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Memo: don't rely on the Brits during a battle

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Memo: don't rely on the Brits during a battle

Old 6th Jan 2009, 08:55
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Memo: don't rely on the Brits during a battle

In an article in today's Times newspaper:-

...Perhaps most important of all, the military alliance between Britain and America - which has cemented the political alliance since the First World War - is beginning to crack. I am told that a report circulating at the highest level in the Ministry of Defence concludes that there are now serious doubts in Washington about the effectiveness of the British Armed Forces. Senior military figures are said to have been surprised, and shocked, by feedback that arrived in Whitehall last month. Described as “highly sensitive”, it raised questions about the worth of the UK contribution to US-led operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It showed that the Americans don't value us much,” one source told me. “Britain's military ability is no longer rated as highly as we thought it was.”

This is not a last gasp by the outgoing Bush administration. Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, who has been asked to remain in his job by Mr Obama, is one of those said to have reservations about the British military contribution.

The message has filtered across to the Foreign Office, too. At a diplomatic as well as a military level, concerns have been raised about the quality of British troops and equipment. Too often, the Americans complain, they have had to ride to the rescue of the Brits, rather than being able to rely on them as equal partners. There are question marks in Washington about Britain's political commitment to military engagement: Mr Brown will not be forgiven if he fails to send substantial numbers of troops to support an Obama surge in Afghanistan.

“The US generals think the Brits need to be taken down a peg or two - that we have not performed well in Basra and Helmand province - and that has trickled up to the Pentagon,” says a Foreign Office insider. “It's not terminal but it's an important warning to us that if we are going to trade on our military partnership we are going to have to raise our game.”
So, ten years of contempt and underfunding by the Chancellor/Prime Minister results in the UK Military's good name being dragged in the mud (not forgetting for one moment the sad losses incurred, due to that same underfunding).

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 09:05
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My very quick opinion:

British Army - still superb, badly let down by key technologies (eg radio), and lack of battlefield mobility helos, amongst other things. 8/10

RAF - again, some superb skills, but far too much kit/money spent in some areas, and far too little in others. 6/10

RN - totally underfunded, and almost too small to protect itself, let alone project real force against a well-armed enemy. 3/10
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 09:17
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"The US generals think the Brits need to be taken down a peg or two"

What does that supposed to mean?

Sounds very much like a threat to me.

Oh that Brown and his cronies have brought us to this.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 09:21
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What airborne_artist said plus the fact that they simply don’t understand/agree with our ways of counter insurgency. Had they been around our Malaya/Indonesia operations, I think we may have heard the same complaint.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 09:28
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“The US generals think the Brits need to be taken down a peg or two - that we have not performed well in Basra and Helmand province
Maybe some of these armchair generals should have a chat with the lads of the Parachute Regiment. When they weren't dodging friendly fire the Paras gave a pretty good account of themselves, within the limitations of their kit.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 09:34
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I know that it's nothing like the risk faced by our troops in the desert $hitholes of today, but the last time I was in Incirlik the Americans were frankly appalled at the abysmal lack of kit we had for our aircrew.

Their assessment of our survival kit was that they it was the equivalent of the equipment they went to war in Vietnam with nearly 40 years previously.

Best trained, worst equipped. British forces throughout history. And it simply isn't good enough; Greedy Gordon 'Incapability' Brown needs to put his money where his quivering mouth is.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 09:47
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"Dear Pres(E) Obama,

So sorry to learn that some of your people feel that some of our people haven't been pulling their weight recently. You may wish to take this up with those at the top of our supply chain next time you're in London.

Thanks for the MREs, and best wishes for the future - remember not to stand still for too long.

T. Atkins."
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 09:52
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Originally Posted by GOLF_BRAVO_ZULU View Post
Had they been around our Malaya/Indonesia operations, I think we may have heard the same complaint.
To a point you may be right however in the Basra case we had insufficient resources to execute the Malaya system.

In the Indonesian case, which ended as the Vietnam campaign ramped up, I think there was the same thoughts that we would have done it differently.

I have said it before but, IMHO, since the civil war the US has placed a far greater store on preservation of its men through technical superiority. As patton said, 'make the other dumb bitch die for his country.'
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 11:18
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Notice though that Gates is quite happy with British forces when he calls for more "NATO" troops in Afghanistan and starts looking to the UK to send thousands of more troops as tumbleweed rolls down the corridors in the French or German defence ministries.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 11:59
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The unfortunate thing is that the impression of the British military being less than capable comes out of the same problem that left the American military skulking out of Vietnam to be spat upon by their countrymen... The damned politicians.

The abject failure of elected leaders to chose a course of action and then let the experts get on with it is the root of the problem. Most elected leaders today have no military experience and have no stomach for loss which leads to their misguided attempts to micromanage something they have no business in. Generals shouldn't have to go to politicians to ask for additional troops for a "surge". If it's deemed militarily appropriate and is in accordance with the mission as laid down by the politicians in the first place then the Generals should order the troops into battle and send the bill to the politicians. If equipment is needed to fulfill the mission and keep troops safe it should be acquired and the bill be sent to the politicians... It's up to them to justify the expenditure to the electorate just as it's up to them to justify their decision to send troops into harms way in the first place. As it is they make decisions and then try to manage the situation in a fashion that limits their accountability morally, ethically and fiscally which will always result in bad policy, flawed strategy and, as is the case here, the impression that the military are incapable.

Rant over... My apologies...
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 12:51
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“It's not terminal but it's an important warning to us that if we are going to trade on our military partnership we are going to have to raise our game.”
Warning? WTF?

They only ever wanted other nations troops so they could call it a coalition, so lets just f*ck off and let them get on with creating the unified middle-eastern Shiite enclave by themselves then...
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 14:02
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AA, as well as the lack of stomach to declare total war in the countries we find ourselves in; I dont remember it taking the yanks long to sort out downtown falluja with white phos and AC-130s gunning up downtown.

Different mindset to us completely. But one that does, in the long term, win wars. The politicos would have us wrap our bullets in cotton wool if they could.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 15:23
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Quite happy for them to crack on then. Bring our boys home, it would seem they are no longer welcome 'shoulder to shoulder' with Cleetus, Duane et al.

With their superior grasp of hearts and minds, customs and etiquette, and geo-political manouvering they should have it wrapped up in no time. Either that or they will resort to typ and bomb the locals back to the stone age before declaring a success and withdrawing to [email protected] up some other part of the world.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 15:24
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Different mindset to us completely. But one that does, in the long term, win wars. The politicos would have us wrap our bullets in cotton wool if they could.
I disagree. In the short term it wins battles but in the long term brassing up locals creates hatred and further problems.

Whilst Bush Jr may have famously come out and declared GW2 over as history shows it was far from over and sadly I believe it still has a very long way to go, whether that be in Iraq or elsewhere.

No one is saying force shouldn't be used when required but by comparing Malaya/Indonesia and Vietnam you can quite clearly see that swinging a lump hammer at the problem isn't always the best method at winning a war.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 15:34
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a report circulating at the highest level in the Ministry of Defence
Before having a go at the US, perhaps you'll take more careful note of the authorship of the report.

Why would such a report be generated never mind, apparently, leaked?


As made famous by Watergate, "follow the money."
 
Old 6th Jan 2009, 16:02
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AA, as well as the lack of stomach to declare total war in the countries we find ourselves in; I dont remember it taking the yanks long to sort out downtown falluja with white phos and AC-130s gunning up downtown.

Different mindset to us completely. But one that does, in the long term, win wars. The politicos would have us wrap our bullets in cotton wool if they could
Hmmmm. Have you forgotten the would be female suicide bomber from the Jordan hotel bombings a couple of years ago? When interogated after her bomb failed to explode, she stated that previously she had no religous or idealist views and certainly no malice towards the West.................until the Americans levelled Falluja, killing her brothers and destroying her home.

How many other terrorists were 'born' as a direct result of campaigns such as Falluja?

In answer to the orginal post; as a nation, we should be ashamed of our handling of Basra, but in no way is it he fault of our Armed Forces. We effectively pulled out of the city, allowing the Mahdi (sp?) Army to run riot, raping, pillaging and terrorising whilst we bunkered down at the Airbase. It took the Yanks and dare I say it the Iraqi Army to come down and sort out our mess. This Government should be ashamed. How many or our good people died as they sat there month after month as sitting ducks while they were bombed, mortared and rocketed from inside the city?

Appalling. And unfortunately, our good name as capable soldiers, sailors and airmen has suffered as a direct result.

Shame on you Brown, Browne and the rest of you cretins.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 16:24
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Whilst Bush Jr may have famously come out and declared GW2 over as history shows it was far from over and sadly I believe it still has a very long way to go, whether that be in Iraq or elsewhere.p
Technically he was correct. The conventional forces of Saddam Hussein had been defeated and either captured or had "withdrawn" from battle. There was no cohesive military force remaining in Iraq at a national or even provincial level. The error, if any, in declaring "victory" was the appalling decision to remove all Ba'athists from their positions which served only to put a lot of people with questionable loyalty to "the New Iraq" out of work and thus poor while leaving them with too much time on their hands. It also was an act that succeeded in doing what all the precision bombing that preceded it had, rightfully, failed to do... It destroyed the infrastructure which, in turn, made those with an optimistic view of "The New Iraq" less than happy with their "Liberators".

It's trendy to point the finger at Bush but you have to remember he doesn't come up with all this in a vacuum... Much of what actually takes place begins in the minds of his gaggle of advisors and he makes his decisions on the basis of their "expert" opinion and analysis. The "incredible disappearing WMD's" are a prime example. Bush didn't sit there poring over aerial photos and volumes of intreps... Other people did that and then brought their conclusions to him, (and to his predecessor who believed the reports too and commented publicly on several occasions). His "guilt", if any, lies in his choice of advisors... But then, in the USA, you also need to blame Congress because, over here, many advisory positions undergo a confirmation process by Congress - fail to get the approval of Congress means no appointment.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 16:35
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If you aint got the Gucci, you aint got the Gucci.


My take is along the lines of a speech from General Powell (I think) a number of years ago. To roughly paraphrase, he said while the individuals that comprised the Brit mil were top notch, a qualitative and quantitative review of the kit you have is in dire need.

Put your little wankers away, no slight to your troops. Other than to perhaps those in the top echelons.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 17:06
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I agree with WC. The issue is not the bravery, training or commitment of the UK military. What is at issue is the gross lack of kit provided to your armed forces.

As pointed out on this forum by members of the UK services, this lack of equipment and capability has put your brave men and women at risk of their lives. Is it any wonder that the U.S. military sees the same issues that you do?

Again, this is not a knock on the brave men and women of the UK services. It is a recognition that you have been badly served by your political masters that have failed to provide you with the kit you need to carry out the job they have asked you to do.

TB
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 17:08
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"Put your little wankers away"

What, the Red Arrows?
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