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Thread: British Troops Morale Collapsing in Afghanistan

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    Default British Troops Morale Collapsing in Afghanistan

    British troops in Afghanistan are facing a horrible attrition with rising deaths and injuries. Anyone who watched the recent documentary "Wounded" will appreciate the horror for formerly fit and healthy young men waking up to find arms and legs amputated and sight permanently gone.

    Similar sentiments emerged in an October 3 Times report on British troops operating in the Sangin district of Helmand Province during the Afghan presidential election in August. The unit, the 2nd Rifles, had lost 100 dead or wounded out of 500 combat troops since April. The author noted that the casualty rate compared with that experienced during the intense fighting in Europe in the final years of World War II.

    Patrols are attacked as close as 500 metres from the walls of the British base but, as in Wardak province, the troops in Helmand rarely make any contact with the Taliban insurgents who have savaged their ranks with IEDs, mines and sniper fire.
    Suicide rates, divorce rates are high.

    Staff Sergeant Erika Cheney, a mental health specialist, said, “They’re tired, frustrated, scared. A lot of them are afraid to go out [on patrol] but will still go.”

    A 20-year-old soldier, Specialist Raquime Mercer, commented, “We’re lost. That’s how I feel. I’m not exactly sure why we’re here. I need a clear-cut purpose if I’m going to get hurt out here or if I’m going to die. The soldiers’ biggest question is: what can we do to make this war stop? Catch one person? Assault one objective? Soldiers want definite answers other than to stop the Taliban, because that seems almost impossible. It’s hard to catch someone you can’t see.”
    Morale crumbling among US and British troops in Afghanistan

    Brown has just announced another 500 troops are to go to Afghanistan. They are going out to a senseless, immoral and unwinnable war.

    Obama increased the troop numbers by 17,000 earlier this year but McChrystal says he needs tens of thousands more.

    John Kerry has just called for a stop to troop increases until the second attempt at elections has been held.

    Whatever the intentions, and even with the use of drones fired from Texas, the forces in Afghanistan are being beaten on the ground without in many cases having ever seen one of the "enemy".

    Specialist Eric Petty told the Times, “The soldiers are angry that colleagues are losing their lives while trying to help a population that will not help them. You give them all the humanitarian assistance that they want and they’re still going to lie to you. They’ll tell you there’s no Taliban anywhere in the area and as soon as you roll away, 10 feet from their house, you get shot at again.”
    Isn't it high time that this miserable war, based on lies and deception, was brought to an end ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cactusflower View Post
    Isn't it high time that this miserable war, based on lies and deception, was brought to an end ?
    No, no, no! War is great! Ask Tha0cman and Trampas! I hope they're tooling up and heading out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asi-Irish View Post
    No, no, no! War is great! Ask Tha0cman and Trampas! I hope they're tooling up and heading out there.
    Those who have no experience of warfare are usually it's most jingoistic supporters; particularly when there is little likelihood that they will ever have to gain the experience personally. Those type of moral cowards make me sick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asi-Irish View Post
    No, no, no! War is great! Ask Tha0cman and Trampas! I hope they're tooling up and heading out there.
    If I were an Afghan, I think I would be very annoyed at all these foreign troops using my country as a stomping ground, but the bankers of the City of London own Gordon Brown and care nothing for what the ordinary Afghani thinks. Hopefully, it will all blowback in their faces somehow.
    Last edited by kerdasi amaq; 18th October 2009 at 06:12 PM.
    We have got as much as we are going to get out of Europe; it is, now, time to leave!
    EUROPA CONVENTUS DELENDA EST!...Whistle out the marching tune.....27

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    Quote Originally Posted by kerdasi amaq View Post
    Katyusha, I don't think that is jingoism. Asi-irish is being very cynical there. If I were an Afghan, I think I would be very annoyed at all these foreign troops using my country as a stomping ground, but the bankers of the City of London own Gordon Brown and care nothing for what the ordinary Afghani thinks. Hopefully, it will all blowback in their faces somehow.
    I wasn't accusing Asi-Irish of jingoism cara, that comment was directed at the type of people whom he referred to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cactusflower View Post
    John Kerry has just called for a stop to troop increases until the second attempt at elections has been held.
    I saw that, if you are referring to his John King, State of the Nation, CNN interview this morning. He said a number of interesting things. For example he stated that the pressure to escalate the troop numbers was misplaced.

    They showed a soundbyte from a interview from McCain where he insisted that the troops be sent and I was left wondering how McCain figured out how many should be sent. It looked to me that Senator McCain was simply interested in escalating the war rather than the strategy behind it. But perhaps that is being unfair to him.

    Kerry said that until elections had been finalised it was impossible to know how to proceed since the partner in the conflict was in flux. He also dismissed comparisons with Vietnam and spoke of how McCain and himself had both experienced political inference in that war - a peculiar point. If I recall correctly Kerry also suggested that Europeans may be used to train police rather than increase their troop levels possibly referring to Sarkozy's recent remarks (reported in Drudge) about not committing more troops to the region while maintaining the forces already deployed.

    Personally I think that this war is more closely analogous to Vietnam than Iraq. It has an organised enemy who is operating across a border from a territory they can confidently operate in. The tactics are similar, they are well supplied, have favourable terrain, local support and the impetus is with them.

    Rahm Emanuel was on before Kerry and prevaricated on the issue simply restating the Whitehouse's commitment to 'staying the course' (to borrow a phrase). I think that the military planners in Washington are in a bind. From what I can see the war in Afghanistan was lost in the first two years of the occupation and metastasized into Pakistan. I think that it is a difficult task to recover from that position.

    ****Frontline has just done a documentary on the situation: FRONTLINE: obama's war: watch the full program online | PBS It is an influential programme.****

    Biden recently spoke against an escalation in troop numbers: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/wo...n.html?_r=2&hp

    The New Republic published an article outlining the difficulties in trying to solve the problem militarily: Stalemate | The New Republic

    The pro-escalation perspective can be found on: The Long War Journal

    The Pakistani Army may want the U.S. to continue its involvement: Musharraf says U.S. pullout from Afghanistan would be 'disastrous' | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register

    While there are some in the U.S. senior officer corps that want to draw down troop levels. This is an interesting article about the recent study from Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis: U.S.: Veteran Army Officer Urges Afghan Troop Drawdown - IPS ipsnews.net

    Finally, the Olberman recently did a segment on comments by Colin Powell in 2007:
    YouTube - Gen Colin Powell Warns Of Terror Industrial Complex!

    Kudos to Ars for many of the links.

    As for the morale level in the British Army, I can only say - very little sympathy.

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    That is a very useful collection of sources - thankyou.

    I've just read this one, by a DIA man. It (if you include the comments) expresses the US objective well. The objective so far as I can see, is to maintain a US military presence over a fragile tapestry of corrupt drug-producing war lords, and to legalise (or take the legal pressures off) drug production. US strategy in Afghanistan needs to be seen in the context of Brzezinski's twenty and thirty year perspectives, as well as month on month political necessities.

    There are relevant comments here from Craig Murray, on General Gul's of the ISI's recent interview:

    US Supported Afghan Government Warlords Control World Heroin Trade | Atlantic Free Press - Hard Truths for Hard Times

    Craig Murray is the former U.K. Ambassador for Uzbekistan who was sacked over his protests of the US and UK's use of the country as a torture pit stop in the 'War on Terror'. He is a human rights activist, writer, Rector of the University of Dundee and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law.
    There is an excellent interview with former head of the Pakistani intelligence service, General Hamid Gul, here. He makes some very strong points. It is undoubtedly true that it is warlords in the US-backed Karzai government who control 90% of the world heroin trade, and that the trade has expanded to its highest ever levels under coalition control. It is undoubtedly true that US foreign policy in the region is dictated by the desire to access Central Asian oil and gas. It is also undoubtedly true that the US works closely with Mossad and with India in Central Asia, and that many of its attacks appear calculated to stir up rather than ease conflict.
    The heroin trade has become both a major funder of illegal US operations and a geopolitical weapon:

    Returning to the drug trade, General Gul named the brother of President Karzai, Abdul Wali Karzai. “Abdul Wali Karzai is the biggest drug baron of Afghanistan,” he stated bluntly. He added that the drug lords are also involved in arms trafficking, which is “a flourishing trade” in Afghanistan. “But what is most disturbing from my point of view is that the military aircraft, American military aircraft are also being used. You said very rightly that the drug routes are northward through the Central Asia republics and through some of the Russian territory, and then into Europe and beyond. But some of it is going directly. That is by the military aircraft. I have so many times in my interviews said, ‘Please listen to this information, because I am an aware person.’ We have Afghans still in Pakistan, and they sometimes contact and pass on the stories to me. And some of them are very authentic. I can judge that. So they are saying that the American military aircraft are being used for this purpose. So, if that is true, it is very, very disturbing indeed.”
    This is not only coming from Gul, but also from the FBI Turkish whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and other sources:

    Against All Enemies: US military planes carrying Afghanistan's heroin

    This particularly noxious form of covert warfare is affecting in particular Pakistan, Western China, the former USSR territories and Iran, but is spreading futher afield, here, in the UK and Ireland.

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    Poor morale!? Oh boo hoo, the British scumbags shouldn't even be in Afghanistan in the first place- anymore than unfree Eire.
    I know what it is I want, but I cannot answer the question when my conscience asks why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortesbrand View Post

    They showed a soundbyte from a interview from McCain where he insisted that the troops be sent and I was left wondering how McCain figured out how many should be sent. It looked to me that Senator McCain was simply interested in escalating the war rather than the strategy behind it. But perhaps that is being unfair to him.
    McCain has been pretty consistent in backing the generals who are requesting new troops. That is to be expected of him with his back ground, his first reaction will always be to back the army as much as possible.


    Kerry said that until elections had been finalised it was impossible to know how to proceed since the partner in the conflict was in flux.
    I disagree totally with this view. From a military pov, they're there to acompish a task. If Karzai turned around tomorrow and said "Get out" the US aren't going to do it. So to say that the current indecision is due to Karzai's blatant vote rigging seems false to me.


    Personally I think that this war is more closely analogous to Vietnam than Iraq. It has an organised enemy who is operating across a border from a territory they can confidently operate in. The tactics are similar, they are well supplied, have favourable terrain, local support and the impetus is with them.
    I'd agree with that. It was typical of the Bush administration to ignore all history in the area and just assume that things would work out.


    Rahm Emanuel was on before Kerry and prevaricated on the issue simply restating the Whitehouse's commitment to 'staying the course' (to borrow a phrase). I think that the military planners in Washington are in a bind. From what I can see the war in Afghanistan was lost in the first two years of the occupation and metastasized into Pakistan. I think that it is a difficult task to recover from that position.
    Agree. The "Stay the course" idea is self defeating, as it indicates to me the belief that the current methods are working. They're not. The generals are saying they need more troops to win. They're right. Most Democrats believe that the more pressing concern is Pakistan. They're also right, but even if they pulled out of Afghanistan tomorrow, those troops can't just go into Pakistan. Plus if they pull out now, in the eyes of the world and Al Queda, they lose the war.

    Obama's been "deciding" on this for the last 7 weeks. When he eventually comes out with it, it will probably define his first term.

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    i there is a BIG difference between Obama and Dubya with regards to handling this war.

    Dubya had video conferences with his generals WEEKLY.

    Obama - had a conference with the Afghanistan general once. after 70 days.

    i think that says it all.

    obama will turn out to be Jimmy Carter Mark 2. only worse.

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