3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Generals played their hand, they didn't deal it.,
This review is from: British Generals in Blair's Wars (Military Strategy and Operational Art) (Kindle Edition)
This unique book has clearly been misunderstood by some reviewers, possibly because they have no or very little knowledge or experience of the responsibilities of senior military in a democracy. It is the government that decides on war. It is then its responsibility to provide the military with the means to conduct operations. The evidence is overwhelming,including that given at the Chilcote hearings by senior civil servants, senior military of all three services and Blair and Brown (the latter two after much prevarication), that the military, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, were badly let down. Lies were told about equipment, equipment was inferior and in short supply (Helicopter shortage was a scandal). Also, outlandish comments by the Defence Secretary and Brown demonstrated ignorance of the nature of counter-insurgency ops.
A book such as this has never ever been published by British military personnel. As Professor Sir Michael Howard has said it is 'unique in military history'. No wonder during the vetting process by the Ministry of Defence there was a deal of pruning. What a pity we cannot, and probably will never, see what was cut. The frankness about the difficulties faced in translating strategic demands laid down by politicians into operational realities is astonishing and also worrying. The chiefs of staff are not whining they are rightly demanding the tools for the job. They also again rightly were concerned about false expectations.
The book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the last decade of war, and why and how the military got enmeshed in the disaster in Iraq and the Afghanistan fiasco. The self-critical essays show all too clearly how Britain under governments with little or no understanding of modern warfare failed to adapt to coalition wars. Political leadership was ambivalent, at times incompetent, and economical with the truth. As one officer has said the past 12 years has witnessed the atrophy of our strategic faculties. All too often there was a mismatch of ends, ways and means. The result was dire.
Read this book if you wish to see how spin was substituted for substance and facts.
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Initial post: 3 Dec 2013 17:28:36 GMT
ross pollock says:
You might want to read 'Losing Small Wars' and 'Investment in Blood' by Frank Ledwidge. Whilst the politicians undoubtedly screwed up, for the top brass to absolve itself of all blame for the shambles of Iraq and Afghanistan (including lack of equipment) of denys the evidence and their onus of responsibility to inform a government if the Army is unable to take on a task.
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