Ainsworth: Government pushed military too hard


Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, has admitted the Government has pushed the armed forces "too hard" and that Britain only has scope for a "relatively small" troop increase in Afghanistan.

But he was rebuked by ex-Army chief General Sir Mike Jackson, who said the UK should act "decisively" at a critical time for the campaign.

Mr Aisnworth's comments came at a Labour Party conference fringe event in Brighton.

Mr Ainsworth said the military had been "running hot" when major operations were taking place in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said: "To keep 12,000 (troops) abroad, deployed in operational theatres, was a lot.

"We were pushing people too hard in many ways. It's not sustainable - sustainable for a short period of time but not for a long period."

Referring to reports that the US will ask Britain to increase its forces in Afghanistan as part of a surge to improve security, Mr Ainsworth said: "We can only make a relatively small part of that as the UK. So others have got to step up to the plate."

Sir Mike insisted that the UK did have the capacity to increase troop levels over a short period.

"When so much blood and treasure has already been expended, if this is a decisive year we should act decisively," he told the event in Brighton.

"The Secretary of State talked of the difficulties of sustaining such numbers. Indeed over a number of years I would agree. But if this is a critical year then I think we can do more on that time basis, and indeed should if that is what the commanders on the ground believe is required."

He went on: "The decision is not one of military capacity. It is a matter of the politics of the situation."

Too bloody right.
How this man holds the position of Secretary of State for Defence I will never fathom.
-Odessa- said:
How this man holds the position of Secretary of State for Defence I will never fathom.
Because this government holds the forces in utter contempt.
Is that the same General Jackson who quite happily supported the destruction of so many Infantry Regiments whilst he was in command?

It seems quite clear that we need 2 proper brigades on the ground in order to take ground, hold it and build confidence. Can we afford to surge and sustain that effort? Can we afford not to? If we cannot do that, then as a Nation we need to hang our heads in shame and face facts that we are no longer even a second world country on the world power stage.

That is what Brown, Hoon and Aintworthit have dragged us down to. The likes of Jackson and Stirrrup have collaborated.
I wish Ainsworthless would put a 50p in his gas meter and do the decent thing.

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