When troops refuse

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by OldRedCap, Oct 2, 2006.

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  1. I would contend that, if he is correct, there is a significant difference between US and Brit Officers in that the Brit Officers are as aware as their men that they have been sold down the river by their politicians.
  2. I'm sorry but that particular quote just made me laugh. I have to admit, it does quite adequately reflect some of the "young gentlemen", with whom I've had the honour to serve.

    Was going to write "serve under" but realised how that would read.
  3. Can any of the American ARRSE members comment on the website that this article was posted on? Does it have an agenda of any sort?
  4. I am fortunate to be working closely with over 800 US Army officers. They are very different to us Brits, but I have to say that the description penned by Jim Coyne is a misrepresentation of a very professional and dedicated body of men and women. Many of the officers that I meet on a daily basis have recent combat experience. They fully realise that mistakes have been made - at the highest political and military levels. However, just like most of us, they are prepared to knuckle down and get the job done. The US Army and the USMC is adapting to the many challenges presented by operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Re-enlistment and enlistment is not far off all time records and I have yet to hear any reports of mutinies. There have been one or two instances of individuals refusing to serve, as there have been in the UK, and these have been dealt with by the UCMJ process.
    In short - don't believe everything that you read in the press. Embedded journalists are a fact of life for the US Army and if there was any substance in this report, you would have seen it on the front page by now.
  5. I've been a reader of Fred Reed's columns for the past couple of years. He served in Vietnam and then moved into life as a journalist, often concerned with defence issues.

    He's an expat living in Mexico. I wouldn't say he has an agenda: he's certainly not a George Galloway type anti-war leftie. There's a lot he doesn't like about the US, but I don't think that's down to any sort of self-loathing anti-Americanism - I would say it's rooted fairly deeply in his regard for his country, and regret about the course it's on (this is generally, not just in Iraq). He's certainly very nostalgic for his childhood in the 1950s.

    His columns are always worth a read for their independent perspective (and often very funny), but while his commentary is usually very perceptive, I don't recall one of the sweeping predictions that he's prone to make yet coming to pass.

  6. I'd pretty much echo what smithie said. Fred is usually good for an entertaining rant, not particularly scaled to one side of the spectrum or the other (indeed, he leans right).

    Some of what he says is pointless though. For example, the reason that officers aren't saying anything negative about their superiors until after they retire is (a) it's bad form to undermine your superiors, and (b) it's an offense under military law. I think the reason the officers have a fairly positive point of view is that the military role is going rather well. It's the political side of the Iraq equation, which is somewhat out of their hands, that is suffering the problems.

  7. Fred's well read by his (and my generation) of slightly gristly former military types (a former USAF F-4 to F-15 pilot who was a personal friend of his introduced me to his column, while we worked our way to the bottom of the third or fourth plastic 2litre Coke-bottle of Riyadh Red). He's written some brilliant precis of opinion on all sorts of subjects relevant to the likes of the Vietnam veteran, the US city Policeman and even the likes of most of us on this site. Highly recommended. Not for 'liberals', social engineers or NuLabDrones.
  8. So much for Principle, eh? I've previously resigned for it, which puts me on the side of the saints as far as I'm concerned (not from the Army, mind, and admittedly because the company executive was so blatantly dishonest that pus and blood seeped from their ears). I've always lectured my subordinates that the very first quality expected of them was Integrity. Nothing else in that first place, and no qualification of that word. If they lack it, or compromise it, they become former subordinates.

    And frankly, I don't think the military role in Iraq is actually 'going rather well'. It would have been doing so if all US, UK and other forces had left within a couple of months of deposing the dictatorship there (yes, I know). It's now desperately hanging on for a politically acceptable get-out manoeuvre, while servicemen are maimed and die needlessly and without much gratitude from anyone in particular.

    There have been some very loud rumblings on this side of the Atlantic, however, about the career/political sensitivity vs. truth/loyalty of some of our very senior officers, and some of us are actually envious of the integrity shown by the actions and words of some of your former Generals recently. Our only serious complainants have been somewhat lower in the food-chain, but still fairly significant. Pity they aren't listened to where it matters, which is on the front pages of the broadsheets and the floor of the Commons. Both of those places have far more serious issues to deal with, such as the rights of the malignant and the haircuts of footballers.
  9. Resigning has a benefit and a detrement.

    Benefit: You are now authorised to speak out, loudly and publicly. A lot of Generals seem to be doing just that. Until you have turned in your stars/eagles/baton/whatever, you have to keep your mouth shut, publicly.

    Detrement: You have absolutely no say in what's going to happen, and will likely be replaced by a 'yes-man', possibly not as competent as you. The damned fool thing is going to happen anyway, the only question is if fewer people are going to die if you're trying to make it happen using your plans or if the person brought in to replace you will do better. You may have a clean conscience because you were not involved in any way, but do you have a clean conscience because you think that within the leeway of the orders, people might still be alive had you had some input into the least damaging way of getting it done?

  10. You can't be held responsible for the plans or actions of your successor, and second-guessing them while in the seat would be a singularly fruitless task. See your point though.
    Re Fred's opinions. If you disagree, treat as entertainment. If you agree, raise a beer with him.
  11. Fred's a good ol' boy of libertarian inclinations. I don't believe he's shilling for anything or anybody. I read his column regularly and appreciatively.
  12. In my limted time with US troops I was surprised by their attitude to their SNCO's.
    I saw one Captain talk to a Sgt in a manner that was incomprehensible to me.
    No Brit Officer ever talked down to me in that manner and there was no way any Brit would have been Bollacked like that infront of his own men let alone other NATO forces.
    The vast majority of Brit officers where decent and the ones not up to the job had normally been disposed of by rank of Major.
    The Para Major (Loden)? cums across as typical of the Leader that our system produces, Leads from the front but is wise to what is going on around him.
    as for a Pole in Bangkok, Fusking Yanks.
  13. Yes, Fred likes to say what he thinks at any given moment. That's it.

    Like most intelligent adults, he's neither hardcore left nor died-in-the-wool right.
  14. And there you have it. One anecdote condemns all.