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Political interference in Ops in Basrah

#1
from Telegraph today:

"British officers were said to be frustrated by orders from Whitehall not to engage armed militiamen in the city unless attacked, and to maintain a low profile. The Government is thought to be anxious to leave policing to Iraqi security forces if possible. But officers are concerned that failure to mount a strong response to the attacks could encourage further violence.
One officer said: "We are now in a Northern Ireland situation where every time my boys fire their weapon we can expect a visit from the SIB (Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch). What must honest, law-abiding Iraqis think if every time the going gets tough we are ordered back into base? Instead, we should be out there giving it to the terrorists.

"To be forced to sit back and allow extremists to loot and burn British vehicles did not go down well with the boys."

An MoD spokesman said he was not aware of any political direction from London demanding a muted response to attacks"

When will these people learn that the guys on the ground know what needs to be done and how to do it. Deciding how to fight a war in basrah from the comfort of No 10 is ludicrous.

Having been in a similar position it is my humble opinion that the people of Basrah respect force: every time the boys are sent scurrying back to the SF base because Tony is scared of the Guardian story we lose a little bit of arab respect.

Thoughts?
 
#2
Political interference lost the Vietnam war for the US, seems we are on the same slippery path.

Soldiers must be allowed to do their job, without visits from the Armed branch of the Glorious Leaders thought police.

Once again, it appears appeasement is the main thought. What happens if this idea causes more deaths? Who will be accountable? Who will fall on their sword?

Politicians should butt out of the soldiers job, allow us to do what we are trained to do. Appeasement never wins, especially as far as the Muslim fundamentalist mentality is concerned.
 
#3
Thoughts?

An MoD spokesman said he was not aware of any political direction from London demanding a muted response to attacks"
So who wrote the current ROE?

The politicians are determined to create the illusion that everything is hunky-dory, these are just localised incidents by foreign agitators, and all is well in Babylon. After all, don't forget elections are coming.

To my mind , this is evidenced , by the repeated mantra "It is all Foreign insurgents and Criminals" There seems to be an unwillingness to accept that there are local Iraqis who just don't want us there too, and oare taking up arms to make the point.

The Iraqi people have told us over and over again, we want security , free elections and the coalition out. What the Iraqi in the street wants to see, is a robust response, forcing the guys into a restrictive ROE, will lose us respect, and embolden the resistance.

Iron hand in a velvet glove.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#4
dui-lai said:
Political interference lost the Vietnam war for the US, seems we are on the same slippery path.
Well, rank military incompetence played its part as well.
 
#5
Given recent events the line between politicians and some Very Senior Officers seems somewhat blurred.

This government seems to want to involve itself, Soviet style, in every aspect of life. Despite TCH's flaccid leadership of MoD, the suggestion that there was no political direction involved in the response to the insurgency in Basra is risible.
 
#6
As far as I am concerned the political input should have finished with the decision to send in troops. Once the troops are there let them get on with the job as they see fit!!

This includes fighting back when the 'baddies' attack us!!
 
#7
This is exactly what all this Network Enabled Capability crap is about. Taking the decision out of the hands of the bloke on the ground, who knows the situation and how best to deal with it.

"To be forced to sit back and allow extremists to loot and burn British vehicles did not go down well with the boys."

I thought we were supposed to be a Mission Command army. Al-Sadr and his fanatical mates will only be encouraged by this lack of action imposed by gutless politicians sat snug on their £1000 chairs in Whitehall.
 
#8
As I said earlier, watch what happens when another death occurs because of this attitude.

Who will take the blame?

When will this appeasement and the stupidity of PC begotten rid off?



When will TCH resign?



When will the Glorious Leader listen to the people?
 
#9
As I said earlier, watch what happens when another death occurs because of this attitude.

Who will take the blame?
The most expendable individual

When will this appeasement and the stupidity of PC begotten rid off?

Not about appeasement and PC , but all about not losing more votes

When will TCH resign?

When Satan opens a Winter Wonderland

When will the Glorious Leader listen to the people?

BUWAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAA :D
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#10
Political direction for operations in Basrah etc is right and proper, but it presupposes that there is a settled aim which can be achieved by military operations. I wonder now if we haven't crept into that state where the politicos are just crossing their fingers and hoping that we can keep a lid on it all, and ourselves out of too much trouble, until they can pull us out without too much egg on our faces. Lest we forget, the party conference season is coming up and T Bliar etc do not want his glorious progress to be marred by a. Grieving families of dead soldiers, and b. leftist Labour terrorist apologists (like his wife :) !) who will throw their teddies out of the pram if we go in hard after Moqtadr. Call me Nostradamus, but I predict that Bliar is hoping that the Spams will whack Moqtadr in Najaf, and the situation will ease off in the south.
 
#11
chickenpunk said:
dui-lai said:
Political interference lost the Vietnam war for the US, seems we are on the same slippery path.
Well, rank military incompetence played its part as well.
and the fact that the yanks were involved!!! :roll:
and before anyone says anything, I know the septics are also in Iraq which is probably why its all a total cluster.
 
#12
chickenpunk said:
Political direction for operations in Basrah etc is right and proper
Yes, direction is right and proper - we are after all there to do politicians bidding, extension of politics by other means etc etc. The issue here is of micro management of the tactical level by those too far away to realise the true impact. I would always expect London to be calling the tune, but I would expect the troops on the ground to be able to ad lib when their lives depended on it. As someone said earlier: Mission Command.

The more you centralise command, the more things will go wrong.
 
#13
I prefer Admiral Nelson's view:

'Our country will, I believe, sooner forgive an officer for attacking an enemy than for letting it alone.'


I wonder what he would have made of Bliar's apeasement policies?
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#14
rabid spaniel said:
...The issue here is of micro management of the tactical level by those too far away to realise the true impact. I would always expect London to be calling the tune, but I would expect the troops on the ground to be able to ad lib when their lives depended on it. As someone said earlier: Mission Command.

The more you centralise command, the more things will go wrong.
True enough, but as a snivelling politician you know that by allowing 'our boys' to get stuck in, you're potentially sticking your dick in the lawnmower. From the politicos point of view, it seems safer to lower the profile of operations because that way you aren't giving away any hostages to fortune, in the form of casualties and adverse media. This is, of course, usually a mistake as the Italians discovered in Nasiriyah: their ROE wouldn't allow them to patrol aggressively, or to conduct joint operations with the Iraqi police, and as a result, they left themselves wide open for a suicide attack which a child could have predicted.
 
#15
Let's not forget that the troops are at the mercy of Uncle Sam's whims. So if Dubya's cowboys decide it is a good idea to flatten Najaf, then the Brits in Basra just have to wait on the irate locals running rampage.

Now is the time for Bliar to tackle Dubya about what is going on - the British approach would be to ignore Al-Sadr or bribe and suborn him. Will Bliar do this? No, he is swanning around the world with his wretched brood.

If Al-Sadr is killed, he will be venerated as a martyr and some other hothead will take his place, with even more support.

Mission command - best thing since sliced bread in the eyes of the hierarchy, shame they don't actually practice it! It worked for the Germans, until Hitler started meddling.
 
#16
Micro-management's nothing new for politicians. It's just going digital. Tom King, when he was DefSec during the 1991 Gulf war, was sticking pins in maps and calling the top brass in Riyadh to order them to move indiviudal companies about once the ground war kicked off. It took a quiet word in his ear from DeLaBilliere to have him cease and desist. Word was, DLB threatened to resign and go public about why he was doing it. Where is he when we need him so badly now? :cry:
 
#17
This is exactly what all this Network Enabled Capability crap is about. Taking the decision out of the hands of the bloke on the ground, who knows the situation and how best to deal with it.

"To be forced to sit back and allow extremists to loot and burn British vehicles did not go down well with the boys."

I thought we were supposed to be a Mission Command army. Al-Sadr and his fanatical mates will only be encouraged by this lack of action imposed by gutless politicians sat snug on their £1000 chairs in Whitehall.
Sympathise with the dislike of politicians....however...

NEC is about secure comms - ability to talk to all players at the party and get our sh1t together faster thant the opposition so we can do him over before he knows whether to take a sh1t or a haircut. Nowt wrong there.

Chairs in new Main Building cost under £300 (about the same as any office place.

Devil's advocate here - ministerial oversight of our procedures and targeting gives us top cover so its not just our head on the block when we brass something up. Moreover, they generally go with what our senior blokes tell them, being too gutless and dim to run a fish shop, let alone an operation.

They probably want to keep the general bother to a minimum rather than stir things up like the yanks in order to keep our casualties down - which they will see as more important than closing with and killing on this particular gig. May not be right - but then again who here would give their life for the freedom of the people of Amara? F*ck 'em. Gladly go on the tour to kill some *********, but my first concern as a commander would be to get all my blokes home alive (but prefereably with a high enemy body count!).
 
#18
GROWNUPS_BEWARE said:
but my first concern as a commander would be to get all my blokes home alive (but prefereably with a high enemy body count!).
As was mine - my point is that it is easier to do that when ones hands are not tied by London. In my opinion if this 'alleged' policy was in force when I was there then my job, and ability to bring all my blokes back in one piece, would have been made an awful lot harder.
I appreciate that emulating the yanks is not what we want, but the whole ethos of this army of ours is about mission command and trusting the 'strategic coporal' not to hose down the entire street, but to use reasonable force where and when necessary - and so enhance his life expectancy. I look forward to chatting this through with a mate of mine who has just been casevaced after the unfortunate business on Monday, it will be interesting to hear if what the Telegraph reported is how it is percieved by those at the sharp end.
 
#19
Devil's advocate here - ministerial oversight of our procedures and targeting gives us top cover so its not just our head on the block when we brass something up.
When have they ever done that in recent history? Devolving authority to the lowest possible level within the boundaries of the task (ie mission command) provides the rapid sensor-decision maker-shooter cycle, which is one of the purported aims of NEC.
 
#20
I was thinking of the targetting process during air-campaigns various (Kosovo, Telic etc)...as a professional I'd want to exercise my own judgement and get on with things...however getting the nod at from the politicos just prior to the op ensures we're acting within the mandate of our elected tossers...sorry...Masters.

Just throwing it in to leaven the debate. I'm reluctant to form a hard opinion on the basis of media reports, and I don't genuinely know the degree of 'hands-behind-backs' is being imposed from London. I suspect the local Commander's recommendations are the dominant force at play - I certainly hope so. Do we have the resources to manage local escalation and stop it from spreading without taking further casualties? I honestly don't know - but if not, back to my previous point - the heathens aren't worth dying for!
 

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