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British And US Special Forces In Iraq


Dick Splash
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He is dead on. The comments about chess and checkers at the end is pretty precise. As I tell my students, "More men have been killed by indecision than the wrong decision."

Regarding this article I don't give a rat's ass. I have worked with fellow Special Ops from the UK on several occasions. They never had an issue with our methods and often wanted to participate. These were not the guys in the upper ranks of politics awash in too much courtesy. Lives mattered. If they had an issue they would have said something in brutal sincerity. Quite honestly the article insults the UK troops as much by not painting then as operators that raised the alarm then and there over these supposed issues. The writer ought to hang himself...right after he guts the editor.

The article also paints a pretty innaccurate picture by lumping American SOF into a pile that appears to be exemplified by a bunch of young SEALs. The UK SOF are brothers to us. The only issue is our language barrier. There is so much I wish I could divulge here. You would be shaking your head.

Both sides have had some things go down where everyone was thinking, "###### happened there?" But unless you were there you don't judge the man on the ground that had to make some tough decisions. Goodness knows too many people in the higher echelon will unjustly crucify an operator for the right decision as it is. Usually these are idiots that know nothing about sticking their head out so it can be shot at.

When I lived in Europe I used to read the Times. I am dissappointed they would print such tripe. They should be ashamed. I googled some things I know about. It seems the rest of the world doesn't have a clue about these things or else the Times would be walking around with egg on their face from 50 henhouses and that article would have never seen the light of day.

I didn't read all the responses in this thread. But if anyone lent that article a degree of creedence then you should thank your lucky stars you were not around when they were handing out the Koolaid. If you are willing to buy into the BS in that article I suggest you stud yourself out to a sheepfarm some place. How much fact do you think a poorly written article is going to have about classified SOF operations.

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You have some very valid points Hatchetforce. I was laughing my ### off at that video as well. There's no better way of getting your point across than with humor.

About articles like this. I was in the history area of my local bookstore yesterday, and couldn't believe all the politically-motivated books that were in there. I thought it was the history section, not "history interpreted by my beliefs" section. But I started thinking, no matter how current it is, when history is made, it's all up to interpretation, look at that ship incident with Iran last week.

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This is a very interesting thread but a very sadly negative one. Parabellum.. you make some good points but fail to see the point being made about some of the grass roots things being discussed. On the other hand, DS you are at times too subtle and too robust in the statements you make. I have to say that the saddest part is that DS is not America-bashing and P is taking a rather predictably partisan 'defend my countrymen at all costs and get a bit aggressive' stance without looking a bit deeper into what DS says. Shame this could not have been conducted without getting a bit personal. Try this- of course anyone with an ounce of compassion, humanity or empathy for real humans in a difficult situation (Security forces in Iraq) can 'support' the individuals on the ground doing the job. They can want to express admiration and moral as well as morale support for the principles and honest grasft being done in the name of freedom and global security. But they can at the same time express in a forum like this one a doubt about the actual tactics or methods being employed by the people doing the hard graft. Human endeavour and honourable intention as well as actual physical and emotional effort/strain can be on display even if the methods employed by those good people could be called into question. And lets face it- NOT questioning your methods or tactics in any situation, especially one that hits problems or stalls is a very dangerous and not very forward thinking attitude. Surely any plan should be open to revision when it is obviously not achieving its aim? Sadly the US military is an openly non-self critical organisation. It is not a policy of the US to question how it does its business. I am not saying that no review process exists or that no US citizen or soldier ever questions policy or tactics but often the reaction is firstly to 'form the wagons into a circle and defend against all-comers'. A dangerous and often ultimately fatal mentality to adopt.

By the way i am not America-bashing. Its a fantastic country and you are great people. You could just do well to do some of the things you do the way other people do them.. specially when the bother people get better results!!!!

I could go on about various personal experiences but will not be drawn into it here. Please get back to an open minded discussion and not a bitching session.

By the way- I see the the comment about China or Iran as what it is- a tongue-in-cheek humourous remark meant to lighten the tone.. predictably misinterpreted by an irate partisan with his hackles up!!!

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Excellent remarks. I have just one more thing to add- it is a fundamental flaw to have your stated mission statement as being along the lines of 'To return with all our people'. Surely if you are going to a country to do something then that 'something' is your mission statement? Otherwise you will take your eye off the ball very quickly. Hence forming the wagons into a circle and achieving nothing more than becoming targets and not helpers! It is a long held difference in culture/approach between the two nations and their armies. In Bosnia in 1997 the mission statement written on boards at the gates of all the Brit camps was along the lines of.. 'To maintain a presence in the country of ... in order to restore a state or law and stability, democracy and local government in order to create a lasting situation for the benefit of the population as a whole'. In the US camps the mission statement was posted as above.. 'To return with all our people'. Simple but not really the reason you are there in the first place. It is such a mentality that ignores the fact that, like it or not- your servicemen are expendable and therefore secondary to your overall mission. Its what they signed up for knowingly. Brits know this as they step out the gate, so do US soldiers. Its just that higher up the chain politically as well as militarily they know it but prefer to follow public or media induced pressures. Its just the case that in the UK even the press and public recognise that soldiers die in combat. An old adage being that to make an omelette eggs you have to crack a few eggs. Iraq, Afghan and ultimately world stability is a pretty big omelette. If you form your wagons in a circle and hope the natives will keep riding round until there are none left is naive. They will dress up as sheep, disguise themselves as firewood or whatever they have to do so they can get inside and make you hurt. So don't bother with the circle.. get out there and crack some eggs but make a good omelette in the end.

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I have 20 years in my line of work. This includes recent multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have never, never in 2o years seen a mission statement that said "To return with all of our people." Never. Not ever. The mission statement has, every single time in training and in real world missions been about getting the job done. No where did any of our various mission objectives state to bring all of our people home. It is an implied thing,. Naturally you want to and after all you have to plan for extractions and DEMOB. You plan meticulously and do not cowboy where it is preventable. But you do not base combat employment around that. I don't know what camp you saw this in but it wasn't one of ours. Besides, we don't go around posting mission statements in the open.

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I have 20 years in my line of work. This includes recent multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have never, never in 2o years seen a mission statement that said "To return with all of our people." Never. Not ever.

Neither have I.

Two Things: In the Army Values, which is kind of like a small moral Bible for soldiers, two statements come up a lot:

DUTY: Fulfill your Obligations (complete the mission)

SELFLESS SERVICE: Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

The third statement in the Soldier's Creed states:

I will always place the mission first

The sixth statement says:

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I have never been given orders that say "come home alive." (well, my family gave those orders, but not officially). Maybe I'm wrong and those orders do exist, but it would seem useless to deploy to a combat zone where the only mission was to "survive." Although I HAVE been given some pretty useless missions before:)

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"The article also paints a pretty innaccurate picture by lumping American SOF into a pile that appears to be exemplified by a bunch of young SEALs. The UK SOF are brothers to us. The only issue is our language barrier. There is so much I wish I could divulge here. You would be shaking your head."

This statement is about the only factual part in the whole thread.

The guys that work together know the truth, thats the only point.

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This is a very interesting thread but a very sadly negative one. Parabellum.. you make some good points but fail to see the point being made about some of the grass roots things being discussed. On the other hand, DS you are at times too subtle and too robust in the statements you make. I have to say that the saddest part is that DS is not America-bashing and P is taking a rather predictably partisan 'defend my countrymen at all costs and get a bit aggressive' stance without looking a bit deeper into what DS says. Shame this could not have been conducted without getting a bit personal. Try this- of course anyone with an ounce of compassion, humanity or empathy for real humans in a difficult situation (Security forces in Iraq) can 'support' the individuals on the ground doing the job. They can want to express admiration and moral as well as morale support for the principles and honest grasft being done in the name of freedom and global security. But they can at the same time express in a forum like this one a doubt about the actual tactics or methods being employed by the people doing the hard graft. Human endeavour and honourable intention as well as actual physical and emotional effort/strain can be on display even if the methods employed by those good people could be called into question. And lets face it- NOT questioning your methods or tactics in any situation, especially one that hits problems or stalls is a very dangerous and not very forward thinking attitude. Surely any plan should be open to revision when it is obviously not achieving its aim? Sadly the US military is an openly non-self critical organisation. It is not a policy of the US to question how it does its business. I am not saying that no review process exists or that no US citizen or soldier ever questions policy or tactics but often the reaction is firstly to 'form the wagons into a circle and defend against all-comers'. A dangerous and often ultimately fatal mentality to adopt.

By the way i am not America-bashing. Its a fantastic country and you are great people. You could just do well to do some of the things you do the way other people do them.. specially when the bother people get better results!!!!

I could go on about various personal experiences but will not be drawn into it here. Please get back to an open minded discussion and not a bitching session.

By the way- I see the the comment about China or Iran as what it is- a tongue-in-cheek humourous remark meant to lighten the tone.. predictably misinterpreted by an irate partisan with his hackles up!!!

Am I defending my countrymen at all costs? Probably. Those are my soldiers our there. I don't care what some columnist somewhere says, much less a foreign columnist. I've sat at the SWC with Hatchetforce and worked my ass off to help facilitate better training for our SF soldiers. When students go through the Q-Course, they use training aids that I helped develop. Soldiers have returned from battle and said that the training software (that I helped develop) played a direct role in them coming home safely. So yes, I'm partial. Those are my soldiers out there.

Beyond that, I have friends in SF. The article, to me, was a direct insult against them, written by some foreign guy who probably has no clue about what our SF guys really do. Yes, I'm going to defend not only my fellow Americans, but my friends. :)

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Here is part of an article that Hatchetforce posted in another thread a while back.

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Subject: A GI's interesting observations of some US SpecOps units his >>cavalry outfit worked with while in Iraq - NOT flattering to all!

Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 17:32:44 -0500

It took lots of work, lots of Civic Action and perfect behavior to overcome

what the frogs had done. Delta was something else, he said. They wore

civilian clothes, some of them beards, some clean-shaven. They were slightly

aloof, but not out of any personal need to be superior, just because they could n't

talk in detail about what they were up to. They impressed the hell out of

the Cav scouts, and afterwards complimented them for keeping just enough

distance from them when they were operating, saying that too often conventional

troops tried to stay too close.

This is just a small portion, so you can click on the link to read the whole thing. Now either HF is a liar that posted a bad article from a bad magazine (Soldier of Fortune magazine, which I do believe is a very good publication, and I do read this magazine very regularly), or the original article that DS posted is simply poorly written. I tend to lean in the direction that DS's article was poorly written. I do believe that HF has also stated himself (in another thread) that US SOF guy ARE often in local attire, and often do sport the beards and whatever other "signature" styles that the locals don. Each person here has to decide what they think is correct, but I personally find this original article by DS suspect.

In regard to Parabellum and DS

Parabellum did jump into this thread on somewhat of a strong note, but as he stated, there was no point in this thread where he resorted to personal attacks, so it baffles me that DS would respond in this sort of manner, and I quote

Good grief.......I said 'we' not the US, f/wit

Sorry DS, but your parlance in this thread has not been particularly kind, and especially considering that it is not even an article that was written by you, such offense should not be taken. I know that your intentions/motives are being questioned so you probably have some strong feelings about how you are being viewed, but this sort of name calling will only bring a thread down.

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Oh, hehehe. Remember that Thor tool that was there?

Are you talking about me? Be careful, because I'm a Navy SEAL. :rolleyes:

He was pretty pathetic, and to make matters worse, it was not some 14 year old kid. Didn't he turn out to be some guy on a SWAT team or something? I really did not understand that one, what is so embarrassing about being on a SWAT team that would cause someone to try to pose as a SEAL? People these days.

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Hmm, I seem to have missed this debate.

I read the article and it does seem a little bit biased. On the other hand, it's so vague in many places that you can read almost anything into it.

Articles of this type are not new, nor are they limited to a pro-British/anti-US viewpoint. I recall stories about the Iraq War where the British SBS were described as useless at CQB and requiring some tough SAS training to get up to speed. Or New Zealand SAS being even more useless. The notion that a special operations unit which otherwise ought to be of at least average quality (by the generally high Western SOF standards) would suddenly be staffed only by amateurs has never held much credibility with me.

And just as a counterpoint to this article, it is perhaps worth remembering what happened during Desert Storm when two 8-man SOF units were helicoptered into Iraq and compromised almost instantly:

The US unit, a certain ODA-525 :ninja:, were sensibly deployed at a distance from Coalition forces where proper support was feasible. Their area of operations was at least researched to the point that the men wore green Woodland (as opposed to the usual desert camo) uniforms, since there was more "green than brown" in the area. When they were compromised, properly working communications allowed them to quickly inform the HQ of their situation and support (notably the helicopters sent in to pick them up) was quickly organised. Despite heavy firefights, the team escaped in one piece.

In contrast, the UK unit, Bravo-Two-Zero (which I'm sure we've all heard about) was sent far north where support was difficult, if not impossible, to provide. The area was not properly researched as it was found to be practially devoid of any useful cover, something they did not realise until they landed there. Nor were they equipped with the cold weather gear which was clearly needed. Soon compromised, their communications link proved to be faulty (basically the wrong frequencies) and the aircraft that they were told would be within reach of their emergency radios were in fact far away, and were never intended to operate in that area. No serious attempts were made at retrieving the team, despite reassurances before the mission that they were only a helicopter pickup away from safety. Three of the 8 men died, 4 were captured (and treated very badly, to put it mildly) and only one escaped.

I also seem to recall reading that US SOF (Delta, I believe) actually operated in the same area as B20 and in fact did recieve the necessary support.

So, by this standard, US SOF carried out their missions carefully and effectively during Desert Storm, while UK operations were carried out somewhat bumbling and with a rather callus disregard for the safety of the men. And now, a decade and a half later, I'm supposed to believe that US SOF are fools and the SAS are the only pro's? I think not.

Respectfully

krise madsen

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Three of the 8 men died, 4 were captured (and treated very badly, to put it mildly) and only one escaped.

Respectfully

krise madsen

And now he has his own reality show, which is pretty interesting actually :D

Good post krise :thumbsup:

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Oh, hehehe. Remember that Thor tool that was there?

I looked over that earlier and that all came back. What a dirtbag.

I had actually gone back the other week to look at his posts just to laugh at him and he actually has a picture of himself posted in one of the threads.

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Two NZ SAS Troopers boarded a quick shuttle flight out of Perth, headed

for Wellington. One sat in the window seat, the other sat in the middle

seat.

Just before take-off, An Aussie SASR trooper got on and took the aisle

seat next to the two NZ SAS Troopers. The Aussie SASR trooper kicked off

his boots, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the NZ SAS Trooper in

the window seat said,"I think I'll get up and get a coke."

"No problem," said the SASR trooper, "I'll get it for you." While he was

gone, the NZ SAS Trooper picked up the SASR troopers boot and spit in it.

When the SASR trooper returned with the coke, the other NZ SAS Trooper

said, "That looks good, I think I'll have one too."

Again, the SASR trooper obligingly went to fetch it and while he was gone,

the NZ SAS Trooper picked up the other boot and spit in it.

The SASR trooper returned and they all sat back and enjoyed the short

flight to Wellington.

As the plane was landing, the SASR trooper slipped his feet into his boots

and knew immediately what had happened.

"How long must this go on?" the SASR trooper asked. "This fighting between

our groups? This hatred? This animosity? This spitting in boots and

###### in cokes?"

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Two NZ SAS Troopers boarded a quick shuttle flight out of Perth, headed

for Wellington. One sat in the window seat, the other sat in the middle

seat.

Just before take-off, An Aussie SASR trooper got on and took the aisle

seat next to the two NZ SAS Troopers. The Aussie SASR trooper kicked off

his boots, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the NZ SAS Trooper in

the window seat said,"I think I'll get up and get a coke."

"No problem," said the SASR trooper, "I'll get it for you." While he was

gone, the NZ SAS Trooper picked up the SASR troopers boot and spit in it.

When the SASR trooper returned with the coke, the other NZ SAS Trooper

said, "That looks good, I think I'll have one too."

Again, the SASR trooper obligingly went to fetch it and while he was gone,

the NZ SAS Trooper picked up the other boot and spit in it.

The SASR trooper returned and they all sat back and enjoyed the short

flight to Wellington.

As the plane was landing, the SASR trooper slipped his feet into his boots

and knew immediately what had happened.

"How long must this go on?" the SASR trooper asked. "This fighting between

our groups? This hatred? This animosity? This spitting in boots and

###### in cokes?"

Somehow......I could see that one comin' :rolleyes:

Thanks for lightening the mood in this thread Gord's

DS

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also have 20 yrs in this line of work and I am very unwilling to get involved in any sort of potential mud-slinging or nastiuness. My recent Afgahn trip had me alongside Green Berets and we did very nicely together thank you. I am a big fan of the US and their military. BUT.. I did see the above mentioned mission statement. I can't remember which camp it was in and it matters not. All Brit military esablishments have the mission statement published somewhere for all to see and so do most US ones I have been in. Anyway I'm all smiles from my last trip and the last thing I want is to sour any relationships with misunderstandings or bitching. Specially if it seems to partly my doing!! We're all in the same line of work after all. Shame you guys don't make ACUs in my size though.. Either too short or too wide! Funny- the big trade these days is your ACUs for our shorts fro some reason. There.. thats a much friendlier thread!

Apologies for some rubbish spelling.. I know Afghan is spelt wrong in my last post!

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One thing people keep overlooking in this and it easily shows the lying capability of the article's author.

Other than statements that say, "Our mission is to convert everyone to our particular brand of perversion" or something similar, our actual mission staments are classified. So unless somone was in one of the team operational planning areas AND the boards were uncovered, no one saw our mission statements. Also be aware though we may sometimes be housed in a small quadrant of a regular army firebase or an airbase, their mission statement is not ours.

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