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To the Glasshouse

Telegraph | News | US military drops capital travel ban

Embarrassed American military chiefs yesterday lifted the ban on their 12,000 British-based airmen travelling to London after last Thursday's bombings.
Amid mounting criticism that the move sent the wrong message while London was trying to return to normal, Gen James L Jones, the commander of US Forces in Europe, announced the lifting of "all travel restrictions for US personnel stationed in the United Kingdom".
He added: "While all personnel are encouraged to be vigilant, we cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by the acts of terrorists."

Bit bloody late to say that now. Gen Jones - see those stones, see that pot of white paint, get to it; and when you have finished, here are the scissors for the lawn. You miserable little worm you did more damage to US UK relations in one stupid order than you can possibly imagine. If Her Majesty The Queen is prepared to ride through London in an open top car what the fuck were you thinking of ordering the Yanks to be cowards?


I have to agree with you. As a recently retired member of the US Air Force, and having just left the UK I am extremely embarrassed that the order was given. I can tell you that my friends on active duty feel the same way. But it's a typical knee jerk reaction from the brass. Believe me, the everday airman in the UK stand by the British people.

As an American I was embarrassed by the stupid order.

I have to point out that the order was given by an Air Force General and lifted by a Marine Corps General. The USAF could be intimidated by a little girl on a tricycle.

Our Marines and Soldiers are made of sterner stuff.

Reasons why the order was proper and sensible:

1. The mission of the US military is not to send messages. The primary reason there are any American troops in Britain (or anywhere else in the world) is to protect American lives and interests. Most certainly not to benefit British tourism.

2. The 4 bombs could have been a diversion to draw attention away from subsequent attacks elsewhere in Britain or in other parts of the world. The Air Base itself could have come under attack. All personnel belonged on base in case something came up requiring them to do what they trained for, which is not showing they are as brave as Queen Elizabeth or anyone else. The people who fly those planes and take care of them are brave enough to do their duty. You could look it up, as Casey Stengel used to say.

3. A nuke, dirty or the OTHER kind, could have been exploded in London. Bravura performances by self-congratulatory Brits wouldn't count for much in the face of that. The chaos and difficulty of returning to base makes it wise not to leave base in the first place until enough time has passed to assess the situation.

4. It makes no sense to encourage unarmed troops ( or anyone else unarmed) to enter a city where few if any police carry firearms, apart from special units. Ten or 20 or 30 nutbags armed with firearms, even handguns, can wreak havoc anytime they want in London or anywhere else in Britain or in any place where the populace is completely disarmed, or even where it is armed.

5. The mission of the U.S. Air Force isn't to stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone. It is to fly over people's heads and deliver ordnance on them. Symbolic gestures and rhetorical flourishes are for the kind of people who'd wear red coats into battle and think it brave, and Americans have not come to that.

6. Anyone who has been responsible for the lives of military subordinates had better damned well put those lives first. A buck Sgt. who didn't would deserve to be busted and so would a base commander. Screw a bunch of politically correct careerists and politicians.

7. I could go on, but I just want to point out that submarines once needed a network of bases to refuel, resupply, etc. Nuclear power enables them to greatly reduce the needed bases. In less then a generation American military aircraft will be able to be based at home. We won't need the same sort of forward installations that we currently have. We'll be able to transport entire divisions anywhere in the world in a few hours, including equipment. And we will have, in a sense, the great advantage of interior lines, at a tremendous cost savings to boot, and with personnel able to remain close to family, friends, etc.

and it's amazing how quick the dear old BBC were to tell us all about the order but haven't quite given the same profile to it being recinded. Too busy trying to push their "we were right on Iraq" agenda at all times.

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