Basra as the new Scutari

#1
In Basra city at the moment the situation is becoming rather like the Crimean War.

In Basra Palace the water purification plant won’t work at full capacity. This has been the situation for weeks, but it hasn’t been addressed. As a result the lack of water means there are no flushing toilets and limited shower availability.

The contractors who did the laundry and the portaloos have been sacked and replaced with a new contractor. On the day of the changeover the old portaloos were locked, but the new ones didn’t arrive. Since there are no flushing toilets (see above) we had a day with no toilets – that’s no toilets whatsoever. The new toilets finally arrived, but since then the new contractor has not returned to empty them.

The new contractors have never turned up to collect the washing. This has been the case for nearly a week. We cannot hand wash because there is not enough water. Soldiers are out every day and most now have one set of dirty combats.

We have not received post for over a week and no newspapers for a couple of months. The e-bluey machine has been broken for several weeks.

In other locations in the city people still live in tents, despite daily indirect fire attack.

I know that troops in Afghanistan have it very bad. I could accept the hardships if they were unavoidable, BUT THEY ARE NOT. If we wanted no laundry done it would be cheaper to simply not have a contract at all.

Imagine if we’d been here three years and had a chance to sort this sort of thing out.

Where is Florence Nightingale when you need her?
 
#3
You mean the FCO and the US consulate and staff?

No, no - they are quite all right. The FCO have enough water to have a swimming pool and watered lawns.
 
#4
What's more, in the US and FCO compounds everyone has an en suite bathroom and toilet and cable TV.

This is not a joke - it is a fact. The FCO really do have a swimming pool. They also have several bars. How does their booze get in? Easy - we escort it through the city for them.
 
#5
BedIn,

The best thing you can do right now is to compose a long and detailed article about every aspect of your tour (including the Bowman stuff, etc), and send a copy to the Daily Telegraph*.... if they don't snap at it, try one of the red rags.

*(not forgetting to politely equire about their stringer and serialisation rates - heck, one way to get reimbursement for the kit you probably bought...)
 
#6
Bed in. No mail for a week, limited water and no-one to do your laundry! bless. Have a word with your (anshaved) face in the mirror and remind it that your a fcukin soldier.
 
#8
muzzleflash said:
Bed in. No mail for a week, limited water and no-one to do your laundry! bless. Have a word with your (anshaved) face in the mirror and remind it that your a fcukin soldier.
Gotta agree with you here. I know it seems harsh bed in but trust me you are all smiles.

Nip over to afghan for a taste of No Water and ammo replen after massive Advances to contact (Not short sangar shoots). Then go back to a camp that gets no food delivered if helicopters aren't available to support the convoys. Mail??? Whats that!!!

I'm not saying that Basra is a walk in the park... Far from it. The Ptl bases are awful and should be abandonned but its life in the army. To quote a well known war film. "Its a huge sh1t sandwich and we're all gonna have to take a bite"

Just think of your colleagues scrapping for their lives with 2 mags a man when you are handwashing your kit and sh1tting in the shatt!
 
#9
I can understand whats he saying though. Why does the British Army always have to rough it at everything while our allies live in comfort.
 
#10
Bossdog said:
I can understand whats he saying though. Why does the British Army always have to rough it at everything while our allies live in comfort.
I know. I get that part... Its a b@stard. But right now there are much bigger worries on the plate. How many Ptl bases are still open in Basra. I imagine if things are like that in The "Palace" then OSB must be reduced to sleeping in the thunder box's and washing their kit in that sh1tty river outside the front gate!
 
R

really?_fascinating

Guest
#11
Just to answer your point. Florence Nighingale is not required. The system of NHS hospitals and the Prioiry provides everything an injured soldier might need. I know this, because the head of medicine MoD said so toady. Sorry, I mean today.

There is no need for any form of military ward or anything else that smacks of esprit de corps or being part of a family. Again, RAF doctor chap said so this morning. So Florence will not be coming to Basra any time soon.
 
#12
BedIn said:
In Basra city at the moment the situation is becoming rather like the Crimean War.
Where is Florence Nightingale when you need her?
Florence Nightingale never went to the Crimea. The closest she got was Scutari which is in Turkey and about 350 miles away across the Black Sea from the Crimea. Those nurses who wanted to go to the Crimea she accused of "deserting to the front". That said she did clean up the flith and improve the care given to soldiers but that didn't stop an outbreak of cholera killing up to 1000 soldiers per month in Scutari.

No flushing toilets in Basra and no water purification plant? Won't be long before you get your very own outbreak of something nasty. I'd take Drain Sniffer's advice and get onto SO2 Prev Med.
 
#13
Jacques_Bustard said:
Florence Nightingale never went to the Crimea. The closest she got was Scutari which is in Turkey and about 350 miles away across the Black Sea from the Crimea. Those nurses who wanted to go to the Crimea she accused of "deserting to the front".
Mary Seacole went to the front at her own expense to provide essentials and comforts for the troops (in the most respectable sense) that their leaders were incapable of supplying. She lost a lot of her own money when the allied forces withdrew at the end of hosilities and she had to abandon her supplies. Florence got fame. Mary got diddly; she was black. Go google.

There was a documentary on a couple of years ago following 2 (I think) Para in Kabul. They'd been living off compo for months when a whole field kitchen arrived. Toms, for the use of? No. Senior officers had flown in for a conference and the kitchen served them lunch and packed up promptly when they'd left. Even the Gentlemen of the press were somewhat gobsmacked. My jaw hit the floor.

I recall getting bollocked by the CSM for getting a mug of tea before some of the men.

There seem to be many small men in high places our army, but none measure up to Napoleon. Should the men not chunter because they are soldiers? Then should not the officers and SNCOs be officers and sort this shit?

Who is in command of this chaos? No bogs? No water? Disease will follow shortly.
 
#14
Bossdog said:
I can understand whats he saying though. Why does the British Army always have to rough it at everything while our allies live in comfort.
Quite!

As American friends have frequently noted, there are two ways of doing things:
1. the sensible/ easy way;
2. the Brit way!

Personally, think it may be a legacy of the "Victorian public school" mindset - still remarkably prevalent among members of the "Establishment" - who persist with the arrogant & patronising view that it's somehow not too good for the rest of us to have more than the barest of essentials.

Only last week, I attended a dinner at which a number of ex army officers (all VERY "public school"; all now very comfortably ensconced in lucrative jobs in the City, the Law, "farming" etc) expressed the view that "Your average squaddie doesn't appreciate too much comfort". I begged to differ - the response? Incredulity, followed by THAT knowing look to one another (NQOCD), and then THAT smirk. Said it all really: yet more confirmation that my Old Man (Yorkshire shitkicker who made Brigadier) - often accused of "chippiness" - was essentially right in his critique of what is wrong with Britain.
 
#15
Get a grip of yourself Bedin.So mail service improves because of your whining.What will you demand next? A conjugal visit from Mrs Bedin?

Seriously,I feel your pain.While in OIF I was stuck in a little outpost which got resupplied about once a week by a single pallet dropped by a Chinook.It was a tough time but we sucked it up by accepting that war was never meant to be easy.If war was easy it wont be war.

Just remember, as hard as it seems now, somebody somewhere is having it ten times harder and probably wishes they were in your position.Chin up matey.Think of all the beer you will drink when you get back home.
 
#16
Muzzleflash et al…

I know I’m a soldier and that I have the capacity to rough it. I think you’re missing the point. There was a laundry service, there was post, there was water, but it has all been screwed up. And not by the enemy, but by us.

The laundry/toilet contract was changed from one that worked to one that didn’t and when it failed no remedy was sought. Post did come, now it doesn’t; nothing else has changed, the system has just failed. Explain how we have insufficient water whilst elsewhere in our camp there is a swimming pool.

To follow some of the logic here, if you were back in the UK and all the water and power was turned off you wouldn’t mind, because “you’re a soldier”.

Remember, we have been in Iraq for 3 years. We have been mortared and rocketed for 3 years. Blokes still live in tents. How?

This is not me whinging at hardship – I’m an Infantry soldier and can hack that. This is me whinging at incompetence causing unnecessary hardship to my soldiers and idleness putting there lives at risk.

Not enough water? Well lets look at the priorities; en suite for every FCO worker who lives in aircon and never leaves camp? OK. Watered lawns at the consulate? OK. A swimming pool? OK. Some water for the soldiers to hand wash their clothes? Are you mad? Of course not.

Transport priorities; post for the FCO? OK. Booze for the FCO? OK. Post for the troops? Sorry, no room.

Let us not forget that these molly coddled diplomats are hardly involved in a roaring foreign policy and diplomatic success. The soldiers, however, do it right every time and stand between the government and strategic failure. For less that 50 quid a day.

My message to my troops is that we’re tough enough to live with it until the problems are resolved. To my chain of command upwards I scream about it. What would you want your OC to do for you?
 
#17
Basra Palace is not the arse end of afganistian. Unless the madhi army are
beseiging the place .There should be no problem getting mail,laundry,water
etc. Maybe they have given the contract to sodhesco.Someone needs a kicking imho.
 
#18
Bedin,

Having just returned from the Shat I completely agree. The point is not that we need to be molly coddled. It is that frankly we embarass ourselves by operating like this.

After being in this theatre for 3 years, we only recieved brieze blocks to 'harden' the tented accomodation at the SAAH in September this year - is that the doing of a proffessional force?

I just hope that those of us about to deploy to Afghan remeber this and get it right, or at least make a difference.
 
#19
Leaving aside all the "I slept in tents for my tour" - "I slept on breeze blocks in my sleeping bag" - "You slackers, I slept under burning newspaper on broken glass" banter surely the point here is that HMG is paying out hard cash for services which are not being provided. My hard earned money, snatched from me by the tax-man is being wasted. And no-one in a position of authority appears to give a damn. If I wasted my civvy firms money in this manner I'd get a P45. Waste the MoDs money and no-one cares. That is wrong, and frankly puts the lie to the old "Let the Army run it, they make things work" sentiment we hear sometimes.

Besides, what does the effect of saying "Here's some home comforts, oh wait we can't be bothered to make the system work as you're only squaddies" have on retention ? Or are we overrun with soldiers all of a sudden ? It's probably worse than not having them at all.
 
#20
If Bedin is telling like it really is, then WELL DONE!

All this cr@p about 'make do' because you are a soldier is boll@arks. Why should the troops have to 'make do'? Either the situation in Iraq is really that bad or it's not. If it is, then let it be known and ensure everybody suffers the same deprivations. If it's not that bad, and it seems the lifestyle of some proves it's not, then share and share alike.

All the time that people like muzzleflash et al make such comments, the government will continue to abuse the poor Tom in the very same way. We're not talking about Slipper City here, just the very basics!!!
 

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