CDS said to be resisting Black Watch redeployment

#1
Blair is 'using our troops to boost Bush'
By Patrick Hennessy, Sean Rayment and Melissa Kite
(Sunday Tel 17/10/2004)

Tony Blair last night stood accused of conspiring to use British troops in Iraq as a "political gesture" to help George W Bush in the US presidential election.

The Prime Minister faced protests from all sides over plans to redeploy British forces to an area 25 miles south of Baghdad, freeing the US 24th Marine Expeditionary Force for an expected assault on the rebel stronghold of Fallujah.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, is preparing to make a Commons statement tomorrow announcing that about 650 soldiers from the Black Watch will leave Basra and come under US command "for a few weeks".

The Sunday Telegraph understands, however, that the deployment is being resisted by Gen Sir Michael Walker, the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Nicholas Soames, the Conservative defence spokesman, also expressed concern yesterday and suggested that British troops were being moved for political reasons. "We need to watch the timing of all this," he said, "and to be careful that this isn't just being used as a kind of political gesture to reassure the Americans of Prime Minister Blair's support for the American efforts.

"What alarms and awes me is the timing of this operation, particularly during Ramadan."

Mr Bush is facing an increasingly strong challenge from John Kerry, his Democrat opponent, in the November 2 presidential election. Some recent polls have put them neck and neck.

Iraq is one of the key issues in the election and Mr Bush is under pressure to counter Mr Kerry's charge that it is only American soldiers who are suffering high casualty levels in Iraq and that other countries' armed forces should be sharing more of the burden.

In one of their recent televised debates, Mr Kerry told Mr Bush: "We [the US] are 90 per cent of the casualties and 90 per cent of the costs," effectively claiming that the President's frequent assertions that he had built a broad coalition were diplomatic fiction, not military reality.

Greater involvement around Baghdad by Britain, which has 9,000 troops in Iraq, compared with America's 130,000, would go some way to defusing Mr Kerry's charge.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said that any decision to assist Mr Bush would be highly contentious.

"Will Mr Blair decide to help Bush in the run-up to the election? If he does he will have to placate a House of Commons which is increasingly fractious about the absence of a clear exit strategy in Iraq.

"Why is Bush making this request now? If Blair says yes and Kerry is elected, then the first meeting between Blair and Kerry could be very interesting."

Anti-war Labour MPs were also quick to accuse the Prime Minister of endangering the lives of British troops.

Alice Mahon, the Labour MP for Halifax, said: "I think this could be to help President Bush.

"I think it is to flag up to the rest of the world that Bush has support and I just don't think we should be putting our troops in that sort of danger for political reasons."

Peter Kilfoyle, the former Labour defence minister, also claimed that the timing was linked to the US presidential election.

"This is obviously the Americans trying to show that the risks are being shared," he said. "What they want is to be able to be seen to have more support than they do have for their tactics and that is not on.

"Those of us who are opposed to the war are very alarmed by this. We are putting our troops in harm's way and subject to the vagaries of how the Americans do things."

Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, said he believed that the American election was a "sub-plot", but added: "I'm not going to discount that. I would not be surprised at anything this [US] administration did. But I don't think Tony Blair needs to show any more support for Bush. He has already done that in spades."

Gen Walker, the most senior officer in the Armed Forces, is said to be concerned that the Army should not be "bounced" into sending troops into Baghdad simply because the Americans have sustained more casualties than the British.

A Ministry of Defence official said that the Chief of the Defence Staff and other senior officers were worried that deploying the Black Watch, which is the divisional reserve for southern Iraq, to Baghdad would leave British troops vulnerable to another uprising by insurgents.

A senior Army officer said: "There is a certain amount of concern that this is a politically driven military operation and that does not rest easily with soldiers.

"Soldiers accept that they have to undertake dangerous operations in war, they accept that they might be killed or injured, but it is completely unacceptable if they are being sent to Baghdad to help George Bush win the next election."


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...ml&sSheet=/portal/2004/10/17/ixportaltop.html
 
#2
hackle said:
A senior Army officer said: "There is a certain amount of concern that this is a politically driven military operation and that does not rest easily with soldiers.

"Soldiers accept that they have to undertake dangerous operations in war, they accept that they might be killed or injured......
exactly

hackle said:
........but it is completely unacceptable if they are being sent to Baghdad to help George Bush win the next election."
hit the nail on the head there. I had heard in the week that he didn't want look into the situation before the 2nd of November. Cannot believe he even said publicly - and no-one says nothing?! :roll: Blimey.
 
#4
[quote="PartTimePongoTHC statement tomorrow.[/quote]

I can hardly wait........more spin and bullshi* resulting in misery for the guys at the sharp end. :twisted:
 
#5
PartTimePongo said:
Looks like someone may have found the small round objects they lost in 1999.

But somehow, I don't think it will make any difference :(

THC statement tomorrow.
Intriguing cryptic comment, PTP. Let me think, what happened in 1999? ... no, it's not ringing any bells... :?
 
#9
One would think by reading the British press that the Black Watch deployment into Najaf is akin to a suicide mission. It isnt. It should be viewed as an opportunity to see if tactics used in Basra will work in Najaf. By reading the posts here in response to the article one might get the mistaken impression that the British troops are afraid to go north, which I doubt.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#10
You are mixing up ANNOYED with AFRAID

Methinks Britfor is annoyed to go up north because we're stretched and busy down south (though not, I admit on CNN) and this is a further stretch to frankly help a force with enough REMFy cooks and cleaners that it could probably handle the task itself if they were soldiers first and trade second, as opposed to MOS first and "what the **** is a rifle" second...

Oh yes, and a bit of armour.

I think you'll find the Brits are not best pleased to be in the shit in Iraq anyway (fair enough - who is!) and as we came along as a political favour (fair enough again) to be now dragged up to rescue your sorry arrses from your own shit sandwich is a bit rich. We have handled down south considerably better and we fear the crap civpop relations that you've left behind for us to deal with (presumption, not based on any fact whatsoever) - also, will the USMC be coming back to the area after they flattened Falluja or will we be there forever, with an out of area Bn supporting.
 
#11
Yes Polar and Hackle, SDR. 1999 was the chop year.

1999 ,when this CDS not only "lost his direction" in the face of the Politicos , but I remember certain directives (or dire threats depending how sensitive you were 8O ) flying about the place concerning talking to the press or anti-SDR ops.

So you'll forgive me , if when I see statements that Gen. Walker is "concerned" or "resisting" the polticos , I take that with a big armful of salt. He's already told them yes, One day recce to determine if the place is dangerous or not? Yeah right.

And it is political. The US has 140,000 troops in country and they can't find 700 to rotate into a quiet area? BS , it's political.
 
#12
tomahawk6 said:
One would think by reading the British press that the Black Watch deployment into Najaf is akin to a suicide mission. It isnt
why are so many SPAMs getting nailed around that area then? apart from its on the ground soldiering and not done from
a. 20,000 ft up in the air
or
b. 200kms away via a simple press of a button,
and the fact most of the world hates america and sees Iraq as a great opportunity to kill some?

and of course its got nothing to do with the up coming septic elections!! what may help Bush will bury bLiar.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#13
"and of course its got nothing to do with the up coming septic elections!! what may help Bush will bury bLiar."

Not necessarily correct that it'll help Bush. I would say there is no political motive behind this despite the media and people here saying so, my reasons are:

a) The US has a gungho go it alone if we have to attitude, asking the Brits for help is like admitting failure, not a very American word...

b) Criticism of Rumsfeld and Bush by Kerry both centres around not having enough troops in theatre at all. A particular point after Turkey refused to help. This is playing directly into their hands.

c) If the 650 BW do better than 2000 USMC then aren't we rather going to show up the yanks (e.g. more with 75% less....)

the only upside I can see could be:

1) There has been pressure on the Whitehouse to get other nations on the ground to help to 'UN' this war. By getting us up north they'll be getting us on CNN more (or is it our casualties) and thus make it appear in air-time terms at least that the US isn't alone. If that is the case I doubt 650 BW will deliver a bigger positive than the negatives above.

I'd love to hear other views.

G
 
#14
Only about 25,000 of the Spams in Iraq are 'line-grunts". They've got a tail element which works out to about 13 drivers, blanket-stackers, ice-cream purveyors and 'burger burners for every combat infantryman. A high proportion of their casualties are among supply convoy personnel.
 
#15
It's the start of mission creep FF

"Oh our troops won't be involved in Fallujah or Baghdad"

Oh I'm sure they'll laugh heartily at that when they're fighting in Fallujahgrad

This Government , and the SoS Defence , favours the stealth approach to a lot of problems.

Instead of just saying bluntly "Our people are going to shut the door on suspected terrs fleeing Fallujah"

Buff dresses it up as "Oh they are just going to a quiet area" Well that's crap , anyone with half a brain and a map knows where they are going THC , and they are going to see some action there too.

When are these people going to stop the lying , and just tell us the truth .
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#17
Yes their ratio is just appalling, it's something like 1 teeth arm :10 burger flippers but there is an element of hele repair men and much larger command and control in with those burger flippers so it's not complete waste. To quote you if 25,000 are 'real' soldiers and they've 130,000 in theatre the ratio is down to 1:6, you've quoted 1:13 so somewhere there's a discrepancy (or a lot of burger flippers in Germany).
 
#18
PartTimePongo said:
Yes Polar and Hackle, SDR. 1999 was the chop year.

1999 ,when this CDS not only "lost his direction" in the face of the Politicos , but I remember certain directives (or dire threats depending how sensitive you were 8O ) flying about the place concerning talking to the press or anti-SDR ops.

So you'll forgive me , if when I see statements that Gen. Walker is "concerned" or "resisting" the polticos , I take that with a big armful of salt. He's already told them yes, One day recce to determine if the place is dangerous or not? Yeah right.

And it is political. The US has 140,000 troops in country and they can't find 700 to rotate into a quiet area? BS , it's political.
Personally I have a lot of time for CDS, but I agree he is not likely to stand in the way of this. The recce isnt going to identify any insuperable obstacles which you and I couldnt have come up with from a quick map appreciation and desk study.

As to the political imperative, US members can put me right but I wonder if the Black Watch have a higher profile across the pond than any other British capbadge - Kennedy's funeral and all that - thus making their redeployment seemingly very attractive to the Bush campaign? In fact like so many brilliant wheezes of the spindoctors, the idea has backfired spectacularly.

Alternatively, if it is true the redeployment has nothing to do with politics, that just proves how much damage has been done to the alliance by the loss of trust. There were no such concerns when 1(UK) Armd Div were quite dramatically redeployed and resubordinated in 1991.

As commented yesterday, I was very struck by the hostile reactions to TCH's statement from pro-war MPs like MacKinlay ("some of us will not stomach it") and Kaufman. The political landscape has shifted. Btw I was disappointed with Soames - he made a couple of fair points but TCH rightly roasted him for apparently calling in a newspaper article for ROE to be published (!?!); in fact Soames is making too much of ROE which I think misses the point.
 
#19
Mr H,
A Pentagon-based officer assured me there are only 100,000 trained infantrymen in the entire combined strength of the US army and Marine Corps. The rest are specialists, and, as you rightly say, there's a high proportion of command and control bods. The US Marines are the only formation where everyone, from spud-peelers to generals, are riflemen first and tradesmen second. The bottom line is they're short of grunts capable of FIBUA ops for Falluja and Ramadi.
 
#20
Mr. Happy , not the absolute smoking gun , but

Saturday, October 16, 2004
President Bush Kicks Off Walk the Vote Weekend with Rousing Rally in West Palm Beach, the First Webcast Live on GeorgeWBush.com


THE PRESIDENT: The problem is with that global test, the Senator can never pass it. Remember what happened in 1990. The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution supporting action to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. The international community was united. Countries throughout the world joined our coalition. Yet, even after United Nations' approval, in the United States Senate, Senator Kerry voted against the authorization for the use of force. If that coalition didn't pass his global test, nothing will pass a global test. (Applause.)

During the debate, you might remember he said that removing Saddam Hussein was a mistake. He actually said he would have done it differently by supporting another United Nations Security Council resolution.

AUDIENCE: Booo!

THE PRESIDENT: Precisely what Saddam Hussein wanted. He wanted the world to look the other way. If my opponent had his way, Saddam Hussein would not only be sitting in a palace in Baghdad, he'd be in Kuwait. The world is better off with Saddam in a prison cell. (Applause.)

Listen, I'll continue to work to build strong alliances to keep our coalition strong. I talked to Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday on Air Force One as I was heading from Iowa to Wisconsin. (Applause.) Alliances are important; friendships are important in this dangerous world. But I will never turn over America's national security decisions to leaders of other countries. (Applause.)
So he spoke to Bluppet on 15/10 , news broke of deployment on Sunday?

Ok so it might be 2+2 = 64 , but then again
 

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