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.And only now have the rules of engagement been changed to allow our troops to actually attack the Taliban:
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.
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".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.
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.