Second Snr Officer Questions Iraq

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Malteser, Oct 17, 2006.

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  1. Seems the CGS isnt the only one, BG Ed Butler has also said how Iraq Operations have effected ops in Afganistan:

    Source: BBC News
  2. Where's the questions?
  3. Commander says Iraq war cost years in Afghanistan Tuesday October 17, 06:31 PM
    LONDON (Reuters) - The decision to divert forces to invade Iraq cost the West years of progress in Afghanistan, the outgoing commander of British forces in Afghanistan said on Tuesday.

    The comments by Brigadier Ed Butler, who returned this week from commanding the British contingent, were the second implicit criticism of government policy on Iraq from the military's top brass in less than a week.

    Butler commanded a force of 4,500 British troops who went into Afghanistan's biggest opium-producing province, Helmand, for the first time this year and encountered fierce resistance from Taliban guerrillas.
    He told reporters the province was a "blank canvas" when the British troops arrived, with only about 100 American troops there, based in the provincial capital.

    Britain, which set up an international peace force in Afghanistan after the Taliban was toppled in 2001, had withdrawn nearly all its troops in 2002 to help invade Iraq the following year.

    "We could have carried on in 2002 the same way we are going about the business now. Have the intervening four years made a difference? I think realistically they have," Butler said.

    "Have we slipped back? I don't think we've slipped back. We may have marked time. Now we're making up for that time."

    Butler's remarks came days after the chief of the army, General Richard Dannatt, said Britain should withdraw its troops from Iraq soon, as their presence worsened the security situation, both in parts of Iraq itself and the wider world.

    Dannatt has insisted his remarks -- seen as an extraordinary political intervention by a serving officer -- did not signal disapproval of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    Blair repeated on Tuesday that British forces would remain in both Iraq and Afghanistan "until the job is done".

    Britain still has more than 7,000 troops in Iraq, while in Afghanistan it is providing the overall NATO headquarters as well as the task force for Helmand province.

    British commanders acknowledge that running both long-term campaigns has left them with virtually no spare capacity, and they have begged other NATO countries urgently to send more troops and aircraft to Afghanistan, so far with little response.

    Butler said the shortage of aircraft for resupplying his troops meant paratroops at remote forward bases were at times down to "belt rations" -- eating only what they could carry.

    "It was very close," he said.

    He said the decline in the ferocity of Taliban attacks over the past weeks seemed to be a sign that the guerrillas had suffered serious setbacks.

    "For this campaign season we've tactically defeated the Taliban, certainly in the north of Helmand province," he said. "On every single occasion we've overwhelmingly defeated them."

    But he added: "If we take our eye off the ball and we don't continue to invest in it then there's a danger they could come back in bigger numbers next year."
  4. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Dangerous and foolish putting his head up above the parapet at the mo. CGS might have got away with it as he stating a current fact and he is about to be very conveniently backed up, (other than on ARRSE :D ) by Baker's report in the US.

    The Brig is making his opinion public on past events which may or may not have had an effect. Again it might be true (personally I agree) but I don't think that he will find too much help coming his way from BLair. Labour (which is spitting mad at the Army) knows it can't really touch CGS but just a Brig?

    Political necessity says the Brig gets it, if for no other reason to prove that the politicos still rule.

    Any one want to offer me odds against?
  5. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    I take it we have a bit of mod'ing going on? :D
  6. If it is any consolation America seems to be in the same mind set that a change of course is needed. This following report was on

    Bush to Keep U.S. Troops in Iraq
    Associated Press | October 17, 2006
    WASHINGTON - President Bush told Iraq's prime minister on Monday he has no plans to pull U.S. forces out of the war-torn country, in a conversation that underscored Iraqi worries that the president is being pressured to curtail America's role in the widely unpopular war.

    In a 15-minute morning phone call, Bush told Nouri al-Maliki that rumors of a withdrawal of troops in two months were untrue and that the United States would stand strong with its new ally. But even as Bush reassured al-Maliki, he is having to confront growing doubts among Republicans in Congress about his war policies.

    A small but growing group of GOP lawmakers, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., have suggested a change in course may be necessary. Warner could provide political cover for other GOP members to challenge Bush on Iraq because he is normally a Bush loyalist and a respected leader on national security issues.

    Also providing ammunition for lawmakers unhappy over Iraq - and potential political cover - - should be recommendations expected by an independent commission after next month's congressional elections. Former GOP Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a leader of that panel, has said the group will recommend options for changing in course in Iraq.
  7. Brig Butler is headline news on the wires tonight. Reuters

    Afghan progress hit by Iraq, commander says
    Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:42 PM BST

    By Peter Graff

    LONDON (Reuters) - The decision to divert forces to invade Iraq cost the West years of progress in Afghanistan, the outgoing commander of British forces in Afghanistan said on Tuesday.

    The comments by Brigadier Ed Butler, who returned this week from commanding the British contingent, were the second implicit criticism of government policy on Iraq from the military's top brass in less than a week.
  8. My bold.

    If you take a look back at some of the Vietnam era comments from the American military and Executive, you'll find they were saying much the same about the Viet Cong.

    At some point, the international community is going to leave Afghanistan. Democratic pressures, financial, lack of public support. If the Taliban fade away for a year or two, the International Community will leave that much quicker.
  9. Just wish the Brigadier General had the balls to speak his mind while he was still "in office."
  10. I believe that the Brig is still 'in office' as far as being in charge is concerned, I think it is just that the Booties have taken over and he is returning to Collie with his men
  11. A good comparison Mr Relaxed and thinking about it you are probably quite correct.
  12. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Grief how old are you? Septics still use that but we have to go back to WW1.
    And yes Brigadier Ed Butler is still in command of 16 Bde.
  13. Lying, lazy scum jurno's, need we say anymore

    Afghan Para Commander responds to mis-reporting in UK newspaper
    19 Oct 06
    Brigadier Ed Butler, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade and recently returned from combat operations in Afghanistan, has responded forcefully to inaccurate reporting of his views in a national UK newspaper.

    Brigadier Ed Butler of the Parachute Regiment, pictured right, handing over command British Forces in Afghanistan to Brigadier Jerry Thomas, Royal Marines, last week
    [Picture: Press Information Centre Kandahar]
    In a letter to a national newspaper, Brigadier Butler said:

    "Your front page story paints a misleading and mischievous picture of what I said at a media briefing on Tuesday. It omits some of my comments, and extrapolates meaning and intention from others which is completely false.

    "I did not say the operation in Iraq had cost "years of progress" in Afghanistan; I did not say it had left "a dangerous vacuum" and I did not say that British soldiers faced a tougher task now because of it.

    "I made clear that the operation in Iraq had concentrated UK resources and focus for a time; this is hardly rocket science, nor is it news. I also made clear, however, that the coalition had not slipped back in Afghanistan as a result, nor would it affect its ability to get the job done.

    "Since 2002 the Karzai government's influence has been cemented in Kabul, extended to the north and the west and, now, is being spread in the south and then the east.

    "The dedicated, courageous and professional soldiers I had the privilege of leading in Afghanistan were nothing short of inspirational. I'm immensely proud of them all, and of all they have achieved as part of a difficult mission which, I made clear on Tuesday, is "emphatically worthwhile".

    "I am deeply disappointed that [this newspaper] didn't feel able to reflect my views it in its front page report."