Helmand will be Browns final insult to the Armed Forces

shagnasty said:
You must read this.....I only hope that my link works.


link doesn't look good.... but perhaps some one else can spruce it up.

This is dynamite.
And now, a repeat looks to be on the cards in Afghanistan. The official line is that the 10,000-strong British contingent based in Helmand is set to be relocated west to the neighbouring province of Kandahar,
Trust cyclops to make them go the long way round!
Canadians currently run Kandahar:

Canada has announced that it will withdraw the bulk of its troops from Afghanistan in 2011. In September 2008, Conservative leader Stephen Harper pledged that Canada will withdraw the bulk of its military forces in Afghanistan in 2011, saying a decade at war is enough. He acknowledged that neither the Canadian public nor the troops themselves had any appetite to stay longer in the war and said that only a small group of advisers might remain.
It is not often that I will promote my own post but this is a serious post that affects all of you...................serving soldiers. Read it! Forget all the other posts re: election this election that, this post affects all of you.
shagnasty said:
It is not often that I will promote my own post but this is a serious post that affects all of you...................serving soldiers. Read it! Forget all the other posts re: election this election that, this post affects all of you.
Serious post.

My personal opinion is that the UK (unilaterally) should extract itself from Afghanistan at the very earliest opportunity. But, realistically, leaving along with the Canadians and Dutch would make sense.

However, were the decision made to stay, as it will inevitably be, it makes sense militarily and politically for the UK to leave Helmand to the US and replace the Canadians and Dutch in Kandahar/Uruzgun and run our own 2-star mission (RCS(E)?) alongside the US under overall ISAF/NATO 3-star command.

Con Coughlin has not called this one very well and is simply trying to score a few anti-Cyclops points.
The much leaked upcoming Kandahar operation,
is akin from jumping from the frying into the fire.
The nuances of this 'redeployment' will be largely lost on the electorate, if noticed at all.
Evidently it is the sceptics view that we are unable to fully man the Helmand bases effectively with our present troop strengths.
Reading Col. Tootal's book, it is enlightening how mission creep overcame all the initial military objectives
ending up supporting a v dodgy Afghan Governor, who was unwilling to meet any of his own promises to fight.
I would be interested in General Dannatt's take as well as Colonel Tootal's on this as they will have a better idea of what we should be preparing for.
Kandahar has the potential of becoming an unwinable meat grinder, considering the paucity of troops & rotary wing assets and the Talban's opening gambits.
It may indeed hasten our departure as it becomes clearer to all, the wastrals within the Afghan government
& Karzais kin in Kandahar are some of the very worst.
It's sod all to do with Brown, it's a US-led strategy.
I think someone posted this a few days ago, siuggesting that the story may be rather more complex than the 'Brown cuts and runs' portrait Con Coughlan wishes to present.
If we are moving to the next region does that mean the UK will be deploying Challenger 2 as the canadians deployed their Leo 2's?
My experience of the US military is that the reommendation they are making (for Brit redeployment) will have been based on a critical, apolitical, impartial assessment of what makes military sense seen through the lens of a NATO command structure which (like it or not) treats allied troops as though they were American (Rome was the same with the legions it recruited in its own Empire)

Personally, I'd rather have Brit troops deployed where it makes the most military sense, than where it suits Broon for reasons of domestic politics.

All that is by-the-by, though.

Gotta ask "In 3 TV debates - how much effort did any party leader devote to AFG?"

Gotta look at Cameron's statememt (today?) about withdrawal "but not to a fixed timetable"

Red/Blue/Yellow tie - makes no odds

None of them are prepared to cope with the costs that success demands.

They all want Brit troops out

So why don't they just feckin' say so - and get on with it?

Parliament has already concluded the "Special Relationship" is dead, FFS . . .

If you're not prepared to do it properly, WHY FECKIN' DO IT AT ALL?
One would have thought,that,given the lessons of history in that place,vis-a-vis the British Army,and others,we should have had more sense than to get involved in first place. Perhaps it is time to "retreat in another direction",and leave that area to the stoneage dizeans who seem to prefare their way of life as opposed to the U.S. idea of how life should be.I make no appoligies for saying that they are not worth the life of one British Squaddie! The only one one to have quitened that place was Gengkis Khan,and by any other name it was called Genocide.We are much more "ENLIGHTENED" in the 21st century,therefore we are going to lose. It's time to think the unthinkable. I know of no good reason why our troops should not be pulled out,and the Americans left to sort out the mess they creatated when they supplied the forerunners of the Taliban with arms etc.,to fight the U.S.S.R.
All wars are expensive, peace time costs go out the window come the first shot.
Tone Dear Tone committed UK to five wars but thought that they would be short as was Maggei's war.
Brown well he just never wanted to pay for any. He does not like HM Forces, or I believe the UK we all stood for.
He has blown money on Non Jobs, expanding the administration of Hospitals, not the Dr, Nursing side.
I do consider him mentally disturbed, especially having seen his exposure over this election when he has been thrust to the forefront.
Lord help Poor Tom on the front line for Nue Labour will not be much use.
Isn't this old news? The Economist ran an article about a month ago saying exactly the same thing.
Sadly the Pentagon does not rate the Brit effort too highly - many scathing comments about 'Helmandshire' bandied around with a USMC General boasting they (the USMC) will change 'Helmandshire' into 'Marineistan'.
The USMC chain of command stated emphatically they did not want the Brits in their AOR - so it's off to Kandahar - to plug the gap left by the departing Canadians and Dutch. I would imagine, as more US units pour into the country, the Brits will start pulling out too. I rather think the US Joint Chiefs are planning for that eventuality. One hopes they'll have enough assets left to take care of the new A-Q HQ in the Yemen as things gain momentum there - given that their planned drawdown in Iraq has ground to a trickle in light of the ongoing election debacle (the Iraqi one not the USs).
There have been various media reports on this over the last few weeks, including one saying it's being proposed by the (Brit) D/Comd ISAF and (Brit) Comd MR South and is what Mccrystal wants. Dannatt has also been quoted as saying it makes military sense.

Another report quoted a senior officer as saying UK wanted to go into Kandahar originally because it was far more important than Helmand, but for unclear reasons the Canadians got the ticket.

It makes sense for the USMC to take over all of Helmand as their AO because it aligns their command with the Afghan administation. One report has referred to a new MR (SW) including the province to the west of Helmand which seems to be a somewhat unknown quantity.

The downside with Kandahar is that the governor is Karzai's brother and corrupt as all buggery even by Afghan standards.

The other point is Oruzgun, currently run by the Dutch who are withdrawing soon, with a force of Australians, and the Aust govt has declined to take over responsibility for the province, so whoever takes on a new MR (SE) will have Kandahar, Oruzgun and the province to the immediate North. The US has reportedly told Aust that they will replace the Dutch, whether this is to be a permanent arrangement is unclear.
".........For the American commanders' plans have less to do with "coherence of command", and more to do with their growing frustration that, under Mr Brown's leadership, the British can no longer be trusted to fulfil their military commitments........."

I fear 'leadership' and 'Brown' are words do not stand comfortably together.

My opinion is that Gen McCrystal ALONE should decide where troops are deployed.

What can a politician in London know about the disposition of troops in Afghanistan? Politicians - so keen to be 'involved' and 'gung-ho' - should, having sent troops into battle, stand aside and spend ALL their energies ensuring that those troops have everything that they require.

Brown has so badly handled the Armed Forces as prime minister and he practically neutered them during his tenure at the Treasury, that he should be charged with malfeasance in public office; tried and subsequently publicly executed on Tower Hill as a reminder to all Labour half-wits that their dogma, hatreds and spitefulness cost lives!


Book Reviewer
Did the British Army lack success in Helmand prior to the USMC deployment..? If so, then by all means, let us turn it over to the USMC, lock, stock and barrel as they:
Have pursued a far more aggressive strategy than the British Army did in Helmand;
Are twice the size of the British Army;
Are better motivated than the British Army;
Are better equipped than the British Army; and
Are (possibly) better trained than the British Army.

(That last point is arguable; I don't think the preceding points are. In short, they are a more powerful fighting force and may be a more formidable thinking force.)

If not, and it is just USMC wanting to elbow us out so they can have their own, exclusive AO - then this is another reason to be get out and take our OWN AO in Kandahar.

Then we will see who has a better strategy for winning this war.

But nothing I see or read indicates to me that our top brass have mapped out a realistic strategy. I don't believe, equipment shortages aside, that the government is solely to blame. Our military leadership must also take responsibilty. (And when the history is written, I believe they will.)

The British Army won very smart, carefully thought out and brillliantly exccuted campaigns in Borneo and Dhofar. There has been nothing approaching victory in either Southern Iraq or Southern Afghanistan.

Who is to blame? War is not simply about equipment.
Andy_S said:
Did the British Army lack success in Helmand prior to the USMC deployment..?
'Success' is an outcome measured against the stated aims.

Consider the stated aims of the UK's original mission: to achieve X, with Y manpower and resources over Z period.

X has not been achieved and had to be scaled back quite dramatically; UK forces have trippled whilst the AO has decreased to a third of its original size (ie a 9-fold increase in manpower and resources); and the 3-year deadline has long past.

The mission failed. We are now into new territory where the aims are ill-defined - if at all. Measuring 'success' is thus a lost hope if you have no coherent aim to measure against.

'Success' in Helmand is NOT determined by the bodybag count nor the ratio of successful firefights.

Andy_S said:
If so, then by all means, let us turn it over to the USMC, lock, stock and barrel
Makes military sense. Just scares a lot of politicians that it signals 'failure'. A word that doesn't exist in their lexicon.

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