Prev | List | Random | Next
Wednesday front-page headlines in the UK's Guardian: Iraq war cost years of progress in Afghanistan - UK brigadier
The invasion of Iraq prevented British forces from helping to secure Afghanistan much sooner and has left a dangerous vacuum in the country for four years, the commander who has led the attack against the Taliban made clear yesterday.The Guardian's letters section, the following day:
Brigadier Ed Butler, commander of 3 Para battlegroup just returned from southern Afghanistan, said the delay in deploying Nato troops after the overthrow of the Taliban in 2002 meant British soldiers faced a much tougher task now.
Your front-page story (Iraq war cost years of progress, October 18) paints a misleading and mischievous picture of what I said at a media briefing on Tuesday. It omits some of my comments and extrapolates meaning and intention from others which is completely false. I did not say the operation in Iraq had cost "years of progress" in Afghanistan; I did not say it had left "a dangerous vacuum"; and I did not say that British soldiers faced a tougher task now because of it.Three cheers for the Brigadier. And never, never believe anything you read in a newspaper. This sort of stuff is happening almost daily now.
I made clear that the operation in Iraq had concentrated UK resources and focus for a time; this is hardly rocket science, nor is it news. I also made clear, however, that the coalition had not slipped back in Afghanistan as a result, nor would it affect its ability to get the job done. Since 2002, the Karzai government's influence has been cemented in Kabul, extended to the north and the west and, now, is being spread in the south and then the east. The dedicated, courageous and professional soldiers I had the privilege of leading in Afghanistan were nothing short of inspirational. I'm immensely proud of them all, and of all they have achieved as part of a difficult mission which, as I made clear, is "emphatically worthwhile".
I am deeply disappointed the Guardian didn't feel able to reflect my views it in its report.
Commander, 16 Air Assault Brigade
(Via USS Neverdock)
Update: More here (as usual with anything I write here.)
The media has been manipulating stories for decades now. Luckily, blogs and other outlets are giving people a voice to fight back against one-sided viewpoints that are pawned off as news.Posted by Shawn at October 21, 2006 11:41 PM
I've just decided that the easiest thing to do is never ever talk to a reporter.
Ever.Posted by Spade at October 22, 2006 06:40 AM
Author and war correspondent Michael Yon evaluates a new book on an old rifle that still finds favor over all others in combat.
Larry Kahaner at October 22, 2006 02:56 PM
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS
Was it worth it?
The bi-polar national debate focusing on the political impact of military sacrifice and the comparative potential risk versus gain of military operations as part of our foreign policy is well covered by the global news media. And now, with the new movie, Flags of our Fathers, making the news, I thought I would post the link below as an aid to understanding the current situation in Iraq by viewing the war on terrorism in a more accurate historical perspective than that presented by the Democrat Party leadership and so called modern news sources.
As an amateur military historian I know a lot about Iwo Jima but, not to worry, I won't bore you with too much minutia about the battle. Let me just say that over 6,000 Marines were killed in 36 days of fighting against an enemy who was just as determined to die for his cause as the most zealous suicide terrorist of today is. The Japanese commander's goal was not to repel the invasion but to kill so many Americans that US public opinion would get a taste of what an amphibious invasion of Japan would be like and would not allow an attack on the home islands to take place. Virtually all of the 22,000 Japanese defenders of the island were killed; one by one, intimately, close up, with bullet, grenade, bayonet and flamethrower, in the most savage fighting imaginable. Some were captured alive (because they were incapacitated in some way), but few surrendered. Japanese fanaticism was similar to that of today's extremists. The Japanese didn't die for God or religion. They died for their emperor…..a god in a cult of personality, and the same way modern North Koreans would fight and die today.
We needed that tiny island of Iwo Jima as a fighter base so that our long range B29 bombers could be protected from Japanese fighters as they attacked Japan and also as an emergency landing site for our crippled bombers returning to base; all of this was a preamble to an eventual invasion of the Japanese home islands.
Was it worth it? 6,000 Marines were killed. Because of their sacrifice, 23,000 aircrewmen of bombers in trouble were saved. Tens of hundreds of missions were flown. Thousands of tons of bombs were dropped on Japan, including two nuclear weapons. Japan surrendered, and the invasion of Japan that would have made Iwo Jima look like a walk in the park became unnecessary. Was it worth it?
I believe that the war in Iraq is as relevant to overall victory in the war against global terrorism as Iwo Jima was to the overall victory in the war against global fascism. Military officers as well as physicians are taught to approach problems by first defining the problem by beginning with the most obvious diagnosis. A bank robber named Wille Sutton was supposed to have said when asked why he robbed banks, "because that's where the money is." When considering possible causes of a patient's symptoms, physicians have an adage; "When you hear hoofbeats in Texas, think horses, not zebras." Why should Americans fight islamo terrorism in Iraq? We fight them in Iraq because Iraq is where islamo terrorists come out from under rocks to fight Americans. Make no mistake. American lives are being saved at this moment because of the sacrifices of our military men and women in Iraq. The nation does have a bipolar view on the war and which view one has apparently depends as much on which television network one watches as on ones political party affiliation. The volunteer members of the military have voiced their opinion on the correctness of their country's foreign policy by risking (and sacrificing) their very lives to implement it. Close to 3,000 Americans have died in Iraq and only history will eventually be able to answer the question; was it worth it?
Unfortunatly, the corrections get far less attention than the original piece.
John Quiggin jumped on the Guardian article and promoted it as support for the idea that Iraq is a distraction from "the real terrorist war in Afghanistan".
He dismissed my comments that the piece appeared butchered and that the quotes seemed to be out of context. By the time I provided more context, and later found the Brigadere's correction, activity on the thread was nil. I sent John the Brigadere's correction, which he added to the post as an update, but that was too little too late. The post had been buried.
Most of the brigs complaint's were about the lack of new helicopters, which upon investigation is unrelated to Iraq. While researching this, I also found a nice quote from the brig. He said that 80% of the work in Afghanistan is not insurgent related. This implies that ~20% of the work is fighting Taliban. And remember Taliban does not equal al Quaeda. Al Quaeda is a very, very small part of the Afghanistan war.
Please see my comments in Quiggin's post.Posted by aaron at October 26, 2006 03:10 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(6) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)