Army chiefs are to blame for troops deaths in Afghanistan

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  1. Army chiefs are to blame for British troops' deaths in Afghanistan, says minister
    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 10:06 PM on 02nd November 2008
    Comments (88) Add to My Stories
    Killed: Sarah Bryant was the first female soldier to die in Afghanistan
    Army commanders are to blame for the deaths of soldiers sent to war zones in flimsy Snatch Land Rovers, a minister has said.
    Quentin Davies, who was made defence equipment minister last month, spoke out after an SAS commander accused ministers of ignoring his warnings about the vehicles' safety.
    Major Sebastian Morley quit in disgust after four of his soldiers died when their lightly-armoured vehicle hit a landmine.
    In his resignation letter, he accused the Government and top brass of 'gross negligence' for allowing soldiers to go into battle without the best equipment.
  2. And these are a selection of the comments so far
    Defence Equipment Minister Quentin Davies ought to explain why Britain with all the technology, has not won and finished the war. It is obvious that something is amiss.
    - John, Tendring,England, 2/11/2008 13:15
    No need to argue about this, let's just have a bodycount.
    - Mr G, Leeds UK, 2/11/2008 13:28
    If Major Morley did indeed alert the Ministry as to the inadequacies of the equipment it will come as no surprise if conveniently no record of his complaints can be traced. Who do we believe a British Officer supported by his troops or a politician supported by the desk warriors of Whitehal ? What is usually termed as a "no brainer" I believel
    - Peter, Suffolk, 2/11/2008 13:29
    Right, perhaps Mr Morley would care to explain his military experience - or was he just a paid-up member of CND when he might have been serving his country and he was less blubbery.

    The truth is, as has been apparent since the start of the Iraq war, the MoD has consistently failed to provide adequate equipment to our armed forces. Good men have been killed for want of body armour; CASEVAC helicopters; blast resistant vehicles; explosion suppressing foam for aircraft fuel tanks and so on.

    Mr Morley might be better employed explaining why it is that the anticipated in service date of late 2010 for vehicles to replace the snatch landrovers, a.k.a "mobile coffins" - is in any way a prompt or satisfactory response to a need that has been public knwledge since late 2006?
    - Paul Revere, Boston, Lincs, 2/11/2008 13:35
    Yet another member of this shambolic government who openly despises its own armed forces with yet another disgusting, low, ill thought out and unknowledgeable tirade to cover his own inadequete traitorous and uncaring back.

    Blaming the commander for what we all know to be a dedicated attempt by this government to crush its own armed forces and give control to european leaders, is a disgrace. This pathetic scumbag ought to resign without fail. Or send some of the lads round to explain to him, the finer points of fighting a war.
    - Dave, Lincoln, 2/11/2008 13:38
    Right that's it then. A member of this government has spoken and obviously telling the truth whereas everybody else tells lies.
    Shall we take a poll on that? What do you think the results would be. Does anyone, not on benefits, believe what any of them has to say? If I was getting soaking wet standing in the rain and one of them said it was raining I wouldn't believe them.
    - Donald A Merritt, Watford, 2/11/2008 13:39
    This is typical of a comment of a MP who has NO service time (According to his website biography).
    Major Sebastian Morley's comments were most likely ignored as not conforming to government and MOD policy (i.e. Don't tell it as it is!)
    Despite this MP's protests, the British Armed Forces aren't known as the borrowers for nothing. PROPOSED one million pound vehicles sometime tomorrow are not going to keep service personnel safe today. He could also try to get the little things right first like clothing, personal defence equipment, FOOD, and a decent personal weapon!
    - P James, Boston, UK, 2/11/2008 13:50
    I know who I would believand it is not any memeber of the current government.
    - ian, Maidstone England, 2/11/2008 13:53
    The travesty of reality are the comments from the UNELECTED MINISTER Quentin Davies. He has only been in the job for 1 MONTH - what the hell gives him the right to open his mouth on the subject and dismiss the "complaints"of a serving officer when he's never left his cosy office.
    British troops ARE being short changed by the bunch of hypocrites in gov't and lives ARE being lost as a direct result.
    - Jud, Callington Cornwall UK (not EU), 2/11/2008 14:01
    So poor old Quentin Davies is angry at the truth eh?? The old phrase 'The truth always hurts' is coming home to roost again with this bunch of sleeze merchants.
    If so many professional soldiers think the opposite and out troops are coming home in boxes,why will this pompos politician not listen........ or is the ongoing trait of the Labour Party ?
    I'd like to see his reaction if ever his nearest and dearest children were cut to ribbons defending 'our country' and their lives could have been saved by a better investment in the mechanics of war. And how much are we paying our soldiers to die on our behalf ?? Rather like the disgraceful way the Gurhkas have been treated all these years as well..........
    - Pete Collins, London, 2/11/2008 14:03
    I forgot to mention whilst venting my disgust over Quentin Davies that it would appear when he made enquiries to see if Major MORLEY had approached the M.O.D. he was told 'There is No Trace' of anything from him ................ rather like all the missing Laptops and breaches of security....... there is No Trace of those either. It will be interesting to see if the latest scandal over security papers left on a train results in a cabinet minister being prosecuted ?? Or are they exempt from good, honest and decent behaviour?
    - pete Collins, London, 2/11/2008 14:07
    well he would, would,nt he, Yes prime minister, three bags full prime minister
    - PE, Worcester. England, 2/11/2008 14:11
    Someone should help Quentin Davies scrape the sand out of his eyes and ears.
    - Alan, Cardiff, 2/11/2008 14:13
    What choice of vehicles did the Major have? Accrding to the min ister at the MOD you would think there was a range of vehicles to choose from.As I understand it the Major's unit had only snatch Land Rovers.
    Many officers,men and coroners ahve made the same point about inadequate equipment.If Quentin Davies thinks otherwise I recommend he joins the next patrol in Helmand Province and goes out in a Land Rover and judges matters for himself on the spot.
    - Peter Hayes, Macclesfield Cheshire, 2/11/2008 14:15
    So he thinks that highly trained troops walk past the mine protected vehicles that currently exist in his fantasy tray and get into ancient unprotected vehicles BY CHOICE!! He is clearly not competent to be in charge of Toy Soldier procurement far less than procuring the correct equipment for our armed forces. The problems with the "Snatch" Landrover were exposed over THREE YEARS AGO yet nothing was done. Clearly under Labour it is the fault of the soldiers, sailors and airmen and not the fault of the man who is actually responsible (if it is any help to Labour supporters the clue is in his job description). Quite frankly I find the attitude of Mr Quentin Davies both a travesty and his arrogance hard to take seriously were the consequences not so disastrous for the armed forces Labour has treated with such open contempt.
    - Michael Ney, Manchester, Great Britain, 2/11/2008 14:23
    Has Quentin Davies ever served in any of the Forces ? If he has - he should know that every branch of the Services suffer deficiences of one sort or another. If he has not then he should take the words of a serving officer who was in the front line and really knows what is going on. Better still why doesn´t he go and see for himself for about a month or so - only stipulation being that he lives with the troops (officers or other ranks ) whilst he is there
    - David Daysh, Alicante. Spain, 2/11/2008 14:24
    How about Quentin Davies do a month with the SAS in landrovers to prove his point?

    The chance of a Minister putting his life on the line is the same as the chance of a MInister putting his selfish interests behind that of the electorate or armed forces: Not a snowball's chance in hell.
    - Zened, London, 2/11/2008 14:24
    Well,he would say that wouldnt he?

    He obviously knows better than an sas commander.

    Quaff your chablis,smoke your King Edwards,and deny all,while brave men fight and die for miserable people like you Mr Davies.
    - steve, paignton. England, 2/11/2008 14:25
    When we see a Goverment minister go to a war zone and travel round in a Snatch Landrover, or even drive round London in one we will know that our troops have the best available. Dont hold your breath as Crash Gordon has more pressing bills to spend our money on, like saving his rear
    - Alan Rogers, Hove East Susses, 2/11/2008 14:25
    So Quentin Davies, who has massive knowledge of the conditions our troops are fighting under, after three weeks or so as Defence Equipment Minister, wants to make out that chain guns that fire without a trigger being pulled are not faulty, soft skinned Land Rovers are safe to be driven on roads that have been mined, that soldiers cannot get the right equipment, such as body armour etc is not criminal?

    Well Quentin, I think you should pay a visit to the front line, go out in Helmand in a Land Rover in the kit our troops are given and maybe spend a week or so under fire. Then come back and talk to us from a position of knowledge. Until then shut up and keep you stupid comments to yourself.
    - Chris, S.W. England, 2/11/2008 14:28
    No doubt he can't find any trace of the letter I sent him in 1991 when he was my MP, which he didn't bother replying to, either.
    - John Wade, Cambridge, Cambs, 2/11/2008 14:32
    Who do you believe, The soldier or the smug minister?
    - sue ward, Loule, Algarve, Portugal, 2/11/2008 14:37
    Government minister, does anyone believe him? No I dont think so. Why are they spending 700 million on equipment if what they have is up to scratch? Does the country believe the government or the troops?, I know who I believe!!
    - Alan, United Kingdom, 2/11/2008 14:39
    'Obviously there may be occasions when in retrospect a commander chose the wrong piece of equipment, the wrong vehicle, for the particular threat that the patrol or whatever it was encountered and we had some casualties as a result.'

    This is just so much Bull! Commanders in the field should NEVER be placed in the position to send out troops with anything less than the right equipment, the right vehicle, the right weapons! The fact is straightforward overstretch of manpower resources and inadequate equipment.

    Every servicement and ex-serviceman who ever served in HM armed forces has had to deal with the inadequacies of Government War or Defence ministries who are more worried about the financial cost, rather than the lives of their forces!

    Anyone with any remote knowledge of Britain's campaigns in the last 200 years will be aware of how, time and again, British Forces have had to achieve results through sheer blood, guts and committment - without the right equipment!!
    - Ronnie, Expat, Ex Serviceman, Germany, 2/11/2008 14:39
    Of course the equipment is all fit for purpose and of the highest quality. In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of NuLabour the truth is what they decide it is. Reality is a mere annoyance that must be ignored.
    - Peter, SW France, 2/11/2008 14:41
    The solution is very simple Mr. Davies and the MoD. Publish a detailed and accurate rebuttal of the alleged equipment failings detailed by our military leaders in the field: point by point. If the Mr Davies and the MoD mandarins are correct in their comments then such views should surely stand the test of going into print......unless some-one is lean on being honest?
  3. It appears to be standard policy to destroy evidence in the MoD. Here's hoping Mr Morley has a copy of his warnings and requests then he can have Davies for toilet paper.

    This reminds me of when the alcoholic former communist Reid tried to blame the pilots on 47 Sqn for their failure to request fuel tank protection in Hercules aircraft. Turns out the MoD and senior chiefs knew of the requests all along.

    I confidently forecast choppy waters for Davies tomorrow. Criticising soldiers just days before remembrance is particularly poor form. One senses a big apology and lots of humble pie too.


    "Des Feely, the father of Corporal Sarah Bryant - the first female soldier to die in Afghanistan - who died in the notoriously vulnerable Snatch Land Rover, launched a stinging criticism on Mr Davies .

    Mr Feely said the MoD were "damned by the results of their failures" in failing to equip troops properly.

    "Quentin Davies comments border on an insult to their memory and all others lost in this conflict," Mr Feely told The Daily Telegraph.

    "Major Morley and others who have reacted similarly are to be commended for publicising the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of these people who are exposing our soldiers unnecessarily with a 'just get on with it attitude' to greatly increased risks in combat situations."

    Politicians and troops also joined the chorus of condemnation against Mr Davies, who defected to Labour from the Tories last year, calling on him to apologise for his "appalling" comments.

    "It would appear that Major Morley has resigned specifically so he can speak out against the MoD and those who wrap themselves in selfless loyalty when personnel are killed or injured, and then offer profuse recycled platitudes of regret."

    SAS soliders said also remained to be seen whether the minister "retains the confidence" of special forces.

    SAS Mr Davies angrily rejected the claims.

    Morley, commander of D Squadron, blamed "chronic under investment" in equipment by the MoD for the deaths of Cpl Bryant and three male colleagues, the SAS soldiers, Corporal Sean Reeve, Lance Corporal Richard Larkin and Paul Stout.

    But Mr Davies suggested that the deaths could have been the result of commanders on the ground sending out their troops in the wrong vehicles with the wrong equipment.

    "Obviously there may be occasions when in retrospect a commander chose the wrong piece of equipment, the wrong vehicle, for the particular threat that the patrol or whatever it was encountered and we had some casualties as a result."

    The remarks have caused outrage .

    Cdr John Muxworthy, of the UK National Defence Association said: "It would seem entirely inappropriate to criticise a serving officer in this way  they are the ones taking the risks and making the difficult decisions and their words should be respected.

    "It's a sad day when these comments are made when people in the field are losing their lives.

    "The replacement to Snatch vehicles should have been procured years ago but they were not and as a result British lives were lost."

    Gerald Howarth, the Tory shadow defence minister, said: "We shall most certainly be seeking an apology from Quentin Davies for these appalling comments.

    "Major Morley is a soldier doing a most heroic job and to be treated in this fashion by a novice minister is really quite unacceptable."

    SAS commanders are also infuriated.

    "He (Davies) is simply incorrect," an SAS officer who served with Major Morley said.

    "We did not have a choice of vehicles. We did not have a choice, because if we had you would not have seen us for dust in Snatch Land Rovers."

    Mr Davies also challenged the suggestion that Major Morley had repeatedly raised his concerns with the Whitehall officials and senior commanders saying no one could "trace any such communication".

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is on a tour of the Gulf, rejected suggestions there was not enough money being spent on the campaign.

    "I think we are spending a considerable amount of money on equipment, so I do not agree with those people who say we are not making the investment in Afghanistan," he said.

    The Telegraph has learnt that emails were sent from the commanding officer of 23 SAS, the reservist regiment, to the directorate of Special Forces and forwarded to the Forces operational centre, Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood.

    The emails said the poorly-armoured Snatch Land Rover, designed for rioters in Northern Ireland à were "unsuitable", "unfit for the role" and "operationally limiting".

    A pre-deployment report also highlighted the SAS's concerns over Snatch that people would be killed if it was used.

    The SAS pleaded to be given the new Jackal mine resistant vehicles or the upgraded "R" Wimik Land Rovers distributed to all other frontline troops in Afghanistan. In an attack earlier in the summer three paratroopers suffered only one broken leg between them when their heavily armoured Wimik went over a similar anti-tank mine.

    The MoD's defence ministers will come under a storm of criticism during defence questions in the Commons today (mon)."
  4. If Davies is making his claims based on the fact that he cannot trace any record of the complaint then I would suggest every serving member put pen to paper and send to their MP, the MOD and the Defence Secretary a detailed report on equipment they have actually used and found to be deficient in any way. Oh and a copy to the red tabs (newspapers not Cols) should also help move things along!

    Failing that Commanders should put the lives of their troops above those of the Afghans and not deploy until they have the appropriate equipment in place as Davies clearly holds them contemptable yet responsible.

    The tension will be thicker than a whales foreskin on this defence ministers visits, if he has the gonads to now go and visit those who he points the finger at and those whose lives he clearly has no concern over, and as previously suggested why dooesnt he get the snatch taxi for one on a visit? What would we lose should he gets slotted other than another incompetent lying tw@ from the Liablair Gobmint!
  5. I have a letter I wrote myself to the Defence Committee in 2006, bloody good idea FM.
  6. Quentin Davies used to be a Tory then 'crossed the floor' when he thought that he would be better off serving cyclops. If he has no loyalty to his parliamentary colleagues (not to mention his constituents), can you seriously expect him to have any loyalty to the troops that he is responsible for?
  7. The phrase "refused to provide" is a bit out. I have absolutely no love for this mob allegedly in power but might it equally be true to say "unable to provide". Still negligent and inexcusable but might be a better and more accurate statement.
    As an onlooker, it does seem that they are now beginning to get their act together on the vehicle front. General equipment was, I understand, sitting on shelves around the world and only needed to be purchased but we insisted in the long procedure of having our tailor designed and made. This is not necessarily the best way to equip troops - Bowman would seem to illustrate that.
    If the 'inability' line is correct, we might look at the role of military leaders. Do we know if any/how many pressed for the 'buy it now' answer (if indeed it was an answer)?
  8. It's a shame to see what a sterling reputation Mr.Davis has with those who decided to respond on the comments forum, a real shame......
  9. His position can no longer be tenable in anyway when linked to a post involving the Armed Forces. His comments and manner should certainly rule him out of any defence related post, perhaps his "talents" might suit elsewhere, the MoD is almost full with liars and traiterous political misfits.

    As for internal records of shortcomings in NUMEROUS in service equipment, an FoI request for DE&S correspondances would turn up a years worth of cuts, trades and ignoring of military judgement running through almost all the well known issues in the public domain, which point blank point to Quentin either being a factual liar, or not having any idea what has gone on. Neither one a recomendation for office I would say.

  10. Major Morley used a great deal of courage to uphold his honour and his enormous respect for his men by resigning. Something Quentin Davies just isn't equipped to do.
  11. Someone on the other thread stated that the decision to use SN in the two theatres was taken after input from a Military Judgement Panel. I have asked already, and unsuccessfull googled but received no answer. Who manned this panel, was it Senior Officers or civil servants.
  12. Which dog are you backing in this fight Sven?
  13. Whichever one will antagonise the most members of arrse!
  14. Having read Fred Karnos post I feel myself drawn to his point of view. He is, after all, an extremely experienced officer. If his post is supported with the considered intervention of Senior Officers then I would be further drawn to this point of view. It would be a convincing arguement.
  15. Which post? The one about the 3 lads being 23 SAS training bog standard Afghan police?

    If so, what's that got to do with a Tory turncoat trying to curry favour with Cyclops?

    Snatch are used in Iraq and Afghanistan for the simple reason that the British military hasn't got anything better to use. Why? Because HMG will not give them the cash to buy better vehicles even though they exist. What do you expect the Army Board to recommend, that the troops walk as there is no money to buy a suitable vehicle and then leave the snatch back in the UK?

    Which dog are you backing Sven: Cyclops himself; the Tory turncoat; or just trying to defend your beloved ZANU-NL government in general?