General Carter to be CDS - Reports breaking

That isn't normal policing by British standards. We compromised heavily.
I think you'll find it's pretty much normal for Norn Iron, which (according to my last blue passport) is part of the United Kingdom, but not of Great Britain, and whose Catholic residents have included a minority bearing spectacularly violent grudges against agents of British rule since before the time of Cromwell.
 

Auld-Yin

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No. The stated end state by Thatcher and others was a return to normal policing. That hasn't been achieved - police use armoured landrovers to conduct normal duties because they get brassed up a couple of times a year, and all police are armed. That isn't normal policing by British standards. We compromised heavily.
But it is normal by Ulster standards. Police were armed for long periods prior to 1969 and have been subject to abuse at various levels from both sides for decades prior to 1969.

The police now police the streets, not the army, so I hope you agree that that "slight" change is a return towards normality.
 

Caecilius

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For purely tactical examples, there is no consistent standard for rules of engagement: we use different paragraphs of JSP398 for different situations depending on... lots of things. Sometimes you could use Radar 909 as a heightfinder on any passing traffic, other times it was considered a dangerous escalation...

Similarly, sometimes fires need to be cleared and confirmed for zero collateral damage: sometimes they can be called in "danger close". Which point of the spectrum should be chosen for the consistent standard used henceforth?
You miss my point. I'm not saying that there should be a perfectly consistent set of tactics used, just a consistent understanding of whether a compromise solution is acceptable.

Very American: they declared that "politics and strategy are radically and fundamentally things apart. Strategy begins where politics end. All that soldiers ask is that once the policy is settled, strategy and command shall be regarded as being in a sphere apart from politics." (Command and General Staff School, Principles of Strategy for an Independent Corps or Army in a Theater of Operations, 1936)

The problem is that the politics is inseparable, as - most infamously and most cited - the US found in Vietnam when they neglected to keep the taxpaying public on side with the conflict and found the rug pulled from under them as a result. If the President who got into / extended the fight has been hoofed out, because he lost the election to a President running on a "bring our troops home" ticket, that;s going to radically change the course of your campaign.

You can dislike that, but it's a major constraint on military operations in a democracy. Indeed, even in a near-dictatorship like Wilhelmine Germany, they hit the point where neither the military, nor the people, were willing to keep fighting.

Even ADP2 Command points out that "Although this may appear an unreasonable constraint on the operational commander's plans, there will have to be some measure of compromise between military requirements and political necessity"...
Again, not my point. I'm arguing that we should be able to assess campaign outcomes without simply looking at whether politicians are happy with them and taking their opinion as the only measure. I think we can do better than that. Of course you have to consider the political situation in your analysis but there's more to it than 'are the politicians happy when the final settlement is concluded'. This is especially true with something like BANNER which covers 7 different governments. Which politicians are we taking as the standard? The ones who started it or is it the ones who finish it.

If the latter is the standard you want to apply, as it seems you do, then we have explicitly been successful in Afghanistan because politicians are happy with our success there so far and the direction of the current mission.

My problem is that nobody follows a consistent standard. Look at Stonker's posts for example: NI, great result because the politicians are happy. Afghanistan, terrible despite the politicians being happy. You can't have it both ways: either the assesment is purely based on contemporary party politics or there's more to it.

Another example of an NI standard that isn't extended further:

If you have any complaint about NI not being the land of milk and honey post BANNER then take it up at Westminster with the people responsible.
 

Caecilius

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The police now police the streets, not the army, so I hope you agree that that "slight" change is a return towards normality.
Indeed it is. But it isn't normal for the UK, which was the stated end state. We compromised and declared success.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with a compromise as a successful end state but then why is a compromise not a successful outcome in Afghanistan? There have been huge changes towards normality.
 

Auld-Yin

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Indeed it is. But it isn't normal for the UK, which was the stated end state. We compromised and declared success.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with a compromise as a successful end state but then why is a compromise not a successful outcome in Afghanistan? There have been huge changes towards normality.
Oh absolutely, we should never have compromised. Once the army (and sometimes the RAF if it wasn't raining) were sent to the streets war should have been declared by mainland UK against Ulster. The troops should have been sent in a la WW2 without regard for civilian casualties or builfings; it's ok, the USA will produce another Marshall Plan to rebuild once we have won. Paras on bloody Sunday would have been decorated not denigrated, Londonderryerry and Belfast would have been flattened in large areas, captured PIRA could be executed as spies for fighting in civvies. Yep absolutely no compromise just crush the people of Ulster.

I could see that working! Note the above is written with a degree of sarcasm!

BTW, compromise can only work if both sides engage in it.
 

Caecilius

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I could see that working! Note the above is written with a degree of sarcasm!
Yes, I gathered. While amusing, I'm not really sure what the point of your post is. We're talking about the end state of the conflict as a compromise, not suggesting that the use of anything less than total war tactics on a civilian population is somehow a compromise.
 

Auld-Yin

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Yes, I gathered. While amusing, I'm not really sure what the point of your post is. We're talking about the end state of the conflict as a compromise, not suggesting that the use of anything less than total war tactics on a civilian population is somehow a compromise.
We will just have to compromise on where you feel compromise comes in.

IMHO the British army were in a compromise mode from day one and were held back by that compromise of we were there, as soldiers, to assist the civil police. The whole of BANNER was a compromise with just one side offering it for the majority of the time. It was only when the other side were beaten that they came to the table to join in the compromise.

Again IMHO, the compromise reached through the GFA was too heavily biased on the side of PIRA.
 

seaweed

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Malaya was a definite win for the UK Government. Pongo (and, please note, Bootie) jungle bashing (supported by RN helicopters 24/7) was only part of it. Politically working towards Merdeka (independence, delivered 1958 if I remember correctly) wrong-footed the opposition, and left the Chinese out in the cold as the Malays achieved a constitution that kept the Chinese out of political power. That's why, shortly after the formation of Malaysia (more jungle-bashing to see off Sukarno) Lee Kwan Yew took his ball home 1966-ish.

btw the apartheid against the Chinese was real. Chum of mine (actually ZA born) was on exchange in KL & was told to make up a list of locals to be sent to BRNC to train for the Royal Malaysian Navy. He sent the list upstairs and it came back with all the Chinese names crossed out.
 

jrwlynch

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You miss my point. I'm not saying that there should be a perfectly consistent set of tactics used, just a consistent understanding of whether a compromise solution is acceptable.
As we're demonstrating in this discussion, that runs into the issue of what "compromise" looks like - back to the arguments over declared goals.

For instance, returning NI to a condition where "normal policing" would be possible - is that "normal for Norn Iron" where the RUC had been using M1 Carbines as personal weapons, or "normal for mainland UK" (not merely "back to where we started" but "much better than before"?) Selective quoting allows either to be claimed, but I'd be interested in seeing the original source in context.

Again, not my point. I'm arguing that we should be able to assess campaign outcomes without simply looking at whether politicians are happy with them and taking their opinion as the only measure. I think we can do better than that.
So do I, and indeed I'm not sure who here has ever claimed our plans should be assessed by "simply looking at whether politicians are happy with them and taking their opinion as the only measure".

However, politics are an inevitable constraint on freedoms of action, resourcing and tasking, and deny the ability to get out the cookie-cutters and stamp out a standardised solution.

I know it's not fashionable to read doctrine these days, but:-

No two crises or conflicts are the same or evolve the same way. Therefore, the planning process must be robust but flexible, adaptable and agile enough to allow the plan to evolve. Planning should accommodate an expanding set of circumstances, allowing due consideration for likely costs evaluated against benefits gained. Political control, guidance and approval, particularly with respect to planning and force activation, in response to an actual or developing crisis is paramount. Operations planning should be flexible enough to adjust to evolving political guidance, civil and military advice needed to facilitate collaborative planning and adapt to political requirements during a crisis. The planning process is iterative and should also allow Allies and staff to periodically review and assess the mission and amend or redraw plans when necessary to move towards the desired end state. (AJP-5 Allied Joint Doctrine for Operational-level Planning )
Of course you have to consider the political situation in your analysis but there's more to it than 'are the politicians happy when the final settlement is concluded'. This is especially true with something like BANNER which covers 7 different governments. Which politicians are we taking as the standard? The ones who started it or is it the ones who finish it.:
Unfortunately, the answer is "all of the above", particularly if the initial deployment was made on the basis of "short, easy, cheap, home by Christmas for tea and medals" and later governments have inherited it as it's proved to be less tractable, more expensive and more difficult than predicted.

You also have the constraint of "the President wants to be seen to win this one and come home, the electorate are sick to the back teeth of the whole business, and within weeks Congress will vote on your continued funding for the conflict which you're going to lose; you've got until New Year to produce a military solution, after that you're coming home regardless" (Vietnam, December 1972). At that point, politics has become a key constraint on your freedom of action.

Depending on the operation, the electorate (and therefore the politicians they select) may care a great deal about the outcome, and be willing to make considerable sacrifices to achieve success or at least stave off failure. However, in other cases you may find yourself taking sides in "a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing" which seemed like a good idea to one Beloved Leader, has become a political football, and is now being managed on a "Bring Our Boys Home!" ticket after a change of leadership or government.


If the latter is the standard you want to apply, as it seems you do, then we have explicitly been successful in Afghanistan because politicians are happy with our success there so far and the direction of the current mission.
I have asked you in the past that you should ask me for my opinions, rather than make them up for me.

Vietnam in 1973 was a clear success for the US by that metric: Congress ended US involvement, stopped the haemorrhage of money and equipment, a peace deal was signed and everyone declared themselves well content.

However, was seeing the country reunified under Hanoi's control in 1975 really the strategic goal the US had sought? To paraphrase an eminent military theorist, "For us, the Vietnam War is finito, a war which would have been a damn sight simpler if we just stayed in Texas and shot a hundred of our men a week."

My problem is that nobody follows a consistent standard. Look at Stonker's posts for example: NI, great result because the politicians are happy. Afghanistan, terrible despite the politicians being happy. You can't have it both ways: either the assesment is purely based on contemporary party politics or there's more to it.
Fallacy of the excluded middle.

Military action can have two results: total, decisive victory, or absolute crushing defeat. Which of these was Afghanistan? Since we've yet to make a glorious victory parade through Kabul, past the pyramid-piled skulls of our enemies, hearing the lamentation of their womenfolk, surely that means Afghanistan was "absolute crushing defeat"?

In 1945, the US accepted the Japanese surrender, leaving the Emperor Hirohito in power: since they failed to achieve that key, declared war aim, does that mean they were actually defeated, and Japan won?

The danger of a "consistent approach" is a version of Kip's Law - those calling for it always assume it'll be drawn up to their standards.
 
No. The stated end state by Thatcher and others was a return to normal policing.
Op Banner was ten years old when Thatcher took up office. Normal policing before the GFA was fundamentally sectarian, biased and corrupt. At its worst were the B Specials which weren’t disbanded until 1970.

The basis of the British policing model is concensus policing. Concensus policing didn’t exist in NI until the PSNI was formed. NI is now policed in a way that would be normal to pretty much any other democratic nation.
 

seaweed

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Re Horohito, my take is that Japan would have been ungovernable, thus requiring a huge occupation force into the middle distance, if MacArthur had not handled the situation as he did. However H was effectively stripped of executive power. Pragmatism really.
 

jrwlynch

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Re Horohito, my take is that Japan would have been ungovernable, thus requiring a huge occupation force into the middle distance, if MacArthur had not handled the situation as he did. However H was effectively stripped of executive power. Pragmatism really.
Absolutely right - the nearer "and what do we do with it once we've conquered it?" got, the less important seeing the God-Emperor humbled and cast down in vengeance for Pearl Harbor became[1].

There's a difference in degree between the 1942-vintage "the only good Jap is a dead Jap" and the 1945 disarmament and occupation, at least in part because after unconditional surrender was offered and accepted, the Emperor was allowed to retain his position if not his power.

Is this compromise and failure, or adapting to the reality of the situation and assessing priorities and costs to achieve the priority aims at much lower cost and risk, with the price of "not deposing the Emperor" being an acceptable trade-off?

And is "having Hirohito hung, drawn and quartered outside the US Capitol, broadcast live on the new-fangled televisualiser gadget" a critical part of the endstate, compared to "Japanese military dead or surrendered, hostilities over on US terms"?

For a classic pairwise comparison, consider these two options:-

A. Japan surrenders, ceases all combat actions, lays down its arms and submits to US occupation and restructuring (standfast the infamous singletons on remote islands), with Emperor Hirohito remaining on his throne in a ceremonial role of rubber-stamping whatever the US viceroy tells him to approve (or, "what actually happened");​
B. Hirohito presents himself to the US for ritual humiliation and execution. Meanwhile, the "rest of Japan" execute their planned "Operation One Hundred Million" whereby every Japanese citizen able to hold a weapon fights to the death against the Allied forces (if they don't starve, or die in a fire raid, or get gassed, first)​

Is anyone, anywhere, really going to consider that B is preferable to A, even though it ostensibly achieves more of the US aims as declared at the outset of the conflict?




[1] The sort of propaganda about Japan that the US were bandying about was, to modern eyes, quite lively...

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If the Japanese really had decided to go for the "fight to the last man, woman and infant child", the US seemed willing to at least start down the path of obliging them, if the plans for Op DOWNFALL are anything to go by: with five to fifteen nuclear weapons available to support the operation (now that's what I call Joint Fires!) plus a friendly mix of phosgene, mustard, and HCN - there's an interesting (if only slightly chilling) study of US CW plans for Japan in the 1998 Proceedings of the US Naval Institute ("The Most Deadly Plan", Polmar and Allen).

Strategic bombers would drop 56,583 tons of poison-gas bombs in the first 15 days of what the document called the "initial gas blitz." And they were to drop another 23,935 tons of gas bombs every month that the war dragged on or until all targets had been hit.
When landings began in November, tactical fighters and attack planes were to drop another 8,971 tons in the first 15 days, followed by 4,984 tons of bombs every 30 days. Other planes would swoop low, using spray tanks to spread thousands of tons of liquid gas over Japanese defenders.
During the landings, U.S. troops would bring ashore 67 Army battalions of 105-mm and 155-mm howitzers and 4.2-inch mortars that were to fire about 1,400 tons of gas shells every 30 days.

We do forget sometimes what "total war" can actually look like, and the difference between that and bouts of optional opposed nation-building...
 
Aye Stonk' though at the time it was a grand adventure!
I don't doubt it. More so than West Belfast, or South Armagh, and (I believe history will judge in the longer run), a more pragmatic worthwhile and necessary expenditure of British blood and British treasure than anything the British Army's been committed to in this century to date.
 
Op Banner was ten years old when Thatcher took up office. Normal policing before the GFA was fundamentally sectarian, biased and corrupt. At its worst were the B Specials which weren’t disbanded until 1970.

The basis of the British policing model is concensus policing. Concensus policing didn’t exist in NI until the PSNI was formed. NI is now policed in a way that would be normal to pretty much any other democratic nation.
I would also argue that the end of Banner was only the end of a phase towards ‘normalisation’ as understood in GB, and not the intended end state, which was developed and matured politically over a period of years after the hungar strikes. We are not there yet, Helvetic remains and it is only 4 years since the public order requirement for a resident Bn ended. So, I think it is still too early to judge the military contribution to the ‘troubles’ which preceded Banner, and could be argued, post dated it.
 
I think it is still too early to judge the military contribution to the ‘troubles’ which preceded Banner, and could be argued, post dated it.
It maynot yet be time, from an academic perspective, to dot the 'I's, ensure all the 'T's are crossed, and draw a bottom line on the Army operations ledger, but from a workaday perspective, the job's done

Assuming bigots and fool politicians don't insist on reviving the old cycle.
 
It maynot yet be time, from an academic perspective, to dot the 'I's, ensure all the 'T's are crossed, and draw a bottom line on the Army operations ledger, but from a workaday perspective, the job's done

Assuming bigots and fool politicians don't insist on reviving the old cycle.
I’m afraid I don’t agree, peace is fragile and the work of HMF continues. Some above the surface, some below. The final line in the ledger is not yet drawn.
 
I’m afraid I don’t agree, peace is fragile and the work of HMF continues. Some above the surface, some below. The final line in the ledger is not yet drawn.
Maybe you're right: but I've seen a lot of places in the mainland in the last 2 decades, where I'd be more worried about civil unrest than NI.
 

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