"John Reid lost his bottle"

One source said proposals had been floated for just 200 paratroops to be deployed.

The Ministry of Defence may also resist making what would be the first deployment of Britain's recently acquired Apaches - because of the cost of providing support to these high-tech aircraft.

Instead, they could be replaced by less effective Lynx helicopters.

But such changes will force British commanders to be far less ambitious.
In other words, money or the lack of it (thanks gordon!) is now dictating the size, scale and scope of the British Armed Forces operations :roll:
Why is it that they seem more than happy to pump soldiers into Iraq, which as is well proven a bloody dangerous place. But they seem reluctant to send troops into the South, because of fears over casualties, to do what is essentially a bloody important job IMHO anyway. The drugs trade is the beating heart of the majority of crime in this country and others, and at the centre of that heart is the scourge of heroin. I know life isnt this simple and destroying the opium lords and their crops is a delicate matter which could lead to all sorts of trouble. But I've always believed that their seems to be more worth fighting for in Afghanistan than Iraq. For example, people cite the religious and ethnic differences in iraqs people as a reason they just seem not to be able to gel with each others as iraqis rather than sunnis or shiites or marsh arabs or whatever.......then look at Afghanistan, talk about a melting pot of peoples, but overall most of them seem to just be glad to be free of war and the taleban and osama and his boys. JUst my tuppence worth. And the big big issue for me is that they say sending less troops means less casualties, simple arithmatic right? Less troops, less supporting arms and resources, have none of the big brainers down the MOD thought that old abdullahs dancing round in his cave having heard this on world service, less chance of being caught, easier to mount attacks and easy to slip away again afterwards, because we have our area of responsibility, thats that, all this means is that there will be less troops to cover that ground, so they will likely be spread thinner and further apart, this sounds a really bad idea that could lead to a lot of sticky situations.
At the risk, once again, of being seen as cynical and crusty rather than worldly wise and knowledgeable - will the reduction in force size be matched by a reduction in mission size? Or will British troops once again be chucked in with a "one size fits all" attitude, like at Gorazde or in Sierra Leone?

I cannot help feeling that Herr Doktor Himmler is sitting with a bird-table and moving toy-soldiers around but with a child-like appreciation of what he is about.
The decision to deploy troops will be made after we have to start deploying by ship (what goes on it - lets all guess!) and just before the winter recess - so nobody will be able to debate the issue properly.

And on the issue of kit - no polictical decision + no spend money = not enough of the right kit.

Aniother bloody shambles, which the Army will make it work (hopefully). We were bloody lucky in Bosna and elsewhere - might not be this time.
Interesting story from Big Hill Land. Septic Hack was talking to Northern Alliance Commander shortly after 9/11. NA Commander expressed deep sympathies etc to Septics over losses for which Hack said Thank You. NA Commander went on to say that his men had been so upset to hear the news that they took all their Arab captives out and shot them.
afganistan looks like a job worth doing and taking out the opium fieldswould do the uk a favor turning up mob handed with apache is going to make the locals think twice before starting something
turning up with a couple of hundred toms to do a bit of armed social work seems a little pointless
Forgive me if I'm wrong but doesn't not sending enough troops actually increase the chances of taking serious casualties due to gaps in coverage and the like?
I think he can see which way the wind is blowing, ie. from a very large sh!thole in the desert in the direction of Dubya and Bliar. You can bet that the US will start to get their troops back home from Iraq and Afghanistan in an attempt to save some Republican backsides during the midterm elections, and as NATO Europe aren't interested in dying for Uncle Sam, guess who will be left twisting in the malodorous wind? The ARRC lead nation!

Meanwhile the current bunch of Iraqis appear to share the national predilection for torture....how long before the UN start to wag the finger?
Someone in government needs to release luck eventually runs out, I know that a lot of 'luck' you make yourself, but if the ********* in Westminster keep getting a bit lairy with the deployments those on the ground are going to suffer, I really am sick to the teeth of the lives of some of GBs finest being played around with like theyre toys, and the most saddening part is it isnt going to get better, but then again it's always been the same, Tommy this an' Tommy that.
Drugs anphetamines are big problem where I resided, minor players are blown away regulary 1,500 the other year, but big players no never, for the cabinet would be empty a seat or two.
One does wonder why UK dose not seem intrested in sorting out its drug problem at source.
"For similar reasons, the UK government is now considering sending only about 1,000 combat troops to the equally challenging province of Helmand, well-placed sources have told the BBC."

We were probably only ever prepared to send less than 1000 combat troops to begin with. The rest will be much needed support arms.
Its a long shot but I wonder if government thinking goes something like this. War on drugs in Afghanistan means lower volumes of narcotics in the UK but no change in the numbers of drug users trying to get their hands on the "gear". So the price goes throuh the roof and in order fund their habits the users commit more crimes (esp theft etc) so the crime figures also go through the roof. Add that to the potential for casualties denting public opinion along with cost of sending a large force equals politicians running scared.
Whatever the arguments this has similarities with TELIC 1, the government ordered mobilisation too late and there was insufficient kit for the troops. as a result, they really should learn from their mistakes.
I might be mis-remembering but did the Taliban (i.e. the new enemy) not have a fairly effective policy in place which all but eliminated drug production in Afghanistan?

Something along the lines of get caught growing/producing - be executed in front of your family and then have your family executed in front of the village.

Brutal but effective. Not sure replacing that regime (as barbaric as it was/is) with our underfunded under-supported World Police Service is going to be as successful as the politicians seem to hope.
This is the lead story in today's Scotsman. LINK

Army chiefs warn: 'We're not ready for Afghanistan'
Key points
• Senior officers are in despair over lack of planning for additional soldiers
• Deployment in Afghanistan had been expected to involve up to 5,000 troops
• It is likely that only 1,000 troops will be sent to Helmand province

Key quote
"In many ways, Afghanistan is in a worse position now, four years on from the war there, than Iraq is," - Army officer

Story in full BRITAIN is set for a U-turn on its commitment to send thousands of troops to fight in Afghanistan next year, with some in the army now questioning whether the mission should be abandoned altogether.

Military commanders say that lessons have not been learned from the run-up to the Iraq war and that political prevarication has left them unable to make adequate preparation for the mission, which had been expected to involve up to 5,000 troops...

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