Brits Condemn US Tactics
The Telegraph: US tactics condemned by British officers
Senior British commanders have condemned American military tactics in Iraq as heavy-handed and disproportionate.
One senior Army officer told The Telegraph that America’s aggressive methods were causing friction among allied commanders and that there was a growing sense of “unease and frustration” among the British high command.
The officer, who agreed to the interview on the condition of anonymity, said that part of the problem was that American troops viewed Iraqis as untermenschen – the Nazi expression for “sub-humans”.
Speaking from his base in southern Iraq, the officer said: “My view and the view of the British chain of command is that the Americans’ use of violence is not proportionate and is over-responsive to the threat they are facing. They don’t see the Iraqi people the way we see them. They view them as untermenschen. They are not concerned about the Iraqi loss of life in the way the British are. Their attitude towards the Iraqis is tragic, it’s awful.
“The US troops view things in very simplistic terms. It seems hard for them to reconcile subtleties between who supports what and who doesn’t in Iraq. It’s easier for their soldiers to group all Iraqis as the bad guys. As far as they are concerned Iraq is bandit country and everybody is out to kill them.”
A very bizarre story on one that would could hardly be less in line with facts on the ground. U.S. restraint in its retalliation against a vicious coalition of insurgents and terrrorists has been remarkable.
My guess is this represents a small minority of British military opinion, if not just that of the one person that confirmed the reporter’s preconceived notions. It is true, however, that the Brits and Canadians have long believed that the American concern for force protection, which has soldiers in peacekeeping mode in full “battle rattle” rather than the Commonwealth-preferred berets or soft caps, is counterproductive. And there may well be something to that; they certainly have more experience with peacekeeping than do Americans. On the other hand, American soldiers are the prime target for these people, given the symbolic value of killing them.