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Politics In the Rear National will and developments back home for the intervening nations.

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Old 07-03-2011   #1
davidbfpo
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Default War dead are sneaked out of the back gate

The full title is 'As Dave 'does the talking', war dead are sneaked out of the back gate', a polemical article by Peter Hitchens, on the decision to move the dead from Afghanistan upon landing at RAF Brize Norton to a reception hospital without passing through a village and leaving the base via a rear gate. In the hope public respect will not occur under public and TV cameras gaze.

Referring to David Cameron:
Quote:
..he’d much rather the public scenes of grief and remembrance in that place had never happened, and that nobody noticed the frequent deaths his weakness and political cowardice are causing.

In the same way, the Defence Ministry has almost completely succeeded in covering up the appalling numbers of men who have been gravely injured in Afghanistan because the Government hasn’t the guts to quit this meaningless war. We hardly ever see them.
(My understanding is that severely injured, if not disabled, are eight times those with fatal injuries).

Quote:
The official version is that the families of the dead will be using a new ‘Repatriation Centre’ at Brize Norton, and that it is near the back gate. Routing the hearses through the base might disrupt its normal operations.

(Citing the MoD Minister)The side gate was seen by the Ministry of Defence and the police as the most appropriate way to take out future corteges. I am not sure taking coffins in hearses past schools, past families, past married quarters is necessarily the thing that everybody would wish to see .  .  . the focus must be on the families of the dead service personnel. They are the people who care most. That is where our focus is.
Link:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/ar...#ixzz1R2EQPudZ

For some months it has been known the respect shown - familiar in newsreel, with larger crowds each time it appears - in Wootton Bassett, a small village near RAF Lyneham, would end. Hopefully the attachments will show that!

I have a recollection that US war dead, from Iraq, upon arrival at Bangor, Maine, were not photographed aboard the aircraft at one point and there was a controversy over someone taking such photos.

The Canadian response has been different, based on viewing amazing You Tube segments as corteges move along highways; I've also seen similar footage in the USA.

In my experience of three local military funerals, different from original reception I know, there was a very small public presence, partly as the funerals are rarely public events, even if say the Queen's local representative and civil figures attended.
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Old 07-03-2011   #2
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
I have a recollection that US war dead, from Iraq, upon arrival at Bangor, Maine, were not photographed aboard the aircraft at one point and there was a controversy over someone taking such photos.
For the better part of the [George W.] Bush administration an already-on-the-books policy prohibiting photographs of returning war dead was enforced; the policy was rescinded in 2009.

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The Canadian response has been different, based on viewing amazing You Tube segments as corteges move along highways; I've also seen similar footage in the USA.
I spent several days in Simcoe County in the summer of 2009 and the CF’s involvement in Afghanistan was noticeably front-and-center in public consciousness as compared to what I was accustomed to in the States.
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Last edited by ganulv; 07-03-2011 at 01:38 PM. Reason: typo fix
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Old 07-12-2011   #3
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Default The terrible price that is paid by the forgotten casualties of war

In the opening post I stated:
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My understanding is that severely injured, if not disabled, are eight times those with fatal injuries.
Note the cited source was written In August 2009 as we reached:
Quote:
..the 200th British military death in Afghanistan...

A much more telling statistic than the number of dead is the number of wounded. Even more important than this is the number of severely wounded men and women and the startling ratio of wounded to dead. In the second world war the ratio of dead to wounded was 1:4. During the Vietnam war there were 15 wounded men for every American fatality in theatre. In Afghanistan and Iraq the ratio for British and American troops is between 1:30 and 1:40.

Today, in Afghanistan, a significant proportion of our wounded soldiers are so-called ‘tier-four’ casualties. That essentially means they have suffered such a combination of catastrophic wounds, say loss of limbs and brain damage, that they would not have survived in any previous war.

For every 30 wounded casualties there is an average of seven men with tier-four injuries. There may already be between 2,000 and 3,000 soldiers grievously wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan who are in this tier-four category.
Comparisons are also made:
Quote:
...a lower death rate than the conflict in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1977, and obviously at a much lower rate than in the Falklands war where 250 British servicemen died in three months. (We tend to forget that the IRA killed 146 members of British security forces in 1972 alone..
Link:http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/al...s-of-war.thtml

Perhaps here in the Uk care has dramatically changed, in hospitals and outside. As Scots say "I'ave me doubts".
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Old 07-12-2011   #4
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Default Medicine has improved quite a bit over the past three decades

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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
In the opening post I stated:

Note the cited source was written In August 2009 as we reached:

Comparisons are also made:

Quote:
Quote:
...a lower death rate than the conflict in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1977, and obviously at a much lower rate than in the Falklands war where 250 British servicemen died in three months. (We tend to forget that the IRA killed 146 members of British security forces in 1972 alone..
Link:http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/al...s-of-war.thtml

Perhaps here in the Uk care has dramatically changed, in hospitals and outside. As Scots say "I'ave me doubts".
but those comparisons seem like apples and oranges to me. IRA snipers were in a good position to kill with precision whereas Taliban IEDs are in a good position to bring about loss of limb and sight and to cause brain damage via their shock waves. And I would assume that the length of the ISAF engagement has resulted in improvement of infrastructure and routinization conducive to a level of response not possible over the much shorter course of the Falklands War.

It would be interesting to see a well-designed study investigating some of these issues. Does anyone know if there has been such an effort?
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Old 07-13-2011   #5
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but those comparisons seem like apples and oranges to me. IRA snipers were in a good position to kill with precision whereas Taliban IEDs are in a good position to bring about loss of limb and sight and to cause brain damage via their shock waves. And I would assume that the length of the ISAF engagement has resulted in improvement of infrastructure and routinization conducive to a level of response not possible over the much shorter course of the Falklands War.

It would be interesting to see a well-designed study investigating some of these issues. Does anyone know if there has been such an effort?
IRA snipers are mostly a misnomer, most shoots were at relatively close range. By far the most dangerous weapon in NI was the IED from the 1980s onwards.

What has significantly improved survival rates in Afghanistan is the amount of protection afforded to the individual (body armour) and significantly improved treatment capabilities at every stage of the process. Units deploying to Afghanistan aim to have at least 1 in 2 (and preferably everyone) personnel trained as a team medic. Every patrol is accompagnied by a combat medical technician (mostly of paramedic grade) and in the event of a casualty our MEDEVAC and CASEVAC capabilities are significant. On arrival at hospital they are into one of the best truama centres in the world and from there can be dispatched to the best centre to cope with their particular injuries.

In the Falklands our tolerance of risk was much greater, so less body armour and while the medical chain was world class for its time it was nothing like what we have now.

The situation in AFG is very much more like that in N Ireland in terms of the development of medical TTPs and capabilities and attitude towards risk.
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Old 07-14-2011   #6
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What has significantly improved survival rates in Afghanistan is the amount of protection afforded to the individual (body armour) and significantly improved treatment capabilities at every stage of the process. Units deploying to Afghanistan aim to have at least 1 in 2 (and preferably everyone) personnel trained as a team medic. Every patrol is accompagnied by a combat medical technician (mostly of paramedic grade) and in the event of a casualty our MEDEVAC and CASEVAC capabilities are significant. On arrival at hospital they are into one of the best truama centres in the world and from there can be dispatched to the best centre to cope with their particular injuries.

In the Falklands our tolerance of risk was much greater, so less body armour and while the medical chain was world class for its time it was nothing like what we have now.

The situation in AFG is very much more like that in N Ireland in terms of the development of medical TTPs and capabilities and attitude towards risk.
I am glad the Brit army have (finally) got on top of their game in this regard. Back on 6 September 2006 Cpl Wright (later died of wounds) and Sgt Pearson (both of 3 Para) were injured in an unmarked Soviet minefield near Kajaki waited 3 and a half hours for CASEVAC and when it came it was from the US forces who winched their (brave beyond belief) medic down into the minefield to effect the CASEVAC. So the Brits have come a long way since.

I remember being shocked at the time of the Falklands that compared to what we (RLI) had got to (after a steep learning curve from 1972-80) that the Brits were still virtually at the one first field dressing per man level. The South Africans were not much better I might add relying rather on a speedy CASEVAC system (but forgetting in the most serious cases it is the first minutes and seconds that count - that being one of the training problems of a conscript army where you need to squeeze as much operational time out of their service).
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Old 07-14-2011   #7
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Default SADF casevac

JMA, I disagree with your comment that “The South Africans were not much better...” Each of us carried our own shock pack and our medics were incredibly well trained.

In the early stages of our war, we were definitely unprepared and at that stage, we may not have been any better but as the war progressed, we got better at our medical response. Most heli-casevacs I know of had a doctor on board who took over from the medics.

Yes, we prided ourselves on speedy casevac but we knew that the first few minutes are crucial.
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Old 07-14-2011   #8
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JMA, I disagree with your comment that “The South Africans were not much better...” Each of us carried our own shock pack and our medics were incredibly well trained.

In the early stages of our war, we were definitely unprepared and at that stage, we may not have been any better but as the war progressed, we got better at our medical response. Most heli-casevacs I know of had a doctor on board who took over from the medics.

Yes, we prided ourselves on speedy casevac but we knew that the first few minutes are crucial.
My issue is not with the medical corps personnel.

Its really all comparative isn't it (and depends on the unit). There is no comparison between a medic National Serviceman who does a couple of "bushtrips" in SWA/Angola (during his two years of conscription) and a regular soldier who has been around for 3, 4, 5 years? Having served in 1 Para (1981/2) I had to push the limits of medical training for all troopies by arranging training under a (ex-Brit, ex-Rhodie) sergeant-major medic out of camp (and incorporated in battle camp training) to get all troopies to put drips into each other and give each other jabs. Mine was the only company up till then that did so. Even then there was not enough practice to be sure any/all of the troopies could be relied upon to perform in a contact if needed but it was a psychological boost to believe your buddy (theoretically at any rate) had the ability to get you through the ABCDDE if you needed it... and the CASEVAC system was excellent and the pilots landed close in and under fire if necessary to get the wounded out.

I suggest that it is important that we accept that we could have/should have done better (in this and other regards). The Brits could still do better, the SADF could have done better and so could have the RLI. We lost some troopies then who probably could have been saved... and that remains a tragedy.
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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 08-27-2011   #9
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Default Reflections on respect

A half hour BBC documentary on Wootton Bassett:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0147xdt

Having watched the documentary it has previously unseen and unreported - nationally - footage of respect shown along the route beyond the village.

There is an IPlayer link, so it maybe available across the water.

Carterton, the village near the RAF base where the dead will arrive, starting next month, is likely to replicate the respect shown:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...tion-base.html and: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...-soldiers.html

Yes, quite different to the article that appeared at the beginning of this thread, with the title 'War dead are sneaked out of the back gate'.
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Old 08-28-2011   #10
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A half hour BBC documentary on Wootton Bassett:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0147xdt

Having watched the documentary it has previously unseen and unreported - nationally - footage of respect shown along the route beyond the village.

There is an IPlayer link, so it maybe available across the water.
Sadly, not available in the colonies David. Have to keep an eye out on YouTube for its posting there by some thoughtful soul.
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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 01-01-2013   #11
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Default Remembering

A BBC story, with photos and commentary on Royal Wootton Bassett; told well and almost bought a tear to my eyes:
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The coffins of 355 fallen military personnel passed through Wootton Bassett between spring 2007 and summer 2011. Close to RAF Lyneham where the bodies were repatriated, the High Street became a focal point for families and friends of the deceased.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20743952

The guest editor on the original radio programme is a well known comedian, Al Murray, but his actual remarks are not readily found.

As a postscript:
Quote:
....438 deaths among British personnel in Afghanistan since 2001.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20876101

Quote:
There has not been a British fatality for more than a month in Helmand. In part, it can be explained by the quieter winter - the insurgency is at its most deadly during the hot summer months. But it also reflects the changing role of the British military as they prepare to pull out.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20875497
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