Journey in the Danger Zone : Iraq BBC2

Goatman

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#1
Heads Up - Tonight BBC2 8pm - Journey in the Danger Zone : Iraq Part I BBC Two
Episode 1 Adnan Sarwar returns to Iraq where he served in 2003 as an IED operator.

What next for Iraq? Former British soldier Adnan Sarwar returns 15 years after fighting Saddam Hussein

'' My return to Iraq at the age of 39 also represented a chance to answer some burning personal questions. I left the Royal Engineers after a decade of service. But I then spent years dreaming about the soldier I’d once been, digging trenches in the midday sun wearing a chemical suit while being bombed by Saddam. I missed it.

When I reported on the foreigners joining the Kurdish fighters, part of me longed to be fighting alongside them. In 2003, I was a lance corporal deployed in Basra with bomb-disposal teams from the Army, RAF and Royal Navy. I feel differently about the war today, but it was the most exciting time of my life.

How did it feel being a Muslim in the British Army? I’m Pakistani, I’m from Burnley, I’m British. I was racially abused at school, but I left those idiots behind when I joined up. I wanted adventure but I also got a set of friends with whom I went through danger, and we became very close. ''

--

" We thought we were helping Iraq. To those who protested our presence, I say it wasn’t British soldiers who decided to invade Iraq, it was the UK government. Much later, when people would ask me what Iraq was like and what difference we had made out there, I realised I couldn’t answer the question.

Worse, I wondered if I was just one of many British, Americans and other foreign powers who had broken the country further. So I read up about Iraq’s troubled history and the war that began in 2003 (since that year, it’s estimated that about 200,000 Iraqis have been killed in conflict). When I was offered the chance to return to the country, I grabbed it, with hope – and apprehension."
 
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#2
He was a guest on the Breakfast sofa today.

He came across as a balanced observer with (in the short time allowed him) no particular axe to grind.

Those who served with him (anybody here?) may have a different view, but I suspect it should be good viewing, though slightly uncomfortable for some.
 
#3
"digging trenches in the midday sun wearing a chemical suit while being bombed by Saddam. I missed it."

Really?
 
#4
"digging trenches in the midday sun wearing a chemical suit while being bombed by Saddam. I missed it."

Really?
I certainly missed it, I don't think I wore my NBC suit once in theatre.
 
#5
"digging trenches in the midday sun wearing a chemical suit while being bombed by Saddam. I missed it."

Really?
Hey he ticks the right box, okay!
 
#6
'' My return to Iraq at the age of 39 also represented a chance to answer some burning personal questions. I left the Royal Engineers after a decade of service. But I then spent years dreaming about the soldier I’d once been, digging trenches in the midday sun wearing a chemical suit while being bombed by Saddam. I missed it.

Fancy invading Iraq then being bombed by Saddam in Saddams own country,:cool:
 

Goatman

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#10
Is it too cynical of me to suggest that the main reason this program is being made it because he is a muslim?
yes.

If it was a white, Christian squaddy revisiting Basra Palace where he spent 6 of the most boring months of his life, do you think any commissioning editor would have gone with it?

Give yourself a 'Disneyworld' moment - and suspend disbelief for thirty minutes.

I'm quite interested to know if all that blood,treasure and effort resulted in anything.

Gent did two tours there (as I know many on here did) and has also covered the patch for The Economist and various other outlets.

Have a look here , for instance: NoW supported our boys in the army? Seems not | Adnan Sarwar

Serving in the British army, you couldn't ignore the News of the World. You could usually find a copy in the guardrooms and cookhouses. On operations, too, thousands of miles away in Iraq and Afghanistan, it could be found nestled between the bullets and radios. The big red flash across the top, the provocative headline and the photograph of some footballer caught cheating or celeb struggling with her weight was a familiar sight in the hands of a soldier. How long that continues remains to be seen.
Aside from the celebs and footballers these papers would take a more serious tone, that of being behind Our Boys. They'd be in our corner – fighting for us, giving the squaddie a mouthpiece and being the Forces Paper. After the hacking revelations this raises the question: how much of this was disingenuous? When the Sun honoured Our Boys with the Millies, when the News of the World handed out Toys for Our Boys and pushed the government to enshrine the military covenant into law (priority healthcare and no council tax while on operations amongst other benefits) with its Justice For The Brave campaign.


Just how much of that really was for Our Boys? Soldiers make the news because they do an extraordinary job that takes them, not just Our Boys but girls as well, to dangerous places where violent action can befall them or they can visit it on others. In other words, they're very newsworthy. The Sun awarded my friend Andy Reid, a triple amputee injured in Afghanistan, a Millie. I don't believe News International was being disingenuous in honouring soldiers like Andy but I do believe it was done to sell papers.
I was more saddened than shocked by the NoW revelations. I can understand the pressures of work, wanting to get results and bending the rules. I'm sure we can all understand that much.


During my time as a British soldier there was often an order given, something hard I had to do, and I had to do it because lives depended on me doing it. How I got the job done was down to me in a large part, though I was monitored. I would go to great lengths to get the job done but there was a point at which I would stop, and that was something the army drilled into me during basic training: the values of the British army. I look back to those values now – selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty, respect for others. From these one stands out today, integrity – "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles", according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

I can imagine Rebekah Brooks dispatching her soldiers off to get the story and be unrelenting in the pursuit of their work, but how far is too far? We've had Milly Dowler, the Soham families and now soldiers who have lost their lives. What is yet to come? Is the paper just supplying the demand for us, the hungry British public or is there something seriously wrong with the values at News International?

I can imagine the order being given to get a story and the reporter or private investigator being hungry for the story, eager to please a boss or looking to make a name for themselves pushing those boundaries. What I can't imagine is that same person sitting in their office, about to infiltrate the private telephone messages and lives of the families who have lost children, and thinking that it's fine, that there is integrity in what they are doing.

This happened on Brooks's watch, and there have been calls for her to go. Looking at News International's position, it seems that won't happen. It comes down to integrity and to doing what's right. I've lost friends in Iraq and Afghanistan and I can't imagine the person who can ignore the "respect the privacy of the family at a time like this" statements and tap into their lives just for a few words of print. I hope David Cameron has the integrity to see the inquiry through.'

'' My return to Iraq at the age of 39 also represented a chance to answer some burning personal questions. I left the Royal Engineers after a decade of service. But I then spent years dreaming about the soldier I’d once been, digging trenches in the midday sun wearing a chemical suit while being bombed by Saddam. I missed it.

Fancy invading Iraq then being bombed by Saddam in Saddams own country,:cool:

Nah, if I recall correct the VERY large base area in Kuwait [ Camp Fox, Camp Viking, Camp Alice etc etc ] was overflown by a few Scuds before the campaign got underway, approx March 2003. Cue much shouting,swearing,hasty donning of NBC gear etc. And if I remember there was a stupid local order* put in place that meant having your Noddy suit instantly available. 'cos at that time SadMan's alleged arsenal of CW meant he was very probably going to use. it.

OPERATION TELIC: BRITISH FORCES IN IRAQ, 2003

Guys in mixed rig cutting about with rezzies to hand

Which is why a lot of people who deployed were on anti-Anthrax medication from the outset. Which I politely declined.

Hmmm...I guess I'll just have to watch the programme to make up my mind .....
--







*Probably was as a result of conversation like this:

'Uh,Sir - the Yanks have ordered all their mob to wear NBC at all times ?'
' Really RSM? Extraordinary...oh well, if it will keep the peace, better make it so. '
'Shall I also withdraw the Two cans in issue Sir? '
'Christ no...'
 
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D

Deleted 154930

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#11
Will be watching.

I never served there, though did see some of Kuwait in an earlier iteration. An Iraqi Doctor of my acquaintance whose family were former Baathists was scathing one night after the drink had loosened him up. He was mystified that the west seem to befriend the worst elements and then when it blows up in there faces they wonder how that happened.
 

Goatman

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#14
No mate, just cut and paste from the Indy - he was a Sapper not a ATO :)
 
#16
You were obviously quite a bit behind the rest of us then .
I crossed the border on the 22nd of March, I still don't remember ever wearing my NBC suit, why would I have done?
 
#17
I crossed the border on the 22nd of March, I still don't remember ever wearing my NBC suit, why would I have done?
I went over with the yanks and 7Para RHA on P hour in 3 R and kept it on for at least 3 days as did the yanks.
 
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Goatman

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#18
...and I arrived in theatre l-o-o-o-ng after all the shooting had more or less fizzled out . The programme is working from North to South, so next week it will be Baghdad and Basra.
 

Goatman

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#19
Will be watching.

I never served there, though did see some of Kuwait in an earlier iteration. An Iraqi Doctor of my acquaintance whose family were former Baathists was scathing one night after the drink had loosened him up. He was mystified that the west seem to befriend the worst elements and then when it blows up in there faces they wonder how that happened.
Wotesaid....Pakistan under Ul Haq, the Mujahideen, Saudi...the list goes on.


I feel that nine tenths of Iraq's problems relate to the U.S attitude to Iran post 1979.

Prior to that, Iran was seen as key ally in the region - a member of CENTO and a bulwark state against the Red Peril....with at least five CIA U.S listening posts dotted through the Zagroz.

Cf Project Ibex

Why Iran's Air Force Is Still Flying American Planes

They will never forgive or forget being humiliated forty years ago.

 
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