Escalating commitments, budget squeezes and big equipment programmes have left Britain's forces fatally overstretched This situation has arisen through a combination of the government's enthusiasm for use of the armed forces to support its foreign-policy aims and the failure of defence chiefs to adequately highlight the limitations of military force and to demand that the government properly resource its military ambitions. There is a real risk that the armed forces could fail in their politically appointed tasks, with terrible long-term consequences for both them and Britain's world standing. Since 2001 the defence budget has risen only in line with inflation, while commitments have increased dramatically: the armed forces have been in the forefront of foreign policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, continuing the trend established with Kosovo and Sierra Leone. The failure of defence chiefs to achieve increased funding in the face of escalating commitments is damning. The flawed logic that seeks to defend high-profile programmes like the Eurofighter and the navy's new capital ships inevitably leads to decisions that defy what most people below the rank of general regard as common sense. Thus the perverse decision to reduce the number of infantry battalions - when almost everyone involved in predicting future military scenarios agrees that they will demand highly trained and mobile infantry forces. Given that the infantry is the main provider of manpower to special forces, the most highly prized asset in conventional and asymmetric warfare, it is an especially questionable decision. The ferocity of the insurgent response to the British deployment to Helmand province shocked military commanders and politicians. But anyone with any knowledge of Afghanistan could see that the original force would be insufficient. If there was a misjudgment, the military must take the blame. If the military briefed politicians correctly but was only resourced for the current deployment, the blame falls both on politicians for insisting on the deployment of an inadequate force and on the chief of the defence staff for proceeding. Whether it is muddle, complacency or wilful disregard for the facts, men are now paying with their lives. Article in full - http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1860054,00.html I have noticed more and more articles like this in the 'liberal press', it would seem that people are really taking notice.