Skip to comments.Message from Basra: 'get us out of here'_)
Posted on 10/28/2007 5:12:17 AM PDT by Flavius
Gethin Chamberlain in Basra is given a simple and stark message from a senior British officer in Iraq: 'We have got it wrong'
It was as astonishing an admission as any that has emerged from the lips of a British officer in the four and a half years since the tanks rolled over the Iraqi border. The British Army, said the man sitting in a prefab hut in Britain's last base in the country, were tired of fighting.
Not only that: their very presence in Basra was now the problem.
"We would go down there [Basra], dressed as Robocop, shooting at people if they shot at us, and innocent people were getting hurt," he said. "We don't speak Arabic to explain and our translators were too scared to work for us any more. What benefit were we bringing to these people?"
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
” By Gethin Chamberlain “
Oddly appropriate last name for the author of this snivelling drivel...
Wonder if he’s any relation.........
Baghdad is calm these days. I think it’s time for our troops to head south and get rid of the remainings of Mahdi Army and get Al Sadr killed or captured for this mess. If UK can’t, then US will have to do it.
‘Not only that: their very presence in Basra was now the problem.’
“was now”? What a writer.
Stopped reading right here.
The Brits gave up in Basra months ago. They just sat in the former palace and took daily rockets and motars rounds. Now they are only at the airport and have left the field. Send these wimps home and send in the marines.
I hope that it is, for it would certainly show that the British fighting forces are incapable of achieving victory anywhere.
and the descendents of this man will not return to Deopham Green to fight and fly for them ever again.
728th Squadron, 452nd Heavy Bombardment Group
I am so disappointed in the Brits. After what they did to fight off the Nazi’s in WW2 it is sad to see how they have morphed into a bunch of wimps more concerned with their image then saving the lives of their own citizens.
LOL! snivelling drivel BUMP!
It is clearly related to Harold Brown’s campaign pledges to remove British troops. All of this coincides with the new British Administration.
We should all look at the effects of this withdrawal as an instruction on what not to do. It would be better now, if the US would send in troops to the area and send the Brits to help in Afganistan, where they would be quite useful.
..If UK cant, then US will have to do it...
...send the Brits to help in Afganistan, where they would be quite useful...
Doing what?.... promising to stay out in return for assurances that they will not be attacked....
Wow ! That’s Chamberlain all right.
“I am so disappointed in the Brits. After what they did to fight off the Nazis in WW2 it is sad to see how they have morphed into a bunch of wimps more concerned with their image then saving the lives of their own citizens.”
American dims and half of the Republicans in America (and about 25% of those that call themselves FReepers) today are just like them!
My own easy guess is that Basra and that region are now semi-Iranian territory. That Iran gave so much help to Shiite guerrillas they were able to drive the Brits out. So......
Brits out, Iran in
british weakness ping
Stopped reading right here.
A relative in and out of Basra in the period 2006-2007 had nothing good to say about British troops. With lightly armed vehicles they preferred to hunker down rather than hit the road. Their miserable performance did nothing to help the economy of the region — one that the Japanese had been ready and willing to support. There were great parts of Basra city they would not enter, and it was only thanks to South African mercs that any meetings could be arranged for consortium folks. If it hadn’t been for the coalition that Bush cobbled they would have been sent home and replaced by Eastern Europeans, or a company of National Guard, all of which were more dependable.
“...send the Brits to help in Afganistan, where they would be quite useful...
Doing what?.... promising to stay out in return for assurances that they will not be attacked....
Wow ! Thats Chamberlain all right.”
Perhaps you are not familiar with British operations in Afgahnistan where we have over seven and a half thousand troops committed to the ISAF as well as a substantial RAF, and where 77 have been killed in the past 18 months in some of the most intense combat the British Army has experienced since the Second World War. You should look into it.
“It is clearly related to Harold Browns campaign pledges to remove British troops.”
Who is Harold Brown and what is he campaigning for?
There is a good reason why the new Iraqi Division for Salahadin has been delayed until mid-2008 while the assets that were to go to it have gone to Basrah’s new forming 14th Division.
They have also sent a brigade of Iraqi armor to cover for new forming 14th Division brigades (3-14 and 4-14) from Baghdad.
And the new formed Iraqi Special Operations Battalion, half of the elements of which are coming from Anbar and Ninawa.
The Iraqis are taking this problem on...
Oh I seem to remember how the Brits were going to school us in how to deal with an insurgency. We had it all wrong, and the Brits were brilliant at it.....
well when you’ve finished running away from Iraq leaving us with a mess to clear up we know where to send the next clear up team don’t we.
Its only a matter of time before you spineless euro-weasels run away from there too.
Thank you for posting Yon’s news. You saved me from having to inform some of the yokels on this thread.
“well when youve finished running away from Iraq leaving us with a mess to clear up we know where to send the next clear up team dont we.
Its only a matter of time before you spineless euro-weasels run away from there too.”
I’m sure your service of your country has been courageous and extensive compared to the ‘spineless’ British forces who have been involved in daily intense firefights with the Taleban. Perhaps you could provide some details of your service so we can compare?
I thought the 4th Iraqi Division was already active in Salah ad Din? Is there a new one there?
I have 4 years service with the 101st fightin’ keyboardists, and my brother is president of the Persian Gulf dinghy club. He goes on fishing trips often and last year he caught some very odd fish that seem only too happy to jump into the nets.
‘Im sure your service of your country has been courageous and extensive compared to the spineless British forces who have been involved in daily intense firefights with the Taleban. Perhaps you could provide some details of your service so we can compare?’
You’re wasting your time UKTory. There are a group of gutless, ignorant freepers on here who will always seize on any MSM story that is anti-British to vent their irrational hatred of Britain. They clearly feel that their time is far better spent whining about their allies than focusing on their real enemies. It is the ultimate expression of their inferiority complex and the narcisistic hatred of the progenitors of their language, law and government.
Why not do what they do? Read every snivelling, anti-American, badly written piece of gutter journalism in the NYT and treat it as gospel because it suits your anti-American agenda. That is the intellectual cornerstone that many of the freepers on this thread use as their nationalistic credo.
Fortunately, they are in the minority of freepers.
Don't they just impress the hell out of you?
You know what, if armchair commandoes on this website want to criticise British troops than so be it. Its a shame that frequent articles about UK forces gallantry and sacrifice often seem to be all but ignored on this website. But hey! The fact that people are suggesting that UK forces be moved to Afghanistan when we have been leading the fight in the South of that country for over year now (losing hundreds killed and wounded) is, I think, indicative of the level of care that people in the US hold for their allies. If it ain’t American blood being spilt, why should it bother us!
Among the peculiarities in this report are:
1) an assertion that someone said ‘get us out of here’ when not one quote in the article actually said that.
2) An assertion that UK forces don’t go into Basra when this very newspaper carried a story about a British run through the city two weeks ago.
3) This very newspaper carried a story about how UK forces were convinced NOT to re-enter Basra after two small car bomb attacks in that city: by Gen. Mohan and the Iraqis.
I’m sure that had this article been written about US forces (as many similar articles have been) it would have been dismissed as a fabrication on this website.
But denigration of your only true fighting ally seems to be perfectly acceptable around here. Its ironic that Michael Yon, an American spending time in Southern Iraq, is defending the Brits here:
“Several upcoming dispatches will focus on how the situation in Southern Iraq has dramatically improved over past months. Ironically, the character of this improvement is distinguished by the lack of violence, as well as the increasing order and normality as Iraqi Security Forces step up to greater responsibility for security in the region. Though the local leadership picture in downtown Basra is fuzzier now that British forces have pulled further back to begin performing their long-planned overwatch phase, it is clear that this natural progression in turning Basra over to Iraqi control has not catapulted the city into chaos....No one whos actually been to this area in the last month could honestly claim it was swarming with violence. Ive been with the Brits here for more than two weeks, during which time there have been only a few trivial attacks that could easily have been the work of an angry farmer with extra time on his hands and a mortar in his backyard. As to serious attacks on British forces, in the last eight weeks, there have been exactly zero. So, any stories that make it sound like Basra is in chaos are shamefully false.”
You don’t lose 170 troops being ‘hunkered’ down in Iraq. These casualties, if you read of these gallant men, were sustained in offenive actions and enemy ambushes. The people denigrating these men on this website should hang their heads in shame. Well , good luck with your other allies who can’t spare any troops for any offensive action in Iraq or Afghanistan.
I could have responded to the gross slurs given against my nation with equal ones aimed at the US. However, apparently, unlike contributors on this website, I am confident enough in the strength and character of my own country not to have and denigrate yours to make me feel better.
They are standing up 3-14 Bde by end-year and 14th’s HQ and support elements diverted from assignment to 12th. 4-14 Brigade formes mid-2008, until then the 3-9 Tank Bde from Baghdad is covering.
The 4th currently covers Salahadin, Kirkuk and Sulamaniyah Provinces. They are spliting off the Salahadin area and expanding into two Divisions there.
- New forming 12th Div HQ, with new Support Bns and 4th Div’s Engrs are for Salahadin. Was scheduled for Jan, now sched for mid-2008. Last Quarterly Report specificaly said the 12th Div HQ elements were diverted to 14th in Basrah.
1-4 IA Bde transfers to 12th Div
2nd SI Bde is to be retrained/re-blued and joins 12th
9th SI Bde is to be retrained/re-blued and joins 12th
4-4 IA Bde formed this summer and will be part of 12th
- 4th Div HQ transfers to Kirkuk with formation of 12th joining its Support Bns and forming new Engrs.
1st SI Bde is to be retrained/re-blued and join 4th
2-4 IA Bde remains in Kirkuk with 4th
3-4 IA Bde remains in Sulimaniyah with 4th
new 4-4 IA Bde is formed for Kirkuk late 2008
New time line for IA units forming was in the blogger roundtable with BG Swan. They are standardizing at 4xBde per Divs and 3xLine Bns per Bde.
British forces have never been hunkered down in Iraq. Please, read wider articles posted on this very website before you judge men who have fought with great distinction.
Before I started properly reading into the Iraq conflict, my only knowledge of US forces in the War on Terror was that the US Army 10th Mountain Division ‘didn’t do mountains’ in Afghanistan so had to be replaced by British Royal Marines and that an entire US unit panicked and refused to go on convoy duty in Iraq. US forces have, as we all know, been gallant in the WoT. A judgement of them based on the two incidents I mentioned would not be fair.
As for US Marines replacing British troops. During operations in Fallujah a US marine unit moving to that city was replaced by a British group that held their operational area down with much fewer men. British and US armed forces are as good as each other. Both groups deserve respect.
The problem with UK forces is they are too small.
It started becoming obvious that the UK decided to make Afganistan the main effort almost a year ago. What is happening now is an acceleration of that transfer of forces.
The ISF in Basrah was not ready and was not planned to be ready until Mid-late 2008. Hense the sudden diversion of forces from Ninawa, Anbar, Salahadin, Wasit and Baghdad to accelerate the stand-up of 14th Division. That was a change in plans that happened in Jun/Jul. In May, the 12th was still on schedule and half the ISOF elements were in Mosul and Al Asad.
This accelerated transfer of UK assets has effectively delayed operations in the hot provinces of the north by shifting major elements to Basrah ahead of schedule.
“This accelerated transfer of UK assets has effectively delayed operations in the hot provinces of the north by shifting major elements to Basrah ahead of schedule.”
This is incorrect. There was no ‘accelerated transfer’. Actually it had been delayed a little from initial announcements.
May 2006 - Iraqi’s could control security by the end of the year.
November 2006 - Margaret Beckett confident that British troops would be able to pull back to the airport and hand over control of basra ‘sometime in the spring of 2007’.
Well, I have heard some very unflattering opinions of US forces from friends and from articles. However, I have taken these for what they are: anecdotes. I know that US in general forces have served with utmost courage. However, UK forces have done the same and I would expect that they would be given the courtesy (still staying in Iraq for the forseeable future) of not being labelled ‘miserable’ after handing over responsibility for a city that, one month later, seems perfectly stable with none of the violence of regions further north. Please, read some of the articles about UK gallantry posted on this very website.
Funnily enough, despoite only having lightly armed vehicles I have not heard of a UK unit refusing orders to go out, unlike a certain National Guard unit. Bizzarre that you therefore name them as more ‘dependable’. Also, while loathe to criticise troops on the ground, I have read articles that Polish and Eastern European forces in Iraq have been anything but dependable. A Ukrainian unit literally downed weapons and ran away when supposed to be guarding a UK diplomat in 2004 and I have read several incidents of Poles refusing to help coalition forces under attack.
There are great parts of Iraq, like Sadr city, that US forces have been reluctant to enter. The US has also made pragmatic deals with former insurgents to further security.
All stories from UK sources with adgendas and from UK perspective.
My tracking of this is from Iraqi MoD perspective. They did not expect the UK to reduce this fast and were not ready for this. They thought they had another 6-12 months.
Mar22: He [Dep MoD] said Iraqi commanders in southern Iraq were “surprised by the British announcing they would pull out 1,600 soldiers from Basra,” and responded by moving forward by several months a timetable to bring a new brigade of about 5,000 Iraqi soldiers into the southern city.
Jun25: “I’m not sure. But I’ll tell you, just from the Iraqi army perspective, as I’ve said, they’re working on an 11th Division now, they’ve stood up an 11 Division—11th Iraqi Army Division Headquarters, which should be able to take battlespace some time this fall. We think that in early 2008 a 12th Division will be created in the Kirkuk area and a 13th Division will be stationed somewhere between Basra and al-Nasiriyah.” http://www.defenselink.mil//transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4000
pg38: 12th Div HQ with HQ, MP and Sigs assuming area of 4th Div and sub Bdes was ordered in 2006 but, 14th Div HQ forming in leiu of 12th this year.
UK/MoD may have planned on this but, they did not make it clear to GoI/MoD until spring/summer this year. There have been so many stories in press about UK reduction plans that turned out to be BS, that I am not surprised that the GoI ignores the UK press and waited for official notice...
Thanks! During my time there, the 4th Iraq Division stood up, and we spent most of our time figuring out what to do with the “Oil Security” battalions that kept springing up out of the desert around Bayji.
Transfer and re-training/re-bluing and converting to IA Light Infantry.
Entire FPS is in purge re-training, etc and the energy ministries’ parts are becoming IA with the IA assuming primary for electrical and oil infrastructure security...
The first article that I quoted, saying the target for handover was the end of 2006 was a press conference featuring Tony Blair and Nouri Al-Maliki. I think Maliki would be considered part of the Government of Iraq...
"Mar22: He [Dep MoD] said Iraqi commanders in southern Iraq were surprised by the British announcing they would pull out 1,600 soldiers from Basra, and responded by moving forward by several months a timetable to bring a new brigade of about 5,000 Iraqi soldiers into the southern city."
I note you didn't source this quote, but when I google it, it seems that you have only partially quoted what the story and the Iraqi Defence Minister actually said to give it a more negative spin.
"Iraq's defense minister said Wednesday his commanders were surprised when Britain recently announced plans to withdraw some of its troops from Iraq, but that his country's forces will be ready to replace them.
.....During his news conference at the Iraqi Embassy in London, Jassim said 2007 will be a crucial year for the ongoing training of Iraq's army so it can operate independently, without the routine support it now requires from coalition soldiers, artillery and air forces.
He said Iraqi commanders in southern Iraq were "surprised by the British announcing they would pull out 1,600 soldiers from Basra," and responded by moving forward by several months a timetable to bring a new brigade of about 5,000 Iraqi soldiers into the southern city.
But Jassim also said Blair's government has made it clear that "the departure of the British is dependent on the readiness of the Iraqis."
Of course this was just in reaction to an initial drawdown of forces, not that handover of Basra. That was actually delayed from April until September:
"Brig Bashall, the commander of 1 Mechanised Brigade, said that after the six-month Operation Sinbad to impose security on Basra was finished in April "we could have come out and done the transition completely".
The decision to stay on longer was a result of "political strategy being played out at highest level," he added.
A spokesman for the MoD said the handover took place only once Iraqi forces had been fully trained.
He added: "The decision to hand over Basra Palace was part of a conditions-based transition, developed in consultation with the Iraqi government and our coalition partners.
"We handed Basra Palace over this month only when the conditions were right and the Iraqi forces were ready to take over.
"The government of Iraq decided in May it wanted to keep Basra Palace, and it then took time to form and train the Iraqi Palace Protection Force to the point that it could take over Basra Palace."
Like I said, the UK forces reductions are faster than the IA expected. The 14th was not scheduled to be formed until mid-2008. Not by GoI/MoD, MNF-I or MNSTC-I. Forces are being diverted. They have to divert combat units from combat zones to deal with the criminal problems in Basrah. The Iraqi MoD elements that are willing to comment make it clear that they did not expect the UK draw-down to be this fast.
The UK politicians are saying Basrah is ready.
The Iraqi Army is saying they are not.
Which is more authoritative about the IA? Some politicians in London or the IA?
I have been expecting UK pull out for over a year. To fill out forces in Afghanistan. UK just does not have a large enough Army for it’s commitments. That is what happens when you take too much of a peace-dividend. Same thing happened to the US which is why we are expanding our military...
No. I am far from ignorant on this subject. I track OOB and force developments for “The Long War Journal”.
UK politicians have been commiting the Royal Army to more than they have the forces to cover. Somebody in MoD finally got the politicians to decide which obligations were more important. Afghanistan and NATO won the decision. Not a real surprise there. Makes sense.
If you have been tracking OOB in Iraq and Afghanistan, then you know that overall UK commitments to Iraq have dropped about the same amount that UK commitments have increased in Afghanistan. Not a real surprise there. Makes sense.
The pace of the shift in forces and the apparent lack of coordination with the Iraqis at the operational level (vice political) is the surprise...
“gutless, ignorant freepers”
PS It is a dead give away that someone does not believe in their argument or position, when they resort to personnal attacks. Thank you for advising all readers that your position is untenable...
Until my company went in there. Then we wondered what all the fuss was about.
The US has also made pragmatic deals with former insurgents to further security.
It had to happen eventually. And it's paid off immensely.
You have my absolute respect, Sir, for your service.
Tagged the wrong person to reply to.
OK, just a mistake, then I take it back.