Page 39 of 54 FirstFirst ... 29373839404149 ... LastLast
Results 761 to 780 of 1064

Thread: The UK in Afghanistan

  1. #761
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Sir Sherard.

    Anyone seen Robert Fox's review of his book ? Can't find a link but it is worth a read.

    Also Reid didn't take the decision to go into Helmand, he just implemented it, remember he was a political firefighter for Blair, not a member of the inner circle.

  2. #762
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Swansea, Wales, UK.
    Posts
    104

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    You like? Then why not go the whole hog and go for Sandhurst?


    PS: don't worry I'm not a commission based recruiting officer
    By George I'd be daft not to! I'm in the middle of filling out the "How Did You Find Out About This Vacancy" Will JMA suffice or would you rather your full name. I'm considering changing my name to Rupert by deed pole, at a later date because my name is already Tom so I can hold it off for a while.

  3. #763
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TDB View Post
    By George I'd be daft not to! I'm in the middle of filling out the "How Did You Find Out About This Vacancy" Will JMA suffice or would you rather your full name. I'm considering changing my name to Rupert by deed pole, at a later date because my name is already Tom so I can hold it off for a while.
    Just tell them it has been your life's ambition to become a Rupert!



    Note: for our US friends the Brit other ranks generally refer to their officers as "Ruperts" after the character in the children's book of the same name.

  4. #764
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Swansea, Wales, UK.
    Posts
    104

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Just tell them it has been your life's ambition to become a Rupert!



    Note: for our US friends the Brit other ranks generally refer to their officers as "Ruperts" after the character in the children's book of the same name.
    I hope I get to wear those trousers!

  5. #765
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,356

    Default A "kiss and tell" from an ex-ambassador...Part 3

    Another contribution, titled 'Breaking Rank' and sub-titled 'Years of timidity from politicians have left our military commanders dangerously overconfident' by Sherard Cowper-Coles in The Spectator:http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/al...ing-rank.thtml

    Which needs to be read alongside Matthew Cavanagh's earlier article, the author being another "insider", a political adviser in the Labour government:http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/al...-amnesia.thtml

    Both find fault with how the political-military relationship over Afghanistan is out of balance, not only within the "corridors of power", but with the press.

    Similar themes have been found in other posts regarding the situation in the USA, where of course there is a starker, open history of disagreement and sometimes the seemingly abrupt, ruthless decisions of politicians such as Truman and McArthur.
    davidbfpo

  6. #766
    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Currently based in Europe
    Posts
    336

    Default

    Both articles have attracted some comment in the army and (I suspect) are about to attract more.

    There is a perception that senior generals are heavily politicised (small 'p') and are perhaps more focused on telling politicians what they want to hear and not what they should be telling. It is difficult to quantify or qualify the trust of this perception as despite all the leaks, the majority of the battles fought, won or lost in the corridors of power in the Ministry of Defence and Whitehall are not widely known of or discussed.

    My personal experience of the senior civil service in the last few years is that they are increasingly focused on meeting Ministers wishes at the expense of meeting Ministers requirements; I suspect that the same is likely to be true (but to a lesser extent) with generals.

    The quality of strategic advice and the strategic decison making process for the Iraq Campaign was the subject to considerable scrutiny by the ongoing Chilcott Inquiry (due to report this summer). It will be very interesting to see what they say.
    RR

    "War is an option of difficulties"

  7. #767
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by excadet View Post
    Anyone seen Robert Fox's review of his book ? Can't find a link but it is worth a read.
    This one?

    Give the Taliban the reins of power? Let's be serious

  8. #768
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,356

    Default My free speech hero: Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe

    A follow-on article by Toby Harnden:http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/to...ert-thorneloe/

    A few days after his death, however, a Welsh Guards officer who had spoken to Thorneloe shortly before he died met an adviser to David Cameron, then Leader of the Opposition, at the House of Commons. Shortly afterwards, Cameron tore into Gordon Brown at Prime Minister’s Question Time.

    Within a year, most of Thorneloe’s complaints about equipment, manpower and strategy in Helmand had been addressed by the Army.
    davidbfpo

  9. #769
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A follow-on article by Toby Harnden:http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/to...ert-thorneloe/
    David, a number of the issues raised by Thorneloe were discussed here a year or so ago. I remember the status quo being strongly defended at the time while there were just a few questioning voices King, Farrell and others who dared to ask the hard questions.

    With books like Harnden's being published I foresee/anticipate more people retrospectively jumping on the band wagon and agreeing that there were fatal flaws in the operational approach from (in the case of the Brits) 2006. As the countdown to 2014 continues it is less and less likely that any major changes will be made in terms of tours, operational continuity etc etc and we will see more of that Brit characteristic where they "keep calm and carry on" regardless.

    End with an explanation of the current situation from Rommel - he saw it then already:

    General Erwin Rommel famously noted this failing in British commanders during his African campaign: ‘Prejudice against innovation is a typical characteristic of an Officer Corps which has grown up in a well-tried and proven system . . . A military doctrine has been worked out to the last detail and it was now regarded as the summit of all military wisdom. The only military thinking which was acceptable was that which followed standardised rules.’ (Basil Liddell Hart 1987: 203–4).

  10. #770
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,356

    Default Jumping on the band wagon

    A couple of reports to keep this thread "bubbling" as JMA forecast:
    I foresee/anticipate more people retrospectively jumping on the band wagon and agreeing that there were fatal flaws in the operational approach from (in the case of the Brits) 2006.
    Under the headline 'Court martial judge questions prosecution of soldier', a simply bizarre piece of prosecution logic:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...f-soldier.html

    Some pre-publication briefing, found to date only in The Scotsman, on the forthcoming House of Commons Select Committee on Defence's report on Afghanistan, headlined 'MPs carpet Cameron over Afghan war' and a committee IIRC can be accused of 'jumping on the band wagon':http://www.scotsman.com/news/MPs-car...han.6787448.jp
    davidbfpo

  11. #771
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A follow-on article by Toby Harnden:http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/to...ert-thorneloe/
    In the Marine Corps, we have a similar mindset of carrying on despite fewer resources and manpower. It's more institutional though, at the Service level.

    It's easy at times, I think, to lose the ability to discern "carrying on" from "plodding along".

    LtCol Thorneloe no doubt sounds like a gallant leader.

  12. #772
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    18

    Default

    What occurs when we leave Afghanistan, or at least heavily reduce the numbers? What happens when there are no deployments on the horizon because Iraq and Afghanistan have been so damaging to the military and painful to the government that no government will ever send us anywhere else? Bear in mind that the cuts mean our capability will have reduced to such an extent that even if something did crop up, we couldn't deploy even if we wanted to. All the talk is that repeated deployments adversely affect retention, but I'd have to look at that closely and would not apply it to the whole Army. I did Herrick 9 (Sep 08 - Apr 09) and am currently on leave following Herrick 13 (Sep 10 - Apr 11). These were preceded by four or five month training packages which I undertook whilst doing a day job, in the case of prior to Herrick 13 in the still busy Northern Ireland. I'm deploying to another theatre in November for six months minimum, whereupon I'll almost certainly go back for another six to Afghanistan before mid 2013. This is the kind of schedule that commentators say is driving people out of the forces and I have to say that were I an infanteer or in significant danger day in day out, it probably would. But I can see the alternative on the horizon, which is no deployments, no reason to get up in the morning and no work to do. If this were the case now, I as full screw in the J2 world would have a choice of probably four locations where my working week would not be a profound waste of time. If and when it comes about, that will push me out of the forces.

    So basically can we please have another Balkan skirmish and I can deploy to Split or Dubrovnik? Pleeeeeaaaaase?

  13. #773
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Calcutta, India
    Posts
    1,124

    Default

    Just a question.

    In the Indian Army, the Infantry units (we operate as units, and the personnel are permanent), the operational tenure (Line of Control/ COIN [we call it Counter Terrorist or CT]) is three years and peace and training tenure two to three years. The cycle repeats. It causes great emotional, psychological, education of children and other domestic problems.

    Does repeated deployment seriously affect the retention of personnel in the Army wherein soldiers opt out?

    We do not have this opting out problem since there is no such avenues, but the intake has gone down in the officers cadre and there is a shortfall of 12000 officers.
    Last edited by Ray; 06-20-2011 at 04:52 PM.

  14. #774
    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Currently based in Europe
    Posts
    336

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    With books like Harnden's being published I foresee/anticipate more people retrospectively jumping on the band wagon and agreeing that there were fatal flaws in the operational approach from (in the case of the Brits) 2006. As the countdown to 2014 continues it is less and less likely that any major changes will be made in terms of tours, operational continuity etc etc and we will see more of that Brit characteristic where they "keep calm and carry on" regardless.
    I think it is widely agreed that the British approach in Afghanistan until 2009/10 was sub-optimal. The issue is that there are good arguments as to why the UK and the Army in particular sought to do things the way it did. I happen to disagree with many of them, but that is not to say that there was not a logic behind what happened.

    As the Afghan campaign enters Transition and towards an exit I suspect that there will be more willingness to make changes to tour lengths, operational continuity etc, not least because they make more efficient use of resources and the UK is very short of resources.
    RR

    "War is an option of difficulties"

  15. #775
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post
    I think it is widely agreed that the British approach in Afghanistan until 2009/10 was sub-optimal. The issue is that there are good arguments as to why the UK and the Army in particular sought to do things the way it did. I happen to disagree with many of them, but that is not to say that there was not a logic behind what happened.

    As the Afghan campaign enters Transition and towards an exit I suspect that there will be more willingness to make changes to tour lengths, operational continuity etc, not least because they make more efficient use of resources and the UK is very short of resources.
    I would indeed be happy to be proved wrong by seeing some late stage innovation by the Brits through to 2014 and beyond. Certainly if there is to be a training commitment beyond 2014 the foundations need to be put in place now (and not tomorrow).

    I notice with sadness a sudden spike in Brit KIA and wonder if that will be as a result of the new "fighting season" or what.

    We have discussed the issue of tour lengths here and I wonder whether there has been any movement on the official side?

    I am half way through Anthony Beevor's book D-Day and remain amazed that so many of the lessons learned there have been forgotten. For another discussion some other time then.

  16. #776
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A couple of reports to keep this thread "bubbling" as JMA forecast:

    Under the headline 'Court martial judge questions prosecution of soldier', a simply bizarre piece of prosecution logic:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...f-soldier.html
    It seems too bizarre to be true (even for the Brit system). Maybe there is more to it than meets the eye?

    A little like this report of 2010? - Royal Marine 'beat Afghan prisoner with a Wellington boot'

    Some pre-publication briefing, found to date only in The Scotsman, on the forthcoming House of Commons Select Committee on Defence's report on Afghanistan, headlined 'MPs carpet Cameron over Afghan war' and a committee IIRC can be accused of 'jumping on the band wagon':http://www.scotsman.com/news/MPs-car...han.6787448.jp
    There is something inherently healthy about the Brit system of producing such reports (including the Bloody Sunday one). I certainly hope that they produce a report without fear or favour.

  17. #777
    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Currently based in Europe
    Posts
    336

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    It seems too bizarre to be true (even for the Brit system). Maybe there is more to it than meets the eye?

    There is something inherently healthy about the Brit system of producing such reports (including the Bloody Sunday one). I certainly hope that they produce a report without fear or favour.
    The report on the cout martial does sound too bizarre to be true. As in at least one case in Iraq a prosecution was sought by the MOD in order to clarify legal issues and ensure that the Army was seen to be not above the law and whiter then white.

    The report should make interesting reading. I have not heard of any UK analysis of the British effort in Afghanistan (although by this stage in the Iraq campaign two internal analysis had been produced and a third was in the making).

    I would suspect that any training commitment by the UK to Afghanistan will be met by longer tours on a trickle basis, this is certainly the case for Iraq.
    RR

    "War is an option of difficulties"

  18. #778
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,356

    Default May fit here?

    Once again The Scotsman runs a story not seen so far elsewhere in my AM reading:
    A clearly angered Mr Cameron yesterday said: "Sometimes I wake up in the morning and read the newspapers and want to tell them 'You do the fighting and I'll do the talking.

    (Later)Mr Cameron insisted that Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards and Admiral Stanhope, who was hauled into Number 10 for his comments last week, are "absolutely clear that we are able to keep up this mission for as long as is necessary".
    Link:http://www.scotsman.com/news/39You-d...?articlepage=1

    The phrase 'this mission' refers to Libya.

    I am not versed in UK public expenditure ways, but an insider last week explained there are rules on who funds unexpected spending like Libya, generally the MoD bills the Treasury for extra cash. Indications are that the Treasury has abrogated this rule, so any unexpected spending will impact current spedning and so more cuts are needed. Makes you proud! Not.

    Updated early PM. There is wider coverage of this reported civil-military spat and a forthcoming BBC TV documentary is likley to raise the issues again; headline:
    Head of British Army questions deadline for Afghan troop withdrawal
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...ithdrawal.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-22-2011 at 01:39 PM. Reason: Add last link and sentence
    davidbfpo

  19. #779
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post
    I think it is widely agreed that the British approach in Afghanistan until 2009/10 was sub-optimal. The issue is that there are good arguments as to why the UK and the Army in particular sought to do things the way it did. I happen to disagree with many of them, but that is not to say that there was not a logic behind what happened.
    Does that infer that there is the belief that operational efficiency after 2010 has improved?
    Last edited by JMA; 06-23-2011 at 07:21 AM.

  20. #780
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,356

    Default Afghanistan: War without End

    The BBC's Panorama reporter, John Ware, weighed last night with an hour long documentary on the UK in Afghanistan from 2001 to today, notably over why we deployed in 2006 to Helmand Province. Amongst the "talking heads" were two civil planners who advised against deployment and were over-ruled; the programme is worth watching for just them alone IMHO.

    In fact, the Joint UK Plan for Helmand shows precisely the reverse - in particular just how little was known about the complex dynamics of Helmand's tribal, criminal, religious and political factions.

    And the military intelligence assessment failed to anticipate the scale or speed of the violent response from Taliban and other anti-British forces
    .
    What is puzzling is the decision to deploy beyond the original focus, Lashkar Gar, to the four centres in the north and the political recollection it was not their decision. Now a matter before the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence's current hearings on Afghanistan.

    Link to summary:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13855804 and added later, see next post for link to programme available outside the UK.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-23-2011 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Add sentence
    davidbfpo

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •