Lovely new aircraft carrier, we’re fighting in the desert!

#1
From The Sunday TimesFebruary 24, 2008

Lovely new aircraft carrier, sir, but we’re fighting in the desert

Money is squandered on equipment that is useless in either Iraq or Afghanistan - or in any foreseeable theatreSimon Jenkins
While Lord Justice Scott Baker officiates each week at the Diana inquest benefit gala for tabloid lawyers at the Royal Courts of Justice, a more poignant inquest is enacted in the leafy lanes of Oxfordshire. The bodies of servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are brought here to Brize Norton airbase and their families are consoled with the brief dignity of an “unlawful killing” verdict.

Here, too, incredulous coroners hear tales of ill-prepared, underequipped soldiers stumbling back from what might be a modern Crimea.

They hear of failed helicopters, unguarded vehicles, lack of body armour and poor medical support. “Unforgivable and inexcusable . . . a breach of trust” were words used of the defence ministry by Andrew Walker, the coroner, last week after another tale of woe.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/simon_jenkins/article3423663.ece
 
#2
We are still an Island! you cannot sacrifice the Navy just because we are currently doing land battles. The ship's still form off the coast of our enemies to launch fast air to give CAS on these Operations.
 
#3
It makes you wonder:

What is the real threat, after all?

Did the lobbies of the arms companies win the day?

How many brown envelopes have been exchanged?

Will the south of Afghanistan ever be secured and the TAP gas pipeline safely built?

After Iraq, where will our land resources be sent to?

BAE systems demand that a market exists for their products. Can we keep the 'threat' high and 'alarming' enough in the future to turn around their market performance?
 
#4
Aircraft carriers are key for UK defence, the Navy is the only part of our Armed Forces which can deliver true power projection
 
#5
Our navy has been run down for the last 40+ years since that tw*t Harold Wilson got his sticky mitts on the purse strings and decimated the navy(and the other services) so more money could be poured into social security and foreign aid.

We need these aircraft carriers and the defensive shield that goes with them.
 
#6
I agree with Blob and Nick, the RN has had its share of defense cuts, ships promised then cancelled, decommissioning with no replacements. Our fleet has been stripped back to a level that puts our ability to just defend our own coastline in danger. It should not be a case of either a carrier or equipment for the army both are needed and the govt could im sure find the money for both if they had the political will to do so.
 
#7
It would be nice to park an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean (like the Americans) and fly F-35 (or what ever they give us) from there to support Helmand as at the moment we use the F-18s when on station.
I think it would be incredably useful to have a carrier to help in Afghanistan - would reduce our reliance on other nations.
 
#8
Le_addeur_noir said:
Our navy has been run down for the last 40+ years since that tw*t Harold Wilson got his sticky mitts on the purse strings and decimated the navy(and the other services) so more money could be poured into social security and foreign aid.

We need these aircraft carriers and the defensive shield that goes with them.
If the navy was there in an offensive capacity, then perhaps you're right.

But as it wasn't and isn't - so we're told (we do have a Ministry of 'Defence'), then it all makes sense, because you match your resources to the threat and spend the money saved in more important areas e.g. social housing.
 
#9
Le_addeur_noir said:
Our navy has been run down for the last 40+ years since that tw*t Harold Wilson got his sticky mitts on the purse strings and decimated the navy(and the other services) so more money could be poured into social security and foreign aid.

We need these aircraft carriers and the defensive shield that goes with them.
If the navy was there in an offensive capacity, then perhaps you're right.

But as it wasn't and isn't - so we're told (we do have a Ministry of 'Defence'), then it all makes sense, because you match your resources to the threat and spend the money saved in more important areas e.g. social housing.
 
#10
Yes we are fighting in the desert and yes, that should be fully resourced. However, you need to maintain a balanced force structure if you are to be prepared to react to future threats, foreseen or unforeseen. The unfortunate thing with modern defence technology is that you cannot wait for the threat to appear and then react to it, you will be defeated before the hulls are laid.

It should also be noted that in the early days of both Iraq and Afghanistan a significant proportion of the air power was provided from US carriers. What would allow you to react more quickly? A carrier that can deploy anywhere in international waters (to 12 miles of any shore-line), with all its stores and engineering capability, able to deliver air power immediately on arrival or the need to enter diplomatic negotiations to secure host nation support and then deploy tonnes of equipment and hundreds of people over a period of weeks?

The issue should be to ensure that the Carriers have a fully resourced carrier task force, otherwise there is a serious danger that we should just paint them yellow and stick a beak on the front.
 
#12
frenchperson said:
Le_addeur_noir said:
Our navy has been run down for the last 40+ years since that tw*t Harold Wilson got his sticky mitts on the purse strings and decimated the navy(and the other services) so more money could be poured into social security and foreign aid.

We need these aircraft carriers and the defensive shield that goes with them.
If the navy was there in an offensive capacity, then perhaps you're right.

But as it wasn't and isn't - so we're told (we do have a Ministry of 'Defence'), then it all makes sense, because you match your resources to the threat and spend the money saved in more important areas e.g. social housing.
To quote a phrase - the Best defense is a good Offense
 
#13
frenchperson said:
Le_addeur_noir said:
But as it wasn't and isn't - so we're told (we do have a Ministry of 'Defence'), then it all makes sense, because you match your resources to the threat and spend the money saved in more important areas e.g. social housing.
And that is terribly worthy, but the defence budget is not necessarily the best place to look for your additional resources for the socially disadvantaged. This Government is screwing the highest levels of tax out of the working population of this country, but squanders our money on stupid policies, frivolous 'trendy' causes. idle, work-shy layabouts, ill-thought-through computer projects, ludicrous overseas aid payments (such as Liberia, a country with a lower level of national debt than the UK), self-aggrandising projects and buying-off voters in marginal constituencies - oh and pumping money down the pan of corruption that is the European Union.

If we were living in a country where I felt that my tax was being well spent and that we genuinely could not afford (or as voters were not prepared to afford) a proper, balanced defence then it would be reasonable to consider whether we should downscale our aspirations so that we could build houses for the people. We aren't living in such a country, so Gordon should get his house in order, sack a vast swathe of incompetent and/or generally useless ministers, wring every penny of value from our taxes and then I have absolutely no doubt that we could have our aircraft carriers AND social housing for a far lower tax burden that that to which we are currently subjected.
 
#14
frenchperson said:
Le_addeur_noir said:
Our navy has been run down for the last 40+ years since that tw*t Harold Wilson got his sticky mitts on the purse strings and decimated the navy(and the other services) so more money could be poured into social security and foreign aid.

We need these aircraft carriers and the defensive shield that goes with them.
If the navy was there in an offensive capacity, then perhaps you're right.

But as it wasn't and isn't - so we're told (we do have a Ministry of 'Defence'), then it all makes sense, because you match your resources to the threat and spend the money saved in more important areas e.g. social housing.
It will never be the case that the spending should match the threat - that leads to being poorly prepared for escallation or change. You can't build an Army or a fleet over night. Such attritive policies that say they spend to match the threat have their heads in the sand, and explain why we're borrowing kit from other Nations in theatre today.
 
#16
Simon Jenkins reveals breath-taking ignorance, complacency and short-sightedness in his piece. Has he forgotten the lessons of the Falklands so soon? Yes, the current focus is on Iraq and Afghanistan where the Royal Navy (including the Royal Marines and Fleet Air Arm) has made a crucial but largely unpublicised contribution for many years. However, who knows where the focus will be in ten years time?

In 1929, only ten years after 'the war to end all wars', few people expected the world to be embroiled in yet another world war ten years hence. As a result, we were criminally unprepared for events in 1939. It takes years to regenerate a depleted Navy's ships and trained personnel. Without an effective fleet, how will our troops and their equipment be transported, delivered, protected, supported and sustained in any future conflict when we lack the luxury of host nation support?

You don't cancel your fire insurance just because you've suffered a spate of burglaries. We skimp on our premiums at our peril.
 
#17
We should have more carriers, more frigates and destroyers, more RFA support ships, and a few more amphibious assault ships....


as well as more Crab Air helicopter squadrons, new infantry fighting vehicles, better barracks, better pay, better care and rehabilitation, more infantry soldiers, more man training days for the TA, more tanks......


But unfortunately the queue at the door of the Exchequer is long, with the NHS, education, social welfare, barging past the MoD, who seem quite content in doing the gentlemanly thing by holding the door open as the others pass through
 
#18
Might be worth remembering the famous qoute...

The army is a projectile to be fired by the navy.

Incoming!
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
The priorities for money, as between the defence of the Realm and the Queen's Peace on one had, and the efforts to swell the NuLabour vote roll by expanding the dependency culture (by undeserved handouts of all kinds, civil service rolls swollen by non-jobs, and at a higher level salaried patronage) on the other, are the personal responsibility of the Prime Minister of the day - and yesterday. Those who have solied their honour by voting for Bliar have betrayed what could still be a great country.
 

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