Blundering Campaign ?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jonwilly, Sep 10, 2006.

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  1. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2350795,00.html

    Top soldier quits as blundering campaign turns into 'pointless' war

    I do agree with this statement.

    “All those people whose homes have been destroyed and sons killed are going to turn against the British,” he said. “It’s a pretty clear equation — if people are losing homes and poppy fields, they will go and fight. I certainly would.
    “We’ve been grotesquely clumsy — we’ve said we’ll be different to the Americans who were bombing and strafing villages, then behaved exactly like them.”

    john
     
  2. Not entirely sure if Captain qualifies as "top soldier" but never mind.
     
  3. Captain or not he's talking a great deal of sense, plus if NATO cannot be arrsed to put another 2500 in as requested then this mission.......
     
  4. I'm not disagreeing with you there armchair_jihadi. We're only making matters worse by our presence there and how in Gods name an extra-small NATO force can be expected to pacify a country when neither the Soviets nor the Seppos could is beyond me.
     
  5. Its not so much that the previous visitors couldn't do it, its the woolyness of the mission that and the fact its a 20p version of what is needed. Relying on DFID to assist in winning hearts and minds is laughable
     
  6. Uhhhh, right. So, let's flash back to October, 2001. The US says, "Hand over Osama and Al Quaeda". The Taliban says, "Go stuff yourselves, we'll continue to be a haven for terrorist training camps and recruitment." Your recommendation is that instead of bombing the crap out of Afghanistan, then going in, occupying, and attempting to reform, the US Government and NATO allies should instead have said, "Right, okay. Well, sorry for bothering you, carry on." :roll:

    Since we made the "great mistake" of taking down the Taliban and wasting a bunch of terrorists, we should try to "Fix" things by pulling out post-haste, and letting the Taliban and Al Quaeda get back to their work of turning Afghanistan into a Muslim paradise, right? :roll:
     
  7. incorrect reading of posts

    what we lament is the fact that the mission is half assed, badly concieved and underfunded, a significant section of the NATO contribution is effectively pacifist (Germany). We want it done properly, now.

    Yank Lurker do not turn this into a knee jerk 'oh this must be another anti American thread, attack, attack' response.
     
  8. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    I agree with you; however most of the REMFs here are going to be all over the landsacape on this. I think you are right though. :!:
     
  9. Has he done the right thing in leaving ?

    The Sunday Times September 10, 2006


    Top soldier quits as blundering campaign turns into 'pointless' war
    Christina Lamb



    THE former aide-de-camp to the commander of the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan has described the campaign in Helmand province as “a textbook case of how to screw up a counter-insurgency”.
    “Having a big old fight is pointless and just making things worse,” said Captain Leo Docherty, of the Scots Guards, who became so disillusioned that he quit the army last month.



    “All those people whose homes have been destroyed and sons killed are going to turn against the British,” he said. “It’s a pretty clear equation — if people are losing homes and poppy fields, they will go and fight. I certainly would.

    “We’ve been grotesquely clumsy — we’ve said we’ll be different to the Americans who were bombing and strafing villages, then behaved exactly like them.”

    Docherty’s criticisms, the first from an officer who has served in Helmand, came during the worst week so far for British troops in Afghanistan, with the loss of 18 men.

    They reflected growing concern that forces have been left exposed in small northern outposts of Helmand such as Sangin, Musa Qala and Nawzad. Pinned down by daily Taliban attacks, many have run short of food and water and have been forced to rely on air support and artillery.

    “We’ve deviated spectacularly from the original plan,” said Docherty, who was aide-de-camp to Colonel Charlie Knaggs, the commander in Helmand.

    “The plan was to secure the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, initiate development projects and enable governance . . . During this time, the insecure northern part of Helmand would be contained: troops would not be ‘sucked in’ to a problem unsolvable by military means alone.”

    According to Docherty, the planning “fell by the wayside” because of pressure from the governor of Helmand, who feared the Taliban were toppling his district chiefs in northern towns.

    Docherty traces the start of the problems to the British capture of Sangin on May 25, in which he took part. He says troops were sent to seize this notorious centre of Taliban and narcotics activity without night-vision goggles and with so few vehicles they had to borrow a pick-up truck.

    More damningly, once they had established a base in the town, the mission failed to capitalise on their presence. Sangin has no paved roads, running water or electricity, but because of a lack of support his men were unable to carry out any development, throwing away any opportunity to win over townspeople.

    “The military is just one side of the triangle,” he said. “Where were the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office? “The window was briefly open for our message to be spread, for the civilian population to be informed of our intent and realise that we weren’t there simply to destroy the poppy fields and their livelihoods. I felt at this stage that the Taliban were sitting back and observing us, deciding in their own time how to most effectively hit us.”

    Eventually the Taliban attacked on June 11, when Captain Jim Philippson became the first British soldier to be killed in Helmand. British troops have since been holed up in their compound with attacks coming at least once a day. Seven British soldiers have died in the Sangin area.

    “Now the ground has been lost and all we’re doing in places like Sangin is surviving,” said Docherty. “It’s completely barking mad.

    “We’re now scattered in a shallow meaningless way across northern towns where the only way for the troops to survive is to increase the level of violence so more people get killed. It’s pretty shocking and not something I want to be part of.”
     
  10. If it were not for the war in Whitehall, the war in Afghanistan would be rightly dominating the front pages. Barely a day seems to go by without news of the tragic death of British or other Nato soldiers. Nineteen British troops have died in the past week and on Friday a suicide bomber, in an awful echo of the mayhem in Iraq, slaughtered 16 people in Kabul. Now we have a former ADC to the commanding officer of the British taskforce in Helmand province saying what many had begun to suspect. He called the campaign “a textbook case of how to screw up a counter-insurgency”.

    These worries are not just being expressed by soldiers on the ground. Retired British generals have long been concerned about the opaque strategic objectives and the lack of the right fighting kit. In fact the aim of the fighting is laudable and clear: to stop Afghanistan once again becoming a haven for the Taliban and al-Qaeda. But in the process the coalition appears to be alienating the local population much as its 19th-century British and 20th-century Russian predecessors did. Talk of killing thousands of insurgents merely motivates the Pashtuns and raises doubts that among the body bags are numerous civilians.

    The problems for the British-led forces are three-fold. The first is to badger reluctant Nato allies to provide more troops. There are simply not enough British soldiers and they need help. The second is to improve tactics; they have deviated from the original plan and troops are left isolated. Civilian deaths are mounting and in the process hearts and minds are being clearly lost. The final aim must be to have a plan to get out of Afganistan without leaving it in chaos. The blunt truth is that outsiders have won no wars there with a permanent garrison. They can temporarily subjugate one faction as long as they form a coalition with others. Nato needs to use force, cunning and gold to coerce and bribe a coalition of tribes to establish some form of stability. Success may come from limiting our objectives, not attempting to create a mini Switzerland in Asia.


    Sunday Times Editorial

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-2350587,00.html
     
  11. I agree the politicians are more worried about when Bliar pulls on his slippers than squaddies coming home in boxes. A disgrace.

    That said I think we've reached a stage as a society where, being so spoon fed by the media, we know all the ins and outs of any campaign and any death, whether by contact or accident is front page news and sees calls for withdrawal, reinforcement, impeachment, you name it.

    No disrespect to any of the fallen but do we seriously expect to undertake operations like this and not see casualties?
     
  12. I want a reborn attitude in Germany and Japan towards highly aggressive use of the military, we all understand why they have been muzzled since 1946, however we are in a long term war and some of our potentially better resources are operating under mandates scripted by sixties hippies. I do not believe these fine Countries will ever be a menace to the Civilised World again but they may very well help in its rescue.

    Japans short of Oil? Fine we'll split Iran with them. Germany has always wanted 'its place in the Sun', not a problem we have a fine selection to choose from.

    China should also be encouraged to re examine its historical claims to Muslim lands to its far West and to try to get there before Japan does.

    South Korea never been a major player in Global expansion? Well nows the time to start
     
  13. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Well, there is a recipe for WWIII if ever there was one! :cry:
     
  14. Auld Yin don’t be such a pessimist, it would be a controlled and agreed multinational campaign based on a pre emptive division of scarce raw materials and water assets, on the understanding that the target ‘nations’ will lose as per established Darwinian principles.

    Realpolitik, best do it now rather than in twenty years time when Oil and water start to become Grandfathers tales.
     
  15. He has laid down his career to keep the matter in the media eye - so yes, many more should have done the same earlier, its not as is if the AF have a shortage of underused Senior Officers. They should start sacrificing themselves (especially now the school allowance has gone).