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Posted by Erbo (Member # 199) on May 17, 2010, 01:38:
There are men in uniform, and then there are leaders. And David Richards is such a leader.

In 2002, Sierra Leone was in the grip of a civil war. 800 British paratroopers, led by then-Brigadier Richards, landed at Freetown airport. Their mission was to evacuate several hundred British citizens and other foreigners, and then get out themselves, leaving the country to its fate...which would likely not be a pretty one, as the rebel forces were about to invade the capital, and they were known for their brutality, including the practice of hacking off the limbs of their victims.

But Richards saw an opportunity to do more than just get some people out and then skedaddle. And he worked to pull it off, using the men and materiel the Ministry of Defence had alloted him to make a stand against the rebels, directly aiding the government forces.

He knew he was going outside his orders. He knew that, if things had gone wrong, it would be his arse in a sling. And yet he did it anyway...because it was the right thing to do.

Instead, he was successful in his intervention, stopping the rebel forces and ending the civil war. The British government backed his change of plans.

Today, Richards is General Sir David Richards, head of the British Army. And this is at least partly because he was the right man, in the right place, at the right time, and with the balls to do the right thing.

Now that's a MAN.
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on May 17, 2010, 03:47:
If you believe any of that story, I've got a few bridges to sell you.

¨Military Officer disobeys orders, lies to superiors, and gets his country involved in someone else's civil war - then a grateful Establishment rewards his mutiny by makings him head of the army"- yeah, right.

It's got 'plausible deniability' written all over it. He was sent there with a job to do, and told to make it look like a rogue operation. If it had all gone horribly wrong he'd have been court martialled, drummed out of the army, then hired as a consultant at 3 times his army salary by a company that owed the government a favour.

The silly games diplomats play.
Posted by Erbo (Member # 199) on May 18, 2010, 01:02:
Either way, TFD, Richards had to have known that, if the operation he was mounting turned to worms, UKMOD and the British Government would have wasted no time setting up the court-martial. The very least he could have expected would be the end of his military career. If he had secretly been given the orders to intervene militarily, it's dollars to doughnuts the people who gave him those orders would have no qualms sacrificing him to cover their own arses, were things to go south in a hurry.

I just thought this was an inspirational story. If we go by what the story as printed says, Richards gambled that he could provide enough help to stop the rebels. And, because he gambled, the people of Freetown and Sierra Leone won.
Posted by Ashitaka (Member # 4924) on May 18, 2010, 02:04:
FTFA"Did it," I ask, "embolden British politicians, and lead them to think of war not as a last resort but as just another policy option?"

"There might," he said, "be something in that."

well, what he did was good for the citizens there, this time, especially since the civilians always have teh worst of it in wars, but I think the above quote is telling, in that we do not know yet what the reprocussions will be.

The Spanish American War brought us the Phillipean islands for some reason, which caused hawaii To be attacked and almost 4000 casualties years later.

War is a dangerous thing because you can never see all teh reprocussions, and therfor should be last resort.

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