Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hollywood Generals?

Charly’s ruminations on American generals from last week means that I just can’t help myself and I’m going to have to link this article from the Telegraph. It doesn’t matter how Atlanticist and pro-American us Brits are, even when the US has so few other friends, it won’t stop us from being snobs. It would seem that senior British officers are sniggering at their American comrades’ shoulder holsters. Brigadier Alan Sharpe, whose credentials would seem to be impeccable as the US gave him a Bronze Star for his work in Iraq, said there was a “strong streak of Hollywood” amongst the US generals he worked with.

It’s perhaps a cliché that the British Army are superb peacekeepers whilst the Americans aren’t – but like other clichés maybe there is some truth in it. An Estonian officer who had served in Baghdad with the Coalition told me the same (and also that the US reservists were much better peacekeepers than the regulars). Another contact who is a serving British officer told me of his time as a KFOR liaison officer with the French in Mitrovica (northern Kosovo) and how the French were “gobsmacked” when he used to stop to chat with the locals. Perhaps the practice provided by ‘policing’ the Falls Road during the troubles, and having bottles of piss thrown at you on the good days and bottles of burning petrol on the not-so-good-days, really has taught the British Army some valuable lessons.

1 comment:

Pekka said...

Of course, the extra swagger, allowed only to those who are the number one, is not there any more for the Brits. The case was quite different less than a hundred years ago when England had the biggest hammer to hammer out any problem in the region they precieved needing hammering. This propably is a blessing in disquise to them, for it opens up the whole tool box wide open for other kinds of tools to be used. Even that fuzzy concept to Americans called diplomacy.