
 
#7
Uh... a discussion comparing US and UK servicemen based on a theatrical presentation? Really folks... this is silly.
 
#8
bobath said:
The First Post aside, has anybody seen the play The Black Watch. I heard about it when it was on in Scotland and would like to see it if it ever travels that is.
It was on BBC Scotland about three weeks ago. I thought it was quite a poweful peice and the 'jocks' were fairly represented (albeit in a dramatic context). All the actors were Scottish and they didn't hold back on the accent or the language. I'm surprised an LA audience could follow the play without an interpreter.
 
#10
The article really is sh!t. I have absolutely no idea, after reading this, what the main thrust was. Except...British soldiers might swear more than the average Los Angeles theatergoer might anticipate?

Edit to add: Having said that, I wouldn't mind seeing it, especially to see the audience reaction to it firsthand.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#11
wedge35 said:
And the article is crap. Reads like it was written by a Journalism student.
Not a bite but curious as to how you claim this is crap, were you in the audience or on stage? Did you see what the reporter alleges or are you a teacher in Journo studies? If not then at leas clarify why you think this is crap. A bit unfair especially as this isnt the Naafi. Now if you happen to be in possession of facts that will put me straight on this as opposed to opinions then perhaps you can let us see them. Or perhaps you would like to write a review as a yank for yanks on a sweaty sock play in LA!
It seems like a reasonably balanced yank view of a play which as a play we all should be able to assume contains artistic license and is acted by drama students albeit hairy airsed porrige wog ones.
What needs to be taken into account here is that the audience of the play as well as the target audience of the review probably havent met any real jocks army or otherwise and would need subtitles for Rab C Nesbit!
It gives away more of the Yank structure ofthe governing class than the play does of ours!
 
#13
There are of course some significant differences between the approaches of the two armies.

Look to the histories of each. That certainly helps me rationalise it. British sub units are used to operating in relatively small numbers at the far end of a very extended line of command and supply. Needs must that decisions are often left in the hands of Crew, Section, Platoon, Troop or Company commanders.

My experience of the US military was that comparitively little decision making was delegated to junior officers or NCOs and that this micro-management had a detrimental effect on their ability to react quickly at sub-unit level.

Having said that, on a macro level, the US undoubtedly has some excellent strategic thinkers and their ability to put a pin anywhere on a globe and pop a division there quicker than you can say "strategic review" is quite extraordinary. I wish we could do that.
 
#14
Did anyone spot the other article linked to that page by Robert Fox, entitled "The US Army doesn't do alliances -- it's allies are mere clients, supplicants and proxies".

Please allow me, if this is actually the case, to say a great big steaming:

"FCUK YOU THEN"

No offence.
 
#15
DavetheApe said:
Did anyone spot the other article linked to that page by Robert Fox, entitled "The US Army doesn't do alliances -- it's allies are mere clients, supplicants and proxies".

Please allow me, if this is actually the case, to say a great big steaming:

"FCUK YOU THEN"

No offence.
First, that's a link to the opinion column not the American opinion, but some leftist mouthpiece opinion. *outside the US*

He goes on to say:

Once again the Americans have shown they are no good at alliances, and once again they have shown a lack of tactical and operational subtlety bordering on the naive. Allies for them, particularly for the neo-con Republican version of history, are clients, supplicants and proxies - lower forms of life.

Only now have the Americans realised they need a policy of engagement with the Sadrist Mahdi Army – it has taken four years

In Iraq and Afghanistan alike, the American gospel is the use of force - against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, 'insurgents' in general, and now Iran, which has overtaken al-Qaeda as the big enemy in Iraq, and it, of course, is responsible for the defeat of the Brits in Basra.
Wait, heres the best part:

...It has taken four years for the Americans to understand this, guided by an experienced diplomat, Ambassador Ryan Crocker in Baghdad, and not the military.
So which is it, either we listen to our allies or we don't? Where does Petreaus fall into this, his writing the US COIN manual, and learning from his successes in other parts of Iraq?

This guy is all over the place bashing the issue from both sides and generally making shit up as he goes.

Apparently this guy is an absolute expert Iraq, the Middle East, & US Military Tactics and Policy.

Can't believe you guys listen to tools like this.
 
#16
Good. Well done - appreciate that. If my steaming great dog turd of a comment has elicited one positive response from our Allies to say that is all bollox, then great.
 
#17
DavetheApe said:
Good. Well done - appreciate that. If my steaming great dog turd of a comment has elicited one positive response from our Allies to say that is all bollox, then great.
I think it's fair to say, from an American Soldier perspective that any Brit attached to an American unit would be considered "one of their own".

I would bet good money that any soldier here that spent time with Americans would be able to confirm that. Americans take their allies very seriously and hold Brits in even higher regard as they are the only ones (dumb or crazy, you pick) to follow us into Iraq with any kind of substantial force.

I would say that the guy that wrote that opinion is talking directly out of his bum.
 
#18
I think you guys have fallen into a trap that is a common occurence on Arrse. I think if some of you have read Michael Yon's blog properly, you would know that the assertion that US troops can't think for themselves or that they are micro managed is not quite as true as many on here would like to believe. The USMC for example places a lot of responsiblity in the hands of its JNCO's and they are very capable of thinking for themselves. The main thing you all should understand is that the British and American military institutions are quite different as they are similar and the way things are done differ on a Branch/Unit level. For example, the way US Special Forces soldiers make decisions may differ from the way a Unit in the 82nd Airborne Div would. I hope that helps to clarify this further.

P.S I think there is an Arrse member who deployed to Dogwood with the Blackwatch to back up the USMC.
 
#19
ghost_us said:
DavetheApe said:
Good. Well done - appreciate that. If my steaming great dog turd of a comment has elicited one positive response from our Allies to say that is all bollox, then great.
I think it's fair to say, from an American Soldier perspective that any Brit attached to an American unit would be considered "one of their own".

I would bet good money that any soldier here that spent time with Americans would be able to confirm that. Americans take their allies very seriously and hold Brits in even higher regard as they are the only ones (dumb or crazy, you pick) to follow us into Iraq with any kind of substantial force.

I would say that the guy that wrote that opinion is talking directly out of his bum.
Just to add to this point, I seriously don't think the Brits have any idea as to how highly regarded they are in the US and the Armed Forces of the US. And this high regard has been there even before OIF. Although, I doubt the Brits view us in the same good light though.
 
#20
Red Shrek said:
Just to add to this point, I seriously don't think the Brits have any idea as to how highly regarded they are in the US and the Armed Forces of the US. And this high regard has been there even before OIF. Although, I doubt the Brits view us in the same good light though.
I'm not sure that's entirely fair to us - certainly, during my service (22 years, finished 2000 - and, yes, I know the tempo and intensity have changed dramatically since my time), I spent a lot of time with, around and actually embedded in the US Army and USMC and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Of course it was different and of course as a senior NCO I found a number of aspects of the US way of doing things irritating - on the other hand, however annoying some of the officers could be and however lacking in initiative some of my peers had been trained to be, the organisations I served with and in were thoroughly competent.

The US military competence, though, is warfighting and -winning. They're coming relatively late to the grey and ambiguous world of COIN/CT ops and some of the doctrines and equipments they developed to produce the most powerful and effective military force ever seen on the face of this planet have proved to be less useful than perhaps they had hoped.

That said, they're nice people, even if they do start conversations about freedom, democracy and Jesus when I, for one, would rather have been pondering complex questions of deviant sexual practices or telling inappropriate jokes to unsuitable audiences.
 

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