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
10.11

The Sun
10 November 2010

‘If ‘waterboarding’ stops terror then it’s worth it’

George Bush’s defence of “waterboarding” torture was backed by two fathers of 7/7 bombing victims yesterday.
John Taylor, whose daughter Carrie died in the 2005 atrocities, said anyone who had endured grief like his family would put their loved one’s life ahead of the human rights of terrorists.

He believes information gained from the waterboarding of suspects – such as that described by ex-US President Mr Bush in his memoirs Decision Points – should be acted on to save victims like Carrie, 24.

Go here to read the full article in The Sun

My View
By ANDY McNAB
Sun Security Advisor Tortured By Saddam

“I WOULD happily waterboard a terrorist and take my chances in court as I know a jury wouldn’t convict me.

There is a strong argument FOR waterboarding and other forms of torture when it is a matter of tactical questioning for immediate information.

I’m not talking about long-term torturing. That’s pointless.

But if I were in a position where the President had said Yes or No to torture, I would do it – and take my chances. When lives are on the line you must do what you can to save them.”

2010
25.10

The Sun
Published: 19 Oct 2010

“I thought ballet was mincing on stage but I was wrong. The blokes are built like soldiers and are amazing athletes”

SO you don’t know your splits from your Nutcrackers and think ballet is only for toffs – think again.

After twice having filled London’s Royal Opera House with Sun readers for exclusive opera performances of Don Giovanni and Carmen, this year we’re having a bash at ballet.

Below tough guy Andy McNab tells why he is a ballet fan and Louie Spence demonstrates a few moves to watch out for at a Cinderella show…

“Before I experienced ballet for the first time I had the same negative attitude as many people.

Why would I want to spend an evening watching theatre folk mincing around the stage when I had no idea what was going on? I thought those who enjoy it must be a bit wet or something.

Two years ago my wife convinced me to join her at a kids’ ballet called Angelina’s Star Performance with my niece and nephew. It was based on the popular children’s character Angelina Ballerina – and I was won over from the moment the curtain went up.

The staging, performances and music took me completely by surprise and I went from being a cynic to a convert. When my wife asked me to go to Swan Lake a few weeks later I was keen to see what such a legendary ballet would be like. I wasn’t disappointed.

If the first experience was impressive, the second blew me away. The blokes are built like soldiers, with legs thick as tree trunks. They throw the ballerinas around as if they are light as feathers.

Meanwhile, the girls pull all sorts of amazing shapes and aren’t bad to look at either. Watching someone standing on tiptoe with the other leg straight up in the air is pretty eye-popping.

Some of the audience were moved to tears, although I wasn’t quite in that category.

I’ve heard being a ballet dancer is the second most physically demanding profession after being a biathlete. I’m not surprised, because I’ve toured the gym where they train. I wouldn’t fancy bench-pressing what those lads lift on a daily basis.

If anyone claims it’s for wimps, ask if they’ve ever tried it. Without a doubt they won’t have.

Seeing a ballet also makes for a really good night out. Before Swan Lake I went online to learn the story. It is usually summarised in the programme too, so you don’t have to sit there like an idiot with no idea about what is happening.

A show like Cinderella is an ideal afternoon for families too. The difference between watching ballet on television and seeing it in real life is amazing. Kids will love the spectacle of the stage and the skill of the dancers.

It’s important to expose youngsters to a bit of culture because they need to be able to make up their own minds about whether they like it or not. The same goes for adults, of course.

Some people might also think twice about turning up at the Royal Opera House. But don’t forget, our taxes paid for its refurbishment and keep it running. The place belongs to regular, hard-working Brits. It’s a posh, spectacular building, so get in there and have your money’s worth.

My wife and I go to the ballet regularly now and I’m signed up to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s scheme providing cheap tickets to everyday folk.

Now we’re looking forward to Cinderella in December and I’m delighted a few thousand Sun readers will have the opportunity to enjoy it too.”

Go here to read the full article in The Sun

Well, I know at least one fan will jump at this one…. But I’ll end with a quote from Crisis Four..

The dog was feeling really confident now; he knew he’d got me. I bent
down and, with my right hand, grabbed hold of his left rear leg. The limb
twitched as if he were doing an Irish jig as he tried to kick away.
I started to pull the back leg up toward me. The dog was confused and
pissed off, biting more and moving his head from left to right. I was
grappling to keep hold of his leg. It was dancing away like Michael Flatley
on speed.

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.”

2010
06.10

The Sun – By Rhodri Phillips
Published: 6 October 2010

Prince Harry is controversially taken hostage in Afghanistan in a documentary to be screened on TV.
Channel 4 is to show the “dramatised documentary” based on what would happen if Prince Harry were taken prisoner serving in the war-torn country.

The 90-minute film, called The Taking of Prince Harry, features former hostages and intelligence experts.

It includes scenes showing the prince, played by actor Sebastian Reid, being held behind enemy lines while negotiations to free him are carried out.

But the scenes look certain to cause anger.

Sun security expert Andy McNab said:

“What these people forget is there is still a war going on. This comes at a bad time and is in bad taste.

It’s highly likely Harry will be going back to Afghanistan now they have spent so much money on his Apache chopper training.

But it’s not just insensitive to Harry, it’s insensitive to all the troops and the mums, dads, wives and kids with lads out there.

Showing the behind-the-scenes process could even be seen as a training video for some of these nutcases.

It’s all very well a bunch of trendy execs from Channel 4 putting this on to cause a stir – but there is still a war going on right now. They are forgetting that.”

Go here to read the full article in The Sun