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British And US Special Forces In Iraq


Dick Splash
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WELL WORTH A READ;

“The problem from the start was that operational training and procedures for the top UK and US special operations forces are vastly different,” one British source said.

In Iraq, British special forces aim to merge into the background, driving battered local cars and wearing cheap clothes bought in markets. They looked on aghast at their US colleagues who initially drove around in new Dodge pickups.

“We used to laugh when we saw the Americans around the green zone,” one source said. “They would be wearing designer jeans, heavy boots and T-shirts - that was their idea of local dress. To a man they would all have pistols strapped to each leg with black plastic holster and webbing, and of course they would be wearing the latest shades. We called it ‘living the dream’.”

Full article here in The Times

DS

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Meh. Maybe it's just my perception, but it looks like more America bashing to me

Certainly is, but it's America bashing with real quotes from British soldiers, which brings into question the fact that they may (or may not) have a point.

Perhaps the US special operations forces just do things differently. We Americans are known for doing things our own way. That doesn't make it any better or worse.

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The US approach is less effective than the British, but.....

The US has more troops, with more money behind it and thus more power.

Sometimes the US approach will give more results, but most of the time the British will provail. But knowing the full size of Irak, and its problems, we might need even more forces in there to get it fixed, the strategy for now is leave with as little casualities as possible, Irak as it is now can't be won.....sad but true

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Maybe we'll get it right in Iran or China! :rolleyes:

DS

I have to ask .... why are you here? Your posts espouse a certain anti-American flare. So why are you in this country? I'm not asking to be rude or anything of the sort, just curious I suppose. You post news articles that pick at the US and our military, your comments espouse a certain contempt of the country and the way we do things. So I really just have to wonder... why don't you go back to the UK? Is there something keeping you here when you'd really rather not be?

Edited by Parabellum
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Maybe we'll get it right in Iran or China! :rolleyes:

DS

I have to ask .... why are you here? Your posts espouse a certain anti-American flare. So why are you in this country? I'm not asking to be rude or anything of the sort, just curious I suppose. You post news articles that pick at the US and our military, your comments espouse a certain contempt of the country and the way we do things. So I really just have to wonder... why don't you go back to the UK? Is there something keeping you here when you'd really rather not be?

Good grief.......I said 'we' not the US, f/wit. You know nothing about me, why I'm here, who I am or where I work and more importantly......the extent of my continued contribution to this website.

'Rude'?......that's an understatement pal. You state 'posts'.....dig 'em up and spit 'em out......and PLEASE....don't PM me!

In the five years I've been involved with this website [ignore the joining date BTW....this site's been hacked a few times over the years].......I've seen more US flag waving, jingoistic, red neck, ignorant BS, than there's ever been from any non US post contributing member.

DS

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WELL WORTH A READ;

“The problem from the start was that operational training and procedures for the top UK and US special operations forces are vastly different,†one British source said.

In Iraq, British special forces aim to merge into the background, driving battered local cars and wearing cheap clothes bought in markets. They looked on aghast at their US colleagues who initially drove around in new Dodge pickups.

“We used to laugh when we saw the Americans around the green zone,†one source said. “They would be wearing designer jeans, heavy boots and T-shirts - that was their idea of local dress. To a man they would all have pistols strapped to each leg with black plastic holster and webbing, and of course they would be wearing the latest shades. We called it ‘living the dream’.â€

Full article here in The Times

DS

That was a good read the article anyway.

I had not realised they have lost so many and had so many injuries.

Our Cost cutting budget strikes again.

There are if you look US articles that say the same thing.

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Maybe we'll get it right in Iran or China! :rolleyes:

DS

I have to ask .... why are you here? Your posts espouse a certain anti-American flare. So why are you in this country? I'm not asking to be rude or anything of the sort, just curious I suppose. You post news articles that pick at the US and our military, your comments espouse a certain contempt of the country and the way we do things. So I really just have to wonder... why don't you go back to the UK? Is there something keeping you here when you'd really rather not be?

Good grief.......I said 'we' not the US, f/wit. You know nothing about me, why I'm here, who I am or where I work and more importantly......the extent of my continued contribution to this website.

'Rude'?......that's an understatement pal. You state 'posts'.....dig 'em up and spit 'em out......and PLEASE....don't PM me!

In the five years I've been involved with this website [ignore the joining date BTW....this site's been hacked a few times over the years].......I've seen more US flag waving, jingoistic, red neck, ignorant BS, than there's ever been from any non US post contributing member.

DS

It was an honest question. I'm sorry that you were offended. I'll take you up on your offer, even though you're going to turn and insult me for my views on said posts and links, rather than say "Hey, he might have a point." or "No, you're mistaken".

#1 -- The link you posted in this very thread. America bashing. Confirmed by another poster. As in "Look how poor US forces are." What purpose does that serve? To me, this carries on the trend started by the post referenced in #2, wherein the person in the link, and you by proxy, suggest that American soldiers and civilians are somehow careless and under-trained.

#2 -- The thread you posted concerning Americans and firearm safety, in which you criticized Americans because we do things differently than you are used to doing. The fact that people are competent enough to know the firearm is unloaded without having to squeeze the trigger makes Americans careless? *boggle* I don't intent to rehash that whole discussion, as it's pointless. However, the snide comments in the original link you posted, coupled with your statement that the person "hit the nail on the head" speaks volumes.

#3 -- Your snide comment about "maybe we'll get it right in Iran or China", which suggests that we will invade Iran or China. What proof is there of either assertion? This is the same kind of statement that I'd expect from the vehement "Bush-haters" and anti-war activists. It's also the same sort of rhetoric espoused by America-haters from European nations, who insist that we're warmongers and intent on conquering the middle east for oil.

#4 -- In another, much older post from 2003, you compare yourself (being British) to the Americans around whom you work, how you're proud to be British and how the people you come in contact with don't speak or write as well as you. Because they're American. Most of the post is a comparison between British and American life, and is largely just observation I think, but there are a few subtle zingers in there.

In my perspective, there's a very thin, very subtle "I'm better than you because you're American and I'm British." in some of your posts (this very thread included). Now, I think it's great to be proud of being British, Indian, American, or whatever nationality one might be. But when I detect a very subtle "I'm better than the people in this country" it just sort of makes me wonder.

Your posts almost seem to have a dual perspective. On the one hand, there are the "I'm better." posts that I've referenced, and yet on the other, you seem very pro-military and pro-America at times. Maybe it's a bit of friendly rivalry on your part, maybe it's just observation. I don't know. But you know, you can't post things with an "I'm better than you." attitude, without expecting someone to return the favor. :)

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I am Dutch, but I don't like a lot about my country, and some other aspects I do like. Does that change me being Dutch? No.

Having trouble with the way the US is doing their warfare buissnes does not have to mean you do not support their troops. The desicions that are made are political.

Generally I hate Bush for his politics, he seems very very shortsighted to me. But in general I like Americans, they should only worry a bit more about the environment, and foreighn politics....

I think Dick Splash means just about the same. I would wish hte US strategie in Irak and Afghanistan would become more "British" don't shoot too much and try to judge situations better. But on the other hand I realise the scale of these conflicts and the urge to get them sorted can make different decisions more apparent.....

Winning hearts and minds is the only way to really make a change, and judging everyone even your allies on their deeds might work better too.

Anyway, I and we are not in the position to change these things, but being more aware of what really happens in teh rest of the world can make us think different and act better in our own world.

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In my perspective, there's a very thin, very subtle "I'm better than you because you're American and I'm British." in some of your posts (this very thread included). Now, I think it's great to be proud of being British, Indian, American, or whatever nationality one might be. But when I detect a very subtle "I'm better than the people in this country" it just sort of makes me wonder.

Your posts almost seem to have a dual perspective. On the one hand, there are the "I'm better." posts that I've referenced, and yet on the other, you seem very pro-military and pro-America at times. Maybe it's a bit of friendly rivalry on your part, maybe it's just observation. I don't know. But you know, you can't post things with an "I'm better than you." attitude, without expecting someone to return the favor. :)

You've looked at me and this thread completely the wrong way. I found the link by chance, thought of this site and posted it thinking it would be a good article to post. If it had been a UK article showing US troops in a better light I'd have still posted it and not put my own comment there in support of the British troops. I might have added an opinion later if people had replied. I subscribe to the 'US' Army Times and have posted plenty of quotes and links from there. It's a good read. I don't subscribe to the British 'Soldier' magazine or get access to the 'British Army Review'. If I did, I'd post links and quote articles from there too, hopefully for the benefit of the members in here and not as a form of psychological warfare to get a message across.

My opinion from 2003 highlighted a cultural difference that was affecting me [and still is at times] and brought up a lot of opinions. As a foreigner in a foreign land I'm well qualified to comment. And if you live in another country by choice and not in the pay of and cocooned in Uncle Sam's bubble then I'd encourage you to share your thoughts.

As for firearms, I don't have to tell you that this is a very sensitive subject for many people, especially the US. If that was subtle America bashing then I suppose I was subtly bashing men at the same time too was I? Self taught or poorly passed down knowledge makes for bad safety was my opinion in there IIRC and the common sense of pointing the weapon in a safe direction and squeezing the trigger. If a man is changing his targets down the range and the person at the firing point next to him is holding an unloaded rifle in the firing position and looking through his scope is that a safe thing to do? The man with the rifle knows there's no round in the chamber, but how does it look for the man that can see him over a hundred metres away? I saw that happen yesterday and I see these things on a regular basis. I was taught and I believe that firearms should always be treated as though they are loaded.

The Iran/China comment was a joke and seems to be a popular point of topic in the world today. It wasn't snide and I thought it relevent in this thread to post it.

You don't know me para' and I will take it personally if I feel someone has taken something the wrong way or misunderstood my post.

BTW in this weeks 'Army Times' I was going to post two really good articles from it about a Silver Star winner and a CMH winner, but I honestly can't be arsed now, so you might want to find and post them yourself for the benefit of the members in here as it would probably look better coming from an American ;)

DS

Having trouble with the way the US is doing their warfare buissnes does not have to mean you do not support their troops.I think Dick Splash means just about the same .
That's about right Forrester. I do support the troops and not always their methods or the reasons for them being there.

DS

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In my perspective, there's a very thin, very subtle "I'm better than you because you're American and I'm British." in some of your posts (this very thread included). Now, I think it's great to be proud of being British, Indian, American, or whatever nationality one might be. But when I detect a very subtle "I'm better than the people in this country" it just sort of makes me wonder.

Your posts almost seem to have a dual perspective. On the one hand, there are the "I'm better." posts that I've referenced, and yet on the other, you seem very pro-military and pro-America at times. Maybe it's a bit of friendly rivalry on your part, maybe it's just observation. I don't know. But you know, you can't post things with an "I'm better than you." attitude, without expecting someone to return the favor. :)

You've looked at me and this thread completely the wrong way. I found the link by chance, thought of this site and posted it thinking it would be a good article to post. If it had been a US article showing US troops in a better light I'd have still posted it and not put my own comment there in support of the British troops. I might have added an opinion later if people had replied. I subscribe to the 'US' Army Times and have posted plenty of quotes and links from there. It's a good read. I don't subscribe to the British 'Soldier' magazine or get access to the 'British Army Review'. If I did, I'd post links and quote articles from there too, hopefully for the benefit of the members in here and not as a form of psychological warfare to get a message across.

My opinion from 2003 highlighted a cultural difference that was affecting me [and still is at times] and brought up a lot of opinions. As a foreigner in a foreign land I'm well qualified to comment. And if you live in another country by choice and not in the pay of and cocooned in Uncle Sam's bubble then I'd encourage you to share your thoughts.

(1)

As for firearms, I don't have to tell you that this is a very sensitive subject for many people, especially the US. If that was subtle America bashing then I suppose I was subtly bashing men at the same time too was I? Self taught or poorly passed down knowledge makes for bad safety was my opinion in there IIRC and the common sense of pointing the weapon in a safe direction and squeezing the trigger. If a man is changing his targets down the range and the person at the firing point next to him is holding an unloaded rifle in the firing position and looking through his scope is that a safe thing to do? The man with the rifle knows there's no round in the chamber, but how does it look for the man that can see him over a hundred metres away? I saw that happen yesterday and I see these things on a regular basis. I was taught and I believe that firearms should always be treated as though they are loaded. (2)

The Iran/China comment was a joke and seems to be a popular point of topic in the world today. (3) It wasn't snide and I thought it relevent in this thread to post it.

You don't know me para' and I will take it personally if I feel someone has taken something the wrong way or misunderstood my post. (4)

BTW in this weeks 'Army Times' I was going to post two really good articles from it about a Silver Star winner and a CMH winner, but I honestly can't be arsed now, so you might want to find and post them yourself for the benefit of the members in here as it would probably look better coming from an American ;)

DS

Having trouble with the way the US is doing their warfare buissnes does not have to mean you do not support their troops.I think Dick Splash means just about the same .
That's about right Forrester. I do support the troops and not always their methods or the reasons for them being there. (5)

DS

Highlighted quotes:

1 -- It's personal attacks and snide comments like that, which toss any credibility you have, right out the window. If you can't respond to a challenge in a civil manner, perhaps you shouldn't post.

2 -- Yes, I also treat all firearms as if they are loaded. Do you routinely squeeze the trigger of a loaded firearm to make sure it doesn't go off? I don't. Keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to fire. Common . Sense.

3 -- Your joke was in poor taste.

4 -- If you want to take things personally, then I suggest one of two courses of action: A. -- develop thicker skin, and realize that you may not really be coming across the way you think you are. Or B. -- Stop posting. Like it or not, your biting humor will confuse and or irritate people, inviting attention to yourself. If you don't want that attention, then perhaps practicing some reticence would be your best option.

5 -- You support the troops, yet you don't support what they're doing? O.o That's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. That's akin to saying "Hey, you guys are right. You have my backing. But what you're doing is totally wrong." You either support and back our troops, or you don't. End . Of . Story.

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5 -- You support the troops, yet you don't support what they're doing? O.o That's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one.

No, it really isn't. As the first 'fellow american' to weigh in here, I find that concept really rather offensive.

My uncle almost went to iraq a few months ago, and would have willingly. Because, of course, having signed up for the national guard, it was his job to, and it'd be a disservice to himself and his country to refuse (not that he was legally allowed to anyway.)

His political views, however, completely oppose the war in iraq. That, I respect. Being willing to do something out of duty and honor merely because it's important to live by that code, and set that precedent, and fight for your country, even if your country is being mislead? That's worthy of my respect.

A couple of politician's waving the 'war!' flag and ordering thousands to their deaths, though, is not whatsoever worthy of my respect. Antiquated training and tactics, because the upper, political layers of the military won't advance things, is not whatsoever worthy of my respect.

I support my country, and I support our troops. Considering I have the slightest understanding of nuance and subtlety (something which your attacks on DS have shown you to quite apparently lack) I can do so without supporting the actions of every individual in our government.

I do believe, in fact, in a representative democracy, my showing a lack of support is the only way to get people who won't mismanage our troops back into power, isn't it? Y'know, uphold the basic establishments of my country (which, hey, i respect).

His joke was fine, btw. If everyone cried 'poor taste!' every time something hurt my feelings I doubt anybody else would ever laugh. And I'd chance a guess it only confused and irritated you because you're slow witted and have a short temper.

edit: Also, whiteknight, if you finally take this as a good chance to ban me, I'd like to go ahead and log 'defense of others' as my plea, in advance.

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I have yet to "attack" DS. I brought issue with his points. Not against his person. Do you see me calling him names? Using foul language toward him? No. There is a difference between taking on a person's posts, and taking on a person. You need to learn the difference between the two.

As per your attack on myself: I am neither slow-witted, nor am I short tempered. We'll have to agree to disagree on whether or not the joke was in poor taste, as I'm really not inclined to get into a mud-slinging contest with you.

Take care.

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Alright boys, things are getting too heated in here and for me this thread was just about posting a good link. Yes, it puts the UK SF in a better light, but I didn't write this, The Times did and I didn't post it because I'm British either. I'd have done the same if it was the other way around. I thought the banter was just that at first, but there's some strong opinions floating around now and it's time to get on topic again. I don't feel I need to lock this thread because most of you have read it anyway.

DS

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Alright boys, things are getting too heated in here and for me this thread was just about posting a good link. Yes, it puts the UK SF in a better light, but I didn't write this, The Times did and I didn't post it because I'm British either. I'd have done the same if it was the other way around. I thought the banter was just that at first, but there's some strong opinions floating around now and it's time to get on topic again. I don't feel I need to lock this thread because most of you have read it anyway.

DS

Well, we can agree on that. :)

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  • 2 months later...

Lol, I can't believe a such an intense and...subtly hostile, I suppose, discussion can arise from something written by the mainstream media. You guys should know better than that.

Here are my feelings about it:

1. I find it extremely hard to believe that members of United Kingdom Special Forces would talk so candidly about their allies to a reporter that doesn't even differentiate "Special Forces" and "Special Operations Forces."

The US has about 47,000 “special forcesâ€; but only about 1,200, including Delta Force and Seal Team Six, are comparable to British special forces units.

That is either an ASSumption or an extremely uninformed opinion. Come on, you still debate things AFTER this part? Fine, lets continue.

...In Afghanistan in December 2001 a four-man Special Boat Service (SBS) team was 20 minutes behind the fleeing Osama Bin Laden when it was ordered to let the Americans take over. By the time the US special operations troops arrived several hours later, Bin Laden had escaped.

Similar tensions arose in Mosul in northern Iraq in July 2003. Coalition forces were tipped off that Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay were hiding in a villa. A 12-man SAS team went in to recce the building. The commander of the 32-man SAS detachment in the city believed his men could quickly capture the brothers so they could be brought to trial.

US commanders disagreed. Not only did they doubt such a small unit could capture Uday and Qusay, they were also reluctant to cede a high-profile operation to nonUS forces. The result was mayhem: helicopters attacked with antitank missiles while a Delta unit stormed the building and support troops looked on. It was not the British idea of special operations.

I am not an American. Even you guys who ARE Americans probably won't have access to this amount of information. Despite that, in my eyes, these claims seem like sensationalist fantasies to me. Please correct me if I'm wrong and such incidents did occur.

Still fighting, boys? Ok. Let's continue.

When seizing an insurgent - a “hard arrest†- British special forces are not allowed to kill unless they encounter resistance. By contrast, the US special forces call such operations “kill or capture†missions.

You're saying, if the above mentioned quote is correct, that UKSF personnel are tasked with "hard arresting" people who are probably going to have explosives strapped to them in order to detonate themselves, and their would be captors, rather than going to captivity? That article is, actually, criticizing U.S. Forces for...um...not taking the chance, really.

What I read from that article is that it is short-sighted and misinformed. I work with the media now. That reporter, like a lot I know, just don't bother to check his facts and create the rest he couldn't find out. Come on. "Secret memos'? "Secret directives"? Please.

In my opinion, and I feel I should express it since the Internet is still free, the United States invasion of Iraq is a mistake. The casus belli just wasn't there. It was not, and still is not, a "just war" in a western point of view and/or democratic point of view. BUT, as in any other war, it is not the politicians that have to fight it. Bush ain't there. Cheney is calmly hunting (and having mishaps) in the United States. Bush's daughters are partying easily.

Soldiers, like Marcinko and others, are there, though. And they deserve your support. They are your soldiers. They may not believe in the cause or agree to the war, but they go anyway, because its their obligation. They signed the contract. That, I find, is the greater courage.

Americans? They are loud, ignorant, obnoxious and (some) xenophobic. They are some of the most narrow minded people I've ever met, knowing nothing more than their own continent. However, I lived there for five years, and what I learned, what I remember most about that land is that they welcome me, a foreigner, with open arms. Americans made GREAT friends. I know. I fell in love with one. They can be jingoistic, fiercely patriotic, what have you, but what country do not have them?

My sister just went for her master's degree in Birmingham, U.K. And she described me these "Chavs" (do I spell it correctly?) that are annoying, loud, obnoxious and even dangerous. Are we then going to describe the entire United Kingdom population that way? So please, let us not take the discussion to an "Us versus Them" thing.

U.S. bashing? Sure. Everyone bash everyone else sometime. Indonesians bash Malaysians all the time. And they deserve it too, darn Malaysian anti-democratic culture-thieves. As Americans bash the French (surrender monkeys!), and the French bash Americans (barbarians!). Take it in stride. I see them as the colors of international relations.

All in all, I've rambled. Sorry gents. My boss just got married and we had copious champagne in the office.

Carry on....carry on....

Edited by xG5kdo
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You guys should know better than that.
Ditto.

Had the article been written for and posted by some xenophobic American publication it very well might have concentrated not on the Superiority of all things English in these matters but more likely on the referenced examples of the British "nuanced" approach to SOF, such as putting their personnel into needless and undo risk- due to ROE- or by alledgedly allowing the worlds most wanted (UBL) to scamper away while (kowtowing?) waiting for those incompetent, showboating, shoot first and don't even bother asking questions cowboys to catch up and take the prize away from them- instead of exercising good judgement and Common Sense and forcing the issue.

What you have here (in the linked piece) is either a; one sides slanted view in/of an inter-coalition rivalry, or b; a clear case of ###### envy.

Or both.

:rofl:

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Similar tensions arose in Mosul in northern Iraq in July 2003. Coalition forces were tipped off that Saddam�€™s sons Uday and Qusay were hiding in a villa. A 12-man SAS team went in to recce the building. The commander of the 32-man SAS detachment in the city believed his men could quickly capture the brothers so they could be brought to trial.

US commanders disagreed. Not only did they doubt such a small unit could capture Uday and Qusay, they were also reluctant to cede a high-profile operation to nonUS forces. The result was mayhem: helicopters attacked with antitank missiles while a Delta unit stormed the building and support troops looked on. It was not the British idea of special operations.

There WAS a small ground team who *tried* to get inside, but it was too hot. 2 men (Uday & Qusay) and a kid (Qusay's kid?) were inside all armed very well, plus the bodyguard in the pink house across the street. They actually made a breach, but couldn't get farther than the main staircase, due to all the fire. AT THIS POINT they decided the house was too dangerous and needed to be "prepared." That's an official way of saying they shot grenades, TOW missles, and even a rocket or two from a Kiowa helicopter at the house.

Edited by durka-durka
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