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"The significant combat I saw with British soldiers made me respect them more with each battle"

The writer is American reporter Michael Yon.

When big media refused to cover the war in Iraq, Michael Yon begged and borrowed the money he needed to fly in and report. He has been embedded with numerous American and British units in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has seen combat with all of those units. The British units included 2 Rifles, 4 Rifles, Queen's Royal Lancers, Duke of Lancaster's and 2 Para. Along the way we were among the many people sending him support.

What I can say, is that the significant combat I saw with British soldiers made me respect them more with each battle. Yes, it’s true their gear needs serious upgrading. The British government needs to spend billions to upgrade the hardware. But when it comes to the soldier, British soldiers are extremely well-trained, courageous and ready for a big firefight at the drop of a hat.

Our brothers and sisters are vastly outnumbered at Helmand Province in Afghanistan. I think about them several times a day and am concerned that they might take serious losses this year.

. . .The British are very close family. We are in a serious fight in Afghanistan. This is a team, and some members play harder than others. The British are ready and willing to throw hard shots. The British know the price of fighting. And they know that the price for not fighting can be much higher.

. . .The British fight very well, but they need better gear.


There must be someone in Britain who will defend their soldiers and get them the gear they need.

Thanks to Instapundit for the link.

Our previous Yon report here.

Comments (2)

Michael :

"They need better gear." They need a government, and hence a populace, which, having put them in harm's way, will give them the necessary orders and support to actually carry out their mission rather than sitting around avoiding it as was done in Basra. There is nothing wrong with the British military but there is something very wrong with a government that will not let them aggressively engage the enemy. One American's opinion.

As far as I can judge (which, from the South of France, is not very far), Yon seems to be absolutely right in both his praise and his criticism. Yet British history might, and perhaps should, prompt us to think a good deal farther than all this. What we now call 'Afghanistan' (not the country, but the continuing event, soon to become a condition, like asthma) is, of course, the old North-West Frontier. The British, with exemplary courage, patience, force when needed and diplomacy when possible, held it for many years. But they held it because it threatened British India, no longer a reality. Odious though in many ways the Taliban are, is there the same urgency now for Brits (and others)? Pakistan is a true and dreadful danger; but will troops next door, dealing with what we used to call Pathans but must now (for reasons no one has explained) call Pushtuns, whose culture is one of joyous and perpetual warfare, really reach a goal? It's a good and ancient British reaction just to go there, hang in there, stick it out, and be quietly brave; but should one not from time to time ask: to what end?

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