Building with Leaves Stripe
Huntingdon College: program in Political Science and International Studies; and Great Decisons Program

The Telegraph, articles on British forces for the war with Iraq.
compiled from web for academic purposes only, by Jeremy Lewis 23 Feb. 2003.

DIY Brits hammer at gate of American HQ
                     By Michael Smith at the al-Saliyah Command Centre
                     (Filed: 20/02/2003)

                     At the gate to the British compound in the al-Saliyah
                     base, the nerve centre from which a war on Iraq
                     would be fought, two soldiers in T-shirts and green
                     denims were putting up a makeshift guard hut.

                     The taller of the two held up the top of the building's
                     skeletal framework while his colleague attempted to
                     fix it to the second upright.

                     When the joint fell apart, the tall one offered his
                     friend some light-hearted advice, suggesting that if
                     his carpentry skills were better the problem might
                     not have occurred. "Well I'm not a bloody carpenter
                     am I? I'm a soldier," was the reply.

                     It would be easy to compare this to a Laurel and
                     Hardy film. But the soldiers built the guard hut in an
                     example of the "can-do" attitude that Britain's
                     cash-strapped armed forces have had no choice but
                     to adopt.

                     There could be no greater contrast to the millions of
                     dollars their US counterparts have poured into the
                     facilities at al-Saliyah in Qatar. More than £60 million
                     was spent on the base alone, even before US
                     Central Command flew in its new "deployable joint
                     task force headquarters".

                     The facility is where Gen Tommy Franks, the head of
                     Central Command, will run any war in Iraq. The
                     deployable forward HQ comprises 20 prefabricated
                     buildings, at the heart of which is the operations
                     centre, a surprisingly small room - a dozen yards
                     wide and three times as long - containing no more
                     than 30 people.

                     The Stars and Stripes dominates one of the walls,
                     which are otherwise lined with monitors providing
                     information and images from across the Central
                     Command area of operations, from North Africa to

                     One has a satellite picture of the Arabian peninsula
                     but they could show images from a Predator flying
                     over Afghanistan or a bomb damage assessment
                     from the latest allied attack on Iraqi air defences.

                     There are also direct video links back to the
                     Pentagon and Central Command's headquarters at
                     MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

                     Fluorescent lighting gives the room a stark feel but
                     the atmosphere is calm, as relaxed-looking military
                     officials talk quietly into telephones or scan the

                     It will be far more frenetic across the road in the
                     newly built press centre, which is likely to become
                     extremely familiar to television viewers around the
                     world. It is where the main briefings on the progress
                     of the war will be held.

                     The White House is sending a spin doctor to advise
                     Gen Franks and Downing Street has already
                     dispatched its own media troubleshooter to make
                     sure the military is on message.

                     The camp is surrounded by two-and-a-half miles of
                     high, metal fencing topped with razor wire and
                     dotted with watchtowers.

                     Inside the wire, the living conditions for the 1,200
                     US planners and their 400 British colleagues are a
                     tribute to the US defence budget. Most sleep in
                     shipping containers turned into air-conditioned,
                     two-man units, with home comforts.

                     If the US troops need a carpenter they have no
                     need to resort to DIY. An army of mostly Asian
                     civilian contractors, whose overalls announce that
                     they work for a company from White Plains, New
                     York, will do it for them.

'War is the easy part'
                     By Dominic Lawson, Editor of The Sunday
                     Telegraph, and Sean Rayment
                     (Filed: 23/02/2003)

                     In his first interview as Chief of the General Staff,
                     Gen Sir Mike Jackson talks to Dominic Lawson and
                     Sean Rayment as British troops prepare for battle
                     - and the challenges of peace-keeping - in Iraq

                     General Sir Mike Jackson - he insists on Mike rather
                     than Michael - is one of Britain's most charismatic
                     and popular post-war military commanders. In 1999,
                     he was acclaimed internationally for his handling of
                     the Kosovo crisis when he commanded the Nato
                     peace-keeping force (for which he was awarded the
                     Distinguished Service Order by the Queen). Three
                     weeks ago, he became the most senior soldier in
                     the British Army when he was appointed Chief of the
                     General Staff.

                     Gen Jackson, who is a fluent speaker of Russian and
                     served in the Intelligence Corps before transferring
                     to the Parachute Regiment, is reputed to have the
                     best mind in the British Army. He has been known
                     affectionately to many of those serving under his
                     command as the Prince of Darkness as well as the
                     Hero of Kosovo, although it is said that he dislikes
                     both titles.

                     Last week, speaking from his oak-panelled seat of
                     power inside the Old War Office, the 59-year-old
                     Gen Jackson, resplendent in his service dress
                     emblazoned with three rows of medal ribbons, gave
                     his first interview as Chief of the General Staff to The

                     The Telegraph: What are your overriding feelings
                     on taking on the job as Chief of the General Staff?

                     Sir Mike Jackson: Well, first of all, 40 years ago, little
                     did officer cadet Jackson think he'd finish up here, so
                     its a huge honour to be asked to be the professional
                     head of the Army. I'm conscious of the Army as a
                     living thing, which it very much is, and what I want
                     to do is to ensure over my time that the Army's
                     capabilities, its people, the way it approaches
                     things, its ethos is retained and built upon. It's very
                     precious in my view, what we have, but I'm
                     determined to improve it.

                     Q: How do you think it can be improved?

                     MJ: There are a lot of aspects to this but I must start
                     with people. Generals and armies are nothing
                     without their soldiers, that's where it all starts from.
                     It's getting those soldiers the best deal I can in
                     every way, whether that be in their equipment, their
                     pay, their living conditions. The sense that they have
                     an individual and vital part in what this Army gets up
                     to, that they have joined something which is very
                     special, that their contribution to the whole is just as
                     important as anybody else's.

                     Q: Is the Army suffering from "overstretch" as a
                     number of retired generals and opposition
                     politicians have indicated?

                     MJ: Without doubt the Army is very busy. Not least
                     because of our requirement, stood down for the
                     moment but still extant, along with the RAF and the
                     Royal Navy, to provide fire cover while the present
                     dispute with the Fire Brigades' Union works itself
                     out. That's 13,000 odd soldiers, which makes it very
                     difficult to use them for anything else. We have, of
                     course, the build up for the Gulf, we have the
                     continuing commitment in Northern Ireland, the
                     Balkans and so on.

                     But my experience is that bored soldiers are not
                     what we want. Soldiers join the Army to go on
                     operations, they don't join the Army to sit around in
                     barracks. Therefore there is a balance to be struck
                     and it's a different balance for the young soldier or
                     the young officer, who has the spirit of adventure
                     and wants to get out and do things, than it is for his
                     counterpart, a sergeant major or major, in his
                     mid-30s, who has almost certainly got a family and
                     has other things to be concerned about. These two
                     sets of individuals are never going to see either
                     overstretch or understretch in the same way.

                     For myself I think, over a period of time a figure of
                     around 20 per cent deployed, which equates to a
                     two-year tour, is about right taken over the long
                     term. But we are here at the end of the day as
                     servants of the Government and if they require us to
                     do more than that - and that's certainly where we
                     are today - then that's what we should do.

                     Q: You're saying the Army is stretched to the

                     MJ: It's at the top end. It is not sustainable over any
                     long period.

                     Q: Is the Army happy with its kit?

                     MJ: In an ideal world the Army would be paid several
                     times more than it is, it would have the very best
                     equipment money could buy, but that is not the kind
                     of world we live in. The defence budget is not
                     limitless. It is for the Government to decide its
                     priorities over public spending, en passant, it is
                     worth reminding ourselves that there was a
                     significant increase in the defence budget in the last
                     public spending round.

                     Q: I was reading about your fracas with General
                     Wesley Clark. [During the Kosovo crisis in 1999,
                     when General Jackson was the Commander of the
                     Kosovo Force, he was ordered by the Supreme
                     Commander of Nato Forces in Europe , US General
                     Wesley Clark, to capture Pristina airport to stop
                     the Russian reinforcements from landing. In a
                     heated argument, Gen Jackson told Gen Clark:
                     "I'm not starting World War III for you.]

                     MJ: You mean a difference of opinion [smiles

                     Q: Do you envisage the possibility of something
                     like that happening again because the American
                     army is out there in great numbers and we are
                     going out in great numbers and frictions can

                     MJ: The circumstances surrounding KFOR's entry into
                     Kosovo and, in particular, the circumstances which
                     surrounded Pristina airport, which lasted for about
                     48 hours, were very peculiar to the extraordinarily
                     complex political situation at that point.

                     But I'm not trying to duck the issue. When the
                     stakes are high and you have commanders quite
                     rightly determined to succeed in the mission they
                     have been given, opinions can vary and there can
                     be friction. This is human nature in a way, and
                     military history is full of incidents whereby, under
                     pressure of events, there have been disagreements
                     but which then are overcome.

                     Q: How damaging is it to the morale of soldiers if
                     they have to fight a war in the Gulf without the
                     overwhelming support of the people back home?

                     MJ: The British soldier is a fairly robust being and I
                     don't think we need to feel concerned, at the
                     moment, that he feels unloved.

                     As far as I am concerned, within the Army, there is
                     absolutely no sense that we are on our own, there
                     is no sense that soldiers don't want to go to the
                     Gulf. On the contrary, soldiers not going get cross
                     with those who are, that is the way of the British
                     Army and it is a very healthy way.

                     Q: Troops who served in the Vietnam conflict felt
                     the contempt of the American public for their
                     actions. Are you concerned that the British public
                     may develop a similar attitude?

                     MJ: Well, I and no doubt everybody else is perfectly
                     aware of the lesson which came out of the Vietnam
                     war. It was a very long and drawn-out war, it was a
                     war for which the United States, as a body politic,
                     veered and hauled quite a lot. I don't see that sort
                     of situation at all here. Yes, there is a huge
                     international debate going on, and a domestic one
                     as well, but we are not at the point of decision yet
                     and nor do I see it [a war on Iraq] as a long
                     drawn-out conflict in that way, nor do I see it as a
                     conflict which is going to incur the horrific casualties
                     of Vietnam.

                     Q: Kosovo was a conflict undertaken without UN
                     backing and was successful, so presumably you
                     don't have any concerns about having another
                     campaign which doesn't have the backing of the

                     MJ: I wouldn't like to speculate on what the precise
                     political and legal conditions are going to be if and
                     when the decision [to go to war] is taken. That said,
                     I satisfied myself over Kosovo that my own
                     Government was clear that what was being done
                     was within the ambit of international law.

                     Q: Do you agree that if it comes to war, many
                     Iraqi troops may not want to fight?

                     MJ: Yes. I think that's fair comment. The degree to
                     which the Iraqi armed forces will feel, if it comes to
                     it, that they wish to risk all for Saddam Hussein is a
                     very potent question.

                     Q: What is the military objective of an invasion of

                     MJ: Military forces are used to achieve political ends.
                     One needs, in any campaign, to be clear what those
                     political ends are. You can then calculate what the
                     military objectives required are to meet those
                     political ends and then you work out how to get
                     from A to B. But the ends are political - they must be.

                     Q: Is the British Army fully prepared to face an
                     enemy who may use chemical and biological

                     MJ: Fear in all aspects of life is about ignorance. Part
                     of removing that fear is good training and good
                     equipment. As far as Britain is concerned, we are
                     one of the leading nations when it comes to
                     defensive measures with equipment, techniques and
                     clothing where this black world of biological and
                     chemical weapons is concerned.

                     I have no doubt that soldiers, deployed and
                     deploying to the Middle East will be thinking about
                     this very hard, and will be making sure their own
                     personal training and equipment is up to scratch.

                     Q: How concerned are you over the issue of
                     friendly fire? [In the last Gulf war, nine British
                     soldiers were killed when a US jet mistook their
                     armoured personnel carrier for an enemy tank.]

                     MJ: It is a matter of historical fact that when armies
                     take the field we get the so-called blue-on-blue.
                     Why is this? Because human beings are not perfect.
                     Human beings make mistakes. How do you avoid it
                     or minimise it? There are a number of approaches.
                     As important as clever electronic kit is, so is having
                     your procedures right, having your tactics and
                     training right. Yes, you can add to that with clever
                     black boxes which send out signals saying who you
                     are, and much is in hand to make sure that, if and
                     when operations commence, we are are fully
                     equipped for this in every sense. When I say fully
                     equipped, I mean equipped by training and
                     understanding as much as by equipment. However,
                     you can not eradicate this risk.

                     Q: The Americans sometimes give the impression
                     that they could fight a Gulf war on their own and
                     view Britain's involvement as a political rather
                     than a military necessity.

                     MJ: If that is so, I would think it was somewhat of an
                     ungenerous view but they are perfectly entitled to
                     have it. The United States' military capability is far
                     ahead of everybody else's. But if you ask the
                     American government or the Pentagon if they want
                     a British contribution on the ground, at sea and in
                     the air, I know what the answer is going to be. They
                     will say: "yes". It's not just a matter of politics. It is
                     a sense of burden-sharing, which is quite important,
                     not having to do this on one's own. In general
                     terms, of course. there is a political dimension, and it
                     may well be the dominant dimension. I wouldn't
                     necessarily argue with that, but I don't think it's
                     quite as simple as that.

                     Q: Are you concerned about our troops fighting in
                     Iraqi cities such as Baghdad?

                     MJ: It comes as no great secret that fighting in
                     built-up areas is messy, casualty-heavy and, frankly,
                     best avoided. So I am sure if it comes to it much
                     lateral thinking will be employed.

                     "I'm up for it", that's the way the soldiers talk. But a
                     traditional-style battle in cities has, historically,
                     shown to have high casualties and I don't wish that
                     on my Army or indeed anyone else's. And I'm sure
                     British soldiers who think beyond "I'm up for it", will
                     think there must be another way of doing this.

                     Q: Will British troops be involved in a
                     post-Saddam Iraq and for how long?

                     MJ: If this conflict is fought, logic says there will be a
                     post-conflict situation, and in my view the
                     post-conflict situation will be more demanding and
                     challenging than the conflict itself, which could be
                     relatively swift and with low casualties. Then there is
                     the question of rebuilding, and I don't mean that in
                     the physical sense, I mean rebuilding the body
                     politic of Iraq. The outcome desired is very clear: an
                     Iraq in its present borders, at ease with itself, with
                     its neighbours, with a representative government.
                     And that will take assistance in the same way as
                     Afghanistan did.

                     I have no doubt that if this set of circumstances
                     comes about the United Kingdom will be asked to
                     play a part in that process. Its not just a military
                     process. Frankly, it's far from being just a military
                     process. It is many-faceted: economic
                     reconstruction, political development, humanitarian
                     aid, the return of four million presently expatriate
                     Iraqis, and I imagine the bulk of them would wish to
                     go home. Dare I say it, the British Army is very
                     experienced in this.

                     Q: How long do you estimate that will last?

                     MJ: I can hazard a guess. There will be a wish,
                     rightly in my view, by the coalition to minimise that
                     period of time. The Afghanistan process is perhaps
                     something of a model but one needs to be careful. I
                     would think it would be prudent to work on a year or
                     two. It may be less.

                     Q: It's not just demonstrators protesting in Hyde
                     Park, eminent retired generals say we shouldn't
                     go to war with Iraq. Do you think their views
                     undermine our soldiers' morale.

                     MJ: I don't think their comments are read by many
                     soldiers and I expect many young officers don't pay
                     much attention either. Colonels, I expect, may read
                     them, say "um" and turn the page. They're perfectly
                     entitled to their opinion but, of course, they are
                     retired and therefore not fully informed.

                     Q: Do you share the view that "war is hell"?

                     MJ: I don't think it can be described as anything
                     else. It's an emotive term but I know what it means.
                     It is the most unpleasant experience that a human
                     being can imagine or experience. War is a small
                     word but encompasses so much. Look at Berlin in
                     1945 - horrific. Stalingrad or Caen - horrific battles of
                     human misery writ large. But I'm not sure that
                     modern war is like that. It doesn't necessarily
                     involve bitter hand-to-hand fighting over this pile of
                     rubble and that for weeks on end, so there may be
                     degrees of hell. War is the last resort and soldiers
                     know that better than anyone else. If that is what is
                     required, that in the last analysis is what we are
                     here to do.