How many of our toms would do the same for our chimp?
Its hard work. Easy comparison would be with NI, the early years. Internment etc. But I really can't see this ending quickly or even within the next couple of years. Every innocent Arab that gets slotted puts another yank in a body bag and increases the job by at least a week.
How long will the yanks have the stomach for it?
Will they be willing to trudge on regardless for want of not losing face?
Will they listen?
The linked article would hopefully be an isolated Coy but unfortunatley it's a fairly typical attitude. An attitude that continues as the body count rises. Catch 22?
Hearts and minds at My Lai? That's harsh. The platoon commander was court martialled, imprisoned and the army disgraced. Huge factor in losing the moral component.
I'm not standing up for these noshers - they're doing noone any favours. However bear in mind CH4 News, the Beeb et al have been against the war from day one, and are unlikely to miss any opportunities to further their agenda of disgracing Bush and Bliar. Nonetheless, I know stories of some of our own vaunted infantrymen (airborne/jocks) going on the rampage in NI (another COIN campaign where we need to deprive the en popular support)- smashing up bars, beating up locals... one battalion's in bosnia even had a load of guys try to pull an armed robbery...get pissed and take a bar full of locals hostage....
BBC Radio 4 of all people ran a hugely positive piece about 101AB in Mosul, which was about as compliant as Basrah is now, due to their excellent work....and bear in mind the yanks have most of the tiger country in iraq.
I get really depressed reading stuff like this. No matter how hard you try there's always some ignorant F****r that'll balls it up for the rest of us.
Saw the same mentality in Bos - Yanks going on patrol wearing Kevlar, weapons all made ready etc.
We'd be sitting in a bar drinking coffee (honest boss!) chatting to the locals, getting some gossip and these guys would rock through as if they were on the road to Khe San C1968. you'd watch the reaction of the locals, the heads shaking etc and just know what they were thinking.
Until the Yanks lighten up, they'll create more enemies than they'll kill.
I read somewhere that US policy in VietNam created more VC than it ever killed - in that sense at least the parallells are there.
I liked the reaction of the grunt who when asked if he thought that the Iraqis would respond better if the Americans treated them with more respect and stopped shooting at random.
After a very long think about this the soldier replied 'I don't think so'.
Christ! What a moron.
Has everone forgotten that the Yanks are facing a different environment up north than we are in the south. How many people were on the streets of Basra waving pictures of Saddam and chanting his name as a gesture of loyalty and support? The fact of the matter is they are dealing with a different mind set with the Sunnis in the north. I admit that their approach can be heavy handed at times but they are on a combat footing up north. What doesn't get reported by the media (anti-war from the start in most cases) are all the G5 and infrastucture rebuilding projects being undertaken by the Yanks. There approach has brought them success in an environment far less benign than we are facing just look at the arrest count, how many on the deck of 55 have been caught down south?
The GP and Media can be a bit harsh on the yanks, don't get me wrong I havent got stars and stripes tattoed on my ring but I do think we give them a lot of bad press.
When the yanks first came into Bosnia they were keen to get local knowledge from us brits and even though Tusla looked like something reminicent of a Vietnam firebase initially, they did a fair bit for the local community.
I think the one thing the Brits from the old empire days have been outstanding at is Intel gathering (that is bar Gallipoli!) the yanks have always envied us there and have never really had the same sucess.
My two bobs worth with regards to Iraq would be, "ok sadam we ve cased the joint, trashed your Army can see you have no WMD so have the joint back and your fundamentalist and we will be on our way" Likely hood of this happening? more chance of Scotland winning the world cup but its one way out...
I'm always reluctant to condemn our allies out of hand especially when not familiar with the situation on the gound in their particular TAOR.
The Yanks do seem to be having difficulty in changing their mind set from conducting a war (at which, regardless of harsh criticism in this forum and elsewhere in the international media, they are pretty good at) to conducting IS operations. It took the Brits some time before, through training and indoctrination, we got it even half right in NI. A contributor earlier in this thread made reference to Mai Lai, drawing parallels between that incident and what is happening on the ground in the Sunni triangle. Similar acts were perpetrated by us in Malaya during the Emergency and who can forget General Dwyer's actons in Amritsar?
Sure the average US soldier lacks the stoicism and reticence of Jock or Tommy, it's a cultural thing. I also doubt if Jock or Tommy (or, come to that Nigel or Rupert) would believe as their US counterparts did when told the Iraqis would welcome them with open arms once liberated. It's a history thing. Remember in 1969/70 when we were told that we were going into Ulster to protect the Catholics? (the term republican wasn't used then) We believed and were very quickly disillusioned by the attitude and increasing hostility of the very people we thought would welcome us with open arms (as they did initially). This resulted in the backlash from Airborne/Jock soldiers alluded to earlier in the thread pretty much the same as is happening with the average US infantryman on the ground in Iraq right now.
Monday morning quarter backing is fine though derisive condemnation is harsh. I am quite sure the next US units to rotate into the theatre will be much better prepared mentally and operationally for their new role. At least one hopes.
Interesting point Flash, I come into contact with a lot of Yanks, both military and civilian in the course of my work, and by no means is this a scientific study, but the general impression I am getting right now interestingly enough is the civilians are still fully 100% behind whats going on, even with the increasing body bag count, I admit the majority I come into contact with are employed by the Defence industries , but there is a definate sign of weakening comments made by serving military I have met of late.
Agree with the post, but be careful - you might want to check up on how much actual jail time was done by Lt William Calley. Let's put it this way, you'd spend more time in Colchester for fiddling the unit funds.....
His entire detention took place as house arrest in his own quarters, AIUI.