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Back troops, says UK Iraq general

#1
From the BBC. Looks like the momentum is gathering from our Superiors at last.


Back troops, says UK Iraq general

Maj Gen Shirreff welcoming Tony Blair to Basra earlier this month
The head of British forces in southern Iraq has called for national support for soldiers serving in the country.
Major General Richard Shirreff told the BBC that issues such as underfunding must be addressed in order to maintain the quality of his force's work.

He said: "The nation needs to support these men. The nation needs to support its Army."

His comments came after an interviewer suggested many British soldiers in Iraq had complained of "running on empty".

Maj Gen Shirreff said: "The nation needs to understand that the quality work done by these courageous men and women out here only happens and can only continue if these people, our soldiers, are properly supported back home in terms of the support for training, infrastructure, barracks, accommodation."

"Some of these issues need solving," he said, and added: "Many of these issues are the result of a generation of underfunding and relative neglect".
 
#3
I've had BBC News 24 on in the background all forenoon. The interview is being repeated hourly. Should be seen and heard by many = bad press for HMG (though the General spread the blame across a generation).

Posted on Rum Ration too.
 
#5
The head of British forces in southern Iraq has called for national support for soldiers serving in the country.
Issues such as underfunding had to be addressed to maintain their quality of work, Maj Gen Richard Shirreff said.

His comments came after an interviewer said many soldiers had complained of "running on empty" in Iraq. The MoD said spending had risen steadily.

Meanwhile, seven British soldiers on patrol in northern Basra suffered minor injuries when a roadside bomb exploded.

'Relative neglect'

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said there had been "a number" of armoured vehicles in the patrol when an IED (improvised explosive device) exploded.

She said the injured were checked over by medics, but nobody was admitted to hospital.

In his comments to the BBC, Maj Gen Shirreff said: "The nation needs to understand that the quality work done by these courageous men and women out here only happens and can only continue if... our soldiers are properly supported back home in terms of the support for training, infrastructure, barracks, accommodation."

"Some of these issues need solving," he said, adding that many were "the result of a generation of underfunding and relative neglect".

However, Maj Gen Shirreff made it clear that he felt the problems related to a general malaise, rather than ones relating to governance.

"I don't blame any particular party or government, I think this is a general issue," he said.

"There's a whole range of areas - it's not just the sharp end here."

Maj Gen Shirreff referred to a "military covenant between the nation and its soldiers", which he said was now "seriously out of kilter".

'Completely unrepentant'

And, suggesting that British ambitions in Iraq had been scaled back, he went on: "Clearly I would love a 100% solution.

"When I came up here and initiated the operations we have been conducting, I was looking for a 100% solution.

"But this is Iraq, this is Arabia and this is reality, so a 60% solution is good enough for me."

Maj Gen Shirreff also referred to the demolition of an Iraqi police station as a turning point in the battle with Basra's death squads.

He made it clear that he remained "completely unrepentant" about the Christmas Day operation, despite some criticism from provincial council leaders.

The Ministry of Defence said it had "long recognised" the importance of investing properly in the armed forces at home and abroad.

The defence budget had "steadily risen" by an extra £3.7bn over the last three years, a spokesman said.

He added: "We are constantly investing in new equipment, medical care and accommodation.

"Last year alone, we spent more than £700m on improvements to service housing, announced the introduction of a new £2,240 operational bonus and invested millions more in new equipment, including body armour and armoured vehicles."
The vultures are circling, and this one's serving (like Chief of Defence Staff).

Time the public gave the forces the respect they deserve and a government gives the funding the forces deserve and so clearly need.

One civvy who'll be voting for the most forces friendly party next election...
 
#6
However, Maj Gen Shirreff made it clear that he felt the problems related to a general malaise, rather than ones relating to governance.
So how does one fix "general malaise"?

It's my feeling that one either has a natural empathy with the Armed Forces or one doesn't have any feelings for them at all. I'd suggest that very few people actually hate service personnel, they just don't think about them. It's my experience that an awful lot of people live in their own little bubbles, caring about their nearest and dearest and their own creature-comforts and aside watching the news, don't think about what goes on in the world unless it directly affects them.
 
#8
The termGeneral Malaise could be turned back easily on Senior officers - especially Generals who have been spectacular in their silence, some refer to it as loyalty, whilst serving.
Shirreff is a good bloke, not afraid of standing up and being counted, and he is also a realist in realising that criticising anyone element will not effect anything.
We need more like him prepared to put their opinion forward in public and say what they feel, rather than either say nothin or kowtow to the party line. The latter being almost cowardly
 
#10
Seadog said:
I've had BBC News 24 on in the background all forenoon. The interview is being repeated hourly. Should be seen and heard by many...
Hear, hear. Strongly recommend a viewing of the interview. Also available over the internet from BBC news site - look for link on the story page, links already posted. BAFF is due to comment on Radio Five Live shortly after 1800.
 
#11
I don't think the general public knows what is going on in the Armed Forces..........where is there a serious newspaper with credibility on such issues, and BBC media - well there's no real Panorama or World In Action today.

Thatcher wanted documentaries off the box because of critical coverage - now we have infotainment with no real exposure to the sharp end of government policy just the soap-suds machine at the rear-end.

I did not know 64 German military personnel had been killed on overseas operations and 9.000 wounded......................but who broadcasts such stuff ? The media have a script on Iraq and use it to bash Bush and Blair and ignore the troops which they don't want to show as having been shafted by halfwit politicians lest it break the nice little black-and-white thinking they have tried to create to relive their youthful Vietnam protests.

"Someone" should put up a 'Klagemauer' like the Germans have outside Cologne Cathedral - but do it online and post pics of barracks, details of crappy conditions and let the media take their feed there and mail the link to each MP in the H of C...............start an Email campaign to get journalists and MPs and PPCs interested.

The Web is the way to go. Post ads on the site to sell Snatch Landrovers and buy those nice vehicles the Canadians have....................or ask why they have tanks and the British Army can't have them.
 
#12
Voyager said:
I don't think the general public knows what is going on in the Armed Forces..........where is there a serious newspaper with credibility on such issues, and BBC media - well there's no real Panorama or World In Action today.

Thatcher wanted documentaries off the box because of critical coverage - now we have infotainment with no real exposure to the sharp end of government policy just the soap-suds machine at the rear-end.

I did not know 64 German military personnel had been killed on overseas operations and 9.000 wounded......................but who broadcasts such stuff ? The media have a script on Iraq and use it to bash Bush and Blair and ignore the troops which they don't want to show as having been shafted by halfwit politicians lest it break the nice little black-and-white thinking they have tried to create to relive their youthful Vietnam protests.

"Someone" should put up a 'Klagemauer' like the Germans have outside Cologne Cathedral - but do it online and post pics of barracks, details of crappy conditions and let the media take their feed there and mail the link to each MP in the H of C...............start an Email campaign to get journalists and MPs and PPCs interested.

The Web is the way to go. Post ads on the site to sell Snatch Landrovers and buy those nice vehicles the Canadians have....................or ask why they have tanks and the British Army can't have them.
I didn't know the Germans had taken that many casualties; do you have a link to any source/info?

The media is black and white; mainly lowest common denominator. But surely it's about time the forces used the media, as you have suggested; but on an operational/serving level, rather than statements from the MoD, which, in general, seem slightly politicised
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#13
hackle said:
Seadog said:
I've had BBC News 24 on in the background all forenoon. The interview is being repeated hourly. Should be seen and heard by many...
Hear, hear. Strongly recommend a viewing of the interview. Also available over the internet from BBC news site - look for link on the story page, links already posted. BAFF is due to comment on Radio Five Live shortly after 1800.
Just reported on the 18:00 news on BBC Radio 4; where BAFF was mentioned.

Now on Radio 5 Live!
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#14
fozzy said:
hackle said:
Seadog said:
I've had BBC News 24 on in the background all forenoon. The interview is being repeated hourly. Should be seen and heard by many...
Hear, hear. Strongly recommend a viewing of the interview. Also available over the internet from BBC news site - look for link on the story page, links already posted. BAFF is due to comment on Radio Five Live shortly after 1800.
Just reported on the 18:00 news on BBC Radio 4; where BAFF was mentioned.

Now on Radio 5 Live!
Just been on BBC TV news - also talking about ARRSE!!!
 
#16
How can he say that the budget is increasing constantly, when there's news that the MoD is cutting £1bn?

Every year we hear about yet another cost cutting measure, every year without fail.
 
#17
Voyager said:
..."Someone" should put up a 'Klagemauer' like the Germans have outside Cologne Cathedral - but do it online and post pics of barracks, details of crappy conditions and let the media take their feed there and mail the link to each MP in the H of C...............start an Email campaign to get journalists and MPs and PPCs interested.

The Web is the way to go...
Already happening - click HERE (LINK).

Join or support BAFF if you want more done!
 
#19
Congratulations to all who have recently managed to keep the Services in the public eye. This is the best publicity we have had for years.

But I ask the question "Who will blink first?"; the politicians or the Generals?

Will Gordon come up with more money or will he fiddle the books as he usually does? And if he doesn't come up with anything, then where do we go from there?

My own opinion is that Gordon doesn't give a damn; all he wants is power and he will say and do anything to get it. Once he is in power, he will do his utmost to withdraw from all commitments world-wide as quickly as possible (I don't have too much of a problem with that because, at least, that is an honest position - no money - no commitments).

Having got us into this position (no money but shed-loads of commitments), Swiss Tony no longer cares because he is making the most of what power can give him (and Cherie) whilst it is there.

So, I think there will be much noise in the margins but it will all die out by the Budget - and there won't be any more money for the Services.

I hope I am wrong.

Litotes
 
#20
Will Gordon come up with more money or will he fiddle the books as he usually does?
May 2007 is a good time for Labour to lose overall control in Scotland..............couldn't have a better shot across the bows than that to warn Brown
 

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