Sunday, October 15, 2006




The UK's Independent On Sunday has covered the Iraq and Afghanistan wars like few other newspapers in the world.

The IoS has managed to be both against the war and for the troops, regularly citing attempts by the Blair government to cut Army funding, to stiff the soldiers on essential resources and equipment, the impact of the war on the military families both for and against the conflicts and also following the lives of British soldiers once their part in the war is over and they're back home again.

This week's coverage of both Iraq and Afghanistan is excellent :

British Soldiers In Iraq And Afghanistan : Overstretched, Under Resourced And Furious

Many of the troops on the ground in Iraq, and their commanders back home, believe that they are remaining there almost exclusively for political reasons. Their main role, in this view, is face-saving for the Iraqi government as well as their own, not to mention relations between London and Washington.

A succession of middle-ranking officers in Iraq have told visitors that the welcome from the local population is fast wearing out.

Some of the soldiers now returning from Afghanistan fear that the same process of hasty intervention, with a lack of clear and achievable objectives, is being repeated there

"We went there to carry out reconstruction, and we ended up fighting a war ... We were going into the unknown. More could have been done to prepare the public better for the kind of war we're facing."

War And Resistance In Iraq
I had often watched crowds dancing with delight among the burning remains of a US Humvee blown apart by a roadside bomb. It was by exploiting the solidarity of the five-million-strong Sunni community in the face of the occupation that the anti-Shia suicide bombers were able to carry out their murderous work with impunity and bring Iraq to the brink of all-out civil war.

Why The War On Iraq Has Failed To Make Us Safer, UK General Speaks With Army's Permission

He spoke about how the presence of British troops in Iraq was making the situation there worse and called for a clear commitment to an exit strategy from the country.

The general suggested it had been a "naive hope" that it was possible to install a liberal democracy in Iraq and said that we should now be aiming for a "lower ambition".

Most damaging of all, he said that the Iraq operation "exacerbates" the "difficulties we are experiencing around the world" - a direct contradiction of Tony Blair's claim that the UK would have been targeted whatever had happened with Saddam Hussein.

The truth, according to those who know both Sir Richard and Mr Browne well, is rather different. Frustrated at the Prime Minister's failure to stick to a timetable of withdrawal from Iraq, military chiefs decided to fire a warning shot in public.

Finally The Truth : UK Genera's Dissent On Iraq And Afghanistan Backed By Senior Commanders, Front Line Soldiers And...Tony Blair

The authority of Tony Blair was left battered last night as he attempted to play down a rift with the head of the British Army over his unprecedented warning that the presence of foreign troops was "exacerbating" the security situation in Iraq

The devastating assessment by General Sir Richard Dannatt, the chief of the general staff, infuriated ministers and caused alarm in Washington.

However there was widespread backing across the Army yesterday as soldiers of every rank praised General Dannatt for standing up to the Government.

Within hours of his comments being made public, the Army's unofficial website was packed with hundreds of blogs from troops voicing their support.

Other serving soldiers were also quick to voice their relief at the general's intervention.

One senior officer said: "It has been decades since someone senior actually stood up for us, the soldiers and their families.

Last night the Prime Minister tried to minimise the damage, saying he had agreed with General Dannatt's later remarks in a series of "clarifying" interviews. Mr Blair said: "I have to say, I've read his transcript of his interview on the radio this morning, and I agree with every word of it."

UK Runs Out Of Helicopters In Afghanistan - US Refuses To Fill The Gap

Britain is so short of helicopters in Afghanistan that military chiefs are being forced to scour the world for civilian aircraft to support its troops after the US rejected a plea to help plug the shortfall.

An ageing fleet of just eight Chinooks is working around the clock to supply and reinforce soldiers in remote outposts facing waves of Taliban attacks. The only Chinook in the Falklands was taken away for use in the campaign.

UK Foreign Secretary Says Guantanamo Bay Must Close, Increasing Ranks Of Islamic Extremists

US Soldiers "Unlawfully Killed" British Journalists, Widow Demands Murder Charges Be Laid

NATO Backs Pakistan's "Peace Deal" With Taliban Fighters, Supporters

Afghans "May Swing To Taliban" Says NATO Commander

British Hire Anti-Taliban Mercenaries In Afghanistan, By Paying Better Wages

British General Quantifies His Remarks On Iraq Early Troop Withdrawal