British brigadier attacks Americas John Wayne generals

#1
A senior British officer has criticised "shoulder-holster" American generals for trying to emulate film stars.

Brig Alan Sharpe, who worked alongside Americans in Baghdad, said there was a "strong streak of Hollywood" with officers trying to portray themselves as Sylvester Stallone or John Wayne.

He wrote the comments in a paper on Britain's influence on US foreign relations and the essay is likely to strain the "special relationship" further, coming after other British officers' criticism of the American approach.

An important part to being a successful American officer was to be able to combine the "real and acted heroics" of Audie Murphy, the "newsreel antics" of Gen Douglas MacArthur and the "movie performances" of Hollywood actors, the brigadier wrote.

While this might look good on television at home, the brigadier suggested that "loud voices, full body armour, wrap-around sunglasses, air strikes and daily broadcasts from shoulder-holster wearing brigadier-generals proudly announcing how many Iraqis have been killed by US forces today" was no "hearts-and-minds winning tool".

Brig Sharpe, 46, who was awarded the OBE and the American Bronze Star for writing the "coalition campaign plan" for Iraq during a tour in Baghdad in 2004, is regarded as a high-flier.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...19.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/04/19/ixnewstop.html
 
#2
Luvved the Raqui Comment
" "Hey, Mr American, next time before you shout so much you should speak to him. He is British - they know how to invade a country."

john
Ah nice ta know we're apreciated
 
#4
Tony Blair should not try to secure influence by providing "hollowed-out formations with little real capability".
Classy :)
 
#5
jonwilly said:
Luvved the Raqui Comment
" "Hey, Mr American, next time before you shout so much you should speak to him. He is British - they know how to invade a country."john
Ah nice ta know we're apreciated
Every now and then something comes along that swells your national pride :D

I'm so proud :D
 
#6
Whilst there is no doubt that US military are the undisputed champions of military hardware, technology and power, they just don't get it. Lost count of the number of times I've stared back in disbelief as some septic 4 star general, in an area containing 10000 armed US troops, rocks up in a press conference wearing a fcukin shoulder holster! I mean come on, WTF! is he expecting to "cap some ass" ??

Even more insulting, is when general shoulder holster rocks up into a meeting of sunni tribal elders and lectures them whilst wearing a helmet, wrapround shades and carrying a silver .45 with white bone pistol grips!!!!!!!!!
 
#7
We Brit's invaded countries in the Past?
I that was "bringing light to the Darker regions of the Globe"!

Sadly though, the "sharpened Slices of Melons" mobs seem a little thin on the ground these days.
 
#8
Taz_786 said:
I've met and worked with a lot of Limey officers who on the surface could be called stereotypical upper-class twits of the Hugh Laurie variety. Of course they weren't, they were professionals and they did their jobs well. The point is that instead of worrying about stereotyping 'John Waynes' in order to play to the home crowd worry more about criticizing the performances.

I appreciate the Limey's viewpoint, as a PSYOP guy I'm very sympathetic towards it--much of it is justified. After a couple of tours in Iraq, one in the relatively peaceful Shia south where Marines were active in the hearts & minds effort, and one in the belligerent Sunni north, I've come to the realization the Sunnis are bluntly a bunch of bitter a**holes who are ticked off about losing their position of power. Large amounts of candy and soccer balls handed out to children, rebuilding or improving schools, water and electrical facilities only go so far to a population that's been kicked out of power, power that a large number of them feel they deserve. The hearts and minds process is a slow one there.

The argument is that you can't just super-impose the Limey template of the relatively peaceful Shia south on the Sunni triangle. The Marine strategy by the 1st MARDIV in the Shia south, which was successful and approximated much the more Limey template than US Army one, did not work for them when they redeployed into the Sunni triangle. Edit here: Thinking about this a abit I remember Marine leadership, when we were in the south, criticising Army actions in the Sunni triangle and realized they were similar to the criticisms given by Brits. Since redeployment to the Sunni triangle the Marine criticism along those lines have been somewhat muted.

A quote: "By contrast British servicemen, although under-equipped, were "undemonstrative, phlegmatic and pragmatic", patrolled on foot where possible and were keen to interact with locals." I'm not sure where the general served, and it's difficult to generalize, but nearly every unit I was with--Marine or Army--patrolled on foot in a large number of areas. On one occasion, posted before, one of my soldier's was riding along with a Marine humvee that made a wrong turn was ambushed, outnumbered and chased by several feydayen with crew-served weapons on their vehicles. They ran into a Limey checkpoint with a Challenger on site. After the carnage, the Iraq survivors had the Sh&t beat out of them by the 'undemonstrative' & 'phlegmatic' Limeys. Hell, I'm certain their actions weren't even pragmatic, but they were appreciated. Apologies for the long post, but I admit I enjoyed resurrecting that old tag 'limey'.
 
#9
I doubt very much that this was the main thrust of Brig Sharpe's thesis, or anything much more than a passing observation; but I have no doubt at all that it was the juiciest bit seized by the journos to sell as many papers as possible for the braying and guffawing Countryside Alliance types to feel good about themselves.

We would do well to remember that a lot of the lessons the UK learned, were learned the hard way and the yanks, to their credit are taking notice. I understand that TE Lawrence is selling rather well, for example.

Now, before anybody thinks I've jumped ship and joined the other side, I will say that that it would seem that George C Scott has an awful lot to answer for. Although it would appear that Jackie Gleason is the role model for some US General officers:



 
#10
Isn't this the second Brig to bring these sort of views forward?
 
#11
crabby said:
jonwilly said:
Luvved the Raqui Comment
" "Hey, Mr American, next time before you shout so much you should speak to him. He is British - they know how to invade a country."john
Ah nice ta know we're apreciated
Every now and then something comes along that swells your national pride :D

I'm so proud :D
You have every right to be.
 
#12
I'm with the Brig on this one. A certain Gen Petreus ("the man who saved Iraq" - the title the US press gave to him) was the worst when I was there. Couldn't miss a photo opportunity and loved preaching to anyone in company of "his vision".

Reality check wasn't done often enough and even the Yanks I was with had the view he was too much Hollywood, played God too often, even for the other 4* in country and the 3* I worked for who regularly had closed door sessions to try and calm him down. However, he had political aspirations and liked practising hard.....

edited once for finger mong problems...
 
#13
Problem is with the Spams is they can start a fight, but rarely finish it without it becoming a complete cluster. Apart from Grenada, where they liberated the island from Marxist sun bed operators. Now they are sabre rattling again. My advice would be, think about how to get out before you go in!
 
#14
DigitalGeek said:
Problem is with the Spams is they can start a fight, but rarely finish it without it becoming a complete cluster. Apart from Grenada, where they liberated the island from Marxist sun bed operators. Now they are sabre rattling again. My advice would be, think about how to get out before you go in!
Spot on Geek,
we simply have different styles, ours work - theirs don't. The shoulder holster thing is pure theatre. Throughout the kosovo campaign POD did not carry a weapon, he had a couple of lads who took care of that business on his behalf, which allowed him freedom to focus on bigger issues - like getting us out of there!!
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#15
Hmmm. It's all very well criticising the Americans but the truth is that, although we might demonstrate a tad more tactical acumen on the ground (although conditions make a straight comparison between what we're doing in the south and what they're doing elsewhere somewhat problematic), strategically we were party to the same God almighty feck up: if we were so great, we should have either put them straight about what was going to transpire circa Feb 2003, or we should have declined to take part.
 
#16
cpunk said:
Hmmm. It's all very well criticising the Americans but the truth is that, although we might demonstrate a tad more tactical acumen on the ground (although conditions make a straight comparison between what we're doing in the south and what they're doing elsewhere somewhat problematic), strategically we were party to the same God almighty feck up if we were so great, we should have either put them straight about what was going to transpire circa Feb 2003, or we should have declined to take part.
With respect "we" had no choice. Our involvement was not exactly a well considered military decision.

notwithstanding that, I don't believe we have the manpower to do the US mission and consequently the suggsetion that we could is a tad barking. But, if we were to take on that task, I suggest our approach would be different.

In the final analysis though we are Allies and whilst our musings here might be light hearted and fun poking, we should not seriuosly denigrtae them in a public forum. As the next time we require CAP quickly they might ask whether we require HE or leaflets on tgt!
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#17
Outstanding said:
With respect "we" had no choice. Our involvement was not exactly a well considered military decision.
Ultimately, we did. Whatever the enthusiasms of our elected politicians, the service chiefs have a duty to let them know how we expect things to turn out and the politicians have a duty to listen. Rumsfeld more or less made it clear before the invasion that if we weren't up for it, then they didn't need us and we could have pulled out then. Harold Wilson refused to let us get involved in Vietnam because his advice was that there was no easy way out: the US-British alliance survived that.
 
#18
cpunk said:
Outstanding said:
With respect "we" had no choice. Our involvement was not exactly a well considered military decision.
Ultimately, we did. Whatever the enthusiasms of our elected politicians, the service chiefs have a duty to let them know how we expect things to turn out and the politicians have a duty to listen. Rumsfeld more or less made it clear before the invasion that if we weren't up for it, then they didn't need us and we could have pulled out then. Harold Wilson refused to let us get involved in Vietnam because his advice was that there was no easy way out the US-British alliance survived that.
Sadly I am not a Service Chief, when I become one I will ask for you as my right hand man!

Seriuosly though I think the decision was made to back USA before any serious military advice was sought. That may never be proven, but the alacrity with which UK forces were ramped up for this indicates a certain political determination. Clearly the aim was regime change after which it was considered (politically) that everything would slot into place (like Bosnia and Kosovo) - Ooops!!
 

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