Michael Dewar

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Dewar is a former Lt-col in the British Army who saw active service in the North of Ireland and subsequently wrote a book about the role of the British Army there (1985). He has been active in right wing think tanks and is regularly called on by the mainstream media as a terror or security expert.

Iraq as a cake walk

Peter Preston notes Dewar was amongst those paving the way for an invasion of Iraq by claiming an invasion would be quick:

The politicians and strategic planners were assuming quick triumph. 'We'll be greeted as liberators', said Vice-President Dick Cheney. Iraqis would hail our boys 'like the people of France in the 1940s', according to Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy. Rumsfeld himself was informing press briefings that 'we can go it alone, without Britain' as recently as 12 March. A ring of total confidence. Well-briefed military commentators put the likely duration of the fighting at a single week (as Colonel Mike Dewar, the Daily Express's battle expert, bravely informed an audience of 90 editors last month).[1]

Retail definition of 'terrorism'

Indeed, the tactic of attacking civilians helps to determine whether a group is terrorist or not, according to Colonel Mike Dewar, a former British army officer and now security analyst in London.
"Your methods determine if you are a terrorist," he said. "Targeting civilians is not a new phenomenon. The primary purpose of terrorist groups is to create terror in the population at large. The military should not, by definition, be terrorised." Civilians were the victims of the Tokyo sarin gas attacks in 1995. What is new perhaps is the scale of the attacks on civilians. Part of this is a product of technology.
"It is easier to get hold of explosives. There are better communications. Someone invented the car bomb. Somebody thought of flying planes into buildings," said Col Dewar.[2]


Proclaiming himself a committed Christian, Colonel Dewar went on to denounce those who supported non-violence, including Dr Kember and Mr Bartley, as 'fundamentalists'. He mocked the idea that prayer could thwart dictatorship and described weapons as God's 'tools' for use 'in the real world.'[3]

Defending 'Mutla ridge'

Dewar does not quail about justifying war crimes and the killing of civilians as in the case of the 'blitzkrieg' on fleeing conscripts and civilians on the road to Basra in 1991:

THE MASSACRE of fleeing Iraqi forces on the Kuwait City to Basra highway at the Mutla Ridge in the last hours of the Gulf war has been dubbed 'the final turkey shoot' - an unwarranted and immoral act of carnage on a demoralised and routed force that posed no serious threat to the coalition...
But it is naive to criticise either Schwarzkopf or Bush for the slaughter, in particular that which occurred at Mutla Ridge, before the ceasefire was called. First, warfare - particularly blitzkrieg - acquires a momentum of its own which is difficult, even impossible, to stop.
Second, and most important, (as unpalatable as it may be to armchair commentators), emotions are heightened in battle. Adrenalin is flowing fast. American pilots flying over Mutla Ridge were in a state of high excitement. They were winning. And they were engaging an enemy who had not surrendered and who still had the power to offer resistance.
Third, the history of warfare has demonstrated very clearly that armies in retreat always suffer heavy casualties. Napoleon stated in his Maxims Of War: 'Retreats always cost more men and material than the most bloody engagements; with this difference, that in a battle the enemy's loss is nearly equal to your own - whereas in a retreat the loss is on your side only.' It is in the nature of a retreat that casualties will always be high.
There was essentially no difference between the slaughter at Mutla Ridge and that which took place further north and west in the Iraqi desert during the pursuit of the Republican Guard by US and British armoured divisions - except, perhaps, that it was less visible to the media.
Much of the pious comment about Mutla Ridge shows a complete lack of understanding of the realities of battle. The lesson must be: leave the prosecution of war to the generals and the fashioning of the peace to the politicians. Viewed in this light, Schwarzkopf was right to pursue his military aims totally and for as long as he thought necessary and Bush was also right to stop the fighting when he did.[4]


Publications, Notes



  • Secret Soldiers : Special Forces in the War against Terrorism by Peter Harclerode, Mike Dewar Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780304355075 Pub. Date: March 2001
  • British Army in Northern Ireland by Michael Dewar Hardcover - REVISED ISBN-13: 9781854092922 Pub. Date: September 1996
  • Day in the Life of the British Army by Michael Dewar Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780715397749 Pub. Date: March 1991
  • REID, BRIAN HOLDEN AND MICHAEL DEWAR. Military Strategic in a Changing Europe. Oxford Brassey’s Defence Publishers Ltd., 1991, 257pp.
  • Art of Deception in Warfare by Michael Dewar Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780715392225 Pub. Date: October 1989
  • British Army in Northern Ireland, 1969-Present by Michael Dewar Paperback ISBN-13: 9780853686316 Pub. Date: May 1986
  • Brush Fire Wars : Minor Campaigns of the British Army since 1945 by Michael Dewar Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780312106744 Pub. Date: September 1984


MICHAEL DEWAR A defence of Mutla Ridge: Why the allies' attack on retreating Iraqi troops was necessary The Guardian (London) April 11, 1991.


  1. The propaganda war Here is the news: Too much heat... too little light Wall-to-wall TV, the internet, 24-hour news... Saturation coverage is our only experience of the conflict in Iraq. As the battle for hearts and minds intensifies, is the media helping or hindering our understanding of the war? Peter Preston Sunday March 30, 2003 The Observer
  2. Friday, 25 October, 2002, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK Analysis: Civilians as targets of terror By Paul Reynolds BBC News Online world affairs correspondent
  3. Military expert says peacemakers didn't imperil soldiers By staff writers 27 Mar 2006
  4. MICHAEL DEWAR A defence of Mutla Ridge: Why the allies' attack on retreating Iraqi troops was necessary The Guardian (London) April 11, 1991.
  5. http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Dewar_Mike_434672701.aspx
  6. http://web.archive.org/web/20030219170256/http://www.defencesystemsinternational.com/
  7. http://web.archive.org/web/20031231144124/http://www.defencesystemsinternational.com/
  8. http://www.army-technology.com/publication26/issue63/mediapack/
  9. Aviation Daily, February 13, 1995, Michael Dewar, SECTION: WHO'S WHERE; Vol. 142, No. 7; Pg. 13
  10. http://antipas.org/protected_files/news/europe/nato.html