'Armed Forces this country's greatest asset'
Times Online Link
Times Online Link
The Armed Forces are this countryâs greatest asset. You only have to read the bravery citations of the two soldiers who have been awarded Victoria Crosses and the three soldiers given the George Cross since 2003, one of them only 18 at the time, to feel a sense of awe that there are men and women prepared to put themselves into the gravest danger for the sake of their comrades and their country.
When planning for the Armed Forces of the future, the current Prime Minister and his successors need to remember the priceless acts of bravery demonstrated by young men and women every day in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other operational theatres.
It would be a betrayal of the worst kind and a dereliction of duty by this or any future Government if these men and women were put under even further strain and pressure by cutbacks in manpower, equipment and training.
The Government has to be as courageous in treating these people properly as the soldiers, sailors and airmen are in protecting the interests of this country. Tony Blair, in his speech in Plymouth, has clearly recognised this.
If they are to play a key role in facing up to the potential crises of the future, the Armed Forces will need to be robust, superbly equipped and sufficient in number for them to receive proper training and recuperation as well as ensuring their availability for the unpredictable events that are bound to occur in the next two decades.
There should no longer be any debate about this: the British people will accept that more of their money now needs to be spent on defence to protect their futures, but the reasons have to be spelled out.