THE Ministry of Defence has suppressed a report which warned that British troops are facing “strategic defeat” in Afghanistan.
The decision to block publication of the critical academic paper in the army’s in-house journal coincides with a scathing attack by a senior US military officer on the “arrogance” of UK tactics in Iraq.
Colonel Peter Mansoor, who worked closely with General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq until a year ago, said Britain’s political and military leaders had “abdicated responsibility” in Basra by failing to protect local people.
Mansoor’s comments are made in the latest edition of the British Army Review which demands the “brutal truth” about the UK’s shortcomings in guerrilla warfare.
Sir David Richards, the new head of the army, favours a public debate so that lessons can be learnt from previous military mistakes.
However, critics believe that mandarins at the MoD have deliberately been less open to spare the blushes of politicians.
Last Friday Gordon Brown, insisted that Britain’s aims in Afghanistan were “realistic and achievable”, contrary to the warnings of Eric Joyce, who resigned as ministerial aide to Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary.
“The line from Whitehall is that it’s okay to talk about mistakes in Iraq but not helpful to reveal errors in Afghanistan,” said a senior army officer.
“Attempts to censor debate to limit short-term embarrassment for ministers . . . loses wars and gets soldiers killed.”
Although they allowed Mansoor’s article to be used by the British Army Review, defence officials vetted the publication line by line, watered down the editorial and banned three other pieces. One of these was a paper written by David Betz and Anthony Cormack, two academics at the department of war studies at King’s College London, who had extensive access to the military.
In their paper, which had already appeared in an American journal, they predicted Britain would pull out in failure from Basra earlier this year and faced looming defeat in Helmand, Afghanistan.
They wrote: “The plain fact of the matter is that, at the time of writing, it seems entirely possible that Britain will suffer what amounts to a strategic defeat in both its ongoing counter-insurgency campaigns.”
The academics argued that the army has been undermined in Afghanistan because “defence reforms” have geared it up to take part in large-scale battles rather than guerrilla warfare.
Ultimately, they blamed failures to date on the government’s lukewarm commitment and unwillingness to provide sufficient resources.
Betz said he was “disappointed” by the article’s exclusion. “It’s important to learn lessons from Iraq but even more important to learn lessons from what’s happening in Afghanistan and apply them fast while there is still an opportunity of changing things,” he said.
Such views are shared by Richards, who took over leadership of the British Army at the end of August.
General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander in overall charge of allied troops in Afghanistan, has indicated that the military strategy needs to be overhauled. He believes that greater emphasis should be placed on protecting the population and winning hearts and minds rather than killing Taliban insurgents.
It is precisely these tactics that the British Army failed to heed in southern Iraq, according to Mansoor, a retired former chief-of-staff to Petraeus. American forces, by contrast, were able to adapt their strategy, building on their experience on fighting insurgents in Vietnam.
At the end of 2007, British troops completely pulled out of Basra city and tried to cut ill-conceived deals with Shi’ite leaders to maintain the peace.
Mansoor writes: “Rather than protecting the Iraqi people in Basra and thereby insulating them from militia violence and intimidation, British political and military leaders had abdicated responsibility for their security — the exact opposite of what was happening in Baghdad and elsewhere, as US forces were moving off their large forward operating bases to position themselves among the Iraqi people where they lived.”
Failure in Basra was not due to the conduct of British troops, “which was exemplary”, says Mansoor, but rather to “a failure by senior British civilian and military leaders to understand the political dynamics at play in Iraq, compounded by arrogance that led to an unwillingness to learn and adapt”.
New elite force for Helmand
BRITISH military commanders are to be given the use of 900 extra special forces troops as part of a rethink of tactics in Afghanistan, writes Michael Smith.
A new company of 150 elite soldiers will be attached to each of the army’s six frontline “manoeuvre” brigades.
However, the special forces units are likely to be drawn from the brigades’ existing ranks, meaning there will be no increase in the number of British troops in Afghanistan.
The role of the new special forces will be to probe into Taliban-held territory to gain information and provoke responses ahead of operations.
Until now British commanders have had to create ad hoc formations that are disbanded once the brigade returns to its base in the UK or Germany.
The new special forces will be additional to the SAS, Special Boat Service and Special Forces Support Group, who will continue to work with the Americans. Each unit will be known as a Brigade Reconnaissance Force, after a similar but smaller unit already in place with the Royal Marines’ 3 Commando Brigade. They will include specialist forward air controllers to call in airstrikes, artillery and mortar fire controllers, snipers and explosives experts.
Major Gordon Clifford, who will lead the unit for 11 Light Brigade, which will deploy to Helmand next month, said his men will have to operate for long periods in small groups in remote areas. “We will be expected to be the brigade commander’s eyes and ears,” he said.
Of course we are there is spread Freedom and Democray!!! ……..American style it seems.
Of course its just coincidence that the man getting all the fraudulat votes is “OUR” man and an ex-employee of American Oil Companies.
Western Diplomats Confirm ‘Fraud en Masse’ in Afghanistan
Western diplomats tonight are confirming that there was widespread voter fraud in Afghanistan, with most perpetuated on behalf of the campaign of incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Though such reports have been persistant since last month’s vote, the scope of the fraud is sure to surprise even the most hardened skeptic.
For one thing, officials say about 800 polling sites, nearly 15% of the overall number in the election, never actually opened and indeed “existed only on paper.” That didn’t stop the sites from reporting thousands of votes. Unsurprisingly, President Karzai did remarkably well among fictitious voters.
In some provinces officials are also saying that the ballot box stuffing was so severe that President Karzai got 10 times as many votes as there were people who actually voted. Though officials have disqualified 447 stations so far, the number seems to be a drop in the bucket compared to what officials say is “fraud en masse.”
The latest reports are likely to do serious harm to US ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s claims that the Afghan election was a “great success” and that the fraud was the sort of thing that “happens in every democracy.”
BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE MAKING OUT LIKE BANDITS …Obviously NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST here..
Study Shows US Claims Vast Majority of Global Arms Market
According to a new Congressional study the United States claimed the vast majority, 68.4 percent, of all worldwide arms sales last year. With an estimated $37.8 billion in weapons sales in 2008, the US had a tenfold edge over its closest competitor, Italy.
Though the report noted that the overall global arms market had dropped significantly over the past year, which was likely attributed to the global recession, the US saw a significant increase in not only its percentage of the market but in overall sales, as competitors like Russia saw their sales cut dramatically.
The US export trade market has soared in the past decade in the face of international instability. In 2001 the United States exported only $4.5 billion, which at the time was enough to earn it only a close second place behind Russia ($4.9 billion).
Next year looks to be another banner year for US weapons merchants, as the administration has already cleared a $2.1 billion sale to India, roughly double the amount sold there in 2008.
A standing army cannot defeat a guerilla army. Afghanistan is the graveyard of Empires . They did not plan 911 or are they hiding WMD’s and they are NO THREAT to UK or the USA. BUT while we have politions that do not have to fight in the war ,but stand to make loads of money from lobby groups, the war will continue .Even when the politions know its lost. They would rather see a pile of dead bodies than admit THEY where LIARS and only in it for the money! BUT of course it will always be someone elses fault.
Politions would be the first people to sell us all down the river ,if they themselves where threatened, these same people that would expect YOU and ME to fight to the last man ,in the ruins of all we owned.