Huge scandal brewing in UK


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agricola
October 12, 2006, 07:37 PM
Dont know if this has managed to cross the pond yet, but the Chief of the General Staff of the British Army has made some very, very damaging and almost unprecedented (I cannot recall the like) comments about the nature of UK involvement in Iraq:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6046332.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1921346,00.html

The story was actually broke in the staunchly Conservative Daily Mail,l for those of you who dislike the BBC and Guardian:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=410163&in_page_id=1770&ico=Homepage&icl=TabModule&icc=NEWS&ct=5

He is probably reflecting the (widespread) concerns held across the MoD (and indeed, throughout the Foriegn Office and Security Services) which have, until now, escaped only in briefings and leaks. One wonders how the PM will deal with this....

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Boats
October 12, 2006, 07:58 PM
What is the scandal? I read the story and all I see is a career soldier forgetting his duty.

Or do you not have civil oversight of the Army in Britain? Blair, if he has the power, should be sacking this boob forthwith. General Sir Richard Dannatt should also be stripped of his peerage if at all possible as he has managed to do little but provide aid and comfort to the forces arrayed against UK in Iraq and sends the message to the Taliban in Afghanistan that if they turn up the heat, there are quitters on call at the MoD.

Helmetcase
October 12, 2006, 08:09 PM
I dunno, what's the standard in the UK? Are sitting generals not allowed to voice policy opinions?

Seems he's just saying what we all already know--the military has done what it can, and we're only enabling the Iraqis to continue their failure to build a real govt--much the same way continued welfare keeps people from working. We're a crutch for a failed govt, and that's a laughable policy and not a just reason to see more young men get killed. We lack a clear, obtainable objective and that's a recipe for disaster.

Soldiers have a job--that job is to kill the enemy, not be welfare for poor govts.


he has managed to do little but provide aid and comfort to the forces arrayed against UK in Iraq and sends the message to the Taliban in Afghanistan that if they turn up the heat, there are quitters on call at the MoD.
I for one am quite tired of this fallacious argument. Even if we achieved "victory"--which is an interesting concept, just what would victory constitute anyway?--there'll still be bad guys who hate us, who'll shoot AKs in the air, and who'll celebrate the downfall of the great western Satan. Look at what happened in Lebanon--the Israelis trounced them, and then after they left Hesbollah declared victory and paraded through the streets. They're gonna end up doing that no matter what we do, you may as well sack up and get used to the idea.

The interesting mistake you're making is that the forces arrayed against the UK and the US--both Sunni insurgents and foreign AQ fighters--have made it quite clear that us STAYING THERE is in their best interests! The aid and comfort they're seeking comes from the boobs who suggest we should "stay the course" indefinitely. They gain from having the conflict be protracted and unending. When we leave, the Shiites take over, get down to business, and squash them. We have AQ on tape and in print saying that they're praying that we stay and don't leave. A interminable, lengthy engagement by the West is their goal. They don't want us to leave, they want us to keep bogging ourselves down there and fueling anti-Western sentiment. They don't find the fact that both our generals and the UK's generals are starting to call for us to wrap this up.

Afghanistan is a different story--the govt and the indigenous folks actually want us there.

Lookee here: no scandal, but even a bipartisan committee headed up by James Baker is saying "it's time to redeploy our boys." I wonder if anybody's listening... (http://www.nysun.com/article/41371?page_no=1)

Boats
October 12, 2006, 08:22 PM
I'm making a mistake?

You're giving credence to the statements of terrorists. I'm sure, all things being equal, they'd like to not be actively hunted, but then again, I have never had the intoxicating pleasure of being pursued full time by the US Armed Forces or NATO, so maybe I am just missing the thrill.

Point is I think that were they strapped to lie detectors, they'd much rather we leave so that they might do as they please with Western retaliation turned back into an abstract problem.

I was part of a force that stayed the course for almost fifty years against the Soviet Union. We have been in Germany and Japan since 1945, Korea since 1950. It is too bad that our touchy-feely boomer military leaders can't or won't show some fortitude and quit replaying Vietnam in their fevered dreams.

Helmetcase
October 12, 2006, 08:50 PM
I'm making a mistake?
Yes. The AQ agents in Iraq and the Sunni insurgents don't want us to leave.

You're giving credence to the statements of terrorists.
Not really. The Sunnis don't have any reason for us to want to leave--if we weren't there, the Shiites would be unleashed and they're gonna take a beating. And if you're a foreign AQ type, and you rather fancy having a Western occupier to rail against, having us leave isn't much comfort, is it?

They want us there to help fuel their twisted movement.

I'm sure, all things being equal, they'd like to not be actively hunted, but then again, I have never had the intoxicating pleasure of being pursued full time by the US Armed Forces or NATO, so maybe I am just missing the thrill.
Eh, when you're talking about people who are willing to die for their "cause", I don't think us hunting them is something they're really all that worried about. If they didn't want a confrontation with us, they could just drop their arms, quit making IEDs, and leave. They're not doing that, so I think we can dispense with your argument here. If anything, they're getting stronger thanks to our efforts--read the NIE much?

I was part of a force that stayed the course for almost fifty years against the Soviet Union. We have been in Germany and Japan since 1945, Korea since 1950.
I commend your efforts, but different conflict, different enemy, different time. We weren't an unwelcomed occupier in Germany and Japan; we experienced virtually no casualties from enemy fire in either of those countries post-1945. The Cold War was, well...a cold war, not an occupation of an Arab country by force.

It is too bad that our touchy-feely boomer military leaders can't or won't show some fortitude and quit replaying Vietnam in their fevered dreams.
Unpack that statement. Fortitude? What would constitute fortitude? What would you have us do that we're not doing?

You hear soundbites like that a lot--not much behind them too often.

JohnBT
October 12, 2006, 08:57 PM
Looks like what I'd call a political squabble, not a huge scandal.

Then again, I didn't think the Profumo Affair was a scandal either.

John

XLMiguel
October 12, 2006, 09:04 PM
Hit the nightly national news here tonight. Not a career-enhancing move for that general, IMO.

Atticus
October 12, 2006, 09:20 PM
I hate to say it, but I think the situation in Iraq IS turning into another Vietnam...or a cross between Vietnam and a turf war between the Crips and Bloods. The top Brass know it, and they want to start getting out or start throwing loads of money and troops at it. Can you say draft? It will be seriously debated if we are there two years from now. The people we went in to liberate ARE the so called 'terrorists' now. The Shiites and Sunnis are still ticked off about events that occurred a thousand years ago...how do you think they feel about the people who tortured and killed their families 5 years ago? I think we're going to hear much more of this talk from US and UK military commanders in the next few months.

Jim K
October 12, 2006, 09:49 PM
"We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them on the landing grounds...we shall never surrender, or at least not unless they make it a little uncomfortable for us, then we will turn our guns in to be destroyed and run like hell."

That is what Winston Churchill said, isn't it? Or was it Montgomery?

Jim

Helmetcase
October 12, 2006, 09:58 PM
I hate to say it, but I think the situation in Iraq IS turning into another Vietnam...or a cross between Vietnam and a turf war between the Crips and Bloods. The top Brass know it, and they want to start getting out or start throwing loads of money and troops at it. Can you say draft? It will be seriously debated if we are there two years from now.
We are at that do it or don't stage, aren't we? I mean...when they write the postmortem on this thing, it'll be clear that we didn't adequately plan for the post war period, and we probably didn't bring enough troops--heck, a lot of the generals are saying that. We need more manpower to really keep a lid on things, and that's just not feasible sans draft.

Two years from now? Man. Last weekend on ABC on Sunday morning, George Will said that there'll be 130K fewer troops in Iraq in 2008, or there'll be 125 fewer Republicans in Washington. Take your pick.

Atticus
October 12, 2006, 10:03 PM
Jim -It's a good thing that Churchill was actually able to identify the ememy instead of using generics for locals like 'terrorist' and 'insurgent'. Otherwise, we'd still be in Europe shooting Norwegians and calling them Nazis.

Boats
October 12, 2006, 10:05 PM
I'll take a 125 fewer Republicans in Washington then. Such a circumstance might finally force the Democratic Party into growing up about national security issues.

Odds would be that they would fail, and bugger it up even worse, as there is not a Truman, Jackson, or Nunn among them, and soon enough, the Democrats would return to their richly earned rump status.

Atticus
October 12, 2006, 10:15 PM
Very true Boats. Unfortunately, now (and for a decade to come) they can conveniently lay just about anything on the Bush administration.

Iraq in a nutshell -
"Small miseries, like small debts, hit us in so many places, and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they want in weight, they make up in number, and render it less hazardous to stand the fire of one cannon ball, than a volley composed of such a shower of bullets."
Rudyard Kipling

carlrodd
October 12, 2006, 11:04 PM
i assume the UK has the standards that we do....meaning that military personnel are expected to refrain from making public statements about policy....the job of the military's civilian leaders. has anyone else noticed the growing instances of retired senior miliatry personnel seeking out celebrity by typically coming out in criticism of whatever the current military policy happens to be? has it always been this way? and so now it spreads into active military personnel? this guy's behaviour is completely unnacceptable. it will say an awful lot about the british government after we see how they deal with this. his commission should be revoked. nothing worse than a should-be warrior trying to be a politician. imagine the effect this will have on those troops beneath him....wholly negative.

armedandsafe
October 12, 2006, 11:07 PM
we experienced virtually no casualties from enemy fire in either of those countries post-1945.

I will accept that statement only because you said "virtually," as in "let's pretend."

Pops

Helmetcase
October 12, 2006, 11:08 PM
I guess; frankly the "Dems won't do any better and don't have a better solution" argument is equally tired. Even if it were true, it's not a convincing reason to support our current policy--beating up your opponent because he doesn't have a bumpersticker solution for an unsolvable problem that YOU created isn't good politics.

What would "worse" really entail, anyway? According to the NIE we're making terrorists faster than we're eliminating them, we're the only thing stopping a civil war from happening, and nobody wants to help us. Even if we're "right", with us on the other side of the argument most other countries don't mind being "wrong." Our national prestige is being lowered and we're not getting closer to a solution, only further from one.

The GOP wants us to think our choices are "stay the course" or "cut and run." They're ignoring the third option, which is redeploy to Kurdish controlled areas and protect them, and force the Shiites off our welfare teat and make them actually have to develop a functioning govt.

I will accept that statement only because you said "virtually," as in "let's pretend."
No, as in essentially zero.

We've had about 25000 enemy fire induced casualties in Iraq. How many did we have in the reconstruction years following V-J and V-E days? If it's even 0.001% of what we've had in Iraq, I'd be surprised.

Newsflash--we haven't been involved in war or conflict in either of those countries since 1945. The idea that you can compare the reconstruction of either of those countries to Iraq smells like yesterday's diapers.

Atticus
October 12, 2006, 11:12 PM
"has anyone else noticed the growing instances of retired senior miliatry personnel seeking out celebrity by typically coming out in criticism of whatever the current military policy happens to be? has it always been this way?"

No it hasn't. Do you think they just MIGHT really be trying to make a point about something important...and that no one in civilian leadership positions is listening? It's funny how these guys were/are the best men to lead our troops the day before they speak out against the status quo.

Have you checked the news lately? This story is there now. There is also news that the Pentagon 'might' need to make some adjustments to the Iraq plan.

Helmetcase
October 12, 2006, 11:18 PM
That might be telling us something--given the fact that our own Gen. Abizaid has said that Murtha is essentially correct and it's time to get out, and that we have generals in the UK saying the same thing...the fact that these military leaders are taking the drastic step of speaking against our policy might just maybe be a hint it's time for a little political introspection.

carlrodd
October 12, 2006, 11:20 PM
No it hasn't. Do you think they just MIGHT really be trying to make a point about something important...and that no one in civilian leadership positions is listening? It's funny how these guys were/are the best men to lead our troops the day before they speak out against the status quo.

Have you checked the news lately? This story is there now. There is also news that the Pentagon 'might' need to make some adjustments to the Iraq plan.-Atticus

i didn't assert that this man, or any other senior military person knows nothing about what the actual situation is in iraq, or in any other theater of war. what i said is that it is not their place to speak about it publicly, unless of course they were ordered to do so by civilian leadership. if ANY active military personnel have grave concerns, or serious criticisms, there is a chain of command within which they can properly voice those concerns.

Atticus
October 12, 2006, 11:34 PM
I understand fully what you are saying. That is why this situation is even more striking.

Standing Wolf
October 12, 2006, 11:55 PM
Ah, land wars in Asia!

mons meg
October 12, 2006, 11:58 PM
The GOP wants us to think our choices are "stay the course" or "cut and run." They're ignoring the third option, which is redeploy to Kurdish controlled areas and protect them, and force the Shiites off our welfare teat and make them actually have to develop a functioning govt.

Well, we might as well come home then, since by all accounts the Kurds don't need us.

MatthewVanitas
October 13, 2006, 12:05 AM
We weren't an unwelcomed occupier in Germany and Japan; we experienced virtually no casualties from enemy fire in either of those countries post-1945.

A decent number of servicemen were schwacked in Germany, Greece, and Italy by various terrorist organizations throughout the 1950s-1980s. Do those not figure into the argument?

-MV

Tim James
October 13, 2006, 12:21 AM
What did President Bush know, and when did he know it?

Boats
October 13, 2006, 12:28 AM
UK combat deaths in Iraq are running less than 130 squaddies. So much for the British stiff upper lip--it's definitely quivering right now.

I am sure just about every dead General of the Army in UK military cemeteries is spinning in his grave about the pusillanimity of his successor.

That it takes fewer than seven score casualties to make the modern Redcoats want to bugle Retreat is a more grave sign for the future of Britain than anything else Brave Sir Robin, er Richard would care to cite.

Headless Thompson Gunner
October 13, 2006, 12:38 AM
Has anyone stopped to consider that a General's job is not to blather on with his own personal opinions, but rather to implement the opinions and desires of the elected government?

Even if the war in Iraq is going poorly for us (a point which I do not concede), the General isn't supposed to whine about it, he's supposed to fix it.

Regardless of whether he's right or wrong about Iraq, I sincerely hope that this General enjoys an sudden early retirement.

Tommygunn
October 13, 2006, 01:19 AM
We've had about 25000 enemy fire induced casualties in Iraq. How many did we have in the reconstruction years following V-J and V-E days? If it's even 0.001% of what we've had in Iraq, I'd be surprised

Let's see: 25,000 X 0.001% = .25

How do you have 1/4th of a casualty?
Are all your other statements as well considered?
We did loose people in post V-E day Europe. You might want to find out what the "Werewolves" were in postwar Germany.
We call them insurgents, today.
I have no idea how many Allied soldiers they killed, but consider they also went after town mayors and other Germans who were..."collaborating" with the occupiers.
All wars and their aftermaths can be very messy.

carlrodd
October 13, 2006, 01:28 AM
Originally Posted by Helmetcase
We've had about 25000 enemy fire induced casualties in Iraq. How many did we have in the reconstruction years following V-J and V-E days? If it's even 0.001% of what we've had in Iraq, I'd be surprised

apples and oranges. comparing those statistics serves no purpose, primarily because iraq is not germany, iraqis are not germans, OIF was not the second world war, and so on.

Brian Ellis
October 13, 2006, 02:41 AM
I think you are all assuming that the government in the UK is listening to its senior officers, and actually cares about what is going on in Iraq.

I can assure you they don't.

Iraq is a political embarrassment and has destroyed what little credibility Tony Blair had left. The ruling Labour party hates him and the war with a passion, and the Conservatives are just about as bad.

Our soldiers patrol with totally inadequate equipment a lot of the time, no airlift capacity etc. They only got armoured patrol vehicles when the govt was embarassed into buying them. You might say that our soldiers are feeling a little unloved at the moment.

There comes a time when an officer has to remember that he has a duty to his men as well as his commander. If his men are dying and the politicians won't listen, what else can a good officer do?

British chiefs of staff do not comment like this - ever. That he has should tell you exactly how bad things are.

Helmetcase
October 13, 2006, 12:55 PM
A decent number of servicemen were schwacked in Germany, Greece, and Italy by various terrorist organizations throughout the 1950s-1980s. Do those not figure into the argument?

50s-80s is a forty year period. What's the totally casualty figure we've seen? How much of that from attacks actually directed at our troops? Since when have been forcible occupiers of any of those countries? Since when have any of those countries had populations that majority want us to leave? What's a decent number? Is it any where near the per-year rate we're losing people in Iraq? Of course not.


Let's see: 25,000 X 0.001% = .25

How do you have 1/4th of a casualty?
Are all your other statements as well considered?

Don't be ridiculous. I tossed that number out for comparisons sake, as hyperbole illustrating how facile it is to suggest that there's any comparison to what we faced in post war Germany or Japan with what we face in Iraq. The point being that our casualties in the occupation of Germany and Japan were a FRACTION of what we're seeing in Iraq. No one of any real merit doubts this. The only person not considering things well here ain't me, bucko. Considering that you can't even come up with a figure, do some considering of your own before you sling crap at me. What's well considered is that the worst, highest, most outlandish estimates of the impact of the Wehrwolves is but a mere fraction of what we face weekly in Iraq.

We did loose people in post V-E day Europe. You might want to find out what the "Werewolves" were in postwar Germany.
We call them insurgents, today.
Boy, you just exposed how little you know, and how readily you'll accept the AM radio talking point myths.

Actually, it's YOU who needs to learn about them. They were essentially unable to account for any real resistance. Compared to what we're seeing in Iraq, they were essentially non-existent. They probably produced less than 100 casualties, and at most a handful of casualties were American troops. If any. Friendly fire and accidents accounted for virtually ALL of our post WW2 casualties Most of what little the Wehrwolfs pulled off actually happened while the war was still going on, and NOT during the occupation.

Do some reading before you repeat this unfounded myth ever again, and save yourself some embarrassment.

http://www.slate.com/id/2087768
http://www.hannity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=34064
http://hnn.us/articles/1655.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werwolf

Werwolf's most prominent victim was Dr. Franz Oppenhoff, the new anti-Nazi mayor of Allied-occupied Aachen, who was murdered outside his home in March of 1945. [During the damn war--.ed] Alleged victims include

Major John Poston, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery's liaison officer (killed before Germany's surrender by unidentified assailants);
Colonel-General Nikolai Berzarin, Soviet commandant of Berlin, killed on June 16, 1945 (Soviet reports claimed that Berzarin died in a vehicle accident). Werwolf radio propaganda also claimed the assassination of General Maurice Rose, the most senior Jewish U.S. officer. Actually he was killed by regular soldiers when his vehicle encountered a German tank. It has been claimed that in Poland the Werwolf carried out massacres of civilians, and a few substantial attacks against Soviet troops. There are no proofs, however. Their most costly single attack in the western zones of occupation is said to be a bombing in Bremen which killed 44 persons. Yet it is more likely that the bomb was simply a dud bomb left from an air raid that exploded by accident (not uncommon after WW 2, dud bombs from WW 2 are still found in German cities today).....

...Werwolf was principally a war stratagem of the Nazi government. It withered by the month after German surrender; the German people were tired of war.

As a war effort, Werwolf was truncated by the stratagem of accepting defeat at the hands of the Western Allies to avoid occupation by Russians.

Werwolf had a mythological reputation which was deliberately fostered by Nazi propaganda. Its psychological presence exceeded confirmed incidents, especially after surrender.

Nonetheless, Werwolf was far weaker than many other historically significant guerrilla insurgencies, for example, those in Vietnam and Iraq.


Far as I can tell, I don't think they actually killed any Americans, as I certainly can't find any documentation that they did--whatever lame operations they mounted killed civilians and resistance politicians that hated the Nazi occupiers during the damn war itself, but comparing them to the insurgents we face today is simply wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. I'd go hide in a corner if I tried something that blatantly false. Let's double their total impact estimated impact--call it 100 civilians and 10 Americans killed in the years following the war. Heck, that's a good week in Iraq. The comparision of the two is mindnumbingly incorrect.

I have no idea how many Allied soldiers they killed, but consider they also went after town mayors and other Germans who were..."collaborating" with the occupiers.
All wars and their aftermaths can be very messy.

You have NO IDEA how many, but you're slinging poo at my grasp of the numbers? Sad. Gimme a break.

Wars and their aftermaths are messy, but post war Japan and Germany were in no way like what we're facing in Iraq. Comparing WW2 to Iraq in general is beyond sophmoric--it was a WORLD WAR. Afterward, the people in the conquered countries were weary of war, and focusing rebuilding their countries, and not focused on having a civil war between rival religious factions (not to mention that Germany and Japan were ethnically homogenous, unlike Iraq). Drawing comparisons between the two is liking saying the sky is red. Unbelievable.

apples and oranges. comparing those statistics serves no purpose, primarily because iraq is not germany, iraqis are not germans, OIF was not the second world war, and so on.
Thanks. That's the darn point I'm trying to make! I'm pointing out that comparing WW2 occupation to OIF is comparing apples to gokarts.

Fosbery
October 13, 2006, 01:26 PM
He can say what he likes when he is not on duty just so long as he carries out that duty to the best of his ability.

Tommygunn
October 13, 2006, 01:28 PM
*sigh*
Okay, Helmetcase, you've convinced me. We should never, ever, bother to defend ourselves or go anywhere or do anything because their bad guys are 20ft tall and ours are only 6 inches tall.
According to my historical sources, the Werewolves were more effective than your post gives them credit for. The main problem they had was lack of over all command and coordination, they did go defunct quickly.
The most successful post-Nazi efforts seem to be ODESSA and DER SPINNE, results of SS. Skorzeny's efforts to get Nazi high command out of europe.
...and how readily you'll accept the AM radio talking point myths.
AM radio talking point myths? Were do you get your myths? I never heard anyone on AM radio talking about postwar Germany.
I'd go hide in a corner if I tried something that blatantly false. Let's double their total impact estimated impact--call it 100 civilians and 10 Americans killed in the years following the war. Heck, that's a good week in Iraq. The comparision of the two is mindnumbingly incorrect.
Nitpick to your heart's content. My point is that wars are always messy.
The reason why we are not doing better in Iraq is not because we're unable to. We've been fighting the war there in a "minimalist" way. That is NOT how we fought in WW2. Fow whatever technology we lacked back then, we didn't fight that war the way we're fighting this war.
Naysayers whine about us creating more terrorists. You know what? That is probably true. Should we pack up and leave when that happens? There's a great lesson for other potential enemies out there -- just make things tough for America. We'll pack up and leave.
We need to take off our gloves and start playing tough with the Iraqi insurgents. That way, even if they do keep creating more..."terrorists"...they'll only be more cannonfodder for our troops, rather than become an unmanageable pain in our national butt.

Helmetcase
October 13, 2006, 02:17 PM
Okay, Helmetcase, you've convinced me. We should never, ever, bother to defend ourselves or go anywhere or do anything because their bad guys are 20ft tall and ours are only 6 inches tall.
That some sort of attempt at a strawman? :rolleyes: Who said we shouldn't defend ourselves? I'm just pointing out that comparing post-WW2 occupation to the forcible occupation of an ethnically divided 3rd World country is useless and ineffective. If we wanted to wipe the entire country off the map like we did with Germany and Japan, we could do it in about six hours. That's not the point. The point is that we're not birthing democracy, we're baby sitting a civil war and getting beaten up in the process and not focusing on real terrorist threats.

According to my historical sources, I look forward to the chance to review them.

the Werewolves were more effective than your post gives them credit for.
Ok. How many casualties? How many casualties were American troops? <taps foot>

The problem with your line of thinking is that the Germans were a conquered people who'd seen two world wars on their soil in a 25 year span--they didn't want to fight anymore, they didn't want to resist, they wanted to get on with what was left of their lives and rebuilding their country back into an economic powerhouse. They had little reason to want to resist us--because if we left, the Ruskies were taking over, and given their experience with the Germans in the early 1940s, they'd not have been kind at all. In fact, it would have really sucked for them in ways that only the victims of the Nazis and the Stalinists can tell you about. They had no reason to form an organized resistance--it was in their best interest NOT to do what you think the Wehrwolves did.

This is one of those useful myths, because it does help explain why the people who can't see the forest for the trees about the quagmire in Iraq--like Dr. Rice, who should be so embarrassed I dunno how she shows her face after trotting this turd out--are unable to see the reality. If you're able to conflate post war Germany and Japan with a third world rathole like Iraq, no wonder you can't see why what we're trying to do (meld three angry, distinct, unfriendly toward each other tribalistic groups into one country) isn't going to happen.

The main problem they had was lack of over all command and coordination, they did go defunct quickly. Yeah. Meaning they were ineffectual. Unlike the Iraqi insurgency. Meaning the comparison is pointlessly impossible to make.

AM radio talking point myths? Were do you get your myths? I never heard anyone on AM radio talking about postwar Germany.
Point taken. Considering one of the links debunking the Wehrwolf myth was Hannity's...heh. Frankly I dunno where and how myths like this persist, but I intend to confront the wrongheaded neocon ideas the persistance of this myth is designed to protect. Confront them head on, in fact; my intention is not to sling mud at you or upset you, but rather to point out the danger of not doing a close reading of what people are feeding each other when they're cornered on something like just how poorly our post-SH occupation of Iraq is being handled. It's not only a bad idea, it's a dangerously incorrect idea to maintain that we're going to get what we want in Iraq because we got what we wanted in Germany.

The reason why we are not doing better in Iraq is not because we're unable to. We've been fighting the war there in a "minimalist" way. That is NOT how we fought in WW2. Fow whatever technology we lacked back then, we didn't fight that war the way we're fighting this war.And so we're back to the question that Boats never addressed--what would "doing better" in Iraq consist of? We're not fighting the war the way we fought WW2 because we're not fighting the mechanized might of a 1st world modern country like Germany or Japan. We're fighting an elusive, non-uniform wearing enemy that can hide amongst civilians in a third world desert and urban environment. If what we're doing is "minimalism", how would we maximize our efforts? Short of carpet bombing the place, what would you have us do that we're not doing? Send more troops? Occupy Iraq for another decade with 500K troops?

Good luck with that. What realistically would you have us do that W, Rummy, Colin Powell, General Abizaid, General Peter Pace, etc haven't thought of?

Naysayers whine about us creating more terrorists. You know what? That is probably true. Should we pack up and leave when that happens?If we don't have a clear objective and an achievable objective, then yes. Why stay and make a problem worse when your very presence is feeding that problem, and not making it better? What are we getting out of it? Not a damn thing.

The idea is to make the world safer by stabilizing the ME. We're having the opposite effect. We're destabilizing it. Our military has done its job, they've done what they can and routed SH--but it's a blunt tool, a bulldozer when we need to find a teacup. Why is that so hard to swallow? A soldier's job is to kill the enemy and remove the forces of the enemy's army, but as occupiers facing a domestic insurgency, foreign armies have a pretty bad track record of mopping this sort of thing up. The military isn't the right tool for the job. Frankly I don't think there is a tool when the domestic population doesn't want you there any more.

We need to take off our gloves and start playing tough with the Iraqi insurgents. That way, even if they do keep creating more..."terrorists"...they'll only be more cannonfodder for our troops, rather than become an unmanageable pain in our national butt.Again, if you've got some idea in this regard that the powers that be haven't thought of, we're all ears. What would "taking our gloves off" consist of?

The idea that someday we'll just go BANG! and blow the smoke off the six shooter and say "well pahdner, there goes the last terrorist" as we reholster and walk off into the sunset like John Wayne is a really, really sophmoric notion.

Thefabulousfink
October 13, 2006, 03:13 PM
Helmetcase,

You are correct that the Werewolves were not nearly as effective as the current Iraqi insugency. They did, however, manage to operate as a terrorist group for several years after the end of hostilities in 1945. They carried out sabotage, low-level political assassinations, and ambushes on allied troops. They weren't as effective as the insugents in Iraq right now, but you are missing an important X-factor.

At the end of the their were close to 2 million allied troops in Europe. We had so many troops in occupied Germany that US commanders wrote in 1945 that the greatest threat to US forces in Germany was boardom and the decay of dicipline.

After the war Germany was made into a fortress (or prison) with soldiers everywhere, constant checkpoints, and a strong intelligence network to root out former Nazis. Yet dispite all this the Werewolves still managed to operate, just their effectiveness was severly cut.

Now lets look at Iraq: The Coalition forces number about 160,000 (140,000 US, 20,000 Coalition I think). With less than 200,000 troops we are trying to control a country larger than Germany. I wouldn't say that Iraq was any more of a mess than Germany was, we just went into it under-prepared. Now If we had 500,000 to 750,000 troops along with a developed human intel network Iraq would be a lot less dangerous.

Tommygunn
October 13, 2006, 03:40 PM
Helmetcase, what has been said on Hannity is not my concern. I went to the "Hannity link" you supplied above and found it to be some blog site where internet users write in like they do here and provide their own ideas. I've never been there before, nor do regularly listen to Hannity on the radio except once in awhile. There's something about Hannity that rubs me wrong even though he seems to be largely in agreement with my ideas.
Since I posted last, I have eaten lunch and had a chance to reflect on what I have heard on some radio program, shortly after Baghdad was taken and this "insurgency" problem -- or whatever you prefer to call it first began(I don't wish to debate semantics) -- and it seems to me I do recall that in the months past that point there was some people...Rush? Boortz...I don't remember, but comparisons to immediate postwar Germany were made then. At those times the comparison may be more accurate or reasonable than they may be perceived to be now.
I think NOW one problem we have is we're fighting Iran by proxy. The Iraqis have to be being supplied by someone, and I think it's Iran or maybe Syria, too.
Quote:
According to my historical sources,

I look forward to the chance to review them

All books I've read over the years.. they're available at libraries.

The problem with your line of thinking is that the Germans were a conquered people who'd seen two world wars on their soil in a 25 year span--they didn't want to fight anymore, they didn't want to resist
This might have been true about a great number of people. It's probably true of a great number of Iraqis, in that they just want to be left alone and try to earn a living and watch their kids grow up.
The Germans got very desperate as the allies closed in on Germany, and were recruiting old men and children, handing them panzerfausts and telling them to go blow up a enemy tank. The last significant battle was the Battle of the Bulge, which was the German army's last gasp, given as the end was really all but inevitable, yet it was a rough battle which surprised us because many military leaders didn't think it could happen.
The Germans were a "conquered people" after WW1, too, yet that didn't prevent them from beginning WW2 -- in fact the Treaty of Versailles inflicted conditions upon Germany some say actually fired the Germans up for WW2.
In WW2, the last gasping, desperate steps came while the "war" was still going on.
In Iraq, we blitzed into Baghdad, the regular forces were routed, then we occupied, and the insurgency started, as they are fed by determined groups who still feel they have a chance.
Comparisons between WW2 and Iraq (atleat by me: I can't speak for others) are really intended only to point out that wars and aftermaths are messy, as I said. All analogies do break down under close scrutiny, and are really only good for determining rough patterns.

And so we're back to the question that Boats never addressed--what would "doing better" in Iraq consist of?
Mainly, NOT fighting the war in a "minimilist" way. At this point, however, I think we've lost the chance to do this atleast effectively.
One thing Bush should have done (he said he would have if the generals had asked --but Bush's job was to lead and that means, in some cases, he stops "listening" to commanders, he starts TELLING commanders) is to get more troops on the ground, after we "took" Baghdad.
Ever since Napoleon (and before) it's been a known military fact that "Taking" a city, or country, doesn't require as many troops as "keeping" the city/country/region -- whatever.
We need more troops over there, and some effective method for cutting off Iranians who are resupplying the insurgency.
Unfortunatly, I don't see THAT happening, and the best I think we can do is get the Iraqi army up to speed, and, as well, the police, who are currently the group that are wanting in manpower and training, because in the long run, I don't think it WILL be WE who will have to deal with the insurgency in Baghdad, but the Iraqis themselves.

If we don't have a clear objective and an achievable objective, then yes. Why stay and make a problem worse when your very presence is feeding that problem, and not making it better? What are we getting out of it? Not a damn thing.

We have an objective, but I think it's being misconstrued. And poorly reported. We certainly will not get an "American style" "democracy" over there, but they have had elections and apparantly are somewhat on the way to some kind of government.
One of the problems we will face in the fact that this "war on terror(ists)" or whatever we want to call it, will not be the last war this country will face. Sooner or later we will face a war with some other country...maybe not in my lifetime, but maybe in the lifetime of today's college kids....and the country we'll fight is looking at how we do things, and how deterined we are, and how many casualties we'll take, how we fight, and how we're willing to fight as well as how we're NOT willing to fight; and that will factor in their calculations.
If we are perceived to be weak, that will invite war earlier, and more determinedly.
If we buckle in and leave Iraq to the insurgents, that will embolden Iran and they will become the powerhouse there, and I don't believe we can afford that. In another generation China may become better able to project its power and be emboldened by what they believe is a weak America, as Tojo was in the days before Pearl Harbor.

One thing I remember my father saying about WW2; we fought it the way we did, because Americans honestly did fear the concequences of losing that war.
I don't think we fear the "consequences" of what's going on today; and that's a shame because the consequences could be quite severe. Not from Iraq, per se, but from the Islamic Jihadis who are currently in the ascendency, whether or not you, Bush, Condi Rice, whomever think. And the consequences will also be the next major war we fight, be it with China or whoever.
In short, what I will say is this; we'd dang well better prepare for a far more nasty war than what we're engaged in now, 'cause our minimilistic methods being used (have been used; that's a fate accompli) is going to garantee one, and we're "screwin' the pooch" in Iraq as it is........:fire:

agricola
October 13, 2006, 04:39 PM
You all should read Brian Ellis's post instead of bogging this down in debate - this isnt so much about Iraq, its about a betrayal of this country's armed forces by its own government.

You might want to contrast the treatment of your own injured and maimed servicemen with that of our own:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5405346.stm

It gets worse - despite being involved in two major (in recent terms) conflicts, the MoD is planning to cut military treatment facilities with the closure of Haslar Hospital in Portsmouth, in the face of incredible local opposition:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/4100013.stm

Add to that the mediocre equipment, the lack of political support (the rescue of two SAS men last year was carried out on the explicit understanding that Whitehall would not take the blame if it went wrong, accoring to Private Eye), the entirely pathetic way in which the Iraq war was planned and the widespread (and largely justified) opposition before and since the war amongst the population at large, and you can understand why the reaction from the Army, and society as a whole (hence Blairs unbelievably cynical response that he agreed with him) has been almost entirely positive, with only the arch-New Labourites, and those who have the most to gain from a continuation of the war, in opposition.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/story/0,,-6145476,00.html?gusrc=ticker-103704
http://www.arrse.co.uk/


As I said at the start of the thread, this is the culmination of a long line of leaks, off-the-record interviews and briefings that have said much the same thing, not only from the MoD but the Foriegn Office and some other departments as well.

agricola
October 13, 2006, 04:40 PM
Also, the job of a General is not "to do what his political masters tell him", it is to lead the men and women under his command.

carebear
October 13, 2006, 07:37 PM
Also, the job of a General is not "to do what his political masters tell him", it is to lead the men and women under his command.

Only under the absolute direction and control of civilian authority. He doesn't get to pick "when", "why" or "where" to go to war, his civilian bosses do. He doesn't even get free rein on the "how" or "with what" either, that is, in the end, the job of the civilian government.

Generals who forget that end up removed (like MacArthur and Patton) or in power (like Pinochet, Gaddafi, Peron etc).

If he wants to publically comment on policy using the weight of his experience and service, he needs to resign first.

Dmack_901
October 13, 2006, 08:01 PM
I don't believe the administration has ever been under the opinion that we could kill all the Extremists who preach death to the west. I believe the gov. has always understood that this endeavor will, in the short term, actually increase hatred of America.

However the basic logic is that, there is no way that this hatred could ever decrease under the the totalatrain systems that have been so dominant in the area. Spreading Democracy is the only option. The past decades have demonstrated that those forms to rule increase extremism, while worldwide, democracies have demonstrated a pro-or at least not completely anti-western view.

It's like cleaning a dirt filled scrape. Sure it hurts, but it's better than leaving it alone and letting it get infected.

Thefabulousfink
October 13, 2006, 08:12 PM
I have to agree with you Dmack.

I couldn't care less if we left Iraq and they spit on us, as long as we leave a stable, functioning Democracy behind. The more democracies we have in that region (even if they hate us) then the more stable it will be 10, 20, 30 years down the road.

RobW
October 13, 2006, 08:27 PM
"Liberals", tolerant, caring, "it's for tem schiiilldren".

I run when I hear one of them. May they have a nice time in heaven. Ooohhh, I forgot they don't believe in anything.

SO JUST SHUT UP AND GO TO NIRVANA!

El Tejon
October 13, 2006, 08:35 PM
I the fact that the British militree class is, or has been up to now, supertightlipped is why this is a scandal.

This isn't cricket and that is why it may soon explode.

P95Carry
October 13, 2006, 09:00 PM
El T has about nailed that re - ''it ain't cricket''!!

This criticism, however much shared by some - is bound to be a huge Gov embrassment - out of which they will have to extricate themselves. No one in Gov likes smart Alec military brass!

I didn't think the Profumo Affair was a scandal either.Heck John - maybe you are as old as me :D

LightningJoe
October 14, 2006, 02:55 AM
Next time, let's leave the British behind. They're no fun anymore.

carebear
October 14, 2006, 03:27 AM
They're about the best allies we have, always have been, political weirdness aside, likely always will be.

Helmetcase
October 14, 2006, 10:14 AM
Spreading Democracy is the only option. The past decades have demonstrated that those forms to rule increase extremism, while worldwide, democracies have demonstrated a pro-or at least not completely anti-western view.

I couldn't care less if we left Iraq and they spit on us, as long as we leave a stable, functioning Democracy behind. The more democracies we have in that region (even if they hate us) then the more stable it will be 10, 20, 30 years down the road.
You guys are dreaming.

The problem is, it's not a viable option. It isn't happening, and we're moving in the opposite direction. Like the joke goes, these Iraqis will probably be a great help in the fight against terrorism...as soon as they quit chanting "Death To America!" in the streets. As Tom Friedman (an early supporter of the war and infamous hawk, BTW, not some looney peacenik) put it, we're not birthing democracy, we're babysitting a civil war. The longer we stay, the worse it gets.

We're like a welfare for undeveloped govts; our continued presence isn't forcing them to get off the dole and develop a functioning govt. At this point, it's probably too late for that to happen. The only chance is divide the moderate secular Sunni population from the jihadist insurgency with some sort of guarantee for their safety and oil rights--which is only going to infuriate the nationalistic Shia element, which is basically licking its chops and ready to dole out some payback for 40 years of oppression.

This is something that our leadership simply didn't consider before they embarked upon this little fiasco--you may recall that W didn't even know there was such a thing as a Sunni or a Shiite until after the war started...:banghead: We didn't effectively plan or prepare for the postwar occupation at all. And know, all three of the Axis of Evil members are more dangerous to us today than they were in 2002.

So much for the party of National Security. :scrutiny: No wonder the Democrats are bound to pick up seats. Not doing the RKBA any favors, this so called OIF is, eh?

GoRon
October 14, 2006, 10:17 AM
you may recall that W didn't even know there was such a thing as a Sunni or a Shiite until after the war started...

:rolleyes: riiiiight...

Helmetcase
October 14, 2006, 05:24 PM
Yeah, I suppose it's hard to believe a guy who uses such erudite terms as "sucider" and "decider" wouldn't know something that most Americans still don't grasp. :rolleyes: ;)

Or maybe Peter Galbraith just made that story up (http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Ambassador_claims_shortly_before_invasion_Bush_0804.html). The vast left wing conspiracy (http://amygdalagf.blogspot.com/2006/08/theres-no-news-like-recycled-news-or.html) and all. :D I suppose everyone who's claimed that that story is true (http://atrios.blogspot.com/2003_03_02_atrios_archive.html#90403154) could be making it up. But frankly it doesn't strike me as something too hard to believe.

carebear
October 14, 2006, 05:45 PM
It reads to me that Peter Galbraith wasn't actually there but instead is reporting what he was (it is implied but not confirmed) told by one of the three mentioned Iraqis.

During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, “I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!”

Of course it could have been third or fourth hand from someone who heard it from one of them, or from someone one of them told.

To anyone who doesn't, you know, actually read the news. Or books. About a bazillion book reviews of George Packer's The Assassin's Gate mentioned the same anecdote, since it's been around since March, 2003. -snip-

Mind, I can stand to see the story repeated a thousand and one times. It just drives me a little crazy when something very well known is reported as if it's news, and then I have to run and check whether I'm in a Phil Dick universe, where only I remember that this is really well-known.



Bush is a man who has never shown much curiosity about the world. When he met with Makiya and two other Iraqis in January, I was told by someone not present, the exiles spent a good portion of the time explaining to the president that there are two kinds of Arabs in Iraq, Sunnis and Shiites.

And wasn't one of the arguments against the war at first was that Iraq was "modern" and "not religious" prior to the US invasion? That these "secular" (which implies that the Sunni/Shia distinctions there were as meaningless as between Protestants and Catholics in the US) Iraqi Muslims had no interest in ethnic strife or terrorism?

GoRon
October 14, 2006, 06:56 PM
The fact that his father set up "no fly zones" to protect the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north from the Sunnis in the middle leads me to believe that it is a BS story.

hillbilly
October 14, 2006, 07:27 PM
How silly.....

Fighting after victory was declared in WWII?

No.

Only Bushies and the Neocons believe there was any fighting against unconquered enemies after the end of WWII.

http://www.wanpela.com/holdouts/list.html

shooter503
October 14, 2006, 08:56 PM
Boats, You are missing the point, or to be more accurate, you have missed a bunch of them.

That a serving officer is willing to blow his whole career in telling the truth is not a sign of cowardice , it's a sign of guts. Sure, traditionally this should not be happening but this is the 21st century, not the 1600s. If more officers in Iraq had told the truth instead of the unbelievable drivel about how things were continually getting better we would not be in the mess we are in now. This officer made a choice between being faithful to his country or being faithful to the bunch of politicians who are temporarily in charge of that country.

This PATRIOT told it as it is to protect his COUNTRY. I wish 10% of our officers had his level of patriotism.

carebear
October 14, 2006, 09:37 PM
He can "tell it like it is", but he needs to resign his commission first.

Only when an officer is no longer serving is he free to publically question his superiors, in this case the civilian authority.

To have it otherwise is to grant the unelected military a say in the policies of the nation and begins the slide toward a military that not only speaks out but also acts out against it's superiors.

shooter503
October 14, 2006, 09:59 PM
The Chinese had a tradition. Since the Emperor could not be criticised unless the critic was willing to demonstrate his faithfullness a procedure was developed. Anyone could petition to criticise the Emperor and the Emperor must listen, but then the critic was required to immediately commit suicide to show that his comments were true and not made for personal gain.

In effect, this is what the General did. There is no doubt he expects to be fired. On the other hand, he must have known his comments would carry so much more weight now than they would have done if he had made them after retirement. There will be the usual media frenzy but, quietly, his actions will have a tremendous impact on the british public just because this man's actions are so unusual.

There is an interesting technicality here. When a british officer is commissioned he swears loyalty not to the country, not to Parliament but to the Monarch. A quaint, anachronistic, tradition but in this situation it may be that we see an officer actually putting his version of this loyalty into practice.

Helmetcase
October 14, 2006, 10:04 PM
Of course it could have been third or fourth hand from someone who heard it from one of them, or from someone one of them told.
He makes it pretty clear he heard it first hand from the Iraqis themselves. I guess they might have some reason to cook something like that up, but for the most part those folks would be speaking against interest--they like W for lopping SH's head off, so to speak. It's hard to imagine why after being flattered by the man--it was an audience with the POTUS, fer cryin out loud--they'd want to toss him under the bus.

You guys are acting so incredulous, but when you consider that the average American can't even find his own state on an unmarked map or tell you what century WW1 happened in, I'd be surprised to learn if even a quarter of Americans can tell you what the difference between Sunni or Shia is. Heck, I wonder how many of us can figure it out. :) It's not really all that hard to believe, knowing what we know about how rather un-worldly the Great Decider is, that he doesn't know all that much about where Suiciders come from, from a religious or cultural point of view. This is a man who makes Dan Quayle sound like Carl Sagan, for cryin out loud. You might think he's a great leader. He's certainly got leaderly qualities in many regards--but he ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer. There's a difference.

The fact that his father set up "no fly zones" to protect the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north from the Sunnis in the middle leads me to believe that it is a BS story.Sr and Jr have very little contact on policy issues; in fact, you may recall Scowcroft mentioning that W has snubbed his old man on many issues. I wouldn't assume there's too much trickle down of knowledge there. When pops was putting that policy in place, W was busy at AA meetings and working on running companies into bankruptcy as fast as the golf course could take him. You don't have to know the difference between Sunni and Shia to understand why daddy told the Iraqi airforce to leave 'em in the hangar.

Fighting after victory was declared in WWII?
Sigh...

That was stragglers cut off from the modern world unaware that the war had ended. They were still men wearing a uniform, not an organized resistance hiding among a civilian population fighting a guerrilla style insurgency conflict. They accounted for maybe a handful of casualties at most, and comparing them to the organized, effective, determined, and murderous insurgency we're facing that kills more people in a week than those holdouts killed in twenty years is beyond sophmoric. It's laughable. Most of them weren't even really fighting, just hiding out thinking they were doing their duty to their emperor. Count up the casualties on that link for us, why dontcha, and get back to us. :rolleyes:

Only Bushies and the Neocons believe there was any fighting against unconquered enemies after the end of WWII.
Only Bushies and Neocons seem to think a bunch of aging Japanese men living in shacks in Philippinian swamps and imaginary, unverifiable, some-book-somewhere-I-read-once-had-stories about nonexistent, never-happened Wehrwolf attacks are something you can compare to the insurgency that's killing people every day in Iraq.

It's like comparing the hangnail I had once to an Ebola outbreak.

carebear
October 14, 2006, 10:09 PM
shooter,

Nope, if he first resigned his position and then held a press conference explaining why and to make his comments he would have demonstrated his sincerity far more convincingly. He would have shown incontravertably that he was willing to voluntarily sacrifice his position on principle.

Instead, he broke tradition and his oath and can attempt to give the service a black eye by making them the bad guy when they rightfully cashier his butt for insubordination.

In fact there's a chance he might even get to keep his position or at least retirement and such if the government folds to press and public pressure.

A lack of integrity, pure and simple.

1911Tuner
October 14, 2006, 10:11 PM
I'll have to side with Boats on this one. (Did hell just freeze?):p

If they say that they really, really want us to stay, you can figure that the truth is exactly 180 degrees from that statement. "Oh please B'rer Fox! What EVAH ya does...Dontcha t'row me in dat briar patch!"

shooter503
October 14, 2006, 10:19 PM
CareBear,

I assure you, nobody in Britain expects the General to survive this, least of all he himself. If he does so it can only be as a result of a political decision that is part of "spin control".

You will not believe how this is going to play out.

Helmetcase
October 14, 2006, 10:29 PM
Yeah, frankly I can't understand how you can't see it as a matter of principle--if he's willing to risk seeing his commission and his career go down in flames, he must really be serious and believe what he's saying is important. Guys in his spot don't generally risk this sort of thing on a whim.

Glenn Kelley
October 14, 2006, 10:42 PM
Early in the thread some one said the General should give up his peerage.I believe he is a knight not a peer.Knighthood is a personal honour.Peerages are hereditary(duke,earl).

His comments taken in context were not political critisizm as much as they were comments on the British militaries ability to fulfill it's comitments if involvement in Iraq continues.I think that's what Blair was agreeing with.

Americans pledge allegence to the flag,Brits to the Queen,in both cases the object of the pledge represents the the best of that country in all it's aspects.

The only real power the queen has politically is to veto any legislation that she deems unconstitutional.I don't think that has happened more than once or twice in the entire commenwealth(and not at all in Britain IIRC).

carebear
October 14, 2006, 11:01 PM
There aren't any civilian parallels. As a serving officer you are not in a position to discuss policy in public. End of story.

Civilian control of the military means just that. If you want to work from inside you do it with your mouth shut to the press. If you are willing to risk your job publically then as a matter of honor and integrity you resign your commission and speak as a civilian.

That is how it is done in the military. To do otherwise is dishonorable and betrays your oath and the traditions of the service.

SoCalShooter
October 14, 2006, 11:14 PM
He has definetly ended his career. But he is not the only general to have spoken out. A lot of it is politically motivated and I trulely believe a lot of it is genuine concern with the way things are going.

As for what is his duty, if he is not retired he should keep his mouth shut. And just keep taking his orders and protesting to his superiors. I do however believe that retired generals have a duty still to the American people to tell us if things are not going well and if an administration has been all but completely truthful and forth coming.

shooter503
October 14, 2006, 11:20 PM
CareBear,

Would you please stop telling other countries how to run their affairs. If you have not noticed, it can cause an awful lot of trouble.

Not all state/military disagreements are bad. In 1215 the English Barons, who were effectively the military, suggested to King John that he might like to sign a small document called the Magna Carta, which just happens to be the basis of America being (until recently) a free country.

So Cal,

How does the top general protest to his superiors? Ironically your punch line says it all. Jesus got crucified for doing what he thought was the right thing. So will this General, not this week, not next week but eventually. When the removal can be done with a certain amount of grace, he's gone.

SoCalShooter
October 14, 2006, 11:23 PM
Dont they have cabinet officials and such? You know parlimentary people that he can protest to?

carebear
October 14, 2006, 11:28 PM
shooter,

May come to a surprise to you but the tradition of serving officers not publically commenting on the civilian command authority's policies is not "American". It goes back to the British, French and German tradition. It is the tradition of Western civilian-controlled militaries.

I'm merely stating the reality.

Top Generals, like, say, Gen. Harold Johnson Chief of Staff for the US Army during Vietnam?

General Johnson responded by observing that there are sins of omission and sins of commission. He recalled that the Army had reached down quite a few files to make him Chief of Staff, and said he believed that the Lord had pulled him up to do a job. He spoke of resignation in protest, asking, "Was that the job He wanted me to do?"

Then, very quietly, Johnson spoke of the conclusion he had reached. "I remember the day I was ready to go over to the Oval Office and give my four stars to the President and tell him, `You have refused to tell the country they cannot fight a war without mobilization; you have required me to send men into battle with little hope of their ultimate victory; and you have forced us in the military to violate almost every one of the principles of war in Vietnam. Therefore, I resign and will hold a press conference after I walk out of your door.'"
Then, added Johnson with a look of anguish, "I made the typical mistake of believing I could do more for the country and the Army if I stayed in than if I got out. I am now going to my grave with that lapse in moral courage on my back."[31]

http://www.carlisle.army.mil/USAWC/PARAMETERS/98spring/sorley.htm

That is the choice of honorable men. That is why the US Generals openly protesting the administration's actions are retired.

SoCalShooter
October 14, 2006, 11:38 PM
I think you have misconstrued my last post. I know its nothing new. I just thought he had someone to complain to.

carebear
October 14, 2006, 11:53 PM
I was addressing the other "shooter" SoCal.

Speaking to a Parlimentary or Senatorial commission in private is a very different thing than running your mouth off to the press.

Looking at my quote, it's kinda scary how what Johnson wanted to tell his president 40 years ago (the bolded part) again seems applicable.

To make my position clear(er). I have no problem with Generals protesting a government's military choices, they of all of us have the training and experience to comment intelligently (whether I agree with them or not) on strategic questions.

What they should not do for reasons of professionalism and what they in fact can not do without opening the door to upsetting the very structure of our civilian-controlled military is to make those protests, in public, while still actively serving.

shooter503
October 14, 2006, 11:53 PM
It may be the tradition of European militaries but it is certainly not the practice. That is the reality.

What do you think about Generals who would put a bomb in a briefcase under their political leaders table - pity they missed Hitler.

What do you think about a Corporal who would become an Emperor? Ask Naploeon.

In fact, until well after the discovery of America it was quite usual for the Monarch to be the effective head of the military in Europe. This situation continued in Germany into WW1. There was no political versus military difference. The idea that the military should be subservient to the politicians is a relatively new concept. In the middle ages in Europe Monarchs in reality served at the will of their powerful military supporters.

In a perfect World we expect the traditions to be followed. In an imperfect World creatures that follow the leader over a cliff are called Lemmings.

The problem with following your idea of resigning then complaining is that nobody takes a bit of notice of you. Fairly recently a group of retired officers tried this. Result - nothing.

SoCal,
Protesting to higher up - like a General telling Don Rumsfeld he's wrong. Ask Shinkesky (sp?).

carebear
October 15, 2006, 12:11 AM
google "retired generals"

You'll find news story after news story. If there isn't a public outcry it isn't because people aren't aware of them or the press has ignored them, it's that a majority of the population doesn't agree with them. Which is their right.

However, these generals were, almost uniformly, retired prior to making their comments. They did their 30, made sure their retirements were assured and thus seem like ex-ballplayers criticizing the current team.

What hasn't happened, including the coward at issue, is for a general to publically resign in protest due to his integrity and unwillingness to continue serving under the current policy makers. This whiner could have done that equally as easily and equally as publically without disgracing himself professionally.

When that happens, I assure you the media will paint it across the sky.

shooter503
October 15, 2006, 12:32 AM
and thus seem like ex-ballplayers criticizing the current team.

You just made my point for me. Nobody is interested in an EX-General. They see too many of them as boring "talking heads" on news shows. As soon as a retired General speaks he is dumped on by the spin controllers.

You still have not answered my point that serving senior military personnel have not always been as compliant as you would wish them to be and that in some cases the result of their actions has been beneficial to their country.

How far do you want to go back? Caeser, as General, becoming Dictator of Rome? Frederick the Great crowning himself as Emperor? The hundreds of minor countries where the General replaced the titular Ruler? Hitler and Mussolini taking over as Fuhrer and Duche? The Russian revolution? Even the American Revolution could be viewed as a case of military mis-behaviour.

carebear
October 15, 2006, 12:53 AM
Oh, I think since the Rise of Democracy will be suitable, since until then, as you pointed out, the Emporer/King etc was the actual head of the military. Call it 220 years plus or minus for us on this side of the pond.

In American history it goes back to Washington's unwillingness to join (and actions against) a proposed coup against Congress by a group of junior officers upset over their handling of military affairs.

Once you have a Parliment or Congress you have the purse strings (thus the real control) and the power to formally declare war in the hands of the elected representatives of the people, not the executive.

I'm sure you are deliberately missing the distinction I'm making between Generals who retire because their time is up and a General formally resigning his commission in protest.

It is the difference between retiring from a company after 20 years and getting that pension check in the mail and then commenting on your replacement and publically quitting in your 19th year, sacrificing everything, and holding a press conference immediately thereafter because you are appalled at the mismanagement.

The latter makes its point by the public sacrifice involved, the other can be dismissed (but shouldn't be) as just Monday morning quarterbacking by folks with too much time on their hands.

We have yet to have a 3 or 4 star publically resign his commission in protest. That is a very different thing from just retiring then speaking one's mind.

Headless Thompson Gunner
October 16, 2006, 01:29 PM
Note that men lacking in political sensibility do not tend to rise to the rank of general.

Many of the retired generals protesting the war are as much political/celebrity figures as they are military men. They use their stature as "Retired General" to give their self-serving political ambitions a weight of credibility that wouldn't otherwise be afforded to the typical two-bit politicians that they are. Wesley Clark comes to mind.

On the surface, the Brit general in question appears to be cut from the same material.

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