Soldiers are paying with their lives for this incompetence

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Aug 29, 2006.

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  1. 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.
     
  2. "This situation has arisen through a combination of the government's enthusiasm for use of the armed forces to support its foreign-policy aims"

    Yes Tone has got stuck into more wars then any decent Ban the Bomber ever should.
    His desicion to cut 4 infantary battalions was part of his 'promise' to Gerry.
    I would like to think that one day he will be held accountable, but I am afraid that is just dreams and my nightmare is when his penny pinching next door neighbour takes over.
    john
     
  3. Drawdown in NI is part of the peace agreement - along with the removal of Brigades that took part in Op Banner and the replacement with the new lt brigade.

    Turning the drawdown into a peace dividend by cutting 4 inf bns from the order of battle is definately not part of an offer to PIRA/SF. You will remember that PIRA/SF actually wanted NO troops based in NI post Op Banner. HMG has insisted that NI would host an equivalent number of troops to similar areas in GB.


    I'm afraid it is the Treasury. The logic is, if the war in NI is over why are these soldiers needed? Unfortunately no one has told GB that these soldiers are needed to fight all the bloody wars that your leader has got us into in pursuit of his dream of a place in history.

    A great example of joined up thinking in government to use a typical piece of New Labour bull.
     
  4. The article is laying the blame not only on the politicians' doorstep but on the "Defence Chiefs" too. Highlighting the continued funding of Typhoon and the new carriers is a red herring IMHO. The Navy needs Aircraft Carriers to even try to project force, the RAF needs new planes to replace Harrier/ Tornado/ Jaguar. Just because their toys are horrendously expensive, doesn't mean they're not needed. Granted, the Typhoon may not be the ideal platform, but HMG tied itself so effectively into the Eurofighter project it would cost more to back out than to buy the planes.

    The lack of funding for the Army has more to do with that sh*t Brown pinching the pennies than the crabs and the andrew being first in line at the trough.
     
  5. The crux of the blame game is all in the detail. Jackson is an experienced soldier, did he go along with the restrictions both financial and numbers wise when signing off the plan for Afg? If so the Chiefs of Staff are as much to blame as the politicians. By agreeing with the plan they were signing up to a death toll unacceptable to many people. If the Chiefs of Staff thought the size of the deployment was satisfactory, well they should resign for being incompetent.
    Either way it is about time we had some accountability for political and military decision making resulting in so many casualties.
     
  6. I was surprised to see such an article in the Guardian - until I got to the bit about blaming senior officers. Frankly, I believe this is a thinly veiled attempt to shift the blame for MODs problems from the governments doorstep to the militarys.

    It will doubtless be popular with Guardian readers, who dislike the military in the first place. It would also be wrong. As I recall, Gen Jackson did once allude to the fact that he wanted more, not less, infantry units, but that it was not an offer on the table (or something fairly similar).

    The root of most of MODs (and most specifically the Armys) monetary woes lie not with the generals, but the treasury. GB has begrudged every penny given and has also made it fairly routine practice to subsidise operational budgets from the peacetime MOD budget. That is why we are short. As simple as that.

    I would also remind Guardian readers that it was the government, not MOD, who prevented kit being built up in time for Op Telic 1, a decision which resulted in Sgt Roberts being killed. It was the same government who took over a year to even identify a replacement, (much less supply it!) for the totally inadequate Snatch Land Rovers whose short comings were well known before they were deployed. Additionally, this same government did not supply those vehicles with air conditioning and whose treasury questioned the requirement when it was raised.

    I could go on. The point is that this government has persistently underfunded the military, most especially given its propensity to send that military on operational deployments that last for years, not months. This is well documented and attempts to shift the blame onto sernior officers are, at best, short sighted and will only pro-long the problem (assuming a government of any colour will ever adequately fund the military) and is, at worst despicable in every sense of the word. Those who would make such accusations should bear in mind that whilst they can play politics at home and attempt to shift the blame, in doing so they will increase the number of soldiers who die. Such are the joys of democracy I suppose.
     
  7. The Government are certainly to blame and the 'Defence Chiefs' guilty of standing by and doing nothing but let's look at the wider scheme of things; slashing defence spending is the easy option, no strikes, industrial action, walkouts or impact on UK Plc. This allows Labour to create short term savings & benefits that they can use to feed their propoganada machine, win much needed support and appease voters. It also serves to 'balance the books' or confuse the public from a budget perspective and help 'idiot boy' Brown believe his own myth that Labour is a prudent and forward looking Government.

    They make some cold and calculating decisions when it comes to public spending, it's called management by risk, a bit like what the aviation industry has been doing for years. e.g. they will ask themselves what the impact would be for not introducing a new equipment and if the answer is: It won't affect our standing, lose votes, upset industry, keep the capability with minimal loss of life then they'll endorse it! Sadly the loss of a few (in terms of the population) soldiers lives won't force their hand and we'll just carry on bailing the Government and our masters out of ill conceived initiatives and ideas!

    Blaming people is all well and good if those responsible are held to account but this seldomn happens....when was the last time you heard of a very senior Military figure forced to resign over the state of the forces?

    Things will only change when it suits the Government, or more correctly, suits the industry captains that lead UK Plc who are the ones who really dictate UK policy and direction not Tony B and his band of charlatans. It's about money and power and the situation has become more accute with the onset of PFI and Labours growing debt, which will lead to people outside of Government having more of a say in how the country is run when they start asking for their money back on loans that Labour have squandered.

    Tommy Atkins doesn't really feature in all of this, as don't people waiting for operations/treatment on the NHS, and it'll get worse before it gets better.
     
  8. Disagree: what use would the Navy make of carriers in Iraq at the moment, or Afghanistan? They are about status, not need.

    Similarly, the RAF does not need 'new planes to replace Harrier/Tornado/Jaguar': it needs to identify its role in UK defence. If that is supporting ground troops, then a mix of RISTA (Predator, which is currently being UORd at vast expense because it wasn't sexy enough to feature on the radar) and dedicated ground attack - a modern version of A10/Frogfoot, and maybe some AH - is what they need. If they are responsible for rapid force projection, then perhaps some more C17s would be nice... If they are responsible for UK Air Defence against terrorist nutters, then Patriot or an equivalent are what's required. Tornado and Jaguar, in particular, are cold war anachronisms, and are the capability Typhoon seeks, needlessly, to update. The RAF is about to get a useless new toy that will allow another generation of preening biggles wannabees to strut their stuff, just as the real advance in air warfare is moving toward unmanned (aka cheaper and less politically sensitive when shot down) air platforms...
     
  9. Disagree: what use would the Navy make of carriers in Iraq at the moment, or Afghanistan? They are about status, not need.

    Err what about the next war? Unlikely that you'll find yourself at war with another land locked (or almost land locked) country...