Once More into the Breach

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins gave the 800 strong battlegroup of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish the pep talk as the US deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq or face action ticked away.
Reporters said the men listened in silence to the address at Fort Blair Mayne desert camp, 20 miles from the Iraqi border.

"We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country," he said.
"We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
"There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send.
"As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.
"Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there.
"You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis.
"You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.
"Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
"If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day.
"Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves."
"It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive but there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign.
"We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back. There will be no time for sorrow.
"The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction.
"There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam.
"He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity."

He said: "It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly.
"I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them.
"If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.
"The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please."
He warned the troops not to get carried away in the heat of battle.
"If you harm the regiment or its history by over enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer.
"You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest for your deeds will follow you down through history. We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation."

Warning that the troops were very likely to face chemical or biological weapons, he said: "It is not a question of if, it's a question of when. We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself. If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack."
His closing words were resolute: "As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there. Our business now is north."
Excellent words, you can tell he was an Irishman :)

...and a candidate for inclusion in the permanent downloads section Bosses?


i think that should be put in as a new Annex of "serve to lead".

One of the most inspirational speaches I have ever heard or read, lets hope all our boys make it home, particularly the RIR TA peeps.

PS: And Tim Collins went to my school.  8)
Is there a copy of the un-abridged text anywhere?


We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country," he said.
"We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own.

text from sky news US FLAG MOVED FROM PORT

A US Stars and Stripes flag has been removed from the new port town of Umm Qasr just over the Iraqi border from Kuwait.

Umm Qasr was taken after British Royal Marine Commandos troops were called in to break the fierce Iraqi resistance which pinned down American troops for two hours.

No reason was given for the decision, but Washington has consistently stressed that invading forces want to liberate Iraq, not occupy it.
seems someone wasnt listening dont it.
NIMN......But to clarify, Lt Col Tim Collins commands a battalion of the Royal Irish regt who are British. The Stars and Stripes is the US national flag. Lt Col Collins was not speaking on behalf of, or directing the actions of, The US Marine Corps.

It would have been a good observation had it been relevant.


If you read the first few lines again,
We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country," he said.
"We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them
The key words are.
 "Our flags"    "their country"     "the only flag which will be flown is their own"
Now im sorry but their is not clarification of national flags be it British, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, or American, he doesnt mention individual regiment insignia flags he states our flags, now acting as a coalition this should mean ANY flag, and in any case it was an obvious lie because whether British or American the flag which was flow wasnt Iraqi as was stated.
Or are you saying because he was addressing British troops that this was irrelevant to the Americans, as they have a different agenda to the British.
NIMN - Picture, if you will:  You're part of a section of troops that have been pinned down under enemy fire for several hours.  You're physically knackered through lack of sleep, and humping what feels like a ton of kit on your raw shoulders in dry, dusty conditions and searing heat.  The mental exhaustion of 1001 emotions and thoughts racing through your mind is almost overwhelming.  The stark realisation that those little bits of metal buzzing have the ability to snuff out your light doesn't reduce your problems either.  However, whether it's the thought of "doing your duty" , fear of whatever force drives you, or simply wanting to do right by your mates, you push on.  Finally, you're there - job done, position secured/enemy destroyed - whatever it was you and yours had to do.  You're still on that buzz, be it adrenaline, relief, excitment, whatever it was that got the job done and got you there.  There's friendly troops in the surrounding area and you want them to know you're there - you've gotten where you needed to get to - you've achieved your mission.  So as an individual you do what soldiers in conflict have done for centuries before you.  You run up your colours.
The very fact that some soldier ran the both his nations' and his Corps colours up a flagpole is not in question.  The photo has been flashed all around the world by now.  What can be questioned are his motives for doing so.  I sincerely doubt that it was done in the manner of a "conquerer".  I doubt very much whether the soldier in question was feeling much other than relief and excitement at having come through what he had, let alone thinking of himself as such.  The important thing to note is that someone, more media-savvy realised that pedantic lunatics with no comprehension of the immediate situation would be likely to jump on such a small incident and make more of it than what it actually was.  In the grand sum of all of what was going on around this soldier, the brief hoisiting of his regimental colours and national flag is I think minor.
NIMN, you have shown both your own ignorance and petty-mindness by jumping on such a minor incident and trying to make a mountain out of the proverbial molehill.
Back on topic - Be you soldier or civilian, whether you agree with the content or not - still one hell of a speech.


Yes a stirring speech indeed.
But, so was Brick tops pig speech in snatch.
The fact of the matter is that petty in your eyes, in the worlds eyes it was a complete climb down and typifies what the whole invasion is for, occupation, manipulation, and globalisation.