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Subject: SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq
angryjohn    3/13/2006 10:52:12 AM
This is not meant to be an anti US (thugs) pro Brit (hero) thread, let me make this clear. I am certain the US and UK troops use a variety of different tactics, some conventional, some closer to the bone. However this paints a worrying picture in Iraq to the people at home. My question to SP readers is. Did this trooper make a valid decision? When is it right to disobey orders on moral grounds? Are SF more likely to use unconventional methods and therefore be slightly more relaxed on moral grounds. This is a cross nation SF question, not SAS, Delta, GSG9 thing. http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/12/nsas12.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/03/12/ixhome.html
 
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Horsesoldier    RE:SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq   3/13/2006 2:35:17 PM
I'm pretty dubious that an SAS operator objecting to DA missions represents the whole story. I'm not saying the guy is a bad guy, or taking any stance on the possible pro-UK/anti-US angle this topic may generate, but I don't think the Telegraph has the full story.
 
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Yimmy    RE:SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq   3/13/2006 2:50:55 PM
There is more to this story, as told by the Telagraph in a seperate article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=1QTC4LVJFUFXZQFIQMFCFFOAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2006/03/12/nsas112.xml It is a complicated instance which I have mixed feelings over. The bloke obviously was not happy at the way American soldiers operate - however "it is not a his to reason why, but to do and die", it could be said. I think it would have been better, had he finished his tour, while writting an official letter to his CO on his thoughts, and then leaving the army at the end of his current contract, or even RTU'ing back to the para's to avoid special forces operations in Iraq. The man obviously has a lot of conviction and moral fibre. You don't fight to get into the SAS, and then just leave lightly, especially not when you have the honour of the regiment on your head.
 
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joe6pack    RE:SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq   3/13/2006 3:22:35 PM
After reading the interview, it just seemed like he was unhappy with the Iraq War in general. Which is fair enough, you can't say the guy didn't earn the right to an opinion on it. I think the Telegraph sensationalized the "illegal acts" a bit because I can't find anywhere where he got into specifics that appear to be illegal. He just appeared to be unhappy about policy. Or at least that was my take. " I think it would have been better, had he finished his tour, while writting an official letter to his CO on his thoughts, and then leaving the army at the end of his current contract, or even RTU'ing back to the para's to avoid special forces operations in Iraq." - I completely agree
 
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Grenadier Voltigeur    RE:SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq   3/13/2006 5:41:16 PM
I don't want to hurt in any way the american posters here, but something in the atitude of the average U.S. soldier in Iraq shocks me. That's the non-professionalism. Frankly, when you see the U.S. guys in Iraq, they look like kids playing to war. They are not prepared to face a peacekeeping operation in a foreign country. The majority of them don't even know the world's geography basics. I am not surprised that a brit don't want to fight along them. Huh, maybe that's a thing that only non-american can see. I don't criticize the goal or the efficiency of the U.S. intervention. It's something CULTURAL, something BEHAVIORIAL that matters.
 
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Grenadier Voltigeur    When is it right to disobey orders on moral grounds?   3/13/2006 5:50:46 PM
The man said: "I did not join the British Army to conduct American foreign policy," About my previous post: "Mr Griffin, 28, who spent two years with the SAS, said the American military's "gung-ho and trigger happy mentality" and tactics had completely undermined any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population." That illustrates partially what I said in my previous post.
 
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Yimmy    RE:SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq   3/13/2006 5:51:34 PM
To a degree I do agree with Grenadier Voltigeur, and tht is certainly the American soldier stereotype. However nothing is as simple or clean cut as that, and mention of it is probably best left out of this thread - or it will just become an American bashing topic.
 
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Grenadier Voltigeur    RE:correction   3/13/2006 5:52:24 PM
"That illustrates partially what I said in my previous post. " By "partially" I meant "not totally" :/
 
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shek    American non-professionalism?   3/13/2006 8:28:57 PM
I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but I'm curious what is driving the "consensus" that Americans are not professional? I'm curious to hear whether it's from actual side by side operations, from direct accounts from multiple individuals who have conducted side by side operations, or whether it's from professional articles, or whether it's from media articles? In cases where incidents are mentioned, what are the units and/or commanders? My concern is that the US military has been lumped into a monolithic entity without actually having seen in-depth comparative analysis about differing US elements. As an example, BG Alywin's article makes what I believe to be many wide spread generalizations while paying lip service to "the exception" by mentioning two individuals as opposed to the divsions that they commanded. I am not making an argument here that every American unit is a shining beacon of how to interact with the local populace, but I certainly am perplexed by the seemingly blanket generalisation. From a personal standpoint, I didn't particularly care working side by side with 4ID, version OIF I, because I felt that they were heavy handed and created more enemy than they killed/captured. Some of it was probably becuase they were quite spread out, and some of it probably stemmed from the focus to capture Saddam, which probably created some tunnel vision and a divergent strategy from the COIN ops that needed to be conducted as well. This is based on four weeks of operating as a subordinate element of 4ID. On the other hand, I was very impressed with the professionalism and competence of 101st ABN DIV based on the three week transition that we had when taking over their battlespace, as well as their focus on the population. As a corollary discussion, and something that I am looking for British thoughts on, how successful have ops in Basra and the southern provinces been? What has driven the success and failures. I'm hoping that this doesn't devolve into Americans complaining that the Brits "got the easy sector in the Shia south", but I'm curious at what the self-image of the operations is. Thanks.
 
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Horsesoldier    RE:SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq   3/14/2006 8:07:07 AM
>>I don't want to hurt in any way the american posters here, but something in the atitude of the average U.S. soldier in Iraq shocks me.<< Spent any time in Iraq? Or are you just riffing on what you've seen on the news?
 
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Horsesoldier    RE:When is it right to disobey orders on moral grounds?   3/14/2006 8:10:39 AM
>>"Mr Griffin, 28, who spent two years with the SAS, said the American military's "gung-ho and trigger happy mentality" and tactics had completely undermined any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population." That illustrates partially what I said in my previous post. << Okay, the guy was a member of the SAS who was assigned to work with CAG. I don't want to burst anyone's stereotypes here, but neither the SAS nor CAG are the people you send in to win hearts and minds. They're the people you send in to kick in doors and selectively kill/capture bad guys in complicated situations where a JDAM won't work because there are civilians on site. The fact that an SAS guy is allegedly claiming tactics were excessive (what did he think he joined the SAS to do? hand out teddy bears?), or that half the people were there just to pay for college (in CAG? WTF?) continues to make me highly suspicious that this guy's moral objections are not the whole story and there is more going on here than meets the eye.
 
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