Up the Ante in Iraq

#1
Would just like to say how sorry I am, with the deaths resulting from the crash of a British Helicopter in Basra, God rest the souls of those brave guys who have gave the ultimate.

There are so many issues in Iraq now that make the public question why we are still there, or in fact why we ever went in the first place. However as a British Soldier I don’t question why I am sent somewhere I just get on with it, kiss the wife goodbye rub the kids heads give them a kiss walk away then hope to fcuk that I come back.

But watching the news today I was disgusted to hear things along the lines of, yeah the British troops don’t fire back because they are in fear of prosecution back in the UK by the Government who sent them there in the first place.

That they will not fire except if their lives are in danger, are these rules of engagement not the same as the rules we use when we go on guard in lovely little places in Germany and the UK etc.

Iraq is still a volatile place that requires ROE, which represent that fact, rubber bullets yeah wonderful, but what do you do when hundreds to thousands of people are baying for your blood.

It’s sad to see the Warriors getting used as targets for bricks and petrol bombs, as a CR2 Commander I know how effective Warrior is, and to see it being used as a either a road block or taxi to escape Iraqi's throwing whatever they have at hand , to be honest disgusts me.

These people took great pleasure in what happened today, as far as I am concerned a message has to be sent to the people of Basra and Iraq in general, or British and American Troops will keep on being used as falling plates.

I am due to go out in November, and to be honest compared to most; I am lucky as this is my first tour since I took part in OP Telic 1. But I have to admit I am worried, not just about me but about my guys. I just hope it works out for us. And we get back as a unit in one piece.

I also hope this Government starts supporting our guys rather than leaving them out to the dogs or worst still actually being a prime instigator in the prosecution of our Soldiers.
 
#2
TT,

It is not for us to send a message to the people of Basra. It is their country. They have sent a very clear message to us.

msr
 

Zofo

Old-Salt
#3
I left 16 years ago and follow the debates and otherwise on this site carefully.
I wish you well of course for your deployment and hope you all get back safe.
I think your points are valid but is it in fact ROE to use baton rounds or is it part of the "let's not upset the natives by killing them when a rubber bullet will do?" As I said, I left ages ago with no concept of tactics at this or any other level. I was a Siggie!
I hope to God that in this sort of situation, a man can fire at a jundi throwing a petrol bomb in his general direction and not get lifted by the Monkeys. Are there or is there a copy of the current ROE in open press?
I look forward to reading what should be a fascinating debate!
 
#4
Zofo,

Card Alpha (RoE) is restricted, so no, there isn't.

msr
 
#5
msr said:
TT,

It is not for us to send a message to the people of Basra. It is their country. They have sent a very clear message to us.

msr
I Know where you are coming from with what you are saying, but are you suggesting that until the inevitable pull out, that we should just sit there like old grannies getting mugged every night and day they please.

I for one don’t intend to go to Iraq just to sit about till its my time to patrol, get shot at bricked etc, and then go back to base and go. Oh well lads just another day in Iraq, don’t worry we will be leaving soon, yeah alright smithy I know you don’t like it but we are just here to show face.

I thought the whole point was we were sending the, people of Iraq a message of freedom, and now their fundamentalists are in a terrorist war with us, are we not meant to discourage that to prevent a return to the old style regime.

Or are we just going to sit on our Arrse’s getting taking out one at a time, until we leave the stagnant sh1t hole.

We are either there to show them the way ahead or we leave soonest.
 
#6
Surely the message they have sent to us is that they have absolutely no interest in helping themselves as a nation. They didn't when Saddam was there, and they haven't now. Too many good lads down now, pull out and let the place devour itself. And if it ever looks like it's going to threaten the world stage, a sub in the Gulf and a small dose of Instant Sunshine ought to send out the right message to them and the other many nations that now see us a soft taret with its hands bound.
 

Zofo

Old-Salt
#7
I thank you for that msr- do the troops get the equivalent of the Green Card that we got in FRG? Or is it in briefings and so on that the information is then passed on?I'm just trying to understand the situation - as a member of civ pop who has never served seeing the blokes firing baton rounds and not real bullets, that civvie may well ask can they not fire said real bullets? If I stray into murky waters, please let me know!
 
#8
RIP all those who died today in both theatres.

Having seen the pictures (of the trouble) myself and not wishing get this thread locked, is it not time that UK PLC starts articulating its vision for Iraq. As TT indicated we who serve should not question BUT what would say to your wife, kids, family on the news of next deployment to the sand pit in light the pictures today.

To be honest I don't know, what I would say. We are not be told by our political leaders whether these crowds represent the noisey minority or the majority. It looks terribley reminsincent of Gaza at the moment.

I feel like there one hell of question mark about what we are doing or should be doing. As one previous commander said it is time to leave when you start to become part of problem and not part of the solution.

Also thinking back to Brixston '81, was it Whitelaw who said that the Police operate on behalf of the local community and not against it. When this stops, trust is broken and the moral authority to police is also lost. [I know that we doing more than policing but I believe the principle is the same]

Sadly I believe we are buggered if we stay and they are absolutely fcuked if we leave.

Rock, hard place.... anyone?

editted once
 
#9
I don't know what the Green Card was.

The RoE, and therefore the response from the guys on the ground will be bound by proportionality (Geneva conventions inter alia), so is it a proportional response to use live rounds against stone-throwing civpop?

msr
 
#10
Jailorinummqasr said:
As one previous commander said it is time to leave when you start to become part of problem and not part of the solution.
Nail, head, hammer.

msr
 
#11
Can a comparison be made with NI 20 odd years ago, although this is obviously on a larger scale. I seem to remember a lot of similar talk during tours of Armargh. If we start uping the anti, surely they will too (although it can be said that it has just been "upped")
 
#13
Jailor, MSR

Someone on one of the other threads mentioned Aden and the Wilson govts c0ck-up in publicly setting a date in stone, and the boost it gave to NLF and FLOSY as they competed for power in the aftermath by killing Brits.

Completely the opposite way decolonisation in Malaya was handled, or even India was handled. More like Palestine. Just pick up and leave, bugger it all.

The question is who do we want to hand off to? An friendly Iraqi central government whose power extends down to Basrah, or just whichever bunch of fcukers with AKs reach the telephone exchange first after the last helicopter leaves?

If majority the Shias in Basrah were in a hurry to get us out all the loudspeakers on every mosque would be going and they could get tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands out on the streets. They know we wouldnt drop cluster the lot. When the Shias *really* want us gone we will know.

DS,

Youre probably right.
 
#14
MALT_WIT said:
An friendly Iraqi central government whose power extends down to Basrah
That'll be the day.

msr
 
#15
For those in the Sandpit, I suppose it boils down to the msn - :?: :?: what ever it is :?: :?:

I accept that if they really wanted to make it clear that they don't want us that they could summon everyone on to the streets.

Whilst only a v small minority are actively involved in the lethal operations against us, and a small minority come out to have a riot. What is cruical, and ultimately will determine the success or failure of the Op, is whether the majority tacitly support the minorities activities or whether they are too scared or unable (due to FP/langauge problems or worse fear of reprisals) to counter the minority views.

Add to that the moral sapping affect the CM's, media coverage, overstretch etc even if we 'win' or are succesful operationally is probably the case that we have already lost the war (at the grand strategic level)?
 
#16
Jailorinummqasr said:
For those in the Sandpit, I suppose it boils down to the msn - :?: :?: what ever it is :?: :?:



Add to that the moral sapping affect the CM's, media coverage, overstretch etc even if we 'win' or are succesful operationally is probably the case that we have already lost the war (at the grand strategic level)?
We lost the war when Bush and Blair started to believe their own publicity.......
 
#17
Yes I am sure comparisons can be made with any variable of operations the British Army has been involved with, however the difference with this one is that the Government aren’t accepting the old, right fcuk this we made a bad decision, time to get too fcuk scenario, they have decided to stay. In saying that what I really mean is that they have told us we have to stay and do their bidding or Americas not to sure what it is now “ Like me Murphy’s I’m not Bitter”

Someone said about the ROE, should we be shooting Iraqis throwing bricks, well I think if Helicopters are being brought down, Warriors are being burnt, and Soldiers are being shot at, that its not just bricks being fired at us.

So in turn to reduce the excitement of all this new found freedom, we have to make a stand and a point out that we are not there to absorb their frustrations.

Soldiers are not plumber’s carpenters and brickies “although I am sure some are “.
We are in fact Soldiers surprisingly enough; we are there to ensure that law and order are kept in check until such times they can do it for themselves. As far as the infrastructure goes that is down to Governments to implement contractors etc,

I personally believe in what DigitalGeek says about the war, we lost it politically we should have floored that place, you cant fight a PC war. Yeah we love you we come in peace with our Challenger 2 Tanks, Warriors, and Tornado Gr7’s and all these ugly blokes called Infantry.

If oppression is what they understand then maybe its not such a bad tactic to use until we can work ourselves out of the mess our government has got us into.
 
#18
Jailorinummqasr said:
I accept that if they really wanted to make it clear that they don't want us that they could summon everyone on to the streets.

Whilst only a v small minority are actively involved in the lethal operations against us, and a small minority come out to have a riot. What is cruical, and ultimately will determine the success or failure of the Op, is whether the majority tacitly support the minorities activities or whether they are too scared or unable (due to FP/langauge problems or worse fear of reprisals) to counter the minority views.
Not shooting up mobs with live rounds (however much they may deserve it!) helps with not bringing out every body on to the street.

As for public opinion in Basra it is not a question of minority vs. majority. Its a question of who maintains the more powerful presence in the lives of residents. The majority of ordinary people arent going to stick their necks out to help foreigners against well armed local groups with lots of informers of their own that chances are will be around long after the British leave.

British forces are basically acting as a placeholder so that Iraqi Army and the few relatively competant Interior Ministry forces dont have to be diverted to the south.

OK, I can understand that Baghdad takes priority when it comes to transferring security responsibilities. But Basrah should come second. The Iraqi govt with its Kurdish Shia troops is hated in Sunni areas. It might as well gain power and influence in areas where it has half a chance.
 
#19
Hey Tartan, I might have an idea. I don't know what it's like in Basrah, or what the common sentiment is among Iraqis in that region. The men I know who served in Iraq (mostly yanks, but some brits) were welcomed by the Iraqis, and even when they weren't, they were able to earn their trust. I don't know if it's possible for British troops, but a friend who was a National Guardsman was able to set up a system where friends and family could send gifts and toys to his unit so they could give them out to the Iraqis. He kept a blog about it, http://gozarthetraveler.blogspot.com/ and I'm sure he'd be willing to help you out. Stuff like that really helps you win over the people, and gives you an oppurtunity to learn about them.
 
#20
Thanks TT.

I remember an old saying:

"When you have your foot in your mouth, never stamp around trying to get it out" We have our feet in our mouths here. An almighty cockup. I'm afraid to say it looks likely that the taste of athletes foot may be something we have to put up with for a very long time. Personally I am tired of hearing the same old political (and military) rhetoric over the Iraqi problem. "Its all going very well", etc etc. It is not going well, nor will it get any better. The people HATE each other. The Kurd, Sunni and Shi'ite are not designed to live side by side. They are totally different from one another. By attempting to impose a "western" style democracy we are polarising the radical islamic militants, hell bent on repelling western values.

The underlying goal of the west is the control of the oilfields of the northern gulf. Dress it up as much as you like. This combined with the verbal diahorrea from Washington and London can only serve to inflame the situation further. Now the lads in Basra are getting pasted again. But, as usual "The situation is not out of hand" Do me a favour.....
 

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