âThe need to rescue the soldiers from an insurgent group embedded within the police force proved that our training and mentoring operation was dangerously ineffective, and in complete contradiction to the universally positive picture presented to Whitehall by the Government and MoD at the time.â
The report is by Adam Holloway - ex-Grenadier and on the Defence Select Committee (well, okay, not today ...) The Mail's take on it is enthusiastic, and focusses on one page of 12.
CJO and DCJO both being uncontactable (within a reasonable timeframe) on a September Monday, when the in-theatre Div Commander was also on R&R? I find that slightly difficult to believe. The Mail also makes a mistake when it says that the "very senior General" was in PJHQ - the report makes it clear he was elsewhere in the MOD. Still, nothing the MOD gets wrong would actually surprise me.
I think the most critical quote from the report is this:
We need to seriously address the problem that pliant and conformist civil servants in uniform are systematically being promoted at the expense of capable independent-minded officers.
"General Jackson last night made clear his disgust at the way soldiers were asked to sacrifice their men for political reasons, shattering the sacred military covenant that no man is left behind on the battlefield."
Crikey, imagine, Soldiers sent ot war for political reasons! I thought they were sent to war by the W.I. or perhaps they all just sort of turn up at a pre-arranged RV for a good ruck, like Milwall v Hammers of old. And where did this 'sacred Military covenant' thing appear? Aspirations, yes, sacred, certainly not.
Three hundred miles north, on an airfield just outside Baghdad, a C-130 Hercules special forces transport plane sat on the runway, wind whipping the sand into a yellow mist.
In the back, a squadron of SAS troops sat patiently looking at the crate of kit strapped to the floor of the fuselage, pulses quickening as they checked their Heckler & Koch submachine guns and C8 carbine rifles.
A second SAS squadron in Basra prepared for the arrival of the reinforcements. Like any mission they had made speedy plans and moved into action with calm professionalism.
But this time it was personal. The targets were two of their own. That was when the call came â on a secure line from a military bunker just outside London. The Lt-Col could not believe what he was hearing. âPermission not granted. There are more important things than the lives of the soldiers.â