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Britain's top soldier says al-Qaeda cannot be beaten.

#1
Discuss.


Britain's top soldier says al-Qaeda cannot be beaten - Telegraph

PS My view is what a complete idiot this man is. Hearing him say that, must make all those who have lost someone feel so much better, not to mention that the propaganda value to the Taliban is immeasurable. Please tell me I've slipped through a tunnel in space and time and it's really April 1st. Please?




Edited because I felt uncomfortable using the word '******' in what should be a sensible discussion. Apologies to all.
 
#2
Telegraph said:
He said defeating Islamist militancy was "unnecessary and would never be achieved".

However, he argued that it could be "contained" to allow Britons to lead secure lives.

Seems about right, terrorist groups are normally very hard to defeat completly.
 
#3
It seems entirely accurate to me. He hasn't offended anyone, he's told it as it is. We never defeated Irish Republican Terrorism, just contained it until they gave up.
 
#4
While the timing might be indelicate, it's very hard to argue with what he said; it is almost impossible to defeat the Taliban/Al Queda in a military sense. At least without using techniques and weapons that would pretty much break every major law of God and man.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#5
Afraid I agree with the rest, even when we crushed the Mahdi and his armies over a century ago, the movement still simmered away below the surface of Sudanese society to re-emerge again.

The IRA analogy is also pertinent.
 
#6
Discuss.


Britain's top soldier says al-Qaeda cannot be beaten - Telegraph

PS My view is what a complete ****** this man is. Hearing him say that, must make all those who have lost someone feel so much better, not to mention that the propaganda value to the Taliban is immeasurable. Please tell me I've slipped through a tunnel in space and time and it's really April 1st. Please?
I've just filled in the works ticket:

Odometer start 0 Odometer finish 0 Distance travelled 0

Well thats the shortest excursion of the outrage bus I've ever seen!
 
#7
I agree with everything said so far. Defeating AL Qaeda through military force is impossible, bar turning the entire Middle East and Central Asia into a radioactive wasteland (which is technically possible). Marginalizing the organisation through political means to the point where eventually it might become irrelevant and die out is more realistic, although that strategy comes with a host of it's own problems.
 
#8
It's an opinion, certainly, but not one that I would expect the man at the top of the army to broadcast quite so loudly for no apparent good reason. Is the view that 'we can't win' one that our reconstruction teams are to use when they are trying so hard to persuade Afghan villagers to come down on our side? Is the same phrase to be repeated to young soldiers as they prepare to leave for Afghanistan for the first time? And to the relatives of those that are lost?

I'm sorry, but the man's an idiot. He's entitled to his opinion like we all are, but his primary responsibility is to his troops and to tell them that all their struggles and sacrifices are effectively in vain is an act of supreme stupidity. Why say it at all? Why not keep his opinion (and that's all it is, I'm sure there are other experts who disagree with him) to himself? If he did it after retirement it would be bad enough, but to do it whilst in the position he is in, is madness. Imagine if the Defence Secretary had said it, he'd be out of a job before the week was out. As it is, I suspect this will ruffle more than a few feathers, especially with this weekend being what it is.

The fact is, this speech is an absolute god-send (Allah-send?) for the Taliban in that they can now quote the leader of the British army admitting he can't ever beat them. They will quote his words every time they are faced with a wavering Afghan village elder, a wavering middle-eastern financier or a wavering nineteen year old 'student' on his way to Britain. It's simply propaganda gold.

The bottom line is that he didn't have to say any of it. Maybe I'm wrong and it's all harmless gumph, but why did he risk it at all? It can't possibly help anyone (except the enemy) and could conceivably cause him to lose his job if the politicians don't share his views.

I think Sir Humphrey would call him 'brave'.
 
#9
In my own opinion Richards is right, Islamic militancy will not be defeated, I also think he's got guts to admit as such in a public forum. I doubt the politicos will be too pleased, after all his comments break down the "la la land" the politicians have created for the past decade or so. The simple fact is the horse bolted years ago, and I doubt that this militancy can now be put conveniently back into the bottle.

As for a policy of containment, I doubt that will work as the ideologies at work here are very pervasive, and have gained currency with some elements within the muslim community. At the end of the day the only thing that will lead to some form of containment will be direct negotiation with the parties involved.
 
#10
Unless instructed to talk by a politician, military brass should keep their mouths shut. Their job is to do what they're told by politicians. Banana republics have military men who strut about blowing their mouths off. Britain doesn't. Or shouldn't.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
FFS some of you are stupid,try reading a history book,we have been fighting in Afghanistan on a regular basis since 1842, and we have contiualy had our arses kicked,no body has won there since Alexander,
 
#13
His opinion re winning is a professional judgment. However, he says "all the deaths were worth it" Fighting his unwinnable war in a battle with dubious morality is not worth a single drop of blood still less a death. Maybe he would go there and spend a week or two on patrol. We might then be in a position to ask his widow if she thought it was worth it.
 
#14
It took the Ruskies ten years to realise that they were never going to win a war there.

And Richards is somehow commendable for reaching the conclusion a bit quicker than the Russian's did?
Whilst he might have a valid point it seems rather foolish to announce it in the way he has. In light of his comments what does Richards think can now be achieved in Afghanistan?

When he refers to containment, is he refering to keeping militant Islam tightly wrapped up in Afghanistan, the Yemen and Somalia, or perhas he means Leeds, Blackburn and Bradford?
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#15
Unless instructed to talk by a politician, military brass should keep their mouths shut. Their job is to do what they're told by politicians. Banana republics have military men who strut about blowing their mouths off. Britain doesn't. Or shouldn't.
So you would prefer a Yes Man who is trotted out every time the government want to make a political point. FFS we have just got rid of Stirrup, why would we want another like that?
 
#16
So you would prefer a Yes Man who is trotted out every time the government want to make a political point. FFS we have just got rid of Stirrup, why would we want another like that?
Very valid point Auld-Yin, although his timing & way of announcing this to others will anger others

Just watched the interview on AM show, this obviously will be unpopular amongst many however the 'truth' always is, Containment sums it up as others have stated these groups 'NEVER' go away history has told us this, i've read that if this was announced 5 years ago he would have been classed as 'crazy'

He also re-emphasised it would take 30/40 years to rebuild the Country but 'How' to do it is another matter, its inevitable critics will have a field day with Gen Richards & its to be expected....
 
#17
Of course he is right and all tub thumping of the Outraged will not and cannot change the fact that, short of wading in to an extent that would forment a far greater long term problem, the prospect of "defeating" such an enemy is so remote in terms of achievable outcomes that it should properly be discounted.

Senior military should stay utterly silent, leave any and all pronouncements to self serving vote seekers who operate at best on a five year cycle and do exactly as they are told despite knowing what is realistic and what is not? Well pardon me but IIRC that is exactly how we have come to the present unhappy situation.
 
#18
Did Dear Tone ever say just what constituted 'Defeat' of the Taliban ?
I know Dear Tone sorted out NI and believes he brought "Peace".
If we start withdrawing troops in 2011 then they will be needed in my humble opinion back in NI where Tone will be shown to be the Fool he always was.

john
 
#20
Richards is correct in saying that we will never defeat the Taliban/AQ in open battle. However, on refelection, I have to agree with AWOL; just because it was technically correct does'nt mean he should say it. Especially this weekend.
 

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