Basra - Win or spin?

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Basra's been in the news a fair bit today and, as one of the 'liberators' of 2003, I watched it all with mixed emotions. My sense is that we're putting a brave face on something which is going to go pear-shaped as soon as the US/UK departs and I'm not convinced by the hugs and fulsome tributes on the TV. Does anyone else feel that way or is it the undue pessimism of someone who hasn't been there for six years and the situation on the ground is actually greatly changed and the outlook bright? Did we win or didn't we?
 
#2
We did, but not in the sense that our forefathers would recognise it.

msr
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
That reply captures my sentiment exactly but it is strangely inadequate - I am really struggling to understand what victory is in the modern world - is the best we can ever expect some unsatisfactory compromise mess and is it worth it?
 
#5
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
is the best we can ever expect some unsatisfactory compromise mess and is it worth it?
It is now, but I am not sure who will make the final judgement.

msr
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
I'm just wondering whether where we are now is what everyone had in mind when we crossed the border six year's ago and whether that has implications for Afghanistan in the future.
 
#8
msr said:
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
is the best we can ever expect some unsatisfactory compromise mess and is it worth it?
It is now, but I am not sure who will make the final judgement.

msr
Always keep in mind that in WW2, Korea, the Falklands and in GW1 all did was restore the status quo. In Basra we left the prospect of something better, as did the war at large.
 
#9
Ours is not to reason why................

We did our bit, the politicians haven't, i think it will be a part of our history not talked about much and will probably go down as a mistake made under false pretence's. Of course it will be viewed as a military and not a political failure.

I hope Blair has difficulty sleeping at night.

.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
parapauk said:
msr said:
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
is the best we can ever expect some unsatisfactory compromise mess and is it worth it?
It is now, but I am not sure who will make the final judgement.

msr
Always keep in mind that in WW2, Korea, the Falklands and in GW1 all did was restore the status quo. In Basra we left the prospect of something better, as did the war at large.
Sorry, I'm not being obtuse but I don't understand this. Korea/Falklands/GW1 may have restored the status quo (which was the stated aim for at least two of them) but the post war settlement for WW2 was not status quo ante by any measure.

As for 'In Basra we left the prospect of something better... ' perhaps, but my question is whether it is more likely that we left the prospect for something worse?
 
#11
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
parapauk said:
msr said:
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
is the best we can ever expect some unsatisfactory compromise mess and is it worth it?
It is now, but I am not sure who will make the final judgement.

msr
Always keep in mind that in WW2, Korea, the Falklands and in GW1 all did was restore the status quo. In Basra we left the prospect of something better, as did the war at large.
Sorry, I'm not being obtuse but I don't understand this. Korea/Falklands/GW1 may have restored the status quo (which was the stated aim for at least two of them) but the post war settlement for WW2 was not status quo ante by any measure.
Plus side: half of Germany

Minus side: a hostile superpower we could never in a million years have stopped set up camp 500 miles from the English Channel.

It was a moral victory, and the Soviets were better than the Nazis, but to call it a serious improvement on the pre-war situation would be iffy to say the least.

As for Iraq - time will tell.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
parapauk said:
[
As for Iraq - time will tell.
And that is my point - six years on, shouldn't we have some greater certainty than 'Inshallah'. What was the endstate we were working towards and how close are we to it as we leave? I have yet to hear that articulated by any of the commentators/great and good and I don't remember it being fully articulated when I was in Iraq.
 
#13
parapauk said:
Always keep in mind that in WW2, Korea, the Falklands and in GW1 all did was restore the status quo. In Basra we left the prospect of something better, as did the war at large.
In those conflicts we shattered the enemy's army, thereby allowing ourselves to declare victory.

In Basra we left. Whether there is the prospect of something better is something we all hope for.

msr
 
#14
Short answer:-
Spin.
Even in 2003,4,5 etc etc..............................
Gordon Brown as Chancellor>purse strings>MoD>our kit>planning for post war reconstruction>nil.
Winners out of this>Zanu Liabour>loads of spin.
Losers out of this>Tommy Atkins>shite kit>no CBA>lack of any forward planning>sold up the Shaat by HMG.
It has to take coroners inquests of lads coming back to Brize/Lyneham to get into the press to bring things to the public view, and it still takes light years to get things done. Snatch anyone?
What if they, the coroners, did not have the balls to speak up?
It is only just over a year ago the JAM were running the place, topping anyone with any connection with us, and generally running amok. How many LECs and interpreters had to run to Jordan/Kuwait/Syria etc etc?
Before you start, I have been there, done that and my answer is still spin, to ensure Phoney Tony has left his legacy to the UK and the world.
He certainly has and the sooner he gets his collar felt for war crimes the better. Oh, and if convicted I would like the prosecution to get the Assets Recovery Agency to recover the profits of his criminal enterprise.
It was a lovely dream though!....................................
 
#15
msr said:
parapauk said:
Always keep in mind that in WW2, Korea, the Falklands and in GW1 all did was restore the status quo. In Basra we left the prospect of something better, as did the war at large.
In those conflicts we shattered the enemy's army, thereby allowing ourselves to declare victory.

In Basra we left. Whether there is the prospect of something better is something we all hope for.

msr
Very true. But in WW2 we just made way for a new problem. NK is still alive and bitching, Argentina still wants the Falklands, and GW1 left Saddam in power. The trick is to solve the problem. You can kick the snot out of any army, but unless you change the mindset of the enemy (as we did with France and Germany) you'll always be back.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
But did we change the mindset in Basra or did they simply decide to outlast us? If you ask me whether we delivered on the promises of April/May 2003, I feel that the answer is 'no' and I feel less than happy with that.
 
#17
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
I'm just wondering whether where we are now is what everyone had in mind when we crossed the border six year's ago and whether that has implications for Afghanistan in the future.
I crossed the border (with an Iraqi visa in my passport ) 18 years ago to restore the status quo.

The second run was to preserve Alistair Campbells reputation.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
smallbore said:
The second run was to preserve Alistair Campbells reputation.
Even the most avowed and amoral politico would not have committed us to that lost cause. :D
 
#19
"They" pre-supposes that there is a common "them."
There is not, never has been and never will be. Every little plastic gangster there knows who his loyalty and that of his tribe is, and it ain't towards rebuilding their own sh1thole town.
Trying to create a plastic democratic society in our dreams and planting it between Iran, Saudi, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey was at best wishful thinking.
I would like to think that we did make a difference, but reality cuts in very quick. We were only allowed to leave the Palace and recover to the Airport because we negotiated with the JAM (covertly) because the politicos would not change the RoE and upset the Iranians running the shop.
Spin, spin and spin.
Just last year some Brit "NGO" geezers got chucked out by Karzai for pulling the same stunt, again at the behest of HMG but in reality shivving us all in HMG issued brown and dusty uniforms. A united front then?
Duplicity anyone?
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
HtB- Hence the reason for posting this topic - I wish it otherwise but I think you have the rights of it. I think this settlement is simply the latest in a line of shabby deals that I wish the British Army was not party to.
 

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