NS: the 7,200 British soldiers know they are sitting ducks

mora

War Hero
#1
Newstatesman

Pity the men in uniform
Leader
Monday 5th June 2006


British soldiers have been reduced to force protection, defending their own and making sorties on to the streets to collect their comrades' bodies

One of the untold stories of the Iraq war has been the depth of unease among those in charge of Britain's armed forces. From 2002, senior de-fence officials were, in their inimitably careful way, sounding the alarm over the lack of kit and the inadequate diplomatic underpinning for the planned invasion. These men know their history; they need few lectures about patriotism. They can also spot military charlatans hurtling them towards a disaster.

Tony Blair, in his recent "say sorry" summit with George W Bush, once again dusted off the five principles for modern warfare set out in his Chicago speech of April 1999. In fact, these rules were hastily drawn up by the academic Lawrence Freedman, at the request of Downing Street, during a walk around a park in Wimbledon. The Iraq war did not fulfil any of the principles, but the one that was most egregiously violated was the requirement to plan for the long term.

It has been the foot soldiers who have had to sort out the mess left to them not just by Donald Rumsfeld, in his arrogance, but by his British counterparts, who not once stood up to the Americans in those crucial first months of the invasion. As the situation deteriorated, as the soft caps and the football-game photo opportunities were replaced by the full metal jacket, so the questioning among the top brass increased. By 2004 senior serving officers, worried about plunging morale among their men, could barely conceal their disdain for the political handling of the operation. Soldiers themselves mock the propaganda pouring out of the Ministry of Defence, such as the notion, posted resplendently on its dangerously politicised website, that "the political process in Iraq continues to develop at an encouraging pace".

Over the past month, the picture has become bleaker still. The number of UK service personnel who have died in Iraq has risen sharply to 113. In May alone 11 were killed, including British journalists who were embedded with troops while working for an American network. This may be a fraction of the 1,100 average monthly death toll among Iraqis, but the 7,200 British soldiers know they are sitting ducks every time they leave their heavily reinforced bases. Their sole reason for being there has been reduced to force protection - to defend themselves and their infrastructure, to make urgent sorties on to the streets to collect the bodies of their comrades.

The timing of force withdrawal has to be separated from the original case for war. Whatever the folly of the invasion, a reasonable argument could be made for preserving a military presence if it contributed to the stability of Iraq. It has long been clear, however, that the presence of foreign troops is galvanising, rather than stemming, the violent resistance.

Supporters of the invasion might argue that now a new government has been installed, the job is done. Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has suggested he wants an orderly, but speedy, departure of UK and US forces. Blair's resistance, as ever in common with Bush, suggests that the motive for keeping their forces in harm's way is political. Both men are desperate for a nugget of good news before they send the troops home. The record suggests that this will not happen, that desertion rates will increase, and that, as the generals know, morale will sink further.



http://www.newstatesman.com/200606050002
 
#2
It's such a shame, really!

*not much more I can say really, I could rant but it's like beating your head against a brick wall, ain't it!
 
#3
Yaaaawn! more media hysteria. For you you jurno's out there, I can assure you that the situation on the ground does not reflect the pish you churn out. Still, we've been around long enough to know that good news doesn't sell the rags you produce.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#4
Mora, you really are a tool. If you want to know what Morale is like here, I can assure you it is quite excellent. The Soldiers here know what they are doing, and certainly know a lot more about the situation here on the ground than the New Statesman.

Of course, the NS were quite happy to see a vile dictator like Saddam remain in power, and will no doubt be quite happy to see us pull out prematurely so allowing the locals to slaughter each other? Arrogant, ignorant, hypocritical pr1cks.

You lost the cold war, Blair destroyed 'socalism', the only 'communists' left are in Cuba and N Korea. Get used to t, moonbats.
 
#7
OldSnowy said:
Mora, you really are a tool. If you want to know what Morale is like here, I can assure you it is quite excellent. The Soldiers here know what they are doing, and certainly know a lot more about the situation here on the ground than the New Statesman.

Of course, the NS were quite happy to see a vile dictator like Saddam remain in power, and will no doubt be quite happy to see us pull out prematurely so allowing the locals to slaughter each other? Arrogant, ignorant, hypocritical pr1cks.

You lost the cold war, Blair destroyed 'socalism', the only 'communists' left are in Cuba and N Korea. Get used to t, moonbats.
I partially agree. Journos just fail to understand that if everyone is purging, morale is actually fine. The blokes are also obviously more aware of what is going on on the ground. HOWEVER, do we really know what we are doing there, long term? At the local level, we do: we carry out all of our drills and operations as best as we can, so that we and our mates come out of it alive. However, where are we going? Do we really think that we can make the IPS/ IA into effective organisations, capable of maintaining some sort of stability over southern Iraq? Not a hope. We either have to admit our mistakes, take over security completely, and start again with the Iraqi security forces, or get out and let the inevitable factional infighting start. As the former is political suicide for Blair/ Bush, then the latter (although not much better) is the only option. In reality it will happen anyway, and we only have to decide whether we want thousands dead over 20 years, or thousands dead over a short civil war that will sort out the whole thing.

Danger of the civil war option is that Iran may take control of the southern oil fields, but tough luck really- that should have been identified as a possible risk before the invasion took place. Was it worth replacing a dictator who presided over a secular, stable but brutal regime with many years of chaos, spreading instability in the region, and possibly ceding control of oil reserves to an aggressive (nuclear) power? Too late to say.
 
#8
Was it worth replacing a dictator who presided over a secular, stable but brutal regime
How was Iraq under the Ba'athist regime particulary stable? The country had open insurrection in the north since the early 80's, was fighting a war with it's neighbour between 1980 and 1988, then went to war again a year and a half later against another neighbour, then had more uprisings in both the north and south, plus half of it's airspace denied to it.
 
#9
Snowy, I agree. Mora- You really are a tool. Would like to think that the next article 'you" churn out will be more realistic, however somehow I doubt it.
 
#10
My English may not be perfect and my spelling is atrocious but this stands out.

One of the untold stories of the Iraq war has been the depth of unease
among those in charge of Britain's armed forces. From 2002, senior de-fence officials were
I cannot take anything seriously is it has lapses like that.
 
#11
NotyouAgain said:
Was it worth replacing a dictator who presided over a secular, stable but brutal regime
How was Iraq under the Ba'athist regime particulary stable? The country had open insurrection in the north since the early 80's, was fighting a war with it's neighbour between 1980 and 1988, then went to war again a year and a half later against another neighbour, then had more uprisings in both the north and south, plus half of it's airspace denied to it.
It was strategically stable after the Gulf War- it could be little else with "half of it's airspace denied to it". Add to that sanctions, UN inspections, etc. Also, are you forgetting the southern insurretion was sparked by the belief- encouraged by the US or not- that they would be supported if they rose against Saddam?

You have hit the nail on the head, however: internal uprisings are the only way long- term 'regime change' works. We (Us/ UK/ 'West') just failed to support them (although hindsight is a wonderful thing).
 
#12
Bit confused...but why is it that mora only ever bothers to post bullsh*t articles on here and not even have the sense to make any opinions on it.
I always thought arrse was about debate, gaining useful advice and general pis* taking so would it be possible to get any of that out of him/her?
 
#14
Churn out as in 'produce many of'

Journo as in 'Journalist'

Mate as in 'friend or pal'

Pish as in 'urine' although online it could also be 'piece of shit'

Mora as in 'donut'

Give us your opinion, did you post the article because you believe it to be true or did you post it to say look at this badly researched piece of work? Maybe neither? Don't be scared if you start talking bollocks people will respond in politely written well thought out counter arguments.

So what is YOUR opinion on the article you posted?
 
#15
Mora,

Why did you pull your last post? You've made mine look silly now. That will teach me for not selecting "Quote".

Doh!

Muzzleflash - If you didn't see Mora's response to your last please don't think I'm mocking you :)
 

mora

War Hero
#16
B_G_L said:
Mora,

Why did you pull your last post? You've made mine look silly now. That will teach me for not selecting "Quote".

Doh!
Sorry B_G_L , i thought my quest for squaddie speak made mine look silly, even more.

What do you mean Mora as in 'donut'?

Don't be scared if you start talking balls people will respond in politely written well thought out counter arguments.
it seems you don't aware my arrse history, look on history and militraia section, politely wouldn't be the first word you will think so, but then its b/c the issues i raised. so be it.
 
#17
Well I was with some lads from my old regiment the other week and they still seemed happy to ply there trade in Iraq or any were else come to that, they would rather be doing that than sitting around the barracks
 
#18
'B_G_L', you've been 'mora'ed!
This is how she works, a long rambling, semi-coherent piece full of cut-n-pastes which slags off the British. When you challenge her she ignores you and deletes her posts if you ridicule any point she's made.
I do suggest you visit the Military History forum, there you will see 'an Eye for an Eye for an Eye' thread started by 'mora'. I think the last post by 'OldSnowy' sums it up perfectly..........
 
#19
OldSnowy said:
Mora, you really are a tool. If you want to know what Morale is like here, I can assure you it is quite excellent. The Soldiers here know what they are doing, and certainly know a lot more about the situation here on the ground than the New Statesman.

Of course, the NS were quite happy to see a vile dictator like Saddam remain in power, and will no doubt be quite happy to see us pull out prematurely so allowing the locals to slaughter each other? Arrogant, ignorant, hypocritical pr1cks.

You lost the cold war, Blair destroyed 'socalism', the only 'communists' left are in Cuba and N Korea. Get used to t, moonbats.
You forgot that bastion of communists known as Seattle, washington
 
#20
LineDoggie said:
OldSnowy said:
Mora, you really are a tool. If you want to know what Morale is like here, I can assure you it is quite excellent. The Soldiers here know what they are doing, and certainly know a lot more about the situation here on the ground than the New Statesman.

Of course, the NS were quite happy to see a vile dictator like Saddam remain in power, and will no doubt be quite happy to see us pull out prematurely so allowing the locals to slaughter each other? Arrogant, ignorant, hypocritical pr1cks.

You lost the cold war, Blair destroyed 'socalism', the only 'communists' left are in Cuba and N Korea. Get used to t, moonbats.
You forgot that bastion of communists known as Seattle, washington
My home in four weeks!
 

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