Monday, 9 November 2009

"Succeed or Fail Together"

Is it me or does Bob Ainsworth, our Defence Secretary, sound like Mr. Gumby of Monty Python fame?

He is some card - in the face of claims of letting of troops down in Afghanistan, he claims numbers have gone up to nearly 9,000 and an extra 500 are pledged if certain conditions are met. It is not clear what those conditions may be - the weather perhaps or when Mr. Ainsworth's new TV turns up - but there are conditions. Most likely the biggest condition is to see if the US puts in a further 40,000 troops - a ratio of 50:1.

Meanwhile, while Lord Foulkes has sniped away at discrediting the Armed Forces commanders by calling them disloyal because they speak up for the troops they command, having had no experience of either armed forces or war himself, now the PM has said that "we will succeed or fail together".

Talk of failure was not what the troops had in mind when they are already questioning the Government's commitment to them and the war they are fighting - pledging that £1bn has been spent on armoured vehicles since 2006 is cold comfort when roadside bombs continually blow them to pieces. While Lord Mandelson wheels his shopping cart around buying things for the armed forces, allegedly, it may be an idea to have a Minister for War who is isn't play acting for the public and is dedicated to the cause - and perhaps someone should tell Mandelson who won't find arms in Tesco. It may also help if those in charge of re-equipping our troops are not nine to five Civil Servants in the Ministry of Defence but armed forces personnel working war hours.

What is clear is that whatever the strategic objectives of the entire campaign are, we risk failure they way we are going about it now. Further, it appears the Taliban are getting stronger, we have supported a corrupt 'democratic' Government and the heroin supply has gone up despite all those pledges 8 years ago. Laissez faire Government has been the hallmark of the last 12 years and we have lost more lives in service in this year since the Falklands conflict 27 years ago for which Thatcher got roundly vilified for. Limbless heroes break our hearts but over 90 have died this year alone. And finally, the PM cannot even spell a soldier's name right when writing to the bereaved family.

I watched a program called the Somme on Saturday night - it should be compulsory viewing for ministers who think they now how to run a war because politics and war don't mix.

Our brave troops deserve more than this.

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