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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 15:59 GMT
Black Watch casualties: Your views
Troops from the 1st Battalion The Black Watch
Three Black Watch soldiers were killed in an ambush by Iraq rebels on Thursday.

Sgt Stuart Grey, Pte Paul Lowe and Pte Scott McArdle and an Iraqi translator were killed, and eight others were injured, on the eastern bank of the River Euphrates.

British troops were moved further into Iraq last week - to the former US base of Camp Dogwood - in an attempt to stop rebel fighters reaching Falluja.

Are you a serving in Iraq or know someone who is? What is your reaction to the deaths of the soldiers? Should the Black Watch have taken over the US troops' operations?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


To all the UK troops serving in Iraq...I'm proud of the way you're undertaking the work you're doing out there in such difficult circumstances and I know - even in the toughest times - you'll all do your duty with pride and honour.
David Lawrence, Bristol, UK

The deaths and injuries are a tragedy and entirely predictable. Black Watch should not have taken over the US troops' operations. I do not want the UK government to support an ally who is prepared to kill many thousands of civilians to bring them "democracy." Democracy cannot be brought about by outsiders using force, death and destruction.
Diana Field, London UK

My fiancée is a Sgt Major in the Infantry. Not yet in Iraq but due to go some time next year. I understand that he will face danger. I understand that it's his job, and what he's trained for. He's done Northern Ireland, Afghanistan etc. But somehow this seems far more frightening, and so pointless. I cannot get rid of the sick feeling I get in my stomach at the thought of him going. I can only hope that Blair sees sense, and pulls our troops out, before our time comes. Leave Bush to fight his own battle.
Anon, Surrey, UK

This is a very sad day, our deepest sympathies goes to the family and friends of Stuart, Paul and Scott we pray for them and for the Black Watch heroes who are all doing a fantastic job.
Crosby Family , Staffordshire, UK

We mourn with you, but are also comforted to know such great men are out there
Robert Bruce Campbell, Houston, Tx

We mourn with you, but are also comforted to know such great men are out there. God Bless the Black Watch.
Robert Bruce Campbell, Houston, Tx

What is most worrying is that the Black watch do not have any accurate firepower to deal with the incessant mortar attacks. They have been truly left out on a limb. They are in an extremely hostile environment where a presence of strong military firepower is required. The Black Watch should have been supported by elements of Artillery to provide a robust and accurate counter against mortar attacks.
Jim Sanderson, Leatherhead

We make a pre-emptive strike on a nation with little international support and now we expect other nations to join the new Vietnam. All those Americans that support this war should have no problem supporting a US draft to get more troops into Iraq.
Charles Thompson, Tennessee, US

Isn't it about time we as a nation got behind our men and women in the front line and started supporting the efforts that they are making to ensure that the Middle East is a secure and democratic part of the world? Isn't it our duty as a nation to help others without choice find the security in freedom of speech without threat of imprisonment or death? Whilst my condolences are extended to all the families and friends of all the people that have experienced loss during this conflict, at least the coalition forces had the choice to serve - and they do it well. Back off and give them your support for a change and stop your media whingeing.
AC, Hants

I'm proud of our forces, ashamed of our politicians
Matt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (ex UK
Contrary to the belief of some of the more rabid contributors I am both extremely proud of our troops and angered at us being at war. Why is this concept so difficult for people to understand? I'm proud of our forces, ashamed of our politicians. We owe it to our boys to ensure that their dedication and bravery is not misused by some misguided populist in Number 10.
Matt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (ex UK)

Firstly may I express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the three brave members of the Black watch. As an ex-military personnel I would like to express my exasperation at the condemning of this deployment. This is a military operation where we are the allies of the Americans. Why is it acceptable for Americans to be placed in these areas and not us? If this deployment helps to bring about free elections in January then it is justified and right. All members of our armed forces should accept their role wherever and whenever. Do not do disservice to the brave men of the Black Watch battle group and turn this into a political farce to attack the current government.
Morgan Stacey, Cardiff, UK

Point fingers at whomever you wish, but would we be truly right to pull out of Iraq now, only to leave a power vacuum that would certainly be filled by men like Al-Zarqawi?
Paul Chorley, Edinburgh

After all the misleading information we have clearly been told by our governments both here and in the US, I can't believe some people still think that what we are doing in Iraq is noble and for moral reasons! We in Scotland may have lost three sons but it is incomparable to the grief and anger felt by the friends and relatives of the tens of thousands of innocent civilians we have killed during the 'progress' of this war. I agree with George Galloway when he says that the only legal fighters in this war are those fighting the foreign invaders.
Craig Milne, Fife, Scotland

I know the anti-war people will come on and say we told you so. But I believe we're doing the right thing and if we walk away now the cowards will have won! These people, don't even fight like men! They are cowards!
Gordon Kerr, Stroud

These guys joined the army voluntarily. They are paid with my taxes, to go wherever they're ordered to. If that means somewhere dangerous then that's where they go. Stop whining people.
Steve, London, UK

Steve, London: These soldiers are employees of the state, and as such, are there to provide a service to the public. Well this public considers their involvement in the Iraq war as a disservice, and demands the immediate end to it.
I S Lorenzo, UK

My sympathies go to the families of those killed, but I am amazed that less than half of our losses are due to enemy action. What are we doing to protect are forces from presumably preventable deaths?
Euan, UK

There is almost a sense of inevitability about what has happened to the Black Watch in Iraq. Moving into the 'triangle of death' was high risk and we all knew that. I have nothing but respect and admiration for our soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world - they do a tough job and they do it extremely well. My heart goes out to the families of the soldiers who died. I'm angry that British troops were sent to Iraq - for what purpose and how has this contributed to a more stable and secure world? I'm angry that we send good men and women to their deaths in far off lands on the premise that we have the moral high ground.
Gordon Ritchie, Peterhead, Scotland

I want to thank the Black Watch Soldiers and the people of Great Britain for their sacrifices in Iraq. I know this war is not popular with most of people in your country and I understand your reasons. Thankfully Saddam is now gone and US/UK soldiers are needed to help Iraq get stable enough to start down its road to Democracy. We can not fail because the good people of Iraq deserve the chance for the freedoms we take for granted in the UK/US.
John, Oakland CA, USA

It's not our troops being out there that's wrong - it's the insurgents trying to force us and the Iraqis into accepting whatever it is they want. We must not be cowed by terrorists - wherever and whoever they are!
Lynda Hill, Lewes, UK

I find it hard to believe that Bush and Blair handed the terrorists such an opportunity on a plate. For every Black Watch casualty there will be a corresponding increase in the call for the UK to break ranks from the US in this conflict. Surely this is what the terrorists dream of and has meant that the Black Watch have been put in the gravest of danger due to an ill conceived plan between Bush and Blair.
Neil, Bournemouth, Dorset

This is casualty-intolerance gone overdrive. We aim to win the war on terror, but reject the inevitable human cost.
Onyema, London

Not unexpected. Shame politicians don't actually fight in a war. I hope everyone in Scotland does not forget which parties supported the war and which didn't.
Kjack, Essex

May the political powers that be, see sense enough to bring them home
Kerry, Hull, UK

Any war is not fair, and it's worse when the war you fight is not your own. We have friends and family all over the world praying for the troops involved. May the political powers that be, see sense enough to bring them home. May God keep them safe and give their families the courage they need to face the uncertain future.
Kerry, Hull, UK

Perhaps if the media were not allowed to report on any troop movements, then our troops can get on with their job. I send my sincere sympathy to the three families of those brave lads who died fighting for us.
Maggie, Scotland

I fully support our brave lads out there. I send my condolences to the families who have suffered in these latest causalities, I am truly grateful for their huge sacrifice in this terrible war.
Al, Scotland

I think it is clear that the nation supports the Black Watch in their role and wish success in the unenviable task they have been set. That is to say the support is for the troops and not Mr Blair's policy to act as he so wishes. How much longer will he get away with this almost care-free attitude of public opinion, and does he expect to continue to rely on support based on sympathy for the troops?
Kavin Satchi, London, UK

The hysterical reaction by the media and opposition parties made the men of Black Watch a primary target for insurgents. It's Charles Kennedy and co who should have a long hard look at themselves, they used the deployment for political gain.
S Lynch, London

My thoughts are with the families and the rest of the lads still out there
Ian Storrar, South Shields, UK

The bravery of the Black Watch deserves our full encouragement and admiration - the loss of these soldiers should strengthen our resolve to back the efforts of the British Army during this difficult phase of the conflict. We should not use these deaths to support anti war arguments. The Black Watch is there with a difficult job to do, they need our support and good wishes - my thoughts are with the families and the rest of the lads still out there.
Ian Storrar, South Shields, UK

It is unfortunate that Blair's place in history has to be bought at this price.
Tom, London

The loss of any life is tragic. But the British troops are doing a fine job helping the people of Iraq. The idea that British troops were re-deployed in order to help George Bush's election campaign is nonsense. The re-deployment of British troops was scarcely mentioned in the American media, so I fail to see how it could have affected Bush's campaign either way.
Graham Guest, Hull, UK

The deaths of our three soldiers could indeed have happened "anywhere in Iraq" as Ingram said. That deliberately misses the point that, as everybody was well aware, these deaths were far more likely to happen at Camp Dogwood than in Basra. The government takes us for idiots by making such statements.
John, Hemel Hempstead, UK

Today three soldiers lost their lives. Tomorrow... How many lives does it take before Blair admits a mistake?
Nas, London, UK

I can't tell you how sick I felt when I heard the sad news about the three Black Watch soldiers yesterday. My boyfriend is in Iraq serving with the Scots Guards. There has been speculation that the Scots Guards will take over from Black Watch in December. I feel so helpless at the thought and can only imagine what the Black Watch families and friends are going through. My boyfriend is very proud to be in the Scots Guards, he loves his job. He knows the dangers that could face him. Tony Blair will never get my vote, how many soldiers lives will be taken before he realises the price we are paying?
Tracy, Salisbury

I hope Mr Blair can sleep easily at night. This is a dreadful price for our support of the US. Indeed, tragically, some are home for Christmas. Labour will pay for this at the next election, at least in Scotland; their hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Peter McNiven, Menstrie, Clackmannanshire

I cannot believe that the media openly announced the deployment of the Black Watch before they actually started to move. Surely we sent an open invite to every insurgent and terrorist to take a pot shot at the Black Watch? Was this just a cynical ploy to ensure that reporters were in the right place at the right time?
Nigel Maggs, Stamford Lincs UK

It is always a tragic loss whenever a person dies
Andy Geo, Manchester, UK

It is always a tragic loss whenever a person dies. I am confused at the attitude of praising the courage and bravery of the best army in the world but whinging whenever these skills are tested. I agree it was a mistake to go to war but to pull out now would be irresponsible, the Coalition have caused this mess in Iraq and have a responsibility to help rebuild the country.
Andy Geo, Manchester, UK

It's not a case of "Four More Years", but a case of "MORE War Years". All we need now for the hat-trick (after Howard in Australia and Bush in USA) is for Blair to get elected...
Naz, Scotland, UK

By bowing to the political ambitions of Bush, Blair has effectively asked the Iraqi freedom-fighters to disband a Scottish regiment. What a marvellous idea.
Eric Hall, Pionsat France

My sincere condolences to the families and friends of these 3 brave lads. They died so we can sleep in our beds peacefully at night. As for Bush's favourite puppet - the dishonourable Tony Blair - I hope to God you never enjoy another peaceful sleep in your life.
Helen, Ayrshire, Scotland

It is a pity that our boys are taking casualties. But remember that this is what happens in a conflict.
Grant Youngson, Elgin, Scotland

Why should our men die because of poor conflict management skills among the Americans?
Peter B Lloyd, London, England
Now they've done their job of helping Mr Bush to get re-elected by creating a 'multinational force', surely these men can go home? The Americans have irreparably damaged relations between the Allied forces and the local inhabitants in the area around Baghdad. Why should our men die because of poor conflict management skills among the Americans?
Peter B Lloyd, London, England

Its unfortunate that any soldier must be killed to defend our liberties, but remember it's not the politicians who give us our civil liberties, it's the soldier.
Paul, NY, NY

The Black Watch should never have been deployed and used as a political sop for Bush and his re-election back in the USA. What worries me is the news that Hungary and the Netherlands are withdrawing their troops and I'll bet it's the Scots who take over.
Paul Calder, Aberdeen Scotland

We wish to send our prayers and condolences to the friends and families of the brave Black Watch soldiers who were killed in Iraq. Being of Scottish ancestry, we were especially saddened by the news. I hope the well-intentioned Mr. Blair will re-think his unquestioning alliance to Mr. Bush, and not let any more British troops die fighting the right cause in the wrong war.
Shawna and Mary-Lou Brown, Vancouver, Canada

Our forces are used by the Prime Minister to promote himself on the world stage
Peter Smith, London, UK
This Government is under funding our forces to such an extent they are not equipped or trained properly anymore. Do not believe the Treasury hype, it does not stand up to close scrutiny. Our forces are used by the Prime Minister to promote himself on the world stage, and neither he or the Treasury care about the people in the forces, and the impact on the families The only decisions the Government makes are to protect their own careers by awarding contracts for equipment which will help them stay elected, when in fact that is not the equipment the forces need or can afford. It is a disgrace.
Peter Smith, London, UK

The resistance fighters are specifically targeting Black watch soldiers in order to create a public backlash in UK and Europe as a whole. Its high time that people concerned realize that its the British soldiers who are kept at ransom by the US policies.
Asfar Sohail Azmi, Aligarh, India

America thanks you. God bless the Black Watch.
Jay Duggan, Minneapolis Minnesota USA

British born, now a US citizen, I was terribly saddened by the many correspondents who spewed out such vitriolic anti-American sentiment. Churchill's dream of an abiding Grand Alliance is dead. The national interests of our two countries have grown apart. America saved Britain's bacon in two world wars. It's time perhaps for Britain to throw in its lot once and for all with Europe and for us to sever that close bond of friendship with Britain.
BM Sullock, Sequim, WA.,USA

B.M.Sullock, Sequim, WA.,USA - Let's kill this myth once and for all. The US did not enter WWII to save our bacon, it entered because Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, followed shortly after by Japan's ally Nazi Germany declaring war on the US. Until then the US had been absolutely determined that you where not going to get involved, but where going to stick to your isolationism. Your troops died for the US, as much as anything else.

As for the billions of dollars, the US insisted we pay it all back, despite the fact that if we had not held out, alone, as long as we did, and were you to face Japan and Germany alone, it could well have been a different story. You did though write off Stalin's war debts. If you had not trusted that maniac, history might have been different - maybe the two super powers would not have been the US and USSR, but the US and the UK, and hence no cold war. In my view, the Americans always get it wrong when it comes to foreign policy, because you have no idea what goes on beyond your borders.
DRL, Milton Keynes, UK

Our troops need the support of the public
Jim Kirk, Basildon UK
More than ever our troops need the support of the public. They are they doing their job in difficult circumstances. Our hearts go out to the families and the rest of the Battalion. Best wishes boys.
Jim Kirk, Basildon UK

That makes five so far. All because Blair couldn't say no. The US is the country that has its hands on Iraq's oil, has 14 permanent military bases under construction in Iraq and chose the current interim leader. It shouldn't be us paying the price for looking after US interests.
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames, UK

How is it that while the government cuts defence spending and destroys Scottish regiments, these very regiments are expected to fight and work overtime? For how long can Blair's debacles abroad be continued while Brown cuts defence spending?
Mark Cartwright, London, UK

The comments I have seen today are exactly what the guys on the front line need. It is too late to moan about the right or wrongs of this we simply have to get it done, do not flinch but make sure that this type of foul up does not happen again.
Robert Durward, Biggar, Scotland

The Black Watch are soldiers and, as soldiers, must know that whether their cause is just or not soldiers die in action. I happen to believe that the Iraq war is both justified legally and morally but, of course, the deaths are dreadful and yet part of the process of ridding the world of the obscenity of 'suicide bombers' and the dark forces of Islamic extremism. We have to stand up against such threats.
Phil, Market Drayton

I have to agree with Phil from Market Drayton 100%. Let not our nerve fail us and let's fight to give the people of Iraq the peaceful and democratic country the vast majority of them deserve. What is the point of an army if we don't have the will to use it?
John, Norwich (UK)

The oath of allegiance our armed force's take is to Queen first then Country not the people of Iraq
Edward Vernalls, Worcestershire, England
I knew from the moment we sent troops to the sector that they have been deployed to that the casualty figures would rise. Our troops are the best and are a big credit to this country. If Tony Blair is in favour of our troops being there then its about time he put himself on the front line along with our troops just to decide for himself when the battles break out whether Iraq is worth the loss of our troops. The oath of allegiance our armed force's take is to Queen first then Country not the people of Iraq.
Edward Vernalls, Worcestershire, England

These troops should not have been deployed to an area already managed by a US force. Any given area reflects the force in control. Every area controlled by UK troops has had a "softly softly" approach to the local populous which has been shown to be very successful in gaining the local's trust and respect. The Black Watch has been deployed to an area previously controlled by the US - and their approach has been much more confrontational.
Mike Strong, Edinburgh

I hope is that they stay and make sure that the job is done, and done very well
Bill, Bracknell, UK
Sorry, and I hope that the circumstances were not of the kind that could have been avoided. There is no way to express your sympathy to the families, but the boys were there to do a job, all I can hope is that they stay and make sure that the job is done, and done very well. These lunatics, and they are not insurgents, they are Special Guard and other Iraqi forces who hid when the USA Troops flew on by, ignoring the facts, and not making the area safe before racing on to Baghdad. They are out there and often can be seen, go and get them lads and make your area a safe place to live.
Bill, Bracknell, UK

Britain was once the last free nation in Europe. However seeing the defeatism displayed on this site I am appalled. How can Osama bin Laden not win when faced with an island full of unabashed cowards? Whether or not the war was legal is irrelevant, we are in Iraq until the country is fixed. A word to the international press - shut up about troop deployments. All the deaths amongst the Black Watch soldiers so far in Central Iraq is directly due to the press reporting every movement of our troops.
Vishant Patel, London, UK

Recent world events have largely robbed me of the capacity to feel outrage anymore, but two of the posters here have rekindled something of that feeling today. To Vishant Patel, of London - how dare you, Sir! "An island of unabashed cowards" - are we indeed? The reason Britain remained free in 1939-45 was precisely because we fought for a just cause (and always have, until the current debacle). I, an immigrant Welshman to Scotland, would not dare insult the brave memory of this proud and beleagued regiment by uttering such nonsense. B.M.Sullock (now of the US) - I suggest you re-read your British history books, rather than the American revisionist ones you apparently have swallowed!
Gareth Evans, Banff, Scotland

Vishant Patel, London: Iraq had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden until the US and UK forces invaded it. I suggest you pay more attention to the facts before trying to tell us the "legality of the war is irrelevant".
Phil Ross, London, UK

That's 3 Black watch who won't be home for Christmas. What a waste. As for the Yanks thinking we have it easy - no it is simply that we have far superior forces who recognise the human side of conflict rather that a 'put em up and shoot em up' attitude
Graham, Manchester

I believe the silent majority are proud of our fellow citizens doing a difficult job, well
Peter, Croydon
Sitting at a desk typing into a computer, I can only wish the men of the Black watch my sincerest sympathies on the death of their comrades, and to let them know that this citizen wishes them to continue to do the job we in the UK know they can do well & professionally. Contrary to many comments on this side I believe the silent majority are proud of our fellow citizens doing a difficult job, well. Our prayers are with you all.
Peter, Croydon





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