[Mb-civic] British Army Colonel lambasted for critique of US Army
harperalexander at mail.com
Thu Jan 12 15:14:42 PST 2006
Have any of you seen the full article? It has not yet been published here.
US Army publishes British officer's essay criticising its handling of Iraq
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
Published: 12 January 2006
The US Army has published a criticism of its performance in Iraq by a senior British officer. He accuses American forces of making a tricky situation worse with their cultural arrogance, over-reliance on technology, and inability to recognise the special challenges of counter-insurgency warfare.
The essay, published in the Military Review, was written by Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, who served in Iraq from December 2003 to November 2O04.
In his piece, Brigadier Aylwin-Foster writes of the "enigma" of the US Army, with its "unparalleled sense of patriotism, duty, passion and commitment... and in no way lacking in humanity and compassion." Yet it was weighed down by "bureaucracy, a stiflingly hierarchical outlook, a pre-disposition to offensive operations."
At times, he adds, the Army showed "a cultural sensitivity ... that arguably amounted to institutional racism." Above all, he argues, it had failed to adapt to the demands of counter-insurgency work, where military operations had a vital political dimension.
The article has provoked anger in some quarters of the US military. Col Kevin Benson, commander of the US Army's School of Advanced Military Studies, described Brigadier Aylwin-Foster as "an insufferable British snob" in The Washington Post yesterday.
Brigadier Aylwin-Foster traces some of the US military's difficulties in Iraq to the philosophy of the official Soldier's Creed, which undertakes to "engage and destroy" the enemy. "Not 'defeat', which could permit a number of other politically attuned options," he notes, "but 'destroy'."
This approach made it harder for American troops to understand that in many "unconventional situations" they "have to be soldiers, not warriors".
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