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Britain is now at War - US request the support of 1,700 Marines
March 18, 2002 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Britain is now at War - US request the support of 1,700 Marines "These troops are being deployed to Afghanistan to take part in warfighting operations. We will be asking them to risk their lives. Their mission will be conducted in unforgiving and hostile terrain against a dangerous enemy. They may suffer casualties." A lot of people, including the media, were stunned by this announcement. Speculation is starting to become rife as to why the US need our troops? SAS, fair enough, but why our Marines? This is the largest deployment of British troops since the Gulf War, and arguable in far more dangerous circumstances. Most thought we were just going to lend a hand, now it appear that we will be playing a very serious part. Has there been much comment on this over in the US? Specifically on why these troop have been requested?
posted by RobertLoch (43 comments total)

 
not very much, there was some talk about it a while ago, about bush maybe asking, but i didn't read anything that explained why we would need it... i wondered at the time but it didn't really seem like something that would happen so i didn't think much of it. i don't know why we need uk forces now either, unless only to make it seem like the rest of the world likes our war.
posted by rhyax at 6:02 PM on March 18, 2002


Without mincing words, it seems to be a good way to (potentially) do a number of things:
  • Show the US is not pursuing the War on Terror alone
  • Give the current UK administration some popular support akin to that garnered by the Bush Administration and distract the British people from other pressing domestic issues
  • Give the fighting force more strength and sustainability without increasing the number of boys coming home to the US in boxes (supposing that British mothers crying for their children won't make primetime US news broadcasts)
Blair's hoping for #2 and GW's hoping for #3.

[sarcasm] After all, what's a few hundred servicemen when there's votes at stake? [/sarcasm]
posted by OneBallJay at 6:23 PM on March 18, 2002


Uhhh, what about number 1? Is there any reason why the US should seek the destruction of terrorists alone? If the British hope for any ideoligical ground to stand on in their own war against Northern Irish terrorists, shouldn't they belly right up to the bar? I'm not suggesting that the differing "wars" are right or wrong, but many among the British press are crying for US support, but what about quid pro quo?

I really am wondering here, what about number 1?
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:36 PM on March 18, 2002


OneBallJay, good point.

I think any nation that can help, should help. Next time, they may be your airplanes, and your buildings. No nation should have to combat this alone.
posted by schlaager at 7:12 PM on March 18, 2002


Britian's our ally. It's what allies do. They help each other.

It's just not America's war (akin to WWII not just being Europe's war), Al-Qaeda had targets in London, they just didn't get hit. It'd be in Britian's best interest to show support with not just words.
posted by geoff. at 7:13 PM on March 18, 2002


Excellent summary, OneBallJay.

codenamed Operation Jacana (a small tropical wading bird with large feet)

I'm sorry, I know the situation is serious, but this part cracks me up. This does not convey a very flattering image.
posted by homunculus at 7:14 PM on March 18, 2002


to sustain a limited offensive in this terrain, base camps will have to be set up. this is given. If SAS wants to continue OPS then they must have a secure CP. Royal Marines seem the logical choice to secure a base camp. The leaking of the 105's seem....Monteyish. Any large scale offensive should have either arty or air support. The 105s' would seem logical, allowing for quicker return fire and sustained fire without having to use a mainly u.s. communication net. Of course the royal marines would most likely be used for raids on larger enemy pockets of resistance. this worries you? what does 'lend a hand' mean? shuffle spoons and ammo, let SAS loose for awhile then come home? I believe the British P.M. has committed the U.K.s' forces to help win against these people. I hate to say it, but Iraq is next. If the Prime Minister goes along with that, how would the British people feel. You ask about why, why the need for british troops. Because we didnt have to ask. when our president talked to your p.m. late on sept.11, he offered your countries arms, her love and her money. 100%, no waivering. GBTQ.
posted by clavdivs at 7:20 PM on March 18, 2002


I think much more is at stake here that simply the War on Terrorism and a few Marines' lives (do not read this incorrectly; I feel that any loss of life is saddening).

This may go to the heart of why the EU may never be fully realized. Or, it will be fully realized without the UK. Many European countries, including France and Germany, have seen UK support of the US vs. European interests as a chasm. Too often the UK is seen siding with American policies.

I think what we are seeing here is part of a policy the UK has. IMHO, the UK is taking advantage of US domination of the world and acting as a sidekick, and receiving benefits of such support.

If the UK continues to support the US in this War, I feel that this may lead to more anonimity between the UK and the rest of the EU members.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:20 PM on March 18, 2002


They didn't call it the World TC for nothing. Britain lost more of its citizens on 9-11 than in any other terrorist attack in its history. Maybe they want to defend the country?
posted by quercus at 7:34 PM on March 18, 2002


sorry, not anonimity (which isn't a word), but animosity.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:38 PM on March 18, 2002


Solidarity from our only true ally; Professional Soldiers taking the place of Afghanis' who take bribes and make deals to let taliban/alquida escape. And I hope this last reason is wrong, but: practice.
posted by Mack Twain at 7:39 PM on March 18, 2002


If the UK continues to support the US in this War, I feel that this may lead to more anonimity between the UK and the rest of the EU members.

Assuming you mean animosity, I agree. I don't think that it's necessarily a bad thing. Further, you have to believe that Tony Blair knows that worse relations with Europe is a possible result and is doing it anyway.
posted by jaek at 7:44 PM on March 18, 2002


'March 4-10, 2002: About 2,000 coalition soldiers (800-900 Americans drawn mainly from the 101st Airborne and 10th Mountain divisions; about 1,000 Afghan troops; 200 other allied special forces from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, and Norway) continued Operation Anaconda.'

I post that for 2 reasons, firstly to demonstrate that EU countries are already involved in the fighting, and secondly to highlight what a significant number 1,700 is.

It is not simply the case of Britain sending over a few troops to help out, this number will represent a very significant portion of the total non Afghan fighting force.

All that I'm pointing out is that this is an unusually high relative level of commitment.

British Marines all have alpine training, which might have something to do with it, but still, it does seem odd to me that we are sending so many solider into the front line fighting zone. It looks like Blair meant it when he said we would 'Stand shoulder to shoulder with America.'
posted by RobertLoch at 7:56 PM on March 18, 2002


Canada has about 800 troops in Afghanistan right now. (More info)
posted by Stuart_R at 8:05 PM on March 18, 2002


I think the proportional representation is at the heart of the issue here. Given that the military of the United States is as vast as it is, other nations shouldn't be contributing a greater %age of their forces. Although I suppose %age isn't the way to break this thing down. It would make the most sense to send whoever is the best prepared. The alpine training may have something to do with this but I am really afraid that the main reason is that Bush doesn't want Americans to see American casualties...

Ah well. It isn't like this is a good war anyway.
posted by Settle at 8:16 PM on March 18, 2002


Ah well. It isn't like this is a good war anyway.

Yeah, you're right. We haven't a good war since Vietnam, or maybe WWII when scores of people died. Why can't we have wars like that anymore? God damnit, those really were the good ol' days. (For all of you without the proper radar, /sarcasm)

Sarcasm aside, useless and rather shitty comments like that can be checked at the door, thanks.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:21 PM on March 18, 2002


'what does 'lend a hand' mean? shuffle spoons and ammo'

Britain commitment can't be questioned. OK, to make the question that I'm asking clearer. Some of the media are speculating that the US have lost (or are injured) more troops than they have let on, and that is part of the reason. Some are speculating that the resistance is far greater than was expected, and that there is concern that the Taliban are regrouping, planning a long drawn out guerrila campaign. Some are even claiming that the US don't have enough troops that are specially trained to fight in this terrain.

I have not got a clue what the truth is, and was just wondering if anyone else did. One thing is clear, it is unusual for the US to request our help in this way. In the Gulf we were used as special ops, and as a second string attack force. It is not normal for 'standard' US troops to share the frontline in this manner.

Anyhow, we'll probably know more tomorrow. The media and parliament here were distracted today by the far more important issue of whether fox hunting should be banned or not. (for those interested - they voted for the full ban option) This announcement on deployment really came out of the blue, and it appears that our media weren't ready for it. It is quite funny watching them flapping about trying to decide on what stance to take, or what context to give it. I'm sure that metafilter will end up doing a better job ;-)
posted by RobertLoch at 8:40 PM on March 18, 2002


OneBallJay: After all, what's a few hundred servicemen when there's votes at stake?

Try thirty. Total. Only ten of whom died in combat -- the rest were helicopter crashes, friendly fire, forklift accidents.

10. One, followed by zero.

Compared to 10,000 at least on the other side. (I still can't find more up-to-date statistics. Anyone?) I know I've harped on this before. And I did see your sarcasm tags. And I don't want to minimize the importance of those thirty lives: friendly fire is still fire, and a forklift can make you just as dead as a bullet can, and any which way it's just as horrible for the person involved. But... I didn't realize it myself until I started researching it, and now I feel compelled to shout it from rooftops at the slightest provocation: we toppled an entire nation's government, and only lost a group of people the size of my junior high homeroom. And I grew up in a very small town.

There can be no rational, military justification for why we suddenly now need the assistance of 1,700 british troops. It's all about spin.
posted by ook at 9:32 PM on March 18, 2002


Solidarity from our only true ally [Britain]...

Fuck you, then. I want my Canadian soldiers brought back.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:35 PM on March 18, 2002


Coalition contributions as off March 11. [pdf]

There's lots of 'em.
posted by techgnollogic at 9:40 PM on March 18, 2002


British Marines all have alpine training, which might have something to do with it, but still, it does seem odd to me that we are sending so many solider into the front line fighting zone. It looks like Blair meant it when he said we would 'Stand shoulder to shoulder with America.'

To some degree this is a bit puzzling. I'm not quite as cynical about leaders as others - I do think Bush, and Blair (and others) really did feel the same sort of deep personal loss as many Americans and Brits did (as quercus pointed out, this was the World Trade Center ... 60+ countries lost people). Both nations have advanced, trained militaries - and it is situations like this that are what militaries are for. If you (or an ally of yours) gets attacked with deadly force, you return it.

While it seems implied in a few posts (not just in this thread) that Bush is worried about the death of soldiers purely for popularity reasons - I don't really buy that either. Bush, Blair, other leaders, really do feel the weight of responsibility - they do feel personally responsible for sending soldiers into battle, and do not want to see any of them come home dead.

That said - this is the era of realpolitik ... there are always calculations going on. Pakistan supported us for a multitude of reasons. So far as Great Britan goes - Blair is in an interesting spot. He personally wants the UK to join the EU (as opposed to Maggie ... who feels quite strongly in the opposite direction). And I'm not certain whether Blair's support of Bush will increase animosity that much ... to some degree, the EU needs GB almost more than GB needs the EU. The EU started as a concept because the NAFTA was in the works, the 5 tigers in Asia were growing increasingly powerful, and the EU was meant to be a trading bloc capable of equal economic power in the global marketplace ... but (in essence) that full power only comes to fruition if Germany and Great Britan are in it.

Right now, however, nearly everyone needs to be aligned somehow - and GB, not yet being part of the EU, is kind of left hanging ... and as the integration from the Euro becomes more complete, GB could be - in some areas - more and more isolated. However, Blair, while certainly still trying to move towards the EU, is also hedging bets, and is making certain in a number of small ways (and a couple of large ones ... like this current issue) to reinforce ties with the US.

Probably gone on too long here ... but my opinion, I suppose, reduces to this - I think both Blair and Bush felt the same sense of personal attack that their citizens did, and I believe they are acting with genuinely good intent to neutralize what they both understand to be a serious threat. They are both making significant commitments of military force. But I also think there is an economic and geopolitical dance going on in the background - that is tied to the EU - that isn't determining behavior, but also isn't being ignored.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:52 PM on March 18, 2002


Fuck me, are we not in the EU. That's the media for you. The lying bastards :-) Midas, I'm afraid that the UK is part of the EU, and has been for 25 plus years.
posted by RobertLoch at 10:00 PM on March 18, 2002


Fuck me, are we not in the EU. That's the media for you. The lying bastards :-) Midas, I'm afraid that the UK is part of the EU, and has been for 25 plus years.

Still buying things with the pound, or are you using the Euro?
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:06 PM on March 18, 2002


Sorry Robert - should have been more precise. Have been accustomed to thinking in terms of economic and financial integration (I spent a good year or so working on wrestling some large financial databases and transaction systems into readiness for the Euro conversion ... ). Of course the UK is part of the EU ... but your population has so far resisted a good deal of the financial integration that is the meat of the power the continent wants, yes?
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:20 PM on March 18, 2002


'but your population has so far resisted a good deal of the financial integration that is the meat of the power the continent wants, yes?'

So far it is our government that is resisting. They have set 5 economic tests. When they are met then the decision on adopting the Euro will be put to a referendum.

At that point it will be down to the population to decide. Presently the public is against, I think something like 60-70% no vote.

Our major concern is that the EU wants to become a fully integrated federal state. Are we right? Are we off topic?

Back on topic, I think that the point that you were making before I got pedantic was that there are a lot of larger issues at play. You are certainly right in respect to your comments on isolation. Blair is pro Europe leading what is basically a Euro sceptic country. Gordon Brown, The Chancellor, who may well become leader, is more pro America.

On top of that, I get the impression that the public in the UK are somewhat overwhelmed at present. Like the US, suddenly everyone has been bombarded with international affairs, many of which they knew nothing about, and are trying to form opinions on the situation in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, etc. all in double quick time.

September 11 certain effected us, but I doubt to anywhere like the level that it effected the US. Whereas the liberal voice has in a certain respect become impotent there, it is still very active here. Furthermore, you have to remember that although Blair is basically a conservative, in charge of a somewhat conservative country, his party is socialist and liberal. The interesting thing about todays announcement was that it was made with absolutely no specific consultation with Parliament. He prefers to act like a President, because if he acts like a Priminister he will have to deal with a lot of desent from his own party. Oddly, the most pro US and war are the opposition. Yeah, you right. It is very complicated.

Hearing more on this the answer may simply be that we happen to have troops that are particularly suited to this form of warfare. It appears that we will be sending over our best. I hope Germany doesn't invade while they are away.
posted by RobertLoch at 11:04 PM on March 18, 2002


Don't lets get sidetracked, Midas. Robert is simply being disingenuous -- the issue of a British lean toward Washington or toward Brussels is, of course, at the very heart of this issue, and he knows it.

I cannot believe that Bush is playing some kind of "fewer American body bags game", and those who charge that are grasping at straws. Indeed, as I and a (military brat) friend were discussing this evening, after having seen Black Hawk Down, this White House seems at a very high level to be aware that public support for military operations must not hang on the question of a few casualties, as it too often has in the past. That's one way we got into this mess -- by losing our nerve, cutting and running rather than face political censure at home. That applies to Reagan just as much as Clinton, too, despite his applying an opposite geopolitical strategy with the Soviets. It's something that needs to be ended, especially if we have the sense that there will be more challenges ahead.

Additionally, particularly with the recent Operation Anaconda, which involved special forces from six allied nations, and its follow-on Operation Harpoon (cleanup of "Whaleback Ridge") was tasked mainly to the Canadians, there is a very conscious effort to not only give allied troops opportunities in the field, but to gain experience in commanding and coordinating disparate forces. The allied soldiers get "practice", yes, but also a tremendous morale boost and increased solidarity. The allied commanders at CENTCOM in Florida or the Saudi control base feel like more than symbolic paper-pushers. The US is also putting into practice some long-discussed ideas about military reform, to create more responsive, more mobile units, and the advent of JDAM GPS bomb targeting has meant a factorial improvement in accuracy, which leads to a personalization of air bombardment support never before seen (small unit officers literally calling in airstrikes practically across the street). This advance is tricky to manage even for the US forces, though, and it's critical that our allies get experience working in the field with this new doctrinal approach.

Also, the numbers of soldiers put in the field is not the same as the number of soldiers fighting -- the phrase "tooth and tail" describes the logistical backing that every soldier requires, and a contingent of Royal Marines doesn't exactly arrive with their guns and a pocketful of bullets. They deploy at a unit level, and that means a HQ detachment, support personnel ranging from medical to commissary to communications to equipment maintenance.

Also, 1700 is by no means an equal force to the US contribution. The US has at least 5000 soldiers deployed in country as well as thousands more in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.

Robert, just seeing your last comment. Two points: liberal is not a synonym for antiwar. The latter is certainly a fringe voice at the moment, and may remain so for some time (just as the Republican isolationists were silenced for years after Pearl Harbor). And liberalism, at least as the UK would understand it, has never gone over too well here. The progressive wing of the Democratic party -- a couple of dozen legislators -- is about it. Otherwise, they vote Green or not at all. Traditional Democratic (moderate) liberalism is alive and well, though it seems to be spending energy on quixotic pursuits like Enron. Electoral prospects for the fall remain strong, though.
posted by dhartung at 11:22 PM on March 18, 2002


the issue of a British lean toward Washington or toward Brussels is, of course, at the very heart of this issue,

dhartung, I fully agree with you here, as can been read in my comment above, but I'd like to hear why you feel this way. I'm currently studying this issue and would love to hear some outside opinions.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:58 PM on March 18, 2002


'Also, 1700 is by no means an equal force to the US contribution. The US has at least 5000 soldiers deployed in country'

Remember that we also have 1,800 there on peacekeeping duties. That's not the point though. Compared to other campaigns, this type of proportionate contribution is entirely unprecedented. I'm not trying to say that Britain should not make this contribution, I'm just pointing out how unusal it is that we are providing such a high proportionate level. Trust me, this is very different to anything that has happened for a long time.

'liberal is not a synonym for antiwar' I didn't say it was. The liberal voice in the UK is attacking on numerous fronts, mainly complaining about US policy (on almost everything) and Britain's support of it.... Is it not true that the liberal voice in the US has somewhat struggled to hit a chord since September 11, in reference to rights, foreign policy, anything? Am I entirely wrong?

'the issue of a British lean toward Washington or toward Brussels is, of course, at the very heart of this issue, and he knows it.'

I don't know that. Strange as this may sound, I actually think that Blair genuinely believes that it is Britain's duty to do whatever it can to help fight this war on terror. People can label it as blind support for the US, but I think that to do so misses the point. We are a principled nation, one with a history of fighting for freedom, and one that at heart likes a good scrap. We like to be involved in things. Remember, most of us still haven't accepted that we don't rule the world anymore.
posted by RobertLoch at 12:16 AM on March 19, 2002


Additionally, particularly with the recent Operation Anaconda, which involved special forces from six allied nations, and its follow-on Operation Harpoon (cleanup of "Whaleback Ridge") was tasked mainly to the Canadians, there is a very conscious effort to not only give allied troops opportunities in the field, but to gain experience in commanding and coordinating disparate forces. The allied soldiers get "practice", yes, but also a tremendous morale boost and increased solidarity. The allied commanders at CENTCOM in Florida or the Saudi control base feel like more than symbolic paper-pushers. The US is also putting into practice some long-discussed ideas about military reform, to create more responsive, more mobile units, and the advent of JDAM GPS bomb targeting has meant a factorial improvement in accuracy, which leads to a personalization of air bombardment support never before seen (small unit officers literally calling in airstrikes practically across the street). This advance is tricky to manage even for the US forces, though, and it's critical that our allies get experience working in the field with this new doctrinal approach.

Why yes, yes...I see...I catch the almost breathless excitement of it all...it's like a military Disneyland, isn't it! Especially exciting to those not actually in the military, or to those safely behind the fighting, and to those safely at CENTCOM, or at "Saudi control" or safely pressing the buttons on the "JDAM GPS" targeted bombs. Just a damned game, a "morale booster", a "practice"...

M-I-C-K-E-Y...

And now the British get to try a few more "E" rides too, maybe. Let's see...first the Americans let the Afghans do the vast majority of the fighting so far...and we're expected by some to believe that Bush did that with no calculation whatsoever about the political risks of significant numbers of Americans coming home in body bags. Right. I'm sure he just wanted the Afghans to get some much needed practice...or maybe boost their morale.

And now another group of soldiers is on the way to decrease American political exposure a bit more. Those coffins flying into Andrews make dreadful video-bites in an election year.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:28 AM on March 19, 2002


Those coffins flying into Andrews make dreadful video-bites in an election year.

Yeah, and Gore distanced himself from Clinton because of his (Clinton's) economic policies? Hell no...

F&M, you know as well as I do that this is politics as usual. Bush doesn't want casualties so that more Republicans will be elected to office? So the fuck what? A House member's first and foremost job is to remain in office...and there are a lot of swing seats this term. Also, we all know that mid-term elections always go against the seated president's party.

He doesn't want body bags for two reasons. ONE, he, as well as the American people, DO NOT want casualties. TWO, he wants Republicans to be elected to office.

Way to go Foldy, you discovered the mystery to politics: to get re-elected. Brilliant...(BTW, I'm simply trolling the troll; if you'd like, we can both go back under the bridge together)
posted by BlueTrain at 12:40 AM on March 19, 2002


fold may continue to fish. I'm not taking the bait today.

But it's fun watching an opponent of our military involvement in Afghanistan twist himself into knots trying to explain why keeping our involvement low is a bad thing.
posted by dhartung at 1:35 AM on March 19, 2002


twist himself into knots trying to explain why keeping our involvement low is a bad thing.

He's describing the disingenuousness many of us feel to exist at all levels of this war/propaganda/supplanting of power from the American people campaign. Nice strawman.
posted by crasspastor at 1:58 AM on March 19, 2002


Remember that we also have 1,800 there on peacekeeping duties. That's not the point though.

It is the point, though. Peacekeeping and combat in the same place at the same time, is just asking for trouble. I'm sure, though, that the British troops in Kabul setting up a neutral police force will be issued with pre-printed cards in Pashto and Dari, explaining how they can stay impartial while their colleagues are yomping through the mountains after anything in a turban. (Don't you just love Afghan local intelligence?) The Americans have contributed zero troops to ISAF (peacekeeping is just too 20th century) so they don't have that problem.

(I can hear the bloggergruppenfuehrers saying there's already a conflict of interest with special forces etc etc. Those are covert operations. Big difference.)
posted by riviera at 3:15 AM on March 19, 2002


Why the Marines? They're good at going up-hill. The entry test for the Royal Marine officers is the exact same fitness test the US Marine officers take during the latter part of their training. It's a gentle dig at the Yanks. The theory is to convince them you're as good when you arrive as the US bods are when they're done. My cousin was rejected for being a lard arse. If any Paras who don't know where I live are reading this they may like to know that your regiment was his second choice and he got in. :)

Other questions apply here apart from the EU / UK / US rigmarole. Firstly, there is the question of the Peacekeeping troops. They're now in a slightly different position to the one they were in yesterday, i.e. now some people serving under the same flag are trying to kill Afghanis. Irrespective of whether they're going after terrorists or ordinary 'citizens' - the quotes reflect the current nature of Afghan society, not the people themselves; they're not exactly a nation state in the full sense yet are they? - they're going to kill Afghanis. Given the potential for killing civilians there when you're looking for 'a man of middle eastern appearence with a gun' and you're a trigger happy squaddie wih his life on the line this is going to change.

Point two is related in that UK forces were *very* stretched before this announcement. We're in the middle of a period of military review that was brought about by the end of the cold war. Budgets are going down rather than up. This may change, and likely will, but that change takes time. Time not only to bring it about but time also for the changes to have any effect. Professional soldiers are expensive because you have to train them up. As of now we have still have lots of people sitting in huts doing nothing in NI (taking them out is as politically damaging *within* NI as having them rampage through the streets shooting anything that moves), lots of people in the Balkans, I think there are still troops in Sierra Leone (they were Marines too) and there are of course several thousand in Afghanistan.

All taken together they amount to very few troops to begin with. We have always, always, always gone for the small, professional army rather than large numbers of cannon fodder. They're expensive, there aren't very many of them, and if we are to play this game at all we need more.

Which brings us back to the beginning. In an age of diverse threats, and increasingly diverging interests between Europe and the US, even on the part of the British (see steel import / cashmere import / Suez crises passim) should Europe get off its collective fat arse and pay for its own defence?

The answer is yes, but to do it requires unification of European forces so that we can concentrate huge amounts of capital in the same way the US can. The repeatedly stated worry is that the US, as any hegemon would (Britain did), will play the divide and conquer game and try and prevent it.

An aside: I once heard a great quote from a US isolationist from the immediate pre-war era. It wasn't Lindburgh I don't think but someone like him. Anyhoo, he said whilst Britain was asking for help that Britain would 'fight to the last American'. I do worry that something akin to the reverse is true. Not that the US wants highly trained troops to use as cannon fodder, merely that they'll try to rely on the 'tech' solution where 'tech' has no place and these lads will be in danger as a result. From what I understand from the press it's a common fear amongst British high command.

Do I get points for word count?
posted by vbfg at 4:16 AM on March 19, 2002


taking them out is as politically damaging *within* NI as having them rampage through the streets shooting anything that moves

Maybe I exaggerate a little sometimes. :) Still, it'd annoy Paisley. Everything else does.
posted by vbfg at 4:23 AM on March 19, 2002


F&M, you know as well as I do that this is politics as usual. Bush doesn't want casualties so that more Republicans will be elected to office? So the fuck what?

So the fuck he can play with the lives of his own electorate, that's the fuck what!
posted by vbfg at 4:25 AM on March 19, 2002


Oh aye, and anonimity is a word. It's just not been spelled correctly. :)
posted by vbfg at 5:16 AM on March 19, 2002


Or spelt. :) :)
posted by vbfg at 5:18 AM on March 19, 2002


'It is the point, though. Peacekeeping and combat in the same place at the same time.'

Aren't the British peacekeepers meant to be out by the time these guys arrive. I thought we were only committed to upto 3 months.
posted by RobertLoch at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2002


Bloggergruppenfuehrers....thats BloggerOBERgruppenfuehrer to you ..."Those are covert operations" it is all covert."Peacekeeping and combat" ya id be great to have either a hail of bullets or a hail of hugs. hugging, bullets...bullets more hugging. pesky human behaviorisms. {for what its worth dhart-"our allies get experience working in the field with this new doctrinal approach" is very...well said. this could help with future joint missions..coordinate strikes}
posted by clavdivs at 9:27 AM on March 19, 2002


Recently extended I believe RobertLoch. It hasn't been extended for this long yet but I seriously doubt they'll be out of there this year. Cheney and Rumsfeld have said as much themselves I believe. British politicans are lilkely testing the water first before they say anything, but it's going to happen. Mission creep is doing a fine canter at the moment.

I read off-line recently that of the others who have volunteered forces the next largest contingent (they wouldn't name names) want to get their troops there by train. Train (in case you missed it). 'Next largest' I imagine means Turkey. It was certainly a NATO country.

clavdis, for peace-keeping read building bridges, protecting hospitals, keeping vital supply lines (supplies to the population, not the armed forces) open, etc. The 'convince these people we're here to kill those others, not them' stuff. Hugging is not a by-product, not even waste by-product, of the Ministry of Defence. They leave that up to Ag, Fish and Food or whatever they call themselves in this post-foot and mouth world of ours.
posted by vbfg at 10:45 AM on March 19, 2002


"I think there are still troops in Sierra Leone" last i heard, they pulled out...some russian mercs got killed enmasse and that was it. (this was last year)"The entry test for the Royal Marine officers is the exact same fitness test the US Marine officers take during the latter part of their training. It's a gentle dig at the Yanks" YES it was. It was the brits who had the most experience in commando ops before and during WWII. They trained alot of our oss and rangers etc. I thought the subtle dig was the annoucment of the 6-105s (after all the yanks dont have them in the region) Fair enough, shows that the U.K. team can rely on her own FP if under heavy attack.
posted by clavdivs at 11:07 AM on March 19, 2002


Gratuitous Nazi references? Oh, my, this thread is dead.
posted by dhartung at 5:08 PM on March 19, 2002


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