Thursday, 29 May 2008
Gordon Brown's New Defence Policy:
Stand still and get hit. You will give me the moral highground. You fought scum like a gentleman.
Honestly, banning cluster bombs won't make wars any nicer despite the wishes of our Dear Leader. Why not ban RPGs or anti-vehicle mines as well? The only outcome of a cluster bomb ban will be a return to carpet bombing using bigger bombs or increased use of the small diameter munitions (bigger bombs) currently under development. So the same number of people will be blown into smaller pieces. It is an unfortunate fact that weapons are only successfully banned when the military decide they are not effective. For example, poison gas was banned not because of Wilfred Owen's poetry or John Singer Sargent's paintings but because weather conditions made its use too unpredictable on the battlefield: the wind would blow it back on the attackers or dampness would prevent its speedy dissipation from captured areas making them untenable.
May I humbly suggest to Gordon Brown that he calls in the Defence Chiefs for a breakfast with coffee and croissants and tells them that he accepts the blame for Labour getting the UK stuck into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but that they must use all available defence expenditure to win those wars with the most effective equipment available now. And if that means that FRES APCs, Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and further Typhoons are cancelled to pay for that then so be it. More mine clearance vehicles, transport aircraft, helicopters and purpose designed mine-protected vehicles are needed now. As Clemenceau famously said, "My home policy: I wage war; my foreign policy: I wage war. All the time I wage war". There is no point preparing for the next war until the present wars are over.
Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be managed down to "an acceptable level of violence" as was done in Northern Ireland. They are full-on wars that sap the strength of our forces every month they continue. Aircraft, vehicles and equipment are being worn out quicker than planned for and although morale is high, trained soldiers are leaving because of frequent tours and the feeling that they've done their bit. And I don't blame them. I blame the heroes who kept quiet around the Cabinet table and didn't ask questions. I blame those who can find the time to write a letter consoling a footballer for missing a penalty but who can't visit a military hospital or funeral because of pressure of work.