BBC4 -A Company of Soldiers

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Bondi-Babe-Magnet, May 25, 2005.

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  1. Anyone see this last night on BBC4 -great bit of reporting by the BBC.
    If anyone wonders why the Yanks are having such a hard time in Iraq just watch this hour and half documentary.

    What a bunch of cowboys !

    Talk about no fire discipline !
  2. Feel free to deploy from the sedate south to the Sunni triangle anytime. The BW spent only a month or so in the area and found the difference between Basra and the Triangle stark.
  3. I wonder what our fire discipline would be like if we had been patrolling Sunni areas for the last few years?
  4. However, they've never had good fire discipline, and this has caused a lot of the resentment.

    ISTR the 82nd Airborne Division went in far too heavy handed, kicked the anthill over, and completely destabilised the region.
  5. Further, a good example of the British Army doing the same is Londonderry. Contrast before and after Bloody Sunday....
  6. Sedate South my fukcing arrse... icehole
  7. I think the point being that compared to the Sunni triangle, the south is considered to be a bit sedate by US forces.
  8. The usual ill-informed American comment. I doubt whether the British soldiers in Al-Amarah, who are mortared almost daily, would agree that the South is 'sedate'. It is also worth remembering that it was the Americans, in insisting on being in overall charge, who allocated the TAORs.

    In my own recent experience the Americans generally do themselves no favours with the locals; certainly the Iraqis I spoke to found them arrogant, unfriendly and untrustworthy. Whilst as individualsthey seem to be perfectly pleasant people doing a difficult job, they seem not to have understood the importance of how they are perceived by the locals. And they're still shooting at Coalition troops in broad daylight.
  9. ViroBono you are spot on with your views, last night on the programme we saw Americans running Iraqi vechiles off the road when they didn't move quick enough, warning shots being fired with .50 cals, troops shooting dead a locals pet dog and general contempt for the local population.
    During the course of the 30 day documentary they were shot at daily -up to around six times a day. Two of their number were killed and several wounded.
    But you couldn't help think that they brought it all on themselves.
    Some of them were standup guys but others were just out for a cabbie !
  10. Tomahawk, the argument about the us getting a more sedate region notwithstanding (and you have to ask yourself is the reason the area is so much quieter just due to the local ethnic make-up), it is slightly offensive for you to think the majority of people here can't recognise poor fire discipline (amongst other skills) when we see it. Some of the old and bold on ARRSE have seen much hairier situations. You also seem to forget that a lot of British soldiers have first-hand experience of working with septics.

    Not intended as an inflammatory remark or having a go at US soldiers, just making a point.
  11. Re Bloody Sunday. Check what Frank Kitson said in contrasting 8 Bde with 39 Bde. Derry was quiet before BS because boyos were allowed to do as they wished.
  12. Feel free to slate me for this, no doubt storm of abuse follows etc but here I go.

    In addition to my status as a fairly long serving former British Soldier I am also part "Towel Head" as I have had put to me on occasion :)

    Spent a vast amount of time in the Arab world. Invariably politeness, tolerance and understanding goes a long way. Yes we are frustrating people to deal with, yes we sometimes seem to be making life difficult but its just the way of things.

    I was very moved last night watching this programme - seeing the distress of those who lost colleaques brought back a lot of memories and I do truly sympathise.

    This said I can tell you that within the Arab world most Americans (whether this is justified or not) do not in fact have a reputation for taking a softly-softly or even vaguely tolerant approach at times. All of this said I thought the Major in the programme was clearly trying his best to be respectful and helpful.

    I have to say that in my (no doubt biased) opinion British troops seem to have slightly more of a handle on that approach.

    The Arab mind set, in the humble opinion of this Sunni Muslim gal is utterly different to that of the Western world.

    I do understand the difficulty of being in a very hostile environment. Been there, done that, very long term. Not nice, stressful etc.

    Once sat in a Restaurant in Tangiers listening to a tour party of Americans express their opinions about what they thought of us A-Rabs. Interesting stuff. The staff charged them 4 times the going rate at the end of the meal and just smiled politely.

    Again all this said I have worked with US Troops on Ex etc in the past - nicer guys I could not wish to meet.

    All about understanding and viewpoint I suppose.
  13. I also saw the programme last night and 'poor fire discipline' was my view too. The yanks showed themselves to be arrogant, ill-disciplined and completely unaware of the cultural differences between Arab and Westerner.

    The US colonel shouting at the local leader because rockets were fired at his base probably did more for the insurgency than Sadr ever did.

    Shooting at cars on a busy highway because they were in the way is crass stupidity and arrogance beyond contempt. Again, a good recruiting tool for the local insurgent leader.

    Before any septic whinges about the 'sedate' south, compare deaths as a percentage based on force size. I did this a few months ago and the figures were pretty much the same.

    Plus of course, we learned our lessons in NI, the Yanks have singularly failed to learn anything from Vietnam, Panama, Grenada and any other conflict they have been involved in.
  14. It was an interesting programme - I only saw the first 50 minutes or so.

    The rules of engagement appear to be appalling and owe more to the Israeli Defence Force's experiences with the Palestinians than to the British Army's experiences in Northern Ireland. One soldier was aiming rapid shots (the best part of half a magazine) at a car that appeared to be nearly half a mile away. The treatment of the locals could only be inflammatory, as pointed out earlier on this thread, and in my opinion is not helped by the insistence on the troops wearing sunglasses, and avoiding eye contact and personal rapport with the locals.

    These are armchair criticisms and I have every sympathy for the troops that risk their lives (and lose them) daily and who displayed a clear attitude of courageous professional determination. My criticisms are levelled firmly at the political leaders, commanders and doctrinal and training staffs who have clearly learned nothing since the Vietnam era, despite the existence of plenty of learning material in the world at large!

    I sadly predict that the situation will get worse. Media rumours indicate that the US are looking to establish four super-bases from which they will operate. This will increase the status of the US as an occupying power and will hasten their exit from Iraq in a parallel with the failed Vietnamisation of the 70s.

    The deaths that the unit suffered are tragic and the injuries are sorrowing and the troops are clearly doing the best they can within the bounds of the training and direction they receive.
  15. IIRC it's 0.8 for the south, with Baghdad and the Sunni triangle around 1.0