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No Vietnam But Much To Be Done...  
User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1152 times:

I suppose I'm risking the usual flame-fest here, but John Simpson is one of the world's outstanding international affairs reporters, and is well worth listening to.

Here's his first of a weekly column for the BBC website (presumably put in place to replace the one he used to write for the Sunday Telegraph before the BBC stopped him):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4367897.stm


She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1143 times:

Good article, and you're right - this is likely to turn in to a flame fest - so I'll post early lest I be caught in the middle . . . .

Good article. I was particularly interesting in reading this: that a major international report would suggest that Iraq could see "the biggest corruption scandal in history". I will be curious to see what will happen to Halliburton when all things shake out (I say Halliburton because naturally when one says Corporate scandal in the same breath as Iraq, there is only one answer).

It is no Vietnam, and there are many many things left to accomplished.

I'm sure all the naysayers shall chime in flaming everything possible about the war - and most of those folks will have absolutely no frickin' experience in a uniform. . . Consequently, none (or few) will know or recall that "No operation survives first contact". As soon as the first tank moved past the Line of Departure two years ago everything became fluid and mobile and all plans were then fodder to be re-written over and over.

Things have not gone as planned. . . that said, they have NOT gone as badly as they could have - on all sides.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1128 times:

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 1):
I'm sure all the naysayers shall chime in flaming everything possible about the war - and most of those folks will have absolutely no frickin' experience in a uniform. . .

Well, yes, that's true, but I do think it important that it never becomes a subject that is viewed as off limits simply because people haven't served. The military do serve at the behest of the civilians, and to that end remain accountable to them. Saying "you don't understand, so leave us alone" should never be the response - not that I was suggesting that you were saying that!

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 1):
Things have not gone as planned. . . that said, they have NOT gone as badly as they could have - on all sides.

I agree. I do believe there is some cause for optimism for the future here. Whether people agreed or disagreed with the war in the first place, we are where we are, and it needs to work.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1122 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 2):
Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 1):
I'm sure all the naysayers shall chime in flaming everything possible about the war - and most of those folks will have absolutely no frickin' experience in a uniform. . .

Well, yes, that's true, but I do think it important that it never becomes a subject that is viewed as off limits simply because people haven't served. The military do serve at the behest of the civilians, and to that end remain accountable to them. Saying "you don't understand, so leave us alone" should never be the response - not that I was suggesting that you were saying that!

I don't fault anyone for not serving, their choice. I do think it needs to be compulsory - but that's another thread. I do take mild offense to those that arm-chair General things - seem to know best what should have happened, and aren't on the ground there - myself included . . .

I appreciate the views by those that haven't been in uniform - particularly if phrased in a manner that shows respect to the person(s) in uniform, whether it shows approval for their actions or not.

As an example of types of crap I disapprove of mightily, please see the thread on the Italian Reporter and her dead escort . . . "Trigger Happy Americans" etc.

This Iraqi operation (and Afghanistan as well) could have gone a lot worse, all things considered, and I mean ALL things considered, to date, it's gone fair - or for those in to numbers about a 7 on a 1 to 10 scale. I'm sure I'll be quoted all over the place and called all sorts of things for that comment - c'est la vie . . . have at it girls.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1121 times:

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 3):
I do think it needs to be compulsory - but that's another thread.

As the victim of compulsory military service in a war I neither supported nor believed in, I respectfully disagree. But as you said, another thread.


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 5, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1094 times:
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I actually disagree with compulsory military service. I do think the French were on to something with their compulsory national service where people were obliged to serve somewhere, be it military, police nationale or a civil job.

With all the freedom being handed to people they ought to do something to take ownership in it.

The reason I don't like the idea of compulsory military service is what I learned from the old timers in my 1st unit....the draftees were never, as a group, the equal of volunteers. OUr all volunteer army is the most professional group of soldiers in our history, and we have been very well served by the concept of all volunteer and the volunteers themselves.

Should an all out world war break out, I'll reconsider.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1088 times:

OK, this thread's taken a bit of a turn, but it's interesting enough, so let's go with it.

Interesting that you use the example of the French, DL021. In more recent times, the French view has come around more and more to adopting the British concept of an all-professional, all-volunteer army. To the astonishment of many people in this country (I don't mean this sarcastically either) Chirac came out recently and said that Britain was their model in this regard, and that conscription needed to end.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 5):
Should an all out world war break out, I'll reconsider.

And that's the point really, isn't it? If the UK was genuinely threatened, I'm sure conscription would be considered, but as things stand there is no requirement for it. It remains unlikely that Britain would head into a major conflict alone, and the numbers are more than adequate for a medium sized conflict such as the Falklands (naval strength is another issue, mind).

The heads of the armed forces are horrified by any prospect of conscription being re-introduced. They are extremely proud of their small, but highly effective army. As the Yes, Prime Minister comedy once put it, British officers are the finest leaders of men in NATO. They have hardly any men to lead, and that may have something to do with it...  Wink



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1088 times:

I prefer the all volunteer service myself. But I damn sure prefer that our civilian leaders have some time in uniform. Would be nice to if their sons & daughters were serving -- that seems to be a rare thing with our civilian leaders these days.

User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1086 times:

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 7):
But I damn sure prefer that our civilian leaders have some time in uniform

Why?

I mean that as a serious question. In this country we've never had much of a tradition for the Prime Ministers to have had a military background, and as nation we've not exactly been reticent about getting involved in military matters across the centuries.

Why should the US be different in that regard? Unless the President is a former general, why does it make that much difference?



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1070 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 8):
Why should the US be different in that regard? Unless the President is a former general, why does it make that much difference?

I'll use Clinton as an example. The man had no time in uniform. When he came to power I was working at Andrews AFB on the VIP fleet. It was very evident to me, from personal observation, that he & especially Hillary held the military in low regard though we never/seldom saw that in the news. What was in the news though was that Clinton was having trouble with his Generals and several, correctly, got fired. After the firings the attitude I saw from the White House relaxed, apparently due to the understanding that this was a two way street.

Now from the grunt in the fields point of view with people shooting: I don't need to see the President & the Generals trying to piss on each other. A President who has some military background (he need not be career military)is far more likely to understand the importance of this...

regards


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1068 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 8):
In this country we've never had much of a tradition for the Prime Ministers to have had a military background,

Of all of them, I can only think of the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill who had any kind of serious military rank (General / 1st Sea Lord). I could be wrong.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 11, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1062 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 10):
Of all of them, I can only think of the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill who had any kind of serious military rank (General / 1st Sea Lord). I could be wrong.

They're the two that spring to mind. And of course Wellington was a disaster as PM, complaining that he'd given these chaps their orders and they wanted to sit around and discuss them!



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1061 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 11):
And of course Wellington was a disaster as PM

And led the Tories to their worst general election defeat ever ! HAHA - I knew there was a reason I liked the guy.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13192 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1051 times:

Simpson is always worth watching and reading (he, and the Kurds/US Special Forces he was with, were nearly killed by a USN airstrike, his translator died and as the cameras were running when it happened, Simpson's blood ended up being splattered on the lens).
First correspondent into Kabul in 2001 (he wore a Burka to get into Afghanistan).

The real concern about Iraq, putting aside the legality and the shockingly botched 'make it up as we go along' aftermath, is that unlike under Saddam, Iraq is now a terrorist haven.
After Afghanistan, Al Queda lost it's facilities, much material and quite a few men, AQ was really about putting some cash and training into a large number of disparate Islamic groups, this made them that much more effective.

Since then, many attacks like Bali and Madrid are not AQ per se, rather a mix of those inspired by them from afar, and/or some surviving training camp veterans, though Bali, Casablanca and Madrid were in the former catergory.
Now they have the potential of another country providing facilities, this time without consent, but Iraq is a big place, with some areas still largely controlled by insurgents.

It's no good saying that Saddam provided bounties to Palestinian suicide bombers and comparing it with the set up Bin Laden had, Saddam would never allow Islamists to get a foothold in Iraq, he'd play to the Islamist gallery when it suited, but the Ba'th party in both pre invasion Iraq and still in Syria, are secular (Syria slaughtered Islamists, and their families, after they attempted an uprising in the early 80's).

Pete King, a GOP congressman, said recently that the IRA 'armed struggle' should now end, well when was it legitimate? The 70's, 80's, early 90's?
Did he ever give to NORAID? If so, what is the difference with what Iraq was doing pre invasion, with the Palestinians?
See my point? There is a world of difference with the very limited aid Saddam gave to the Palestinians, with what OBL was doing in Afghanistan pre 2001, with what might still happen in Iraq.


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