2010
08.12

We at Grey Man’s Land support our soldiers and we certainly support the fight against PTSD. Organisations such as Help for Heroes and Talking 2 Minds rightfully do everything they can to help serving and ex-soldiers battle Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a more worthy undertaking is hard to imagine.
In our haste to honour and help soldiers, however, we often forget the innocent victims of war, the civilians who are killed, maimed, and made to suffer in ways far worse than what most battle-hardened soldiers ever have to endure.
Good soldiers, both British and American, inadvertently kill or cripple civilians on a regular basis — it’s war, and collateral damage is a part of it. I’m not blaming the soldiers, but at the same time I have enough human decency to consider the lives of the civilians equally worthy and the PTSD of the survivors just as real.
So, this Christmas season, I implore our readers to look beyond the military charities we regularly mention here and give a little to help the truly innocent victims.
The International Red Cross does so much to alleviate the suffering of civilians in war zones, and as McNab can attest, they help soldiers, too. Please continue supporting our troops and the organisations that help them out, but let’s give a hand to the often-forgotten civilians as well.
Cheers.

2010
06.12

90-day blitz takes out 3,200 Taliban
The Sun
By David Willetts, Defence Correspondent

Published: 01 Dec 2010

Secret strike operations led by British and American Special Forces have taken out 3,200 Taliban insurgents in just 90 DAYS.

The huge haul was achieved in an “autumn showdown” – launched to crush the Taliban before they skulk off for winter.

British SAS and SBS fighters, US Delta Force units, Afghan Special Forces Tiger Teams and elite outfits from other coalition troops hit the enemy relentlessly for three months.

Of the 3,200 killed or captured in covert strikes, 387 were top-level commanders. The figures were handed to SAS hero and Sun Security Adviser Andy McNab at a top level briefing in the Afghan capital Kabul. Andy visited the frontline this month to drum up support for the Sun’s Jobs for Heroes campaign – backed by expert recruitment firm ForceSelect.

He said: “We are nailing the Taliban. We are killing and capturing them on an industrial scale.

“This wasn’t a blanket approach to killing. These are tactical missions. Troopers are now specifically targeting the Taliban leadership, and those who fight FOR the Taliban.

“Our guys weren’t targeting those who simply fought WITH the Taliban. There is a clear distinction. Some are fighting because they need the money or too frightened not to. They are not fighting for hate or the ideology.

“Of course, some commanders worry that younger, more radical Taliban fighters will take the place of dead leaders.

“But, talking to the guys who conduct these covert operations, they weren’t unduly worried about it.

“If a new generation of radical Taliban step into these dead men’s shoes, they too will be killed or captured.”

The operations are part of the push towards a Nato handover of control in Afghanistan to Afghan National Forces and police by 2014.

Source: The Sun

Andy McNab in The Sun - meeting the troops

2010
30.11

BFBS Radio: Richard Hatch interviewed Andy on Friday while he was in Kabul. Thanks for sending this Nicky!

2010
27.11

“Our troops are fighting a war as professional soldiers, not victims, and the sooner everyone switches on to this fact, the better” ~ Andy McNab

Andy McNab: In the eyes of the Army, the BBC stands ‘Accused’ over drama
27 November 2010

“It makes me furious the way our soldiers are continuously portrayed as victims in life: victims of war, victims of bullying, victims of bad organisation and leadership.

If an alien had landed in the UK at any time in the last five years, it could be forgiven for thinking that the British Army consists of compete idiots or sadistic bullies.

The truth is, the Army has never been as well-equipped, trained, or experienced as it is right now. And, contrary to popular belief, soldiers do not moan about being issued bad boots, nor are they preparing to hang themselves. They are far from victims.

They are highly competent, professional soldiers who join to fight in Afghanistan; doing exactly the job they have been trained to do.

I am writing this article from Afghanistan, while visiting our troops for a few days. And, guess what, I haven’t seen a single victim, idiot or bully yet. All I see, wherever I look, are soldiers getting on with the job.

I served in the British Army for 18 years, both in the infantry and in the SAS. I have trained recruits and commanded soldiers on hundreds of operations, and I know that our soldiers do not want or need our pity.

Today, along with my writing, I am director of an international private security company which has involvement in many countries, including Afghanistan. I employ soldiers when they leave the Army because they are a high quality product. Not traumatised victims.

The continuous drip effect of “our poor boys” is as incorrect as it is unhelpful. If we, at home, continually feel sorry for our soldiers, this will affect the way our army fights for our national interest.

The latest incident of soldier victimisation reared its ugly head during Accused, BBC One’s new drama following those accused of crimes awaiting the verdict of their trial.

In the second instalment of the six-part series, shown on Monday, the drama focused on the British Army, notably the extreme culture of bullying and intimidation in a fictitious army unit in Helmand Province.

One soldier is shown committing suicide after enduring retribution for having failed to show courage in combat. In one scene, the victimised soldier has a barrel of human excrement poured over him.

General Sir Peter Wall, the Chief of the General Staff, wrote to the BBC director general, Mark Thompson, calling Accused “inaccurate and misleading”, and “deeply distasteful and offensive” to the families of soldiers in Helmand. General Wall also demanded that the programme be dropped.

Accused was written by Jimmy McGovern, the 61-year-old author of Cracker and The Street. McGovern has been quoted as saying: “As a dramatist I was interested in exploring how soldiers have to be of a certain mindset to kill.”

But what McGovern has done, and the BBC allowed him to do, was ignore the first rule of writing – write what you know.

I have sold more than 30 million books and written two Hollywood film scripts based on my own experience, but I would never dream of writing about a pub landlord in a gritty northern town. Because I wouldn’t have a clue.”

Go here to read the full article in The Telegraph

2010
22.11

* 100 fallen heroes in 2010 *

By Duncan Larcombe, Defence Editor
Published: 20 Nov 2010

The Sun today salutes the 100 men who have laid down their lives for this country in Afghanistan in 2010.

Every one of them died a hero.

Go here to read the full article and the Roll of Honour in The Sun

May they all rest in peace.

MyView

By Andy McNab

“Obviously the 100th death of 2010 is a really sad landmark.

But now is not the time for us, the public, to start getting wobbly about Afghanistan.

There really is light at the end of the tunnel. The sacrifices and the work carried out by the troops on the ground are really having results.

One of the tangible results is that, since the summer, casualties have gone down because of the troops’ efforts in taking on the Taliban.

As a result, the 100th soldier killed has died towards the end of the year rather than at the end of summer, which some experts were predicting. We have reached this landmark much, much later than they said because there are troops on the ground, controlling the ground – controlling the Taliban. Where we are is where we are, but the deaths are not in vain.

The country is starting to get a little bit shaky about Afghanistan. More people are against it than there have been before.

But now is not the time to be wobbly. We are nearly there.”

2010
25.10

By Tom Newton Dunn, Political Editor
Published: 12 Oct 2010

DAVID Cameron was left shaken yesterday after it emerged his decision to rescue Brit hostage Linda Norgrove ended in her being killed by a US grenade.

The PM said: “I will go over it 100 times in my own mind, but I am satisfied it was still the right thing to do.”

Until yesterday it was believed Linda, 36, died at the hands of one of her Taliban captors who exploded a suicide vest as US Navy Seals went in to pluck her from a hideout in Afghanistan on Friday.

But NATO Afghan chief, US General David Petraeus, rang Mr Cameron and told him it was probably a US grenade that killed her. Early reports suggest there was an intelligence failing on which room she was being held in.

Go here to read the full article in The Sun

myView
By ANDY McNAB

“WE have all been brought up on films where these things go perfectly — and that is the big problem.

What happened was a bid to save the life of a woman who essentially was already dead. The people holding Linda Norgrove were likely to kill her, so an attempt had to be made.

It’s an absolute tragedy and no one wanted to see this happen.

But there is only a small window of opportunity before the captors do something drastic. They risked their lives to save her life.

This time it didn’t work out. But it was still the right thing to do.”