Never has Britain looked more like a fading power at a crossroads. To fund the purchase of new Chinooks and other vital equipment to fight the war in Afghanistan, the MoD will close an RAF base, scrap fighter jets, slash staff, delay training, withdraw navy vessels from service and slow the roll out of new spy planes.
It goes without saying that as long as we have troops in Afghanistan, they deserve to be given the right tools and support to do their jobs effectively. But as many have rightly pointed out, properly resourcing the conflict is compromising our preparedness for future ones. The delusion that Britain can continue as a global military power has finally been laid bare. Like a cash-starved aristocrat selling the family silver to repair the roof on his crumbling pile, the British government can either slide toward ruin– or embrace reality, downsize its ambitions and be stronger for it. Continue reading
It was a coordinated assault; a PR blitz meant to shame the British public into backing the continued commitment of British forces to a tragically unwinnable military campaign. Thursday, the Head of UK Armed Forces, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup and British Army Head General, Sir David Richards, both claimed that the public’s increasingly sour view of the war in Afghanistan is undermining the morale of troops on the ground.
The suggestion that support for our men and women in uniform is inextricably tied to support for the Afghan campaign is disgraceful in my view. As an ex-soldier, I have the utmost respect for the British Army. They are the best fighting force in the world. The fact they have sustained themselves in Helmund for so long with insufficient numbers and equipment and without competent backing from their leaders at the top is testament to their incredible professionalism. Continue reading
Will it be a graveyard of Hummers next?
It’s finally official: the US will send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. The number may have topped the headlines, but it is only the latest chapter in what is shaping up to be A Tale of Two Timelines.
The public was expecting President Obama to give some idea of an exit strategy and he didn’t disappoint. July 2011 is the date he set to start pulling US forces out of Afghanistan. By announcing a timeline, Obama may have pacified elements at home that have soured on the war, but he’s done so at the expense of confirming to all — including the Taliban — that there is an expiration date on the coalition’s commitment. Continue reading