A friend sent me this; http://www.andrewselous.org.uk/record.jsp?type=news&ID=296 Service families deserve better 27 February 2007 Service families deserve better Neville Chamberlain famously said, before the Second World War that Czechoslovakia is a far away country of which we know little. It might be tempting to think the same of Afghanistan today. I think that this would be a mistake however for two reasons. First Afghanistan was the country from which Al Qaeda were able to organise the 9/11 atrocity under the former Taliban regime, and secondly 90% of the heroin in Britainâs streets is believed to come from Afghanistan. Thus death and ruined lives are the result of Afghanistan heroin in the towns and villages of South Bedfordshire, as they are throughout Britain. In the House of Commons yesterday, Des Browne MP, the Defence Secretary announced an increase of 1,400 additional servicemen and women, bringing the total number of British personnel in Afghanistan to 7,700. The vast majority of the Afghan people want us to be there. The current planning assumption is that these forces will be there until 2009. The point that I felt was not adequately addressed by Des Browne yesterday is the tremendous strain put on the children, wives, husbands and partners of our servicemen and women by the overall level of front line commitments that this government has taken on with out present numbers of service personnel. The Ministry of Defence has âharmony guidelinesâ which state that our armed forces should not have to spend more than 6 months in every 30 months on the front line. These guidelines are not being adhered to. I think it wrong that servicemen and women should have to choose between a career they love and their families. It should be possible to combine a military career with a family, but this is not possible at present with the number of commitments our current armed forces are being asked to take on. Many excellent servicemen and women are forced to leave the services to have some sort of normal family life. The government has two solutions to this problem. It can either keep our armed forces the same size and do less, or increase our armed forces to meet current commitments. Current policy is not fair to service families. What is also shocking is that other NATO countries are shirking their responsibilities to share in âmutual riskâ under article 5 of the North Atlantic [NATO] treaty. Only Canada, the Netherlands, Australia [not a NATO country], Denmark, Estonia, Romania and the United States have sent troops to the south of Afghanistan where the fighting is fiercest. Other NATO countries, although asked, have either sent no troops or like the Germans, have 3000 troops in the north, which is fairly peaceful and they are not allowed to operate at night, or to be involved in counter-narcotics operations. This reluctance to share the burden among our NATO allies, is wrong and deeply worrying for our security and the future of NATO, as well as the families of our brave servicemen and women who deserve better.