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Old 1 Week Ago   #1021
JMA
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David,

Mike Martin was on SkyNews last night.

I found this book here a while ago and was monitoring the publishing date of May 2014.

Given the slow process of Chilcot I suggest that the Afghanistan enquiry will also be delayed as it will also be a bitter pill for the British military and the British people and coming on the heels of the fiasco in Iraq might just be too hard to take for the nation.



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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Almost laughable MoD performance:

Officialdom said the MoD:

The book, An Intimate War – An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict, 1978-2012., is due to be published next week.

Link:http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2...ok-afghanistan

The author has Kings Ph.D. and is speaking there tomorrow. From the Kings website:

Ex-CDS General Sir David Richards review (yes the CDS and ex-ISAF CO):

Link:http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/department...ds/martin.aspx

Amazon UK:http://www.amazon.co.uk/An-Intimate-.../dp/1849043361

Will this be a British equivalent to Carter Malkasian's book? Time will tell and I might ask for this as a present.
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But I think I have said enough to show that, as the Manual says, while the principles of war remain unchanged, “The tactics and characteristics of the inhabitants and the nature of the theater of operations may necessitate considerable modification in the method” of their application to warfare on the North-West Frontier of India. – Gen Sir Andrew Skeen 1932
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Old 1 Week Ago   #1022
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Default Britain didn't understand the enemy in Helmand

Former Captain Mike Martin and author of a new book has a lengthy comment in The Daily Telegraph:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...n-Helmand.html

Quote:
But we have yet to leave Afghanistan and I believe that it is worth studying our experience there, and in Iraq, while it is fresh in our minds. I would argue that our performance – in terms of achieving our objectives – has been very poor. In the case of Afghanistan, and specifically Helmand Province, where the majority of our forces have been based, we have failed to understand the Helmandis. We have also failed to understand their culture, their history and their motivations.

Most importantly, we have singularly failed to understand the Helmandi conflict. And to paraphrase Clausewitz, the most important thing to do in war is understand what type of war you are fighting. Many non-Helmandis view the violence through the narrative adopted by the international community. According to the “insurgency narrative” widely espoused by Western governments, a legitimate Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), which is recognised and supported by the international community, is violently opposed by a movement of insurgents, called the Taliban, who have sanctuary in Quetta, Pakistan.

Thus, the Taliban are religiously inspired insurgents who are opposed to the democratic and women’s rights that the GIRoA embodies and promotes. But this “insurgency narrative” does not fit with my experiences as an officer. I went to Helmand several times (in and out of uniform), with appropriate gaps between visits for study and reflection, and this analysis seemed further and further from the events that I was observing and participating in. In my view, the Taliban are not the main drivers of conflict; and earlier periods, including the Soviet, the civil war and the Taliban eras, have been similarly misconstrued.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #1023
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David,

While the Brits have their problems coming to terms with the message Mike Martin is conveying in his book the top level of the US military has already accepted it:

Quote:
“We’ve learned some hard lessons over the last 12 years. We went to war without understanding the human domain. We don’t want to make that mistake again.”- General Raymond Odierno

General Raymond Odierno, Army chief of staff, at an Oct. 23 forum on Strategic Land Power at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center. as quoted in Journal article: Conceptualizing Human Domain Management
Someone needs to take the fall for the best-equipped militaries in history being defeated by a group of illiterates wearing flip-flops carrying an AK and a few magazines.

The fault does not lie with the junior ranks and no one should expect a mea culpa from any senior officer, administrator or politician - this is the greatest tragedy of the Afghanistan fiasco.
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But I think I have said enough to show that, as the Manual says, while the principles of war remain unchanged, “The tactics and characteristics of the inhabitants and the nature of the theater of operations may necessitate considerable modification in the method” of their application to warfare on the North-West Frontier of India. – Gen Sir Andrew Skeen 1932
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Old 1 Week Ago   #1024
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Default Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...

Afghans 'Thought UK Troops Worked With Taliban'

Quote:
Former Captain Mike Martin said the clear conflict between British commitment to reconstruction and their actions - the use of firepower - meant the British, in the view of locals, must have been working with their stated enemies.

That British tactics were manifestly inconsistent with their stated aims was proof of a conspiracy was derived from the notion that "the Helmandis could not believe that the British were that stupid".
Little wonder the MoD wants the publication of the book stopped.
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But I think I have said enough to show that, as the Manual says, while the principles of war remain unchanged, “The tactics and characteristics of the inhabitants and the nature of the theater of operations may necessitate considerable modification in the method” of their application to warfare on the North-West Frontier of India. – Gen Sir Andrew Skeen 1932
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Old 1 Week Ago   #1025
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Whatever the rational for the MoD's opposition to publication the resulting publicity is reported to have boosted sales (No.45 on Amazon UK).

A comment by Alexander Alderson who was the author's boss:
Quote:
I read every word of every draft of each chapter....I was very conscious of the Official Secrets Act, I’m satisfied, as someone who holds the very highest security clearance, that there’s absolutely nothing in what he’s saying that transgresses the Official Secrets Act. I don’t think embarrassment and institutional failure is covered by it,
Link:http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/n...n-book-helmand
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Old 5 Days Ago   #1026
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Major Richard Streatfeild - Former British Army Officer on BBC News Channel : HARDtalk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b040w6jq

Quote:
The British military pull out from Afghanistan will soon be completed. Digesting the painful lessons from a 12 year deployment will take a whole lot longer. HARDtalk speaks to Richard Streatfeild, a former infantry officer in Helmand during some of the toughest fighting with the Taliban. Back then he kept an upbeat audio diary of life on the frontline; now he takes a more jaundiced view of Britain's Afghan commitment. Is it time to acknowledge failure?
Streatfeild is the author of the book:

Honourable Warriors: Fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan - A Front-line Account of the British Army's Battle for Helmand

Interesting comment from Streatfeild was that when the British arrived in Helmand they thought they were taking part in an Afghan 'nation building' exercise while the Afghans were sure that the British had returned to revenge the defeat at the Battle of Maiwand of 1880.
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But I think I have said enough to show that, as the Manual says, while the principles of war remain unchanged, “The tactics and characteristics of the inhabitants and the nature of the theater of operations may necessitate considerable modification in the method” of their application to warfare on the North-West Frontier of India. – Gen Sir Andrew Skeen 1932

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Old 4 Days Ago   #1027
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A Kings of War article with David Betz's short opening comment and then is by Mike Martin:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2014/04/an-...demic-freedom/

David Betz:
Quote:
....tells the story of the last thirty-five years of conflict in Helmand Province....this period is often defined through different lenses—the Soviet intervention, the civil war, the Taliban, and the post-2001 nation-building era. Yet, as experienced by local inhabitants, the Helmand conflict is a perennial one, involving the same individuals, families and groups, and driven by the same arguments over land, water and power....It demonstrates how outsiders have most often misunderstood the ongoing struggle in Helmand and how, in doing so, they have exacerbated the conflict, perpetuated it and made it more violent—precisely the opposite of what was intended when their interventions were launched.
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