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War in Afghanistan: Britains Vietnam (Mail on Sunday)

#1
War in Afghanistan: Britain's Vietnam
by MARK NICOL Last updated at 23:03pm on 30th September 2006

A quad bike bounces across battle-ravaged desert, the remains of three dead British soldiers lashed to its back, while a Chinook buzzes overhead.

Exhausted squaddies exchange desultory small-arms fire with an invisible enemy. An infantry unit nervously patrols a burning village.

http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages...1770&ico=Homepage&icl=TabModule&icc=NEWS&ct=5

< I rarely buy the Mail/Mail on Sunday as,to me,their paper is 'biased' & this article confirms it.Never mind the good work done by our lads,this is reporting only negative aspects. One cant help nut wonder what the general public,who often believe everything they read in the press,will think.Having never been to the Stan,I cant personally say weather the roport is true,false or inflated,but I'm treating it with a big dose of salt .
Over to you
Spike>
 
#2
I dunno Spike - the stories in the Mail sound like the ones I read back in the eighties when the Russians were there. Atrocities were common and hardly remarked by our Press. Captured Russian soldiers faced horrifying torture. The classic story from the US-led invasion was about the wounded Taleban fighter caught by the Northern Alliance - 'our guys', he was beaten, castrated and then shot. Full pictures available - I recall that only the Mail printed them.
Like you I'm not a Mail reader - except on-line - but if they do anything to help the lads out there, more power to their elbows. Even if they do sink to the odd bit of purple prose.
PS Just found this in the comments to the Mail article.
Having been deployed to, and recently returned from Iraq, I give it to you personally, that in my opinion, there is NO better representation in the media to-date of the real life, everyday situation that british forces soldiers are faced with, and the amazing feats and acts of courage of all of my fellow soldiers.

- Gary, Woolwich, SE London
 
#4
Spike, this account is by a soldier on the front line. It is shocking, but the history of Afghanistan is shocking. The Paras and support groups have surpassed themselves, I hope to God that they can rationalise everything they have seen and done when they get home. Soldiers should only do one tour every 2 years and yet this Govt and its feeble military leadership allow these guys to be turned round sometimes in a matter of weeks. It woulsd be very very wrong to ask these guys to do the same. They are under enormous pressure, we should not risk hurting them just because the politicians have over committed the British armed forces.
 
#5
brettarider said:
Seen it article can anyone confirm the part of the article were it claimed french SF had been murdered?.......horrifc way to go
I imagine if it was anybody it was Joel Gazeaux and David Poulan of 1 RIPMa (para marines) who were KIA in Helmand on 20 May 2006.

nigegilb - you were quoted in the Independent today from this site.
 
#6
Thanks for the heads up CK. A very interesting aspect of today's coverage is the response by the MoD. I have been listening to the jungle drums and it appears genuine that the MoD have welcomed the first hand accounts of soldiers fighting in Sangin.

Could it be that senior elements within the MoD have simply had enough of this dreadful Govt? Only time will tell.

I'd like to be a fly on the wall in Main Building tomorrow morning. Could be there is a bloodbath on the plush carpet.
 
#7
nigegilb said:
Thanks for the heads up CK. A very interesting aspect of today's coverage is the response by the MoD. I have been listening to the jungle drums and it appears genuine that the MoD have welcomed the first hand accounts of soldiers fighting in Sangin.

Could it be that senior elements within the MoD have simply had enough of this dreadful Govt? Only time will tell.

I'd like to be a fly on the wall in Main Building tomorrow morning. Could be there is a bloodbath on the plush carpet.
Yet the troops from 3 para have been warned to keep quiet.
 
#8
The government treats the troops like shit and then expects to gag them too. Even if they manage that, the families will speak out... and there are signs of that already.

And they wonder why there's a recruitment problem?

All the £000s currently spent on recruitment advertising would be better spent on pay and conditions to retain the soldiers they have.

I've heard that there'll be a lot of PVRs when this tour ends. What a waste of experienced troops!
 
#9
nigegilb said:
Spike, this account is by a soldier on the front line. It is shocking, but the history of Afghanistan is shocking. The Paras and support groups have surpassed themselves, I hope to God that they can rationalise everything they have seen and done when they get home. Soldiers should only do one tour every 2 years and yet this Govt and its feeble military leadership allow these guys to be turned round sometimes in a matter of weeks. It woulsd be very very wrong to ask these guys to do the same. They are under enormous pressure, we should not risk hurting them just because the politicians have over committed the British armed forces.
Thanks for clearing that up nigegilb,It's just that you read so much reports written with journolistic licence,it's sometimes hard to tell where the truth begins.
But I agree 1000% with what you said above,maybe more reporting like this willraise public awareness of just what stress & pressure the Soldiers are facing out there & the impact it will have on their personal life once they get back home.
 
#10
very similar report in the indy, looks like from the same sources, but ARRSE of course gets a mention this time.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article1777869.ece

"The British contingent in Helmand learned the brutal lesson some time ago that what was a reconstruction mission has turned into a war. Judging from comments on internet message boards, such as the British Army Rumour Service, that message is getting through to soldiers' families and the public back home. "
 
#11
"...The worst bit was stepping over the body to gather it all up and looking for dog tags."

Presumably because these are accountable documents and the MOD needs them back, rather than be given to their loved ones left behind.

msr
 
#13
msr said:
"...The worst bit was stepping over the body to gather it all up and looking for dog tags."

Presumably because these are accountable documents and the MOD needs them back, rather than be given to their loved ones left behind.

msr
It was because the id discs were the only means (initially) of provisionally identifiying the guys, even though we knew it was them. You still have to go through the correct motions.
 
#14
nigegilb said:
Spike, this account is by a soldier on the front line. It is shocking, but the history of Afghanistan is shocking. The Paras and support groups have surpassed themselves, I hope to God that they can rationalise everything they have seen and done when they get home. Soldiers should only do one tour every 2 years and yet this Govt and its feeble military leadership allow these guys to be turned round sometimes in a matter of weeks. It woulsd be very very wrong to ask these guys to do the same. They are under enormous pressure, we should not risk hurting them just because the politicians have over committed the British armed forces.
Without doubting Your word Nige - but how do You know it is from a guy in the front line???? Yes the Mail says it is so - but I wouldnt trust the Mail if it told me my name was sven - I'd check my birth certificate.

Have You examined even the opening paragraph of this piece. "Exhausted squaddies exchange desultory small-arms fire" Don't You realise that the word desultory means haphazard, random. So the Paras were putting down haphazard fire into an "invisible enemy" - How do they know the f*cking fire is haphazard or random from a sodding photo?????? (incidentally, does DII allow mobile phones and digital cameras to connect to computers, or are there mobile masts in Sengin to allow the transmission of photos).

I'll highlight another paragraph to make my point. "Water has run out, so soldiers drink from disease-carrying rivers. They eat bread scrounged from Afghan troops."

What does this sound like. Is the Mail reporting something that has happened, or is it reporting an ongoing situation - are the Paras living ONLY on f*cking Afghan soldiers bread, is there only water from "disease ridden rivers"??????? If it is true - are we going to see the demise of half the British contingent in Helmand????

A final paragraph to show the negative propaganda of the article.

Squaddies are tormented by sand flies and scorpions and are driven mad by stress. They are attacked by Taliban militiamen on motorbikes who open fire while clutching children in front of themselves"

Soldiers are driven mad by stress!!!!!! F*ck me isn't this what soldiers train for, so that they can carry out the job without being driven mad by stress. Can soldiers function properly when 'driven mad by stress'.

As for the bit about the squaddies being attacked by Taleban on motorbikes holding their chiildren in front of them. Think for a minute, one hand holding the AK, one holding the kid (which, one supposes, would not really want to be there and so would need to be held firmly in place). Which hand operates the clutch, which steers the F*cking bike. And does this really, really sound like the Afghan fighters shown such respect in the various posts on this forum???

Reading the article, it represents the Paras as emaciated soldiers in the midst of a break down firing half aimed weapons at an enemy who is intent on protecting himself by whateverv means. soldiers in Helmand are doing an amazing job - this article demeans them
 
#15
the_crimp_off said:
msr said:
"...The worst bit was stepping over the body to gather it all up and looking for dog tags."

Presumably because these are accountable documents and the MOD needs them back, rather than be given to their loved ones left behind.

msr
It was because the id discs were the only means (initially) of provisionally identifiying the guys, even though we knew it was them. You still have to go through the correct motions.
And allegedly someone is going through the motions in the UK too...

msr
 

BiscuitsAB

LE
Moderator
#17
Sven said:
nigegilb said:
Spike, this account is by a soldier on the front line. It is shocking, but the history of Afghanistan is shocking. The Paras and support groups have surpassed themselves, I hope to God that they can rationalise everything they have seen and done when they get home. Soldiers should only do one tour every 2 years and yet this Govt and its feeble military leadership allow these guys to be turned round sometimes in a matter of weeks. It woulsd be very very wrong to ask these guys to do the same. They are under enormous pressure, we should not risk hurting them just because the politicians have over committed the British armed forces.
Without doubting Your word Nige - but how do You know it is from a guy in the front line???? Yes the Mail says it is so - but I wouldnt trust the Mail if it told me my name was sven - I'd check my birth certificate.

Have You examined even the opening paragraph of this piece. "Exhausted squaddies exchange desultory small-arms fire" Don't You realise that the word desultory means haphazard, random. So the Paras were putting down haphazard fire into an "invisible enemy" - How do they know the f*cking fire is haphazard or random from a sodding photo?????? (incidentally, does DII allow mobile phones and digital cameras to connect to computers, or are there mobile masts in Sengin to allow the transmission of photos).

I'll highlight another paragraph to make my point. "Water has run out, so soldiers drink from disease-carrying rivers. They eat bread scrounged from Afghan troops."

What does this sound like. Is the Mail reporting something that has happened, or is it reporting an ongoing situation - are the Paras living ONLY on f*cking Afghan soldiers bread, is there only water from "disease ridden rivers"??????? If it is true - are we going to see the demise of half the British contingent in Helmand????

A final paragraph to show the negative propaganda of the article.

Squaddies are tormented by sand flies and scorpions and are driven mad by stress. They are attacked by Taliban militiamen on motorbikes who open fire while clutching children in front of themselves"

Soldiers are driven mad by stress!!!!!! F*ck me isn't this what soldiers train for, so that they can carry out the job without being driven mad by stress. Can soldiers function properly when 'driven mad by stress'.

As for the bit about the squaddies being attacked by Taleban on motorbikes holding their chiildren in front of them. Think for a minute, one hand holding the AK, one holding the kid (which, one supposes, would not really want to be there and so would need to be held firmly in place). Which hand operates the clutch, which steers the F*cking bike. And does this really, really sound like the Afghan fighters shown such respect in the various posts on this forum???

Reading the article, it represents the Paras as emaciated soldiers in the midst of a break down firing half aimed weapons at an enemy who is intent on protecting himself by whateverv means. soldiers in Helmand are doing an amazing job - this article demeans them

So Sven when was the last time you were in Afghan? What is your front line experience? Have you actually talked with anyone who was at Sangin?
There are guys on here that were so if you know any ask them what it was like and if you dont know any well enough said. One thing that doesnt appear is that it seems that the main water supply was poisoned which was why the water was being brought from the river.


Why are you getting so all fired up at the concept that those hard nosed steely eyed dealers of death in the maroon machine may actually be human beings and not cyborgs? Your statement about soldiers being able to carry out their job despite being under stress, would seem to intimate that you have no direct experience of this kind of situation, but thats not really a suprise as there hasnt been anything like this situation for over 50 years! My experience is that I have seen guys take years to recover from GW1 and I know a Plt Sgt who still has nightmares on average about once a month from that Op. I've known of guys from hereford have complete mental shut downs, which really does blow your argument out of the water.

My interpretation on this article is that it demeans the Government and not the troops. And so it bloody well should! If the government doesn't like to see the truth of the matter in print it should get its arrse into gear and get the resourcing right. If we are going to win this then we better get more boots on the ground and more logistics in theatre.
 
#18
the_crimp_off said:
Who would that allegedly be then?
Check your PMs.

msr
 
#19
Sven, don't take my word for it, check out the reply by the MoD today. If this account was factually all over the place don't you think the MoD would have been on it like a ton of bricks? I think the British people will understand the broader point that the article is making. Major loudon did not understand why RAF Harrier pilots were hampered in providing CAS. He just blamed them for not giving him CAS when he desperately needed it. RAF Hercs have taken a hit today in the press for missing a DZ by 100 yards. That's about the closest I ever got to one! The guys on the ground do not understand the problems associated with Hercules delivery. Instead they watched the local Muj take their supplies from under their noses. It is easy to shoot the messenger, or blame the RAF. The plain fact is our troops were sent to Afg without the recquisite support and our feckless allies are refusing to help. I have reread the article and I agree it is political in nature. Let us not judge it by its journalistic style, I would prefer to wait and see how the Govt respond.
The Govt cannot afford to have another Iraq on its hands. My money is still on an increase in the Defence Budget.

Quote from the oracle.

""The MOD has reponded to a media report, today Sunday 1 October 2006, relating to leaked e-mails sent from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in Helmand, Afghanistan. The media report in question suggests that the Government is trying to cover up how hard the situation is for the Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

An MOD spokesman said:

"Des Browne, made clear in his speech to RUSI on 19 September 2006 that our Armed Forces are working in arduous conditions, around the clock, up to the bounds of stamina and endurance.

"They are fighting and working in these conditions because that is the nature of conflict – hard, dirty and beyond the experience most of us understand. They do this because they are superb professionals and we should recognise their courage skill and spirit for what it is. Thanks to them we will succeed and ensure Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for terrorists again.""
 
#20
I'm puzzled.

Why has the Mail used a Vietnam analogy?
 

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