2008
25.08

In News of the World Douglas Wight writes about Andy’s upcoming non-fiction novel Seven Troop.

I can’t say that I like the article very much, for I’m sure it (Seven Troop) is meant to be more then this article suggests. I think it’s a very welcome change PTSD is recognised (or getting there) but I think this article doesn’t do right to the subject as it should not be read out of context. This seems just sensational journalism to me. But then that’s only my opinion. Decide for yourselves when you read the whole article. I’m only giving you some snippits here.

“THEY are Britain’s elite troops—but after the last whiff of gunsmoke in their careers of courage disappears, the men of the SAS often find themselves in a new kind of hell. And unlike their famous motto, when it comes to coping with life after danger, Who Dares does not always Win. In a gripping new book, Seven Troop, SAS hero Andy McNab—author of best-seller Bravo Two Zero—today reveals how some comrades were driven to madness, suicide and murder when their glory days were over.”

“After years of fighting in the army’s elite, McNab himself knows what it’s like to stare into the abyss of madness. He needed to undergo therapy after a failed mission in Iraq. “Until quite recently PTSD had been perceived in the military as a sign of weakness—guys often wouldn’t admit they were suffering,” he says. He claims today’s soldiers are exposed to horrors in Iraq and Afghanistan that used to be reserved for special forces. And he calls for more counselling to be made available for our crack troops before a “major mental-health crisis faces those who have served our country”.

“Special Forces men are never going to have an easy time of it in the real world. They just have to try to get on with it, and some do that better than others. “But it’s a chilling fact that more guys—about 300—have killed themselves since returning from the Falklands than the 255 that were lost in action there.”

“Meanwhile at night McNab deals with a recurring dream . . . about his three “brothers” who are now dead — Al, Frank and Nish — all of them freefalling in a parachute exercise. “We scoffed at the notion of brotherhood but that’s what we were—brothers in arms,” says McNab. Now he’s the only one left alive, fighting for the kind of treatment for our troops abroad that could have saved his SAS mates.”

You can read the full article here

2008
24.08

Andy McNab in Elite Forces

2008
23.08

Andy was a special guest at the Harrogate festival last month. In the Times Online an article from writer Simon Kernick who “takes us behind the scenes at the sixth annual Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival”.

About Andy he writes:

“In the evening we host special guest Andy McNab, who’s interviewed by Laura Wilson. I meet Andy beforehand in the Green Room and am mildly surprised to find he doesn’t have a blacked-out face. He’s a great talker, though, and, thanks to Laura’s expert prompting, and plenty of questions from the audience, we get a fascinating insight, not only into his background and his books, but also his views on our current military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Go here for the full article in the Times Online

2008
23.08

An article in The Sun I missed last month called ‘Shot Paras ‘not told of second raid’ by Tom Newton Dunn, with comment by Andy McNab. Old news perhaps but since we’d like to show you as much as we can, here it still is…

THE nine Paras hit by friendly fire in Afghanistan last week unwittingly strayed into the sights of an Apache helicopter, an Army probe has found.

My view
By Andy McNab

“HOLLYWOOD movies give the impression war is a precise science these days. It’s not!

Technology may be better than ever, but it’s still used by humans under immense stress. Battlefields are nothing but controlled chaos.

“Friendly Fire” is as old as war itself. Every professional soldier accepts there is always room for error.

Huge effort goes into learning lessons from every such disaster. But they will only end when robots fight our wars for us — and maybe not even then.”

You can read the full article in The Sun here

2008
16.08

Another article by Andy in today’s The Sun

THE commander of British troops in Iraq claims the time is almost right to pull out of the war-torn country. But former SAS hero and Sun Security Advisor Andy McNab has seen the chaos and violence there first-hand and says the move is premature. Here, he explains why it is too early to move out:

“Ultimately this is a case of our troops being spread too thin by our Government.

The main reason they want us to pull out of Iraq is a desperate manpower shortage. Quite simply, our combat troops are needed to fight the war in Afghanistan. The tragedy of it all is that we are so close to having the job finished in Iraq.

The aim was to stabilise a highly volatile country, give the local populace some peace of mind and create a secure environment. To do this they need to make the airport in Baghdad safe and reliable. No company will fly into a city where their staff could be shot or kidnapped. But this aim hasn’t quite been achieved and in the meantime all the oil produced in Iraq is going to waste at a time when fuel prices worldwide are going through the roof.

A far more sobering thought is the toll on human life. The war in Iraq has claimed 176 British troops since hostilities began in 2003 and the conflict has cost us about £5BILLION.

Now, just as the hard work of our servicemen and women has nearly paid off, the men at the top want to pull out.

We are about two years away from reaching a “safe” Iraq. It wouldn’t be too long before the airport is fully international and Baghdad a viable base for global business. But not yet – so don’t believe it when they say Iraq is able to look after itself. Let’s not forget it wasn’t that long ago when US and Iraqi troops had a major battle with militia in Basra City, resulting in scores of casualties on both sides.

ARMPITS

They may paint Iraq as stable but it is not. Locals are not exactly tending to their gardens and having picnics in the park with their kids at weekends. This is still a country at war.

They talk about housing prices in Iraq’s towns and cities doubling, but in reality that means from worthless to just a quarter of what they fetched before the war. It means nothing.

If things went wrong again after a British withdrawal, America would simply pump in more men.

Talk of a safe Iraq is only to justify pulling out our troops and redeploying them to Afghanistan.

Our politicians bask in the glory that our superior armed forces earn for Britain but they won’t do anything about their dwindling numbers.

We desperately need more troops yet they are still paid a pittance and expected to fight for months on end in the armpits of the world miles from loved ones and without the rewards they deserve. It’s too much battle space for an army that is too small – and now the manpower shortage means we are leaving Iraq as a job half done.”

“It may be the Government’s way but it’s not the British Army’s way.”

Source: The Sun

2008
13.08

Lots of articles yesterday about teenagers falling behind on their English skills, I’m quoting the Times Oline:

Minister sends for the SAS to lure teenagers from computers to books.

Improvements in school standards have ground to a halt, the Government admitted yesterday as it published test results showing a decline in English and science.

A third of 14-year-old boys failed to meet the lower of two expected standards in English and one in five has not even reached the level of an 11-year-old. Ministers have now missed the targets in the Key Stage 3 tests in English, maths and science that they hoped to have exceeded by last year.

Jim Knight, the Schools Minister, said that teenagers needed to be inspired by action and adventure books by writers such as the former SAS officer Andy McNab and Jeremy Clarkson.

Read the full story here

Teenage ‘boys’ seem to be ‘far worse than girls when it comes to literacy’ btw.. Why is that?? Anyway, it seems McNabs job encouraging reading is not done yet!