Wot the Yanks are Saying - Or Not?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Sven, Apr 18, 2008.

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  1. I have just read a disturbing report from The Telegraph in which they say

    The question is - is the NY Times correct (and I confess I have not read the NY Times at all recently, never mind the article alluded to), did our troops abandon the Iraqi Army? I sincerely hope not.

    Can anyone allay my concerns?
  2. *If* the fighting in Basra was just Maliki trying to improve his position before the elections (while Petraeus was away).

    Then I hope UK forces did ignore him.
  3. Sven, the link to the NY Times is:


    As you can see, the NYT is talking about the broader situation rather than just the specifics of the recent attempt by the Iraqis to launch a surge of their own there.

    There was a report in either the Times noting that prime minister Maliki had refused to ask for British help and had instead called upon the 101st Airborne.


    Even so, GR4s provided air support, so there wasn't a point-blank refusal to help.


    Also, if British troops had been involved, it'd have undermined the argument the govt is offering that the Iraqis are able to do this sort of thing largely on their own, allowing for a reduction in numbers at Basra (a reduction which has, of course, been postponed).
  4. I was under the impression that we weren't asked for help, not that we were asked and said no?
  5. Thank You Archimedes, the Torygraph article quite disturbed me. However, did the paper deliberately set out to mislead or was the wording just unfortunate?

    I don't suppose we will ever know.
  6. Wouldn't we have to once have a clear Iraq policy to be 'left without one'?
  7. Another Media spin, If i recall we offered to help but some Iraqi big shot said no and got the US to help instead.
  8. After recently returning from a Caribbean cruise on a Spam ship (Royal Caribbean) and getting into some conversations over dinner, the Americans are starting to feel the Brits are letting them down in Iraq. This has been a topic in US newspapers for some time and the pulling out of Basra was especially mentioned. Despite my protestations of "winning hearts and minds" etc, the general consensus at the table was the surge and increased US military muscle was having more effect than our stand back and let them get on with it approach.
    The Telegraph article also mentioned that "senior" (they always say that, probably some Lance Jack in the Really Large Corps) sources in the British Army were fuming at the political interference and would rather have continued assisting the Iraqi forces rather than letting them get on with it. The Yanks on the ship also pointed out the Iraqis called for American help as the British had refused to get involved (this is how it was reported in the US press).
    Whether that's true or not would best be answered by those in theatre but an interview on the UK telly a few weeks ago did have a Brit squaddie complaining they were stuck in the confines of barracks whilst they could hear fighting going on but were unable to join in. He sounded a bit cheesed off and said the Brit troops felt a bit like sitting targets without the ability to fight back.
    If Gordon is getting stick from the Yanks, imagine how I felt on the ship.
  9. Some quite serious commentators have recently, and very openly, told the UK where to stick their advice on COIN. America has, finally, got over the 'Nam/Malaya thing.

    Brit troops in Iraq are victims of a lack of clear policy from Broon and co.

    Broon knows casualties will cost him votes. He also knows that proper military operations in Iraq will cost him money. He is not prepared to part lightly with votes or money. Doesn't give a shit about Tommy, however.

    His choice, therefore, is to maintain a token force in Basra: it doesn't cost (too) much, and the fact that it is incapable of achieving anything is - in his mind - secondary to the fact that it 'shows we are still in the fight with our American allies".

    Not all Septics are dim, however, and even The Chimp in the Oval Office has sussed this little scam, and Americans have now - understandably - grouped the UK with the rest of NATO; like the Germans in AFG we are (for America) now just another bunch of Old World wasters who won't get going, when the going gets tough.

    There's a shitload of work to be done to rebuild US confidence in the UK, and neither Broon nor any other LieBar tosser has the credentials to do it.

    All of this was predictable. We would have come out of this better, if - having committed to AFG in '01 - we had declined the Iraq gig in '03.

    We didn't: our troops are now pissed off, Maliki has no respect for UK plc, our global standing is badly eroded, while (feck-me-down-dead) there's no light at the end of Iraq's tunnel (says Dave Petraeus) and in AFG the Taliban seem to be getting stronger.

    Brilliant, just brilliant.[hr]Stonkernote I would not be at all surprised if (aside from Maliki deciding to keep the Basra rumble a secret), Brit troops had been given very, very limiting orders about the circumstances in which they can actually fight.
  10. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    The question I would ask is - do we really need the US confidence on this? The US have their own agenda. I don't see ours overlapping to the extent we can't hold a differing agenda. The US had huge confidence in their actions in the initial invasion and the UK went in predominately because IF WE DIDN'T noone else would. Perhaps the yanks should remember that.

    As to COIN, I still have the pleasure of being able to say that I wrote the first Iraqi Coin doctrine manual as at 2005. The US bods assigned to help (and were useful but it took a bat around there head to start thinking in the way that helped) that were there at the time initally didn't have a clue. Petraeus may have changed things in his time towards US COIN doctrine(his PhD is on Vietnam after all) but I don't believe that the US has moved and progressed in 3 years to the point they don't need our advice. If they think so, they are being f* stupid.

    I don't say we are any better at (Iraqi) COIN but we have and do listen to any and all advice in constructing our doctrine. Our experience is built up over many conflicts over many years of analysis. Perhaps something the US should remember too.
  11. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    I can't remember who said it, but:

    I went to Iraq thinking that the Brits could do COIN, and that the yanks couldn't. I was wrong - neither of them could. But the yanks are learning quicker...

    There's something to be said for this perhaps, but either way, sitting in the COB probably reinforces another classic:

    The brits have the best doctrine in the world; thank God they don't use it...


  12. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Yanks learn quicker, eh? :roll: . Depends if you want to apply the Rule of Law in their actions.

    I think the biggest difficulty with UK ops is the fact that they have been influenced hugely on misdirected and at times incompetantly organised ops in the N. S* flows ever downwards and the US ops in the N in the early ops were not COIN. They were at best , get our own back, but most of time, the heathens are there and a stiff beating will convert them to our side of the fence. :roll:

    UK can do COIN (and I'd suggest there are few, if any nations with better doctrine) but I would say that the circumstances haven't always been there. I would partially agree with you in the fact that UK sensibilities have been used rather than an understanding of what is required by the Iraqi mentality.

    In that sense, I think the US ahave the advantage on us. UK HMG (and press) would not allow us to act as the locals may have needed for them to respect us in the context of the local understanding of "appropriate" behavior.

    Trouble is that isn't going to change. Perhaps therefore, it is time for us to change our ideas on the UK ability to conduct peacekeeping/peace enforcement ops. That may be the better question.
  13. Brown works for the uk not the us .Majority in the uk think iraq was pointless he should grow some balls and pull out and concentrate on Afgan.
    Sitting in basra air station really dosent acheive much and I doubt we would be missed.
  14. Should do whatever is best for the long-term health of the army imo. Any withdrawal that looked like a defeat / retreat would lead to a massive kicking from the BBC / Channel4. I think that would be very damaging. On the other hand there's the overstretch. Hard to say what's worse.

    The neo-con types are splashing simplistic sh*te in US papers but most of them are outside the administration now so who knows if they represent actual policy. A lot of it is just them deflecting criticism from all the mistakes they've made imo.

    Petraeus is worth keeping onside as much as possible but otherwise I hope UK generals do whatever's best to keep the army in reasonable nick and ignore both governments.

    McBean will either be gone soon or so involved in cabinet infighting his eye will be even further off the ball than has it has been since the beginning. So double-ignore him.
  15. So, you think the drip-drip degredation of the military is an acceptable consequence of avoiding some bad TV headlines? Seems a no-brainer to me. Can't really think of any BBC/C4 bad press about the military that wasn't self-inflicted by the military itself or its political masters.