The Changing of the Guard, The British Army since 9/11, is written by Simon Akam, who has given talks to the Joint Services Staff College at Shrivenham, Wiltshire and to West Point, the U.S. Military Academy.
The Changing of the Guard covers familiar ground, including sexism, bullying, and classism. It also covers the appalling accommodation of military families, the abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence’s wrong advice that British troops involved in operations abroad were not covered by the Human Rights Act, and the misplaced confidence that British forces would cope with foreign insurgencies better than the Americans because of their experience in Malaya in the 1950s and Northern Ireland more recently.
It details Britain’s long history of military incompetence concerning the way soldiers were sent, first to Iraq, and then to Afghanistan, ill prepared and inadequately equipped, with fatal consequences that could have been easily avoided and the way senior military figures failed to tell the truth.
a briefing he attended shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 being told that British forces did not want to destroy Saddam’s elite Republican Guard, he added, but to “change the way it was used.” A British brigadier would sit alongside an Iraqi brigadier to ensure that Iraqi forces would adopt a less vicious approach than they had under Saddam. "It was wishful thinking. British commanders knew next to nothing about the power structures in Iraq (and did not seem to want to know) or about the tribal structures in Afghanistan."