Well judging by the length of the disclaimer the editor clearly expected some sparks!!!
A virtue of having coalition partners with a legacy of shared sacrifice during difficult military campaigns
is that they can also share candid observations. Such observations are understood to be professional
exchanges among friends to promote constructive discussion that can improve the prospects of
the coalition successes for which all strive. It was in a constructive spirit, then, that this article was
made available to Military Review. The article is a professional commentary by an experienced officer
based on his experiences and background. It should also be understood that publishing this article does
not imply endorsement of or agreement with its observations by the Combined Arms Center leadership
or Military Review. Indeed, some comments are already dated and no longer valid. Nonetheless, this
article does provide Military Review readers the thought-provoking assessments of a senior officer
with significant experience in counterterrorism operations. And it is offered in that veinâto stimulate
This is a reprint of an article originally published in the
âSeaford House Papersâ and retains its original punctuation,
spelling, grammar, and paragraphing. The views herein do not
reflect those of the United Kingdom, the U.S. Army, or Military
"One senior Coalition officer noted that too much of the [us] force remained conceptually in warfighting mode in the post combat phase, and failed to understand that every soldier becomes a CIMIC [civil-military cooperation] operator in COIN and S&R operations."
I would wager that this Officer was neither (of two) Comd 12 Bde, nor his COS, as none of them ever visited the CIMIC Ops room during Telic 6.
Before we tear a strip off the Yanks, perhaps we should have a good look at ourselves.
I've seen this before when with 3 Cdo Bde on the Kurdish Op (post GW1) we had a US Para Bn out of Italy attached. Once the war fighting bit was over and it was time to hanbd out rice, organise town councils and help them back to a structured society the spams just could not get out ofr the fox holes. For the Brit Army the ability to adapt has probably evolved through necessity; ie there are just not enough of us to have individual units doing singular tasks hence Arty and Armd units rotated through Northern Ireland in the Inf role. For the Spams their sheer size means they can have J5 units which normally surfice until a huge civil op like Iraq comes a long.
To be fair to the spams it is a difficult balance to be struck between fighting terrorists on the same streets that are full of innocent civvies. Our own experiences of West Belfast, et al also had their lowlights.
True.....And I suspect that, by and large, the bulk of the septic civi poluation doesn't give a rats arse if 15 iraq civi's get slotted cos some Rifle Balloon commander decides to JDAM a "sniper" contact.
You say "militia", they say "local organisation reflecting the views of the majority". Which it is. After all, didn't we go to war to allow the Iraqis to govern themselves, so what's the problem ?
The problem is of course that they're a bunch of misogynist throwbacks to the dark ages, or, if you're American, the problem is they don't do what the US wants them to. It took Saddam, the Ba'ath party and the Sunnis to keep them in their box and now Uncle Sam has let them out. And I doubt they'll go back in anytime soon.
Well, Basra is being run by the locals who are don't want foreign soldiers in their country. Is anyone surprised by that ? The problem is that the way the locals want to live is anathema to the US, wanting as they do a return to the past and a misogynistic theocratic regime not dissimilar to that of Iran under the mullahs.
Saddam needed the Sunnis, the Ba'ath party and many corpses to enforce his policies. They are using 130,000 troops (or thereabouts) and can't get the Sunnis to quiet down, so how they think that 8000 odd Brits can enforce US policies on the Shia majority beats me.
The rest of it is whining because someone dared to breathe a word of criticism against the US.
The US Army Review saw fit to publish a somewhat scathing critique of their MO in Iraq by a Brit Brigadier. One assumes the Brigadier had the OK from a superiour before he sent the article or gave the interview? One also assumes that the article had at least a kernel of truth to it otherwise why would a magazine of such standing publish it?
Do we also assume that TIME's riposte to Aylwin-Fosters article, albeit authored by someone transparently anti British (get over the colonies it's been well over 50 years and you've all done worse things to each other since!) also contains an element of truth? I'd hazard a guess and answer in the affirmative to all three questions. The Brits and Americans are fortunate to live in democracies that still allow (sometimes rather grudgingly) freedom of speech and equally fortunate to have people who have the moral courage to exercise that right.
Now would BAR publish a similar article written by a serving American Brigadier General on the British Army (assuming HIS superiors permitted it)?