Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ministers' reputations come before troops lives

Tim Collins in today's Telegraph:
If the 14 British servicemen killed in Afghanistan died because of the mechanical failure of their Nimrod plane, then it confirms what I have been saying for months — that the UK's aircraft and helicopters are old and absolutely worn out.

The scandal is made all the greater by the fact that the Ministry of Defence has received offers of extra helicopters, piloted by retired British Services pilots, some of them Special Forces, to help with administrative tasks. Those offers have been rejected because of the cost.

It all boils down to money and political pride. The Government has not spent enough money on the Afghanistan operation but doesn't want to admit it. But there is no alternative: they have to find more funds or pull out. Without more resources the operation will not be able to achieve its objective and will lead only to more casualties without any progress.

The politicians fear the embarrassment of admitting that they misjudged what would be needed in Afghanistan. Can it be that they would rather lose lives than accept that embarrassment and deal with the shocking state of our fleet in Afghanistan? They seem to be more concerned about their reputation and their jobs than with the servicemen and women who are putting their lives at risk for their country.

The deserts of Iraq and inhospitable environments of Afghanistan have taken a heavy toll on our aircraft and helicopters. There is a shortage of spares, technicians and pilots.

We need more troops and more and better equipment if we are to do a proper job in Afghanistan. If things carry on as they are, there will be an even bigger disaster and the Government's failures will come back to haunt them.

The Government has to spend the money now to give our forces a chance of completing their mission successfully. Otherwise it is a hopeless cause and we should pull out.
And only now have the rules of engagement been changed to allow our troops to actually attack the Taliban:
Under the new rules, commanders now have the legal authority to launch air strikes against suspected Taliban strongholds, conduct ambushes and order pre-emptive attacks against insurgents' camps.
For nine months our troops have been fighting a war with one hand tied just to save the Government the political embarrassment of admitting they’ve got things wrong.
John Reid, the then defence secretary, told the House of Commons in January that British troops were not being sent to Afghanistan "with the purpose of waging war" and would not be "seeking out and destroying terrorists".

Troops were deployed to the country with self-defensive rules of engagement (ROE) which, although described as "robust", effectively meant they could only open fire when attacked.

It can also be revealed that commanders have been given authority to use the Army's controversial Hydra rockets, which are used to kill large concentrations of enemy troops with tungsten darts, and also that raw, teenage Parachute Regiment recruits are being sent to Afghanistan immediately after their basic training – without completing their month-long parachuting course.

The disclosure over the ROE changes comes just days after the Government admitted that Mr Reid had not given the public enough warning of the dangers faced by British troops.
We could have been bombing the crap out of these medieval bastards but the Government chose the less embarrassing option of endangering troops. The phrase "lions led by donkeys" doesn't do justice to the level of murderous negligence shown to our armed forces by these self-serving, mendacious bastards.


Anonymous Curmy said...

Do you remember the Hercules that was shot down in Iraq. ? My neighbour's son (also in the RAF) was a friend of one of those junior RAF officers killed in that crash.
He said the RAF had been pleading with the Govt to put more defensive measures on those planes.
The Americans wouldn't let their air crew fly over hostile territory so woefully under protected.

10:22 am  
Anonymous alison said...

1:04 pm  
Blogger Sperestillan said...

Labour has always sold out Forces down the river. I remember being told by one of our sergeants that if we wanted to have decent pay and good equipment, then never, never vote labour.

2:55 pm  
Blogger Man in a shed said...

The problem is in part that this government just has no experience of military reality. And like the police those who advance to the top of the military now seem to be those who tow the government line.

Senior generals and air marshals now have a duty to call a halt to these operations if their men and women are not properly equipped. If necessary they should appeal to the crown - over the head of the government.

8:13 pm  
Blogger permanentexpat said...

Afghanistan has long been the graveyard of those plagued with hubris. Does nobody read history these days? There are those who still mouth the crap about the British being able to punch above their weight; all good, fine & true when you have forces adequately equipped & trained. What we now have is the equivalent of AD 1212.
While spending money, like a drunken sailor, on Welfare leeches (many of whom are our sworn enemies) in The Septic Isle, this wretched gumment sends our youth to die with faulty, inadequate...or no equipment.
I have the sneaky suspicion that part of their job is the eradication of poppy fields which, being the main cash crop in that miserable country, is a sure method of winning hearts & minds.
I don't wish to get on to the 'drugs' treadmill but the common sense of buying the opium crop from the farmers at a reasonable price is anathema to the whisky-drinking idiots who we have allowed to rule us.

10:01 pm  
Blogger Rastaman said...

The problem is that even though you are fighting there to keep from fighting on your home ground, it doesn't seem that way. If Scud missiles were raining down on Britain like the buzz-bombs did in WW II, it would all be hell bent for leather to finance and outfit the troops.

As to the opium crops, definitely they should be bought up and burned, although at the same time, no new fields should be allowed to be planted. Another approach would be to buy the fields as well and take them out of production or put tenant farmers on to grow beets or something. This way the growing of opium could be phased out.


10:55 pm  
Blogger permanentexpat said...

Oh dear, I said didn't want to get on the drug treadmill....but you seem to have completely missed the point.
1. Opium is a lucrative crop and nobody, but NOBODY, is going to grow beetroot in its place.
2. You cannot 'buy'(take) the fields. They belong to the natives.
3. You shouldn't buy & burn (for Christ's sake) the crop. It should be refined correctly & sold at an affordable price on the market with the gumment taking its cut (as with alcohol, cigs.) to any idiot who wants it.
4. Such a logical solution would make everybody happy; Afghani farmers, the gumment and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, the junkies who would be able to feed their addiction & kill themselves without having to mug people, & break into their homes & cars. Gangsta 'turf war' would disappear & peace would descend upon the land.
Unfortunately, other drug users such as drunk driving whisky-swillers & Monte Christo smokers of all political persuasions WILL NOT HAVE IT. Why not is a mystery to me. Here is a simple recipe to cut major crime & mayhem...and no-one has the guts to give it a try. I suppose the idea is taking responsibility for one's self.

1:05 am  
Blogger permanentexpat said...

I read in today's DT that prisoners in British jails get a 30 min. free phone call to their families each week.
Troops serving in Afghanistan get 20 mins.
Why is it that I'm not surprized?

9:43 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expat: Why not is a mystery to me.

In order to eliminate the illegal trade we have to undercut it. The monetary price is important but eliminating the legal and medical risks of purchase must factor highly too. So I accept that this is feasible. However, we ought not to assume that the illegal trade disappears entirely - the more we tax sales, the higher the incentive to bring in illegal supplies.

But your basic problem is that whatever the price, you haven't solved the problem of drug driven crime. If people steal to take drugs then how low do we have to go to end that. Junkies are already able to get free drugs if they try to give up and that hasn't solved the problem.

Moreover the fact of legalisation added to the low prices will increase acceptability - you might end up with a worse problem overall.

12:37 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

"Moreover the fact of legalisation added to the low prices will increase acceptability "

but it was practically legalised up to the early 70s - you could , legally, get your heroin from your local GP.

i'm with the legalisers - we simply *have* to win the hearts and minds of the opium growers in Afghanistan. beating the Taliban isnt enough - for someone else will simply take their place in order to run the illegal market in opium, which is worth billions.

because we've made drugs illegal, we are now in a situation were Hezbollah, the Taliban and Al Qaeda are all taking their cut from the illegal drug trade. our prohibition is actually assisting the funding of terrorists.
it is an utterly barmy situation that we are now in.

legalise it - and put the billions wasted on the drug war into rehab and treatment.

12:58 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

"In order to eliminate the illegal trade we have to undercut it. "

wrong - its also to do with quality of the goods , so to speak.

which would a junkie do - go to the illegal pusher, knowing that the heroin might be laced/padded with all kinds of crap, or go to a heroin "off license" , where the quality is guaranteed?

even if the "off license" was a higher price, the safety of knowing exactly what you were buying would offset the lower price enticement of the illegal dealer.

think about it in alcohol terms - moonshine illegal provider, selling a litre for a quid versus off license for 5 quid?

the vast majority of us would still go to the off license.

1:02 pm  
Blogger permanentexpat said...

The use of drugs, in one form or another, goes back to the dawn of history. There will always be abusers. There will always be casualties. So what else is new?
Prohibition of anything simply doesn't work; not even with the full force of the law behind it. Legalization & reasonable control is the sensible answer but that's far too easy, of course.
But back to Afghanistan. Destroying the means of livelihood of the locals, no matter how much we may (stupidly) disapprove is the one sure way of alienating the population.
The higher moral ground is to allow our brave but ill-equipped troops to be slaughtered.

2:20 pm  
Anonymous DWMF said...

Aargh. I've suggested this before, so I'll post it here too. Opiates are a valuable product. Why can't British companies buy the raw opium and process it into medical morphine? Also, chemical researchers would probably be able to find lots of other uses for opiate derivatives.

You can't stop the opium/heroin by banning it. Better to turn it into something useful.

Who knows - it might even assist the NHS by making some of its drugs much cheaper.

9:20 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home