Col. Kemp Calls for War Cabinet

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Aug 28, 2009.

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  1. 08:02 August 27th, 2009
    Brown must create Afghanistan war cabinet

    By: Richard Kemp

    richard-kemp2- Col. Richard Kemp is a former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and the author of Attack State Red, an account of British military operations in Afghanistan, to be published on September 3, 2009, by Penguin. The opinions expressed are his own. -

    Disillusionment with the inability of the Kabul administration to govern fairly or to significantly reduce violence played a role in the reportedly low turnout at the polls in Helmand.

    It is critical that this changes if we are to avoid another Vietnam. The South Vietnamese Army, well trained and equipped, lost heart once the U.S. withdrew, collapsing at the first push, partly because their corrupt and ineffective administration was not worth fighting for.

    That an election was held at all in Afghanistan’s most violent province is an achievement. But despite a major operation to drive out the Taliban, the insurgents deterred large numbers of voters. This illustrates just how steep a mountain NATO has to climb. But it does not mean we cannot prevail against them in Helmand.

    As President Obama says: “This isn’t a war of choice; it’s a war of necessity.” Home grown British terrorists have only demonstrated an ability to kill our people when they have attended serious training and had face-to-face direction from war-hardened jihadists.

    The Al Qaida leadership and their camps were driven into Pakistan in 2001. U.S. pursuit across the border using unmanned aerial vehicle strikes has been remarkably effective, resulting directly in the recent reduction of the UK terrorist threat level.

    Al Qaida is not just a “global franchise” but also a solid organization that needs places to meet, to plan and to train terrorists. It cannot all be done on the internet. Substantially unable to function now in Pakistan, the leadership is actively seeking a new base – perhaps in Yemen, Somalia or North Africa. In any of these they would be much more exposed. Their real desire is to return to Afghanistan. NATO forces are preventing that.

    But we cannot do it forever. Success equals reducing the insurgency to a level that can be managed by a viable Afghan government backed by a capable security force which can prevent the country becoming a base for attacks on the West including Britain.

    How long will this take? The answer to that is how long do we have? The next U.S. election is at the end of 2012 and the patience of the British electorate will have no greater longevity.

    Even as I have defined it, we will not achieve success fully in that time-frame. But we must be very clearly succeeding in a way that we are not now. And certainly in the British forces, we cannot continue with anything like the current rate of casualties over that period.

    To counter the Taliban’s present devastatingly effective tactics of mines, roadside bombs and booby traps we need better surveillance and better intelligence, achieved in part through greater active support from the local people. We need to control the night as well as the day. While we build the Afghan army, this can only be done with more of our own troops. A lot more.

    Casting aside inter-service rivalries, every sinew of strength of the British armed forces must now go into Afghanistan. Even that will not be enough.

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown must take close personal direction of this war through a war cabinet that will drive every relevant government department to achieve real progress in the short time we have left. And crucially to communicate our war aims to the British people with far greater effect.
  2. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    Will be intersting to read an account by a former commander in Afghan who was a step removed from the action. There is a plethora of unit-level works and first-person accounts out there now, but not much about the bigger picture.
  3. JJH - you are SO off-message! We aren't at war, we have enough helicopters, we have a clear Mission Statement, we have enough troops, we have always been at war with Eastasia..........

    Gordon sticks fingers in ears and sings loudly traalllaaaaalllaaaaallaaaaaaa.

    On an even more serious side - Gordon Brown most certainly doesn not need to take control of the war. He has ruined the Country and the Economy, we don't need him ruining the Army any further than he has already done.
  4. Sir, you have hit the nail on the head.
    Had Gordon Brown been an employee (I'd hazard a guess that he would be lucky to progress above photocopying duties) in any British firm, he would have been sacked long ago for incompetence.
    How this fool can remain in office is beyond me. The further he stays away from anything to do with the British military the better, unless he's on the sharp end of a bayonet :twisted:
  5. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    FFS! A War Cabinet? What would GB (or more likely, Mandlbum) do with such a beast?

    1. Lure in some gullible LibDems - and probably one or two Tories (Kenneth Clarke?) to give it a semblance of cross-party support.

    2. Insist that we can't have elections while there is a war on.

    3. Maintain said war (or another one) indefinitely.

    Under no circumstances should we even suggest this to NuLabour, or we'll have them ruining the Country for years to come.
  6. I think we all know the answer to that question - Vaseline anyone?
  7. War cbainet, state of emergency, suspension of the democratic system . . . . . and rationing.

    Gordon Brown would love that idea!
  8. Silly me....and all this time I thought those troops in Helmand with the funny accents (but pretty fair combat skills) were UK forces.
  10. "JJH - you are SO off-message! We aren't at war, we have enough helicopters, we have a clear Mission Statement, we have enough troops, we have always been at war with Eastasia........."

    What are you talking about. We are at war with Eurasia - go away and report to Room 101 for re-education right away. I'm off to destroy the evidence...
  11. The whole proposal is fundamentally flawed. No terrorist attack on the West has ever been launched from Afghanistan. In the UK we would do better occupying the Midlands.
  12. They are what's left of the British Army since the atrocious attrition rates suffered since 1997. You should see the Navy -

    "Rule Just Outside of Portsmouth Harbour

    Britannia Rules Just Outside of Portsmouth Harbour" :evil:
  13. The country isn't at war, the Armed Forces are at war. A Cabinet runs the country, not just the military effort - a War Cabinet runs the country in support of the war effort and is effectively a dictatorship. Hands up who thinks that's a good idea with the current bunch?

    Although there's a humungous wodge of hypocrisy in claiming Islamic terrorism to be the biggest threat to the West since Hitler while insisting on everything at home going on as normal, there's nothing new in politicians wanting their cake and eating it.
  14. In a perverse way, these comments make me feel just a bit better about the situation in the US--not that it is any better here but only in the sense that misery loves company.
  15. New book out= no Credability.

    No matter what the subject matter he is doing this for his own means.
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