Panaorama: Bravo Two Zero

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by woopert, Feb 11, 2002.

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  1. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    I have just watched the Panorama programme on B20 and am hopping mad. "Mal" and "Mike Coburn" are whinging that they were left for dead in Iraq, and that they found out they were considered "Expendible". A couple of thoughts:

    1. If you are SF and working behind enemy lines then you have to expect that you are to an extent, on your own. In fact selection attempts to find the remarkable and resourceful soldier. If every mission that went tits-up were to have a full SF flt of CH47s running after it there would be no rotary resources left. Further, it would make the point and principle of SF redundant.

    2. You take the glory, you take the consequences that being SF entails. SF missions are dangerous, and there are only certain factors that you can make allowances for. There will always be the unexpected compromise. If you seek a life on the edge then you have to accept the inherant dangers of what you do without complaint.

    3. It is a fallacy not to expect that as a soldier, no matter what your role or cap-badge, you ARE expendible. Being SF does not make this different. No commander in the field will risk disproportionate resources to rescue a patrol, especially if those resources would be exposed to an unacceptable degree.

    I am curious as to what these guys expected? Did they think that being in the SAS suddenly entitled them to immediate resource diversion and rescue if things went wrong? In the age of touchy-feely claims for stress, perhaps we will see some claims in the courts for compensation at the stress of being considered expendible.  

    Then, the complaints began about being gagged. Again boys, SF work is often clandestine, and while we all love reading about your brave exploits, some things are best left un-discussed. Being in the SAS shouldn't be seen as a cash-cow for future memoire writing.

    It saddened me to see not only the whinging of ex-Regiment members, but also for their stupidity in allowing the Blair Broadcasting Company another chance to undermine the British Army and show us all in a bad light.
     
  2. Hi Woopert. Didnt see the programme so cannot comment on its content. Have to say though that understanding the general gist, I agree with much of what you say. I think that the only part I would disagree with is para 2 in that generally speaking, individually, they do not get the glory although in most cases the Regiment collectively does.
    Para 3 is very very true. Do we afford to much to these guys in routine matters that they come to expect it these days. I am not saying that we do or we dont but debate perhaps needed. Certainly lots of perks I guess.

    Regarding the gagging aspect, this really does p**s me off but not just from the guys you saw on TV tonight. All too often we have people kissing and telling for a quick buck. Very often we only hear one side of the story and it is a very bitter side. It is perhaps possible that the Govt could have blown these chaps out of the water but was prevented from doing so because of its own rules. The viewers are fairly fickle and most would have believed what they were told tonight which is a great shame. I personnally wonder how many slants can be put on B20? I am sure that we could all make a fast buck from the press by selling our souls (not with stories of the same context), but there are many papers who would be more interested in Mil sex scandals in everday garrison life than there are in a 11 year old story.
    Anyway, nuff said!!
     
  3. I'm very uncomfortable with all of this - whether "McNab's" original book or any of the countless books ghost-written by some fairly prominent ex-members of the Regiment - and, to be fair, a couple written by E2s on things best left unwritten to do with Over The Water.

    I can quite understand the commercial and financial inducements offered to the ex-Regiment guys, in particular, but that don't make it right. This sort of thing, whether Sean Bean posing in the desert or Panorama or whatever second-guessing on operational military matters of which they know nothing, is hellish unhelpful and can only damage the Regiment.

    It was a great shame, especially, that Billy Ratcliffe found it necessary to write his book "setting the record straight". As long as it was only patrol commanders and members "writing" these books, the damage was limited. The insight given into the reality behind the 22 myth which the RSM's book gave will probably prove to be the most unhelpful of all.
     
  4. Woopert, You hit the nail right on the head, when you say, that we are all(were) expendable!!. We all probably have anecdotal evidence of personnel being 'sacrificed' for whatever reason!! The moaning and groaning that went on during this Programme was an absolute disgrace. The guy R***liffe,I am afraid did not do himself any favours either, it basically ended up as a slanging match between the surviving members of Bravo 20 and 'The Regiment' represented by Mr R***liffe. To actually sit there and actually brag that you had not signed the 'Gagging' order and were subsequently able to publish a book is complete nuts. I understand the anger of certain personnel, claiming that the 'Gagging' order is a breach of human rights, the sixty four thousand question is , if the original breaches of trust by these supposed 'Elite Troops' had not happened, then presamably there would have been no requirement for the order!! 30 pieces of Silver anyone??? :-X
     
  5. Mystique is a wonderful thing to line some pockets eh?

    Perhaps the whole secrecy thing is contributing to the situation.  Remember when Gerry Adams was banned from the airwaves - they got an actor to do his voice.  The actor's voice sounded great, unlike Adams' own and had the opposite effect to that intended.

    The great unwashed have had this notion of the Regt as flipping superbeings and because these guys like 'McNab', 'Ryan' et al use pseudonyms it's almost like they excape any come back cos they're semi-fictional people straight away.  "Sergeant Johnny Biceps kills 1000 Iraqis with bare hands" and all that b0ll0cks.

    'Coburn' left disgruntled cos he was permanently P7 LE (after being shot in the foot in that great fictional novel Bravo Two Zero!) therefore he couldn't get promoted to Sub Sgt.  Obviously it's a shame, but when he left (around late 96 I believe) he vehemently insisted to the CO at his leaving interview that he thought the B2O books were immoral and that he would never go down that route.  Not long till he sold his soul and found himself on the "PNG" list.

    The vast majority of the Regt blamed DLB for opening the floodgates, but McNab definitely threw them wide open.  I notice that he avoided oblique references to "the Wing" until his pure fiction books took off, incase anyone thought he was actually writing Ian Fleming novels.  Who knows - maybe the Feathermen might have kneecapped him ;)  Yeah - that book was another comedy classic!!  Almost as funny as that one with Mairead Farrell as a blade's secret lover.  Ouch - my ribs.
     
  6. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    In fairness to DLB, having read Storm Command, it made only passing references to his time in the Regiment. I haven't read Looking for Trouble so don't know if this is what opened the floodgates, but in any case it didn't make anything like the impact that B20 had because it contained such utter bollox that made it a boys own best seller. While DLB's accounts are good, they are a tad dry in comparison.
     
  7. Michael Ashers book on B20 is quite an eye opener on this subject and it does not portray either Ryan or McNab in a good light at all.

    Kiss and tell by SF or other personnel involved in dangerous or compromising situations, especially when it becomes fantasy, is unacceptable.  

    All soldiers and service personnel sign the official secrets act when they join up - any breach of this should be dealt with harshly, especially if it compromises future or ongoing operations.  
     
  8. Some of that is down to the principles of how you fight and is not the case for all nationalities.
     
  9. From a purely opsec point of view, I'm uncomfortable about the NI books which came out.  The Gulf ones were real "boys own" stories and telling war stories in retrospect can't do an awful lot of harm but the ones based ATW are a different kettle of fish.

    There was Fishers of Men by Rob Lewis, One Up by Sarah Ford and the first one (can't remember the title now - but it was an officer from a Jock regt). ???

    Even though there weren't many explicit references which could directly compromise lives, the conflict is still current and guys/girls in that environment have to live with ever-present risk.  A lot of the trivial stuff is certainly useful to Johnny RIRA or his m8s. :mad:

    By the way, talking about anonymity, ain't it funny how not only the authors have pseudonyms but even the units themselves i.e. FRU and 14 Int.  I thought the units were 'outed' by name in the tabloids a few years back.
     
  10. Word has it that Big Mike tried everything in his power to stop the patrol going out in the way they did, and that vehicles would be better.  However, it went out and the rest is (as they say).
    Have I missed something?