The BBC implies that this is just for the army, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was the story for all three services. All the mealy-mouthed MoD can say is that the recruitment market is 'challenging'.
This government has completely undermined the Armed Forces, once the bedrock of this country's success. Over the course of history the British public has felt pity, sympathy, pride, honour, grief and respect for our Armed Forces. Is this the first period in history when they have been ashamed of them?
BBC News said:
Colonel Bob Stewart, a former commander of UK forces in Bosnia, believes the families of young people, who, he says, play a crucial part in encouraging their sons and daughters to join up, have been put off by recent claims of neglect towards British troops wounded in conflict.
I can understand people not joining up because of fear of entering combat, but what sort of world do we live in when they fear joining up because of neglect? The armed force's image, carefully constructed over centuries of conflict, empire building and peace-keeping is in danger of collapsing altogether.
This decision is characteristic of Labour's obsession with spin and headlines. This approach has already done huge damage to Parliament and to the independence of the Civil Service. Now Labour is in danger of damaging the reputation of our Armed Forces.
This whole episode has illustrated Labour's complete ignorance of the ethos of the Armed Forces. But this is only the latest episode in a decade of neglect and a lack of understanding. While Tony Blair has increased our military commitments - sending our forces to Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq - Gordon Brown has refused to provide the resources needed and they have actually cut front-line resources and manpower. Only a Labour Government could think that the Armed Forces can do more with less.
How long have we been saying this for? More importantly how many times has this been said to Politicians by CDSs various?
Liam Fox said:
Britain's Armed Forces have a deserved reputation for being the best in the world. This reputation is earned through their values of dignity and duty, and loyalty to the elected government of the day. Labour doesn't understand this - our country needs a government that does.
A fair statement? Before the Iran debacle I would have suggested that this was unnecessarily scathing of our younger members. Unfortunately the performance of two particular individuals has tainted even my view of our junior chaps and chapesses. I dread to think what it has done to public opinion.
There is the feeling that they, and their profession, are misunderstood by the decision-makers and unappreciated by the public. Sailors, soldiers and airmen on minimum wage are expected to achieve the impossible with shrinking resources, inappropriate tools, inadequate training and grudging political and public support.
Fortunately this paragraph goes some way to clarify his thoughts. How many times do we have to hear these statements and those like them before something is done?
New recruits are imbued with a touchy-feely, health-and-safety fixated, compensation culture that sits uneasily with a selfless sense of duty and the need to sacrifice one's normal freedoms, safety and, when necessary, one's life.
I'm afraid I can only agree with that statement. Hopefully the broadsheets are lining up something big for the sundays. I would particularly like to see some opinion polls on this matter to give an idea of what the public actually think of their Armed Forces.
Returning to the subject of US 15 month tours, no-one seems to have picked up on the fact that it is 15 on 12 off. I.E. more than half your life will be abroad getting shot at if you are unlucky enough to be a US soldier.
Poor bloke in a very sensitive trade recently returned to the States after his 12 months duty in the 'Stan. Back home for one day and then literally sent back to the 'Stan. Ouch. Surge is only happening because of extensions of tours. It cannot be sustained which is why it is likely to fail. US is in the same situation as us, over-stretched running its armed forces into the sand.
Some if not all of 12th Mech have had their current tour set at 7 to 8 months so we may already be heading the same way as the US forces just increasing the length of the op tour gradually in the hope it escapes notice.
Absolutely un-feckin-believable. Orwells nightmare is now here - the public can no longer determine what the truth is - even when they see it. Challenging is just that - a challenge. This state of affairs isn't a challenge its an outrage - however I think Joe Public has got so used to being lied to and spun that they no longer have any interest.
I don't know about things being overstretched, maybe just a bit stupid. I'm on the long term reserve list, have only been on it a couple of years after leaving regular reserve. Got a nice letter the a while ago saying that I could transfer back to the regular reserve if I fitted into the nice little categories they had, I did so called up the genius' at Glasgow to ask for transfer. Gormless guy at the other end said he didn't know how to do it so he would ask the manager and send out the paperwork if OK. Still waiting a month or so later. I guess he just couldn't be bothered. When the armed forces are stretched to the point where guys spend more time in the desert than in UK and they will let anyone join up no matter what country they are from, what are they doing not bothering to let people who are already trained and are asking to ease the burden on regular soldier from volunteering. Some of us may need a bit of PT to get back into the swing of things but the basic soldiering skills are like riding a bike, you never forget. Anyone else think it's stupid to beg for people to send over there and not take the ones asking to go?