2014
21.06

Andy McNab interview: “The advance of ISIS could see Baghdad fall”
The Big Issue 20 June 2014

As the fate of Iraq hangs in the balance, former SAS man McNab fears the nation’s capital could be overthrown by ISIS extremists

As the crisis in Iraq rages on, SAS hero turned best-selling author Andy McNab has warned that the advance of ISIS could see Baghdad fall.

McNab, who was captured behind enemy lines in Iraq during the first Gulf War, said that a lack of Allied groundtroops could allow insurgents to take the Iraqi capital.

“The only country that will do something, if anything really needs to be done, because they’ve got the capability, are the United States,” McNab, pictured, told The Big Issue. “But [for the UK] to actually put boots on the ground – we’re coming up to an election year… both countries are being very wary of putting boots on the ground. So there is a possibility that Baghdad would fall.”

He slammed political moves to downscale army numbers and sees this a problem for the future, and the key thing that will stop a move back to Iraq.

“Politicians just want to get out of Afghanistan before the election – they don’t want to commit troops [to Iraq]. We don’t want to commit troops, because it will show a weakness of policy at the moment – downscaling our army.

“We’re apparently about six years behind in recruiting and training reserves for the forces. There’s just isn’t what’s called the force projection capability to go and do it [British intervention]. All nations are scaling down. But the fact is that at the moment, we really don’t have the force projection to first of all get our troops from A to B, and more importantly sustain them while they’re there.”

David Cameron warned this week of the threat to the UK if an “extreme Islamist regime” is created in central Iraq. McNab, meanwhile, claims Britain was “supporting some of those groups” recently in Syria.

“Certainly what’s going on at the moment with Isis, it is really interesting because unfortunately we’re back to square one,” he said. “And it’s really, really crazy, because some of those groups, certainly when they were in Syria, we were supporting them. But it’s just history repeating itself. We’ve done it for centuries.”

Source: The Big Issue

2014
06.06

Former SAS soldier Andy McNab, who spent six weeks as an Iraqi captive in the Gulf War, warns that Sgt Bowe Berghdal – whether hero or villain – now faces a nightmare

The Telegraph – 5 June 2014
By Andy McNab

Heroes don’t exist like they do in the films. Real-life events are totally different to what we expect. All the grainy footage of the Taliban handover of Sergeant Bowe Berghdal to US forces in Afghanistan shows is a deeply traumatised young man, struggling to hold on to reality.

He would have just been telling himself, is this really happening? Am I really being released? That is why, once airborne, he scribbled “SF” on a paper plate, asking the soldiers around him, over the drone of the helicopter engine, if they really were special forces. After so long as an enemy captive, it is impossible to grasp you are free.

I spent six weeks as an enemy captive after I was captured by the Iraqis in the Gulf War in 1991. This young man is 28, and has spent the past five years of his life in enemy hands. There will have been some horrendous times.

The first three weeks of my own incarceration were spent under physical interrogation, being whipped and burnt, and having my back teeth pulled out. I was kept in a purpose-built interrogation centre in Baghdad used by the secret police, but at the time I had no idea where I was.

After that, I was moved to Abu Ghraib jail. There, the torture wasn’t official, but Baghdad was getting bombed every night from dusk until dawn, and the guards would come and get their retribution.

<…….>

GO HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE TELEGRAPH

2013
13.03

January 1991 – can you remember what you were doing?

 Andy McNab can. It was the day his eight man patrol infiltrated deep behind enemy lines in Iraq. Their call sign: BRAVO TWO ZERO.

Now, twenty years on from the 1993 first publication of the bestselling account of this mission, Transworld publish a fully revised and updated commemorative edition, published on 23rd May.

‘Looking back I don’t regret a single thing we did during that time. I still believe we made the right decisions, tactically and morally, but what I knew about was soldiering, that and juvenile detention. I was 33 going on 17, and what’s changed now is that I am able to look at the whole picture objectively, how I felt then and feel now and how the experience of that January changed the lives of the whole patrol.’ ~Andy McNab

Product details:
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Corgi (23 May 2013)
ISBN-10: 0552168823
ISBN-13: 978-0552168823

2011
20.09

The Sun
A dark shadow over our Army – Iraq torture death report: Chief slams Brits’ assault

By David Willets, Defence Correspondent
Published: 09 Sep 2011

The sadism of a handful of Brit troops implicated in an Iraqi dad’s death was blasted yesterday as a “dark shadow” over our Army’s proud reputation.

Last night the squaddies involved were waiting to learn if they face charges as their brutality against captives in Basra was laid bare in a sickening dossier.

The report — into the death of innocent father-of-two Baha Mousa — exposed them as savagely out of control as prisoners were put through hell.

Army supremo General Sir Peter Wall said of the high standards expected of our forces: “The shameful circumstances of Baha Mousa’s death have cast a dark shadow on that reputation. This must not happen again.”

Go here to read the full article in The Sun 

MyView
by Andy McNab

“This was an isolated incident where the command and control structure completely broke down.

But don’t judge the rest of the Army on the behaviour of this bunch.

The Army is not a knitting club, we train our men to be aggressive, to fight and to kill.

Their lives depend on it. But that aggression must be controlled.

What happened here was the chain of command did not have a grip on it.

They lost control and the consequences were tragic. But it is an isolated incident. You have to welcome this report, no one is covering up.”

2011
17.01

The Guardian
On the 20th anniversary of the start of the 1991 Gulf war, politicians, soldiers and a journalist look back
16 January 2011

Andy McNab is the pseudonym of a former member of the SAS and author of Bravo Two Zero, the story of a failed special forces mission. He received the distinguished conduct medal.

“My most vivid memory of the Gulf war is the morning of 24 January when the eight-man SAS patrol I was commanding, during a covert mission north-west of Baghdad, was compromised by a seven-year-old Iraqi boy. The boy was herding goats in the middle of the desert, and happened to pick out the one tiny wadi where our patrol planned to hide up until last light, and stumbled upon us. I remember his eyes grew wide as saucers in shock and fear. After a split second, he then ran off screaming and shouting, towards the Iraqi anti-aircraft gun crew stationed close by. This resulted in the deaths of three of our patrol members, with four more of us captured and tortured by the Iraqis. Only one patrol member escaped. Being captured and tortured has had a profound effect on the way I now conduct my life. I feel both lucky and guilty about being one of those that survived. But having come through the torture and the mock executions, I endeavour never to take life for granted, and always try to do my best to help others who have experienced war and are still suffering.”

For full article go to The Guardian

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.