Tag Archives: British soldiers

Bring Back The Taliban Say Afghan Villagers!

As British troops moved into a village recently “liberated” from the Taliban, they were shocked to discover most of the villagers believe government forces, particularly the police, are much worse than living under Taliban rule. Mohammad Gul, an elder in the village of Pakela, which is currently being taken over by British troops, told a reporter for al-Aribilya, “the police would stop people driving on motorcycles, beat them, and take their money.’ He pointed to two compounds where pre-teen children had been abducted by the police and used for the local practice of “bachabazi” or having sex with young boys. He also claimed boys working in the fields were seized and taken to the compound to be raped. Mohammad Rasul, an elderly farmer, who son was killed by a Taliban roadside bob, told reporters, “we were happy (after the Taliban arrived.”

Perhaps, these are a few malcontent voices and one should not pay much attention to their complaints about local police and the Afghanistan government, but their comments sound very common to those who are knowledgeable about the Vietnam war. If the villagers are right, then the “Obama surge” may in the future be termed the “surge” that restored Republicans to power.

British Fight In Afghanistan Is Bloody And Muddy

British troops were engaged for two weeks in a massive campaign in Afghanistan that ended on Christmas Day with four dead British soldiers and over a hundred members of the Taliban. About 1,500 troops were engaged in what was among the longest and most intense battles in Afghanistan in years. According to Captain David Glendenning, “almost every day we were involved in intense fire fights ranging from rocket-propelled grenades and small arms to four-hour long battles with enemy forces as close as 30 meters.” A lance corporal said bluntly: “some of the places we stayed in were a nightmare–sleeping in the mud was worst.” There was extensive hand-to-hand battles in which men looked one another in the eye as they fought to kill one another.

The daily battles coalition and American troops must engage in are rarely reported in any depth by the American media. The media has been brain-washed by the Bush administration for years and the result is few Americans really have a grasp about the reality of what occurs in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan.

Iraq Parliament Sanctions Non-US Troops

The Iraq parliament finally over came opposition from Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani and voted to allow non-American troops to remain in Iraq until July. The speaker had resigned in a dispute over several issues including the notorious shoe thrower. Great Britain’s contingent of 4,000 will be allowed to remain until the spring when they will all be sent back to England. American troops are allowed to remain until 2011 under a special agreement reached a few weeks ago. In a separate issue, the Iraq government admitted there never had been a plot to overthrow the government as it claimed several days ago.

The agreement clarifies a murky situation in which British troops technically could not remain in Iraq after January 1st. All accused of being involved in the alleged plot were released on bail.

The great unknown is will Iraq degenerate into squabbling factions and religious groups as they assume greater control over their nation’s destiny.

Iraq Wants Britain Out

Prime Minister of Iraq is still furious at the United Kingdom for what he believes is its failure to crush the forces of his enemy, Moqtada al-Sadr. Britain’s troops were supposed to begin withdrawing in March, 2009 and, most probably, many will be sent as reinforcements to UK troops fighting in Afghansitan. Maliki has refused to even hold discussions with Britain until after the Iraq parliament has ratified the agreement with America regarding evacuation of its forces. If Iraq fails to negotiate an evacuation process with England, their troops in Iraq after December 31, 2008 will not be covered by any legal process.

The fiasco over the status of British troops in Iraq is simply one more episode in the disastrous operation in Iraq that began when Bush invaded the country searching for WMD that did not exist. Mailiki is angry British forces did not assist in the summer of 2007 efforts of his government to crush al-Sadr. Of course, British soldiers have died fighting for the Mailiki government, but, such is the way of things in Iraq.

Iraq Fatigue Drops British Soldier Morale

A study conducted last fall of soldiers in the armed forces of Great Britain revealed a low level of morale and increasing fatigue with life in the military. At least half of those serving in the army consider on a regular basis the desirability of submitting their resignation due to low pay, poor equipment, and low morale. Many are upset at the necessity of fighting in both Afghanistan and Iraq which requires long periods of separation from family and when finally being able to get home, they quickly must return to the stress of combat.

Last fall, General Sir Richard Dannatt, said soldiers felt “devalued, angry and suffering from iraq fatigue.” The report figures bear out that statement. three fifths of members of the Army believe morale is “low” or “very low.” three fourths of those serving in the RAF feel the same way as do 38% of the navy.

Part of the problem is the lack of any sense the military is succeeding or that there are clear goals as to what must be accomplished. It is a quagmire and soldiers on the front line do not believe their superiors know how to extract them from it.

Are Soldiers Entitled To Human Rights?

A British High Court has ruled members of the armed forces are entitled to protection of the Human Rights Act even while on active duty and fighting on the front lines. It decided sending members of the armed forces out on patrol with defective equipment is breach of the Human Rights act. The decision was a rounding defeat for the Defense Ministry which has argued soldiers were not covered by such laws. The justices also ruled the Defense Minister could not issue a ban which prevents coroners from using such phrases as “serious failure” in rendering verdicts on the deaths of soldiers who died while in military acton.

The Defense Ministry argued it ws “impossible to afford to soldiers who were on active service outside their bases the benfit of the Human Rights Act.” The justices insisted human rights were guaranteed British citizens “wherever they might be.” It is unfortunate such rights are not guaranteed members of the American armed forces who from day one of the invasion of Iraq have been provided faulty equipment which, in many cases, resulted in their deaths.

Blood Blunder Endangers British Soldiers

It is estimated about 18 British soldiers are anxiously a waiting reports as to whether or not they were infeced with a deadly disease. The men were wounded while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and received blood from US military sources. The American medical staff apparently did not follopw their own procedures to test donors prior to taking blood. British officials are furious and term this blunder “outrageous” and an “absolute disgrace” that men and women who riskedc their lives should have their own placed at risk due to bureaucratic blunders.

Each day and month the consequences of the invasion of Iraq raise new questions concerning preparation and organization. The World Health Organization recently noted that over 150,000 Iraqi civilians died due to the invasion. The count goes on.

In Afghan Fields, The Poppies Blow….

It was just another day in Afghanistan, another British soldier died when his vehicle hit a mine. Staff at the British embassy in Afghanistan have taken to wearing white cardboard poppies in their lapel in honor of British dead, it also the famous line about the British soldiers who died in Flanders fields in WWI. A Kabul bookseller inquired of his British customer about the poppy because to his people, poppies represent money for farmers or for the Taliban or for drug dealers. Most of fighting in Afghanistan has been in southern regions but a few days ago a blast in the northern city of Baghian left seventy dead, including sixty children as well as over a hundred wounded. Even as 7,700 British troops are deployed in Afghanistan, there is frustration at refusal by many NATO nations to send troops or to place restrictions on there being allowed to serve in combat areas.

A recent Taliban slogan has become an effective piece of propoganda. It states, “You have the watches, we have the time.” It is becoming apparent there is considerable lack of enthusiasm among NATO nations to have their soldiers serving in Afghanistan. We are left with the Bush legacy of abandoning Afghanistan in order to invade Iraq leaving chaos in both areas of the world. Is the president going to send 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan in another “surge” movement? “In Flanders fields, the poppies blow…”