Afghanistan: Were asking our troops to do the impossible

#1
Afghanistan: We're asking our troops to do the impossible

It is time for a new strategy and fresh commitment to Afghanistan, argues Nick Clegg.

by Nick Clegg
Published: 7:39PM BST 08 Jul 2009
Comments 22 | Comment on this article
When I visited British troops in Afghanistan last year I was, like everyone else, hugely impressed by their professionalism and courage. That admiration only deepens when news comes, all too regularly, of the death of someone serving there. Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe, who helped organise my visit, was killed last week alongside Trooper Joshua Hammond, in a vehicle unable to withstand a roadside bomb. We owe it to them to ensure their sacrifice is not in vain.
As leader of the Liberal Democrats, I have been keen to maintain the cross-party consensus on Afghanistan that formed after September 11, and has not faltered since. But recent events have led me to question, for the first time, whether we're going about things in the right way. I am concerned that we are simply not giving our troops the means to do their difficult job. We must not will the ends without being prepared to will the means.
More on the link

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/...e-asking-our-troops-to-do-the-impossible.html
 
#2
This comment was posted on the website of the DT regarding the article

For once I have to agree with most of Mr Clegg has to say.I to am appalled by this governments conduct of this war.Its cowardly to say the least and criminal to say just above the least.Such incompetence I have never seen in my life.Add to that the infighting between Blair ,Brown,pro CND MP's and the only thing that has happened is confused non policy that has resulted in needless death and wounded in our soldiers.Either we are at war or we are not,there is no half way house.Our soldiers in particular need equipment urgently.Our so called Defence Minister said that helicopters were not the answer!I have in all my life heard such rubbish coming from a Minister who sounds as though he is lucky to be able to speak English.Our soldiers need Kit,Kit,and more Kit.I have a vested interest in this as my son is about to take command of his battalion shortly,and I am a retired senior officer myself.
Well said Mr Clegg I hope Mr Cameron gets the message as well for as a Tory supporter I think he is becoming untrustworthy on this issue.
 
#4
He basically said more troops, more equipment and more helicopters and get our act together regarding a political and ISAF military strategy.
 
#5
Just watched Clegg on BBC, Jesus, can it be true, a politico talking sense, Ainsworth seems to be a complete cnut with no military knowledge at all, who coudn't back his car up, let alone the troops in Afghanistan. Good for Clegg for telling it as it is, totally effed up
 
#6
ABrighter2006 said:
Nick Clegg will be interviewed on the Today Program at 07:50 this morning to comment on the article.
His general thrust for a more joined up and properly resourced approach is exactly what's been said on here since 2006.

I doubt however that he has thought through his argument which implies the Lib Dems would logically support an expansion of the army..

Penny on income tax? :wink:
 
#7
Skynet said:
He basically said more troops, more equipment and more helicopters and get our act together regarding a political and ISAF military strategy.
Or get out, Afganistan 4 Great Britain 0
 
#8
Somewhat worrying
Leader of the Liberal Party backing the Forces

Am I just a touch cynical thinking he's done this as a vote winner after the kicking his party got at the local and Euro elections?, or is he genuinely stating his party's policy towards defence?
 
#9
Skynet said:
He basically said more troops, more equipment and more helicopters and get our act together regarding a political and ISAF military strategy.
Nick Clegg can say all these things because he will never be in a postion where he has to deliver. The reality is that:

- there are no more troops

- there is no more money

- the UK has little or no chance of influencing politcal/ISAF military strategy.
 
#11
Lets face the fact that the three cnuts Blair,Brown, and Reid should not have got the UK involved in this efup in the first place, just to kiss George Bush's Arrrse
 
#12
LISpace said:
Skynet said:
He basically said more troops, more equipment and more helicopters and get our act together regarding a political and ISAF military strategy.
Nick Clegg can say all these things because he will never be in a postion where he has to deliver. The reality is that:

- there are no more troops

- there is no more money

- the UK has little or no chance of influencing politcal/ISAF military strategy.
Although I agree with what you say LISpace what Clegg is saying is that there should be more money and troops thrown at this problem. We are risking our troops lives for want of a bit of political will to find the money from somewhere, either that or either withdraw completely or re-role and restructure our contribution to that of support to the aggressor nations. Perhaps just providing medical support or something like that.
 
#13
Having read the book "A million bullets" it is clear that the title of this thread is something of an understatement. Fortunately the troops have a can do attitude, even when they know that they are expected to shovel tons of brown and smelly uphill
without the shovel.
 
#14
The Goobermint says their is no more money for defence, but they were able to find the couple or three hundred Billion to bail out their city banker mates…

Go figure!
 
#15
Oil_Slick said:
The Goobermint says their is no more money for defence, but they were able to find the couple or three hundred Billion to bail out their city banker mates…

Go figure!
^ 'Quantative Easing' aka printing money from thin air...

Whilst I am fairly apolitical, issues like this (about afghanistan) bring the questions to the fore and spark debate, which can only be healthy. In the meantime, whilst 'they' debate, good men and women will continue to implement the UK plc Foreign Policy.
 
#16
if the bonuses that are been paid to the so called bankers are as big as they say from what are tax payers money, in effect we actually could have bought more equipment for the armed forces eg a couple of extra much needed helo's or more spare parts, vehicles and other support items etc (even maybe a brigade of troops etc)

if this is not sorted out properly with current penny pinching policies this effort will be wasted because it will eventually come to our own door step (sooner than we think)
 
#17
tropper66 said:
Lets face the fact that the three cnuts Blair,Brown, and Reid should not have got the UK involved in this efup in the first place, just to kiss George Bush's Arrrse
Hear Hear!

However, given that they got us into this mess, it would seem only right to look after the men they've put out there in harms way.

The biggest surprise is a Liberal politician talking sense (other than the sainted Vince Cable of course, who's a star), Clegg of all people!!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8141591.stm
 
#18
Surprising no one has picked up on this little gem though..

Britain's lukewarm support for European co-operation in defence and security planning has contributed to the fragmented nature of operations.
I'm not quite sure how the evidence points to that particular conclusion, Mr Clegg. This is a NATO mission, n'est-ce pas? The problem is the majority of European members failing to pull their weight, but that doesn't really fit the Lib Dem narrative.
 
#19
At the end of the day the reality is that Brown has bled the services dry. At the same time the commitment to do governments bidding has at least not fallen and in cases has risen.

Clegg whether he may get power or not is on the right path. The country must decide what level of defence forces and defence activity it needs, then it has to provide the cash to do it.

Any review must look at what the country needs to achieve it's foals and objectives, only then can you cosrt the activity. Why doe the army not have new kit to meat the new threat, simp[ly because Gordon has spent the money on other things and no development had been dome on many areas for years. All they do these days is quick fixes.

If Cameron really undestood the crap he is going to get he would retire from politics now.
 

Nehustan

On ROPS
On ROPs
#20
tropper66 said:
Lets face the fact that the three cnuts Blair,Brown, and Reid should not have got the UK involved in this efup in the first place, just to kiss George Bush's Arrrse
I have been against the war from the get-go, as if the war aims were as stated, there was certainly more than one way to skin a cat (effectively 'watch and shoot' as the expression goes, but I digress). The fact remains that the axiom 'fight them over there, or fight them over here' is more true today than it was in 2001/2002. In the enusing years the 'Taliban' have learnt to use divers tactics, including suicide bombs (..am I right the Afganis didn't with the Soviets??) which doesn't bode well for home games. That said it really boils down to whether the British military would rather conduct counter insurgency at home or away. It's a tough one, but I can't see the Afganis forgetting the British presence quickly, which means whichever way one looks at it this war isn't going to finish any time soon.
 

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