Thursday, January 12, 2006

British Officer says US military incompetent and racist

A senior British Officer offers a blistering critique of the attitudes and competence of the US military in Iraq. He says
their cultural insensitivity, almost certainly inadvertent, arguably amounted to institutional racism
but goes beyond social critique to question their basic competence:
US military commanders have failed to train and educate their soldiers in the art of counter-insurgency operations and the need to cultivate the "hearts and minds" of the local population.
In part, this stems from a simplistic and ultra-aggressive focus:
a singular focus on conventional warfare, of a particularly swift and violent kind
and their habit of responding to insurgent tactics like a wounded, stupid, bull:
What he calls a sense of "moral righteousness" contributed to the US response to the killing of four American contractors in Falluja in the spring of 2004. As a "come-on" tactic by insurgents, designed to provoke a disproportionate response, it succeeded, says the brigadier, as US commanders were "set on the total destruction of the enemy".
The batwings hate Vietnam comparisons, but then the same mistakes are repeated, again and again.


phil said...

A gut reaction would be that if you get soldiers that (a) are predominantly from lower socio-economic groups in (b) a country which is mainly (strongly?) inward-looking and lacking in knowledge beyond its borders, this is what will happen, regardless of training. No doubt there are other factors at play - surely some of these poor blokes signed up to the army for an education (see {a} above) rather than to be sent to a place they didn't want to go? And no doubt some just hate 'a-rabs' and that's why they signed up.

JahTeh said...

Not just Vietnam, this goes back to Korea.

Wilbourne said...

Sorry Jahteh, such an argument is untenable. The Korean War was fought by the Allies under the auspices of the United Nations, as a result of aggression on the part of NK and the Soviet Union.

Korea should not have been divided at all, and had it not been for Soviet invasion and US counter-invasion before a full Japanese surrender in WWII, a defeated Japan would have eventually ceded control back to a united Korea. I don't often link to wikipedia articles but it's fairly well documented here.

JahTeh said...

Wilbourne, I was talking about American soldiers not the war itself. I was doing research on battle fatigue but am in the middle of re-arranging books so can't put my hand on the relevant notes at the moment. Max Hastings wrote an excellent book on the Korean conflict and I agree with everything you have said.