The Sunday Times August 06, 2006 Cutting costs 'put troops in danger' Michael Smith A COMMITTEE of MPs will this week accuse the government of putting soldiersâ lives at risk by cost-cutting and by lack of planning for the aftermath of the Iraq war. In its first examination of Britainâs post-war performance, the Commons defence select committee will be highly critical of the way the operation has been run. The report on UK operations in Iraq says the British deployment has been âcost-led rather than needs-ledâ and failed to take account of how equipment shortages and failings affected troops on the ground. The equipment failings include inadequate armour on the âsnatchâ Land Rover which has led to the deaths of 18 soldiers from roadside bombs. One member of the committee said last week that the evidence they had heard also suggested that senior officers had failed to stand up for the forcesâ needs in the face of pressure from politicians. Although the report will not criticise senior officers directly, the MP added that âsome people in the command structure were clearly prepared to say anything just to keep things right for Blairâ. The criticism from MPs of the lack of preparation for the aftermath of the war comes amid increasing concern about the failure to send sufficient troops to Afghanistan. The small numbers of troops to cover a vast area and the lack of helicopters has led to troops being stranded in remote outposts short of rations and water. Recent calls from commanders on the ground for more troops and helicopters led to just 200 extra infantry and two more Chinook transport helicopters. But the RAF is so short of Chinooks that one of them will not be sent until next month, while the other will not be available until October. Additional reporting: Peter Almond http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2300770,00.html How many warnings does this government need?