Michael's Dispatches

Please Remember that the British Government is not the British Soldier


31 March 2009

I am very proud of the British units I was in combat with in Iraq: 2 Rifles, 4 Rifles, Queen's Royal Lancers, Duke of Lancasters, 2 Para (Afghanistan).

This writer would return to combat with any of these units at the drop of a hat.  Big politics is one thing, but these soldiers are something that the United Kingdom should be proud of.  As an American, I am proud to know them.  I'll prove my point by contacting the British Army right now to request they take me back with them in combat.

We should never mix big politics with the warriors, British or American.  Though it's true that the British government made some nasty mistakes, you will never hear me mumble a foul word about these soldiers.     

Our departure from Iraq ends a dismal period in our military history.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jack Sides · 13 years ago
    I am afraid that Mexico (not the country but the drug gangs) has the potential to make our part of the country far too much like the areas where you have been hanging out. This WWII fighter pilot, retired from the AF, has just armed up for home defense. The odds are high that I will need some weapons.
    Jack from Scottsdale, AZ.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    a&n · 13 years ago
    You said:
    I've been seriously considering shifting some focus to Mexico, which obviously is already having a very negative affect on the United States. We've got to do something, once and for all, about sealing that border. It's unlikely it will ever be completely sealed, but it shouldn't be a freeway. And covering Mexico would not be like covering the Hindu Kush. I could actually visit Texas and New Mexico and Arizona and California and call it work!"
    Yep...definitely prettier country than what you usually cover. Strange that war has moved so close to home but it was predicted long ago...just ignored. So ,wherever you decide to go we'll be reading your great reporting. Hey, so people ridicule our troop, British troops...heck they even ridicule american citizens now days who want to defend ourselves. Politics stink now days and although we keep abreast of what they are pulling on us we don't listen to them and do what we have to do. Even having tea parties...taxation without representation. Our Military men on the ground are about all we can depend on to be true and we are more thankful for them every day. And every day they are more in need of any support and help we can send their way. Wherever you go, Mike...thanks. The truth is our weapon and at this point the only effective fight against the big lies. We agree with Jack in Scottsdale.
    Yarnell, AZ
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard B. · 13 years ago
    Even if a totally impenetrable fence existed from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, it would do little good. Any fence that has an end can be gone around. We can not fence both borders and both coasts.

    The solution to any crime is to make the punishment swift, sure, and so severe that nobody would take the risk.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gismo Fly · 13 years ago
    Dear Mike,

    Thanks for your support of our lads. My son is in Afghanistan and he's done tours in Iraq having initially rolled in there on day one from Kuwait. I have a nephew in the Royal Marines and another in the Royal Engineers serving second, third and fourth tours in Afghanistan. The wife and I send food parcels to US Marines and they are cheerful wonderful guys.

    If the British have made mistakes in their conduct of the war I'd like to hear it from you. I don't normally take on board critcism of our servicemen and women from anybody but I trust you to give an honest account.

    Go to it, mate.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    PHX Angel · 13 years ago
    If we put the boys on the border, soon we will have an Af'Stan / Palistan conflict in my backyard. If we seal the border and the drug lords start shooting across or lobbing gernades, then what. Even here in Phoenix, I'm seriously worried. Seems only our Jor Arpio is the only politians willing to take a stand on illegals???? What to do??
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ulsterman · 13 years ago
    Dear Michael,

    It's seldom that an American journalist mentions their British allies, so as the honourable exception, I offer my thanks for the way you have covered British units in action.

    As someone who served alongside the US Army and Marine Corps in Northern Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as a memorable 6-month exchange at Fort Bragg, I made many long lasting friendships and gained an understanding of how the US military works as well as our doctrinal and cultural differences - I was never able to eat Buffalo Wings without feeling extremely dodgy!

    Your American readers should be aware of the deep sense of betrayal that is felt by many in the armed forces community and wider public at the way our servicemen and women have been treated. Many of us felt that the Iraq war was unnecessary and a worse foreign policy disaster than the Suez crisis. This was compounded by the fact the the British Government felt that it could fight wars both in Iraq and Afghanistan on a peace time budget, with predictable results and many unnecessary casualties.

    Unlike the US, there are very few MPs who have served in the military and fewer still with children serving. Having visited a young officer from my old regiment who having lost his legs found himself in a civilian hospital ward parked next to a drug dealer, I don't think I can ever bring myself to forgive them. But I suppose this is what happens when we allow ourselves to be ruled by a bunch of student activists who never grew up.

    Despite all the difference of opinion and at times conflicting interests, I still hold on to the deeply untrendy notion that the Anglosphere countries, which includes India, offer the last and best chance for humanity - so never give in!

    Keep up the good work.

    Yours Aye,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scalyback · 13 years ago
    Michael, thank you for your support for our servicemen & women. We are very proud of them (rightfully) and fiercly jealous of their reputation, and it is very disheartening to hear continual criticism of them from our friends in the US of A. The USA does not have the monopoly on military competence, nor bravery, and I would ask everyone in the US to remember that the US troops are not the only ones taking casualties. It would be nice every now & then to hear our lads getting some praise or even a mention in the US media. With the exception of yourself, it is almost non existent.

    As to the article in the Spectator you linked to, it is written by a failed ex politician who is reduced to appearing in late night political chat shows of low worth, and should not be taken as representative of our politicians generally. That man is viewed with growing contempt generally.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill R · 13 years ago
    Scalyback, as an avid reader of American media, I don't see a whole lot of praise of our soldiers here either. Our press only wants to report the bad things. While that is okay too, they almost never report the good things.

    The problems in Mexico will never be solved by Obama and his ilk. They will spill over here and continually get worse until we have an administration that is serious about sealing the border. The government is unwilling to take the steps necessary to make this happen. they seem to be getting ready to take another shot at the second amendment though as if that will do any good. If they stop the flood of illegal immigration AND go after employers, the so-called gun problem will take care of itself.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jip · 13 years ago
    Thank you Michael for the honour you do my country and our fabulous units. Rest assured we love our American brothers and feel the pain of all their sacrifice. As Britons we must be determined to stay the course. Jip-Brit

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