At last!  A serving British Army General has exposed the British Army’s “hearts and minds” strategy for the failure that it is, and always was.  Quoted in the Daily Mail last week, senior army commander, Lieutenant-General Graeme Lamb said “…the image of winning hearts and minds is almost ridiculous…”

The general gave succinct rationale for his statement, which was made to an audience of military and security experts.  General Lamb has 35 years experience, including commanding British forces in Iraq, and is now commander of Britain’s field army, so he’s well qualified to say what he has.  But I wonder why he didn’t make this statement before the invasion five years ago?

In June 2007, my post Why we’re not winning, 1 explained my own credentials for writing on the subject; and Why we’re not winning, 2 offered solutions.  My point in each of these posts was that we cannot win by adopting the “hearts and mind” strategy of the British Army.  It’s a sop to our liberal political rulers effectively ties the hands of our soldiers, airmen and sailors and prevents them from fighting to win…

I made the point that it is absolutely no good trying to “win hearts and minds” until after the enemy have been thoroughly defeated, and our forces have effective control on ALL the ground they have taken.  That general rule applies to all wars, but especially including wars against terrorists, guerrillas, or insurgents such as the ones the West is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We won the opening BATTLES, but neither of these two WARS have been won.  Western “rules of engagement”, especially the British ones, effectively prevent our military from defeating the enemy.  Thanks to politically correct governments and media, they’re not even allowed to refer to the enemy as “the enemy”!

Our Western military must win the respect of enemy civilians, not “hearts and minds”.  The people of Afghanistan and the Iraq are not simple or primitive. The very expression “winning hearts and minds” suggests that we are dealing with simple, primitive people and is an insult to the intelligence of the people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Hearts and minds” was developed to appease the liberal fools who made a fuss over British anti-terrorist fighting in Malaya shortly after World War 2.  The policy has always resulted in defeat for the British Army – usually dressed up as a “peaceful solution”.  The British Army is forced by the British Politicians to retreat when a “solution” is reached and the so-called “former” terrorists take over.  It happened in Kenya and in Northern Ireland.

And most recently, the British retreat from Basra in Iraq was a defeat dressed up as a “solution”.  It’s not the fault of the British soldiers – they have their hands tied behind their backs by their officers, who are acting under instructions from the political leadership.  This results in hell on earth for the civilians left behind to endure rule by terrorists.  Basra is a case in point, as explained by Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail on Monday “The final bloodbath”.  He says, “Women in Basra who refuse to comply with strict dress codes are shot dead in the streets – more than 100 have died in the past year.   The truth is that Basra is a violent mess now that British troops have withdrawn…”

Worst of all, the current rules of engagement imposed by the British Government actually value enemy civilian lives over the lives of British servicemen and women.  And it gives the terrorists an unfair advantage over our own troops, resulting to more deaths and injuries to our own people.  People can argue about whether or not the West should have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place, but if only our soldiers had been allowed to fight to win, both wars would have been won long ago.


Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.

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