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Greg H
12-19-2002, 04:33 PM
MoD charters troop ships for Gulf

Richard Norton-Taylor and Ewen MacAskill
Wednesday December 18, 2002
The Guardian

The first preparations for a major British deployment for war against Iraq
were revealed yesterday as defence officials disclosed that ships were being
chartered to carry troops and heavy armour to the Gulf.

The move is among measures already undertaken by the Ministry of Defence
but disclosed only yesterday. They include urgent orders for chemical and
biological warfare protection kits and for field hospitals, modifying tanks
and heavy guns for desert conditions, putting thousands of troops on standby,
and warning reservists they will soon be needed.

Defence officials insisted the deployment of a substantial British force did
not mean a decision had been made to attack Iraq. "We are not now committed
to the use of force," they said. What they called the "realistic threat of the
use of force" would also have a coercive effect, putting a psychological
squeeze on the Iraqi regime, they said.

Even if Saddam Hussein's government "imploded naturally" as they put it -
an outcome many British and US military commanders would like to see -
Iraq would still require a "stabilisation force".

The disclosure of detailed preparations to deploy a force, estimated to total
up to 20,000 personnel from all three services, ends months of speculation
about the government's intentions.

Ministers have been under pressure for weeks from military chiefs to give
political and financial backing to essential measures needed to prepare the
British force.

The deployment of British troops to the Gulf "could come at any time", a
defence official said. It is likely to begin next month. In theory, the trigger
for military action could be pulled tomorrow if the UN chief weapons
inspector, Hans Blix, was to inform the security council that Iraq is in
material breach of the UN resolution.

Mr Blix is to provide a preliminary assessment of the 12,000-page Iraqi
weapons declaration. The US has said the declaration is badly flawed but Mr
Blix is to take a more relaxed view. He will say he has questions for Iraq
about mustard gas shells missing from the declaration and discrepancies
between the various pages, but does not regard these as constituting a a
material breach. He is to provide a more detailed assessment next month.

Key information about Iraq's weapons programme could be provided by
defectors. It emerged yesterday that three high-ranking Iraqi military
officers have defected in Arbil, in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, and handed
themselves over to Turkey.

The MoD is expected today to begin chartering commercial ships, including
an unspecified number of roll on/roll off ferries at a cost of up to about
14,000 a day each. "We are maintaining our options. We do not know
whether a conflict will be necessary or what type of conflict there would
be," a senior defence source said.

The US is believed to have asked Britain for special forces, Royal Marine
commandos, RAF air-to-air refuelling tankers, and minesweepers.

Defence officials made clear yesterday that Britain's contribution would
include Challenger 2 main battle tanks which performed disastrously in an
exercise in Oman last year.

Fixing new air filters and skirts on 250 tanks - the most Britain is likely
to deploy - would cost 90m. AS90 self-propelled howitzers which broke
down in the Oman exercise are being modified, and the army is investing in a
new secure communications system.

Up to 10,000 reservists may be needed, including medical staff. The
potential effect on the NHS was being discussed with the Department of
Health, Lord Bach, the arms procurement minister, told peers.

A naval task force, due to leave for the Far East next month on a pre-planned
exercise, could be in the Gulf area by the end of January. Led by the aircraft
carrier, the Ark Royal, it includes at least one submarine armed with
Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The helicopter and Royal Marine commando carrier, HMS Ocean, should be
ready for operations early in the new year.

Defence officials said yesterday the very hot weather in Iraq after March
would have an effect on tactics and equipment. But they said it would not be a
"crucial factor".

How long can a representative gov. (any country) ignore the opinions of the majority of it's citizens?

ACB
12-19-2002, 05:39 PM
I am puzzling over why it costs us 90M (US$
140M) to fit air filters and "skirts" on 250 tanks!

Two possible reactions, really. "I wish I was a defence contractor" and "Thank the Lord I don't drive a Challenger 2 tank to work every day, if that's what a filter costs, I could never afford a full service!"

The Government ordered six roll on roll off ships a couple of years back, none of which will be ready, HMS Ocean is in dock for a refit (our Navy ships spend a third of their entire lives in dock for refits) HMS Nottingham is in dock after clouting a rock off Australia and getting a lift home on a Dutch heavy lift ship manned entirely by Russians (!) and I am glad to see that one of our three knackered old mini aircraft carriers is actually functional!

Meanwhile several thousand troops who ought to be preparing for deployment are actually manning 1950's fire engines because our professional fire fighters are on strike.

With allies like us, do you need Saddam Hussein?

Dave Fleming
12-19-2002, 05:49 PM
ACB, those 'skirts' are custom made in Belgian lace all hand work.
:D :rolleyes: ;)

Memphis Mike
12-19-2002, 05:49 PM
"How long can a representative gov. (any country) ignore the opinions of the majority of it's citizens?"

--------------------
Greg

Well, I don't know about "any country." But
on NPR today thay stated the majority of
Americans are still opposed to this.

As far as an opinion, We got one guy sitting in the middle of the desert on millions of gallons
of oil and a rag tag army and nothing is clear
about what else he has.

We have another in North Korea which really
has no monatary value to us but they have
tactical nukes capable of reaching the west
coast of the United States. This has been
confirmed.

Go figure.

It all stinks. And it smells of big business.
What's really sad is the extent they will
go to in pursuit of the almighty dollar.
And the preservation of life for the wealthy.

As in the nineties, I hope thay have a really
big fire extinguisher.

stan v
12-19-2002, 05:54 PM
Hey, MM. You didn't change your radio channel today?

Memphis Mike
12-19-2002, 06:11 PM
Naw Stan, my radio won't pick up the
EIB Network anymore.

NormMessinger
12-19-2002, 06:53 PM
We have another in North Korea which really has no monatary value to us but they have tactical nukes capable of reaching the west coast of the United States. This has been confirmed.

It has been? Since when? I listen to the same evil NPR as you do Mike. Best I've learned that NK has a program not a bomb.

--Norm

Memphis Mike
12-19-2002, 06:55 PM
Better listen a little more closely.

John Gearing
12-19-2002, 07:08 PM
It takes strategic nukes to reach the US from North Korea. ICBMs, bombers, etc. The fear, I think is that NK is working on an ICBM.

Now the funny thing that comes to my mind about Iraq is this:

Where did the taliban come from? Pakistan.

Where is Osama probably hiding? Pakistan.

Where is there a huge militant Islamic movement? Pakistan.

Where is there a military man running the country with a lot of our help keeping him in power? Pakistan

Who recently exploded a nuclear device? Pakistan.

Who are we afraid will give nasty weapons to terrorists? Iraq.

HUH?

Oh yeah, I forgot the last one....

Who has more oil by far ? Iraq

Memphis Mike
12-19-2002, 07:12 PM
Not a bad link concerning the state of the
world today.

http://www.nci.org/

Hugh Paterson
12-21-2002, 08:08 PM
I doubt if we have enough personnel to man the three mini aircraft carriers at sea at the same time, and I am not kidding. It will be interesting to see what the crew requirements of the new ones currently on the drawing board are?
Shug.

ishmael
12-21-2002, 08:17 PM
"WAR, HOUUPH...GOOD GOD YA'LL, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?... ABSOLUTELY NUTHIN'. I'LL SAY IT AGAIN.

NormMessinger
12-21-2002, 11:29 PM
Okay, can any one else confirm that it has been correctly reported the North Korea has an actural A-bomb?

Listen carefully, harrumph!

--Norm

ACB
12-22-2002, 08:17 AM
Well, if President Hussein's defence forces are watching TV, which I dare say they are, they will know that Britain's Ministry of Defence has been downplaying the problems of an assault in the hot season starting in March because, quite simply, they cannot get organised before then. That is assuming they manage to learn how to keep sand out of tanks by then (thinks...we used to be quite good at that in 1942....and the Israelis got by with old Centurions (the model before the Chieftain, which came before the Challenger) for years and years).

North Korea is reported, today, as having disabled reactor monitoring equipment put in place under the agreement they signed a few years ago.

Time for the USA to have a very serious talk with China - the Chinese won't want the South Koreans or the Japanese in the room, I fancy.

Scott Rosen
12-22-2002, 09:56 AM
It's time for you folks to learn to stop worrying and love the Bomb.

http://wso.williams.edu/~mhacker/Strangelove/strangelove2.jpg

http://wso.williams.edu/~mhacker/Strangelove/kongdrop.jpg

Scott Rosen
12-22-2002, 10:56 AM
Unlike al kayda and the Islamists, NK has a somewhat rational view of life. They will be deterred from a first strike by the doctrine of MAD.

ACB
12-26-2002, 03:39 PM
One's mate-of-a-mate Bob the Bomber (flies Tornados for a living) is unamused.

I quote, deleting numerous expletives.

"Here we go again. Living in a * tent with six feet square of personal space, because I'm a * officer (Flt Lt, specifically) whilst the OR's just get cot space. No * airconditioning, no* entertainment except to go across to the Yank side of the base and watch them downing Coca-Cola in air conditioned comfort. And when I get in the
* plane its 40 degrees (allow me to translate - 104 deg F - he is of the generation of Englishmen, younger than I, who measure temperature in degrees Celsius) in the cockpit, all kitted up, and no aircon until I can get her spooled up, which takes half an hour cos they have to take all the safety's off the ordnance. OK when we get going, though, 'cos we need to get up nice and high, where its cool, until we get to the ** tanker. Those * tanker drivers are living in a five star * airconditioned HOTEL in * Turkey and, guess what, they have an * airconditioned bus to take them to work each day! I * hate them! They always wind us up, and always say "Be nice, otherwise you won't get any, and you'll have to splash!" Then we drop the stuff, go back to the * tanker and go back to the nasty sweaty desert again.

"And you know the really good bit?"

"Normally I fly out of Germany, and I get a Foreign Service Allowance, cos its so * expensive. Well, you would think that being on active service, surrounded by * foreigners in a * foreign country would count as * foreign service, would'nt you? Well, it does'nt. So every time I'm being shot at and living in a * tent, on lousy food, with no * aircon, my * pay actually goes DOWN!"

Hugh Paterson
12-26-2002, 04:57 PM
Ah but as the saying goes (or did) "if you cannot take a joke you should not have joined up"
Shug

Shang
12-26-2002, 07:51 PM
"...It takes strategic nukes to reach the US from North Korea. ICBMs, bombers, etc. ..."

Well, actually you can deliver a nuke in a rowboat, but a container-ship works better. Don't mention this to Our Nation's Enemies.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
12-26-2002, 08:53 PM
Shang is quite correct... missiles are passe, based on the idea of letting your enemy have some idea you are attacking. Terrorism does not work that way. Osama Bin Laden is most likely dead as a result of attacks in Afghanistan. There has been no conclusive statement as to the validity of voice audio tapes attributed to him after Afghanistan, despite study. However, if the US were to declare that Bin Laden had most likely been killed, it would not serve the Bush Administration's desire for invasion of Iraq.

Gary Bergman
12-27-2002, 12:59 AM
Attaboy, Scott. Slim Pickens in his best role,just a quick lick with the spurs.... :D

John 8:32
12-27-2002, 11:34 AM
For Memphis Mike...you try to equate NK and Iraq, and the only thing linking them is that they are both threats.

North Korea is not sitting in the middle, and on top of, 60% of the future oil reserves of the world. Furthermore, North Korea poses a distinct threat to Japan, South Korea, and tens of thousands of US servicemen. They probably do have 1-2 nuclear (tactical?) weapons, if you believe the media.

Iraq is a threat to the economies and functioning of most of the world. No other Islamic country has a nuclear weapon. The area is a key to future oil reserves...a real necessity to any nation's future functioning until alternative energy sources are practical (20 years?).

You may wring your hands all you want, and decry the unfairness of it, but there is no realistic way in which to equate the two countries, the threat they may pose, and how we and our allies (and the UN?) must deal with them.

And before you get ahead of yourself, it is in no way guaranteed that the situation in NK will not decay into one similar to that which led to the Korean War, under the auspices of the UN. Security was, after all, it's original mandate, before it got all tangled up in social engineering and special commissions.

Art Read
12-27-2002, 01:33 PM
North Korea vs. Iraq? That's easy. North Korea is a country rapidly sinking under a desperately flawed government/economic system with no unique natural resources to speak of, and increasing neglect from it's former East Bloc patrons. Iraq is suffering from an equally flawed government that is, however, sitting on top of a very "liquid" asset it's rulers can exploit in order to maintain hedgemony.

North Korea is playing an "end game" using the nuclear "card" in hopes that it can force the West to pay "tribute" economicaly in order to artificialy support it's flawed system. They don't want the bomb. They want "concessions" NOT to have the bomb. Iraq's regime is playing an "end game" of delay and obstruction in order to simply survive long enough to achieve a nuclear deterent. They want the bomb as a "poison pill" to prevent further foriegn interference against their regional ambitions.

If we just leave North Korea alone and refuse to negotiate or "bribe" them, they can build as many bombs as they want, but they still won't be able to solve their basic systemic problem of not being able to feed their people or compete at even the most basic level on the world economic stage. If we just leave Iraq alone, they WILL develop an arsenal that will restict any future, possible "options" against them and become an even greater negative influence in a region of grave world concern.

As North Korea slowly self-destructs, (a'la the ex-Soviet Union) there will be no rational advantage to them to be gained by threats of using their arsenal out of "spite". Not without commiting national suicide. As the situation in the Middle East slowly erodes, a Nuclear Iraq will hold intolerable and undeniable influence over critical world interests. If events conspire to create a situation where we ever DO have to invade Iraq after they get a warhead on top of a missile, I think it's a pretty safe assumption that Sadaam's last act as the marines are over-running his bunker will be to launch. Probably at Isreal. We will NEVER have to invade North Korea. All we need to do is continue defending the DMZ and wait 'em out.

Now... What to do about Iran? :confused:

[ 12-27-2002, 01:57 PM: Message edited by: Art Read ]

LeeG
12-27-2002, 11:35 PM
Now... What to do about Iran? :confused: [/QB][/QUOTE]

Before figuring out about Iran I'd have to understand who it's allies/enemies are. Right now aren't they going through a generational change with student and middle class dissent against the religious leaders strict interpretations of Islam?

Meerkat
12-28-2002, 03:14 AM
N. Korea seems to be getting awefully serious. Could be bluff, could be more. Lets not forget that asians can have a far more fatalistic view of life then us; suicide on behalf of leaders isn't unknown (as in kamekazis) and fearless leader Kim Il Jong might decide that if they're going to fall apart from starvation, they might as well go out with a bang as with a whimper. That was, after all, a significant part of Japan's motivation for initiating WW II.

On a far more serious note: ACB, have they hired the tea ladies yet? If that's happened, we'll know that Gulf War II is imminent! ;)

Ian G Wright
12-28-2002, 02:03 PM
Let's attack the French, nobody likes them,,,,,, AND they still think Bonapart was a hero. AND they drained the Calais yacht basin without telling any one first, except the local boats, AND the last meal I ate there gave me 48 hours of the wet hovers.
That's it, France First,,,,,,,,,

IanW

John 8:32
12-30-2002, 03:29 PM
I guess what puzzles me is the incessant complaining, worrying, and chicken-littleness of so many in this area.

Earlier, there was trmendous handwringing about Bush going it alone, not giving the UN their due, not building a coalition, not giving inspections a chance (after 10 years!).

Now, he has gone through the UN, and indicated to them (us) that we need to stand up to our responsibilities and force Hussein to do the same. Even without backing of the UN (who here voted France, or China, or Libya as having a veto over the foreign policy of the US?), Bush currently has between 20-40 allies who have pledged aid/assistance, or have indicated they will do so.

So, isn't it perhaps time to consider the possibility that people at the level of the JCS, or the national command level, may have information that we don't have on www.woodenboat.com? (http://www.woodenboat.com?) And, just maybe, regardless of political affiliation, we should give a man, a congress, and an administration that has been supposedly elected in this free country the room to pursue their plans in regard to foreign policy? ;)

Peter Malcolm Jardine
12-30-2002, 03:33 PM
Sure... just don't make your foreign policy mine, and clean up your mess when you're done.

Scott Rosen
12-30-2002, 04:00 PM
Donn,

We'll have special forces secure the vineyards in France, just as we're planning to do with the oil fields in Iraq.

Aw, shucks. The French did help us defeat the British back in 17 something or another. And they sent us the statue of liberty. Sure we paid 'em back by bailing them out in 1919 and 1944, but the Italians have better looking women AND better food. We should invade Italy if we're going to invade anyone on the Continent.

Dave Fleming
12-30-2002, 04:08 PM
Scott, if we invade Italy can I be made military govenor of the Cinqua Terra? With a consular office in Tuscany?
:rolleyes: :D

Meerkat
12-30-2002, 04:14 PM
Hey! that's MY Cinque' Terra! tongue.gif First thing is to declare Rick Steves and his tours personna non grata ;)

Meerkat
12-30-2002, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by John 8:32:
I guess what puzzles me is the incessant complaining, worrying, and chicken-littleness of so many in this area.

Earlier, there was trmendous handwringing about Bush going it alone, not giving the UN their due, not building a coalition, not giving inspections a chance (after 10 years!).

Now, he has gone through the UN, and indicated to them (us) that we need to stand up to our responsibilities and force Hussein to do the same. Even without backing of the UN (who here voted France, or China, or Libya as having a veto over the foreign policy of the US?), Bush currently has between 20-40 allies who have pledged aid/assistance, or have indicated they will do so.

So, isn't it perhaps time to consider the possibility that people at the level of the JCS, or the national command level, may have information that we don't have on www.woodenboat.com? (http://www.woodenboat.com?) And, just maybe, regardless of political affiliation, we should give a man, a congress, and an administration that has been supposedly elected in this free country the room to pursue their plans in regard to foreign policy? ;) Well, you'll exuse me there citizen, but Libya isn't on the UN Security Counsel and thus has no veto power over US foreign policy - nor does the Security Counsel over any member state. BTW, you might recall that the UN was OUR idea in the first place.

I'm surprised to learn that Bush has "20-40 allies" - when are they going to stand up and be counted? What arm twisting was done to gain their cooperation?

As for letting the gov't do their thing, I would like to see it's justification for acting in our name which, so far, has not been forthcoming. That government belongs to me (us) and I have a right to know what it's up to and why! Also, I'd be much happier if Mr. Bush would protect and defend the constitution and the laws rather then running roughshod over them. Clinton got his whilly wet in the Oval Office and the Reps screamed blue bloody murder etc. etc. etc. yet Bush craps on the constitution and nobody says boo. His latest fun gambit, reported in today's NY Times, is to sign an Executive Order giving funds to faith based charities since it wasn't going to fly in congress. (I'm still looking for the clause in the constitution that gives Executive Orders the power of law and the office of President the power of dicatorship! Near as I can tell, only Congress can pass laws) That good ole Texas boy is chopping down constitutional ammendments as fast as he can go! No further need for the terrorists to attack American freedoms - they've got the president on the job!

[ 12-30-2002, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

Dave Fleming
12-30-2002, 05:00 PM
KAT, I knew of the region long before what's-is-face was born. Neighborhood Italian Restaurant in Brooklyn was owned and staffed bye folks from that region. Walls were covered with posters and photos of 'the old country'.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid44/p0572eadffb32c9d316e2ae7b090d84ab/fcdcb596.jpg

[ 12-30-2002, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: Dave Fleming ]

Meerkat
12-30-2002, 05:18 PM
Aaaah, Vernazza!

Ok Dave, we can share - I'd like the place nearest the water on the right please - the greyish brown one to the right of the pink apartment buildings overlooking the harbor smile.gif

How about independence for Liguria? ;)

[ 12-30-2002, 05:27 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]