Thursday, April 16, 2009

UK forces finally defeated by invincible foe : New Labour

Despite overstretch, wearing out equipment, a shrinking fleet and soldiers dying because of inadequate equipment in theatre the MOD has had to find savings of £500 million. Lack of investment despite commitments only slowly reducing and manpower shortages are increasing the strain on existing personnel which in turn means more leave earlier than they would otherwise further increasing the manpower pressures. It is a vicious circle the UK forces and especially the Army cannot get out of.

According to the Conservatives Defence spokesman Gerald Howarth MP problems include the RN not having enough technicians to service it's helicopters, the MOD's own report states serious shortages in a number of areas. Some figures really do jump out and grab you like a 57% shortfall in bomb disposal NCOs (not that bomb disposal is something we need to worry about these days of course). I'm still to be convinced the Tories will be much better (though they can hardly be worse, though lets remember that the Falklands War saved the Royal Navy from a destruction far more than Argentine Exocets managed to achieve).

In Afghanistan the British Army has been shown up and the US have had to move in to take charge after overstretched British forces were unable to take and hold territory against the Taleban. A similiar situation that existed in Basra where the US and Iraqis had to restore order while the British stayed in their bases. A lack of investment plus restrictive ROE and politics holding them back.

What Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler tried to do, destroy the reputation and ability of the British Army has been achieved by New Labour (perhaps it was an experiment to see if wars can be fought on a peace time budget, it failed guys.) Well that is a cause for "celebration", if the politicians and media can find time to talk about it of course.

It is not terminal, the armed forces can regenerate. The British Army in the early 1930s, for example, was around the same size as it is now, yet ten years later was fighting the Second World War on many fronts. We just need budget to match commitments...

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