Friday, January 12, 2007

Blair's empty rhetoric

For once I find myself in agreement with Blair when he says that Britain's armed forces must be able to fight wars as well as keep peace. What really annoys me though is his sheer cheek in making such a claim after our armed forces have suffered such dramatic decline under his Premiership.

Too many people in the west seem to think that the peace is something that we do not have to work at. They seem to think that all we need to do to maintain peace is give in to all demands, never interfere, always back down. It's a pipe dream.

When peace is threatened or disrupted then we have to have the ability - and the will - to restore peace and that means, unfortunately, the ability and the will to fight wars. Peace is never a cheap option. By that, I mean that appeasement in the interests of short term stability will always lead, eventually, to a very costly war. It is a lesson repeated throughout history and yet we still fail to grasp the reality. To obtain peace requires peacemakers - and peacemakers are war fighters.

The over reliance on the UN, "international law" and diplomacy is never enough. There will always be times when this fails and when it does it and the time for talking is gone then it requires action. The UN has no remit to forces - political or military - that are not nation based. International law has no jurisdiction over organisations that are not part of the international community. Diplomacy is impossible when there is nothing negotiable on the table. Today, more than ever, there are forces, political and military, that operate beyond the reach of the UN, "international law" and diplomacy.

So in that respect I am in full agreement with Blair - but how on earth does he have the nerve to say these things with our armed forces in such a desperate state?

Our army is under strength and poorly equipped. The policies pursued by Blair and his government have left them stripped of manpower, weaponry, ammunition and even basic equipment like boots or body armour. The equipment they do have is sub-standard - a lousy rifle, useless patrol vehicles, air cover not fit for purpose.

The RN - once the greatest navy in the world is a pathetic, shambolic remnant of it's former glory barely able to project British power beyond the Isle of Wight let alone into the four corners of the world.

The RAF is just for show these days. It's latest acquisition, the Typhoon, looks the business but is so expensive that the idea of actually using it in a scenario where it might get destroyed is unthinkable. Our multi-million pound planes are unlikely to come up against similar multi-million pound planes, but SAMs costing a relative pittance. For the wars we are likely to fight in the near future, our RAF has the wrong planes.

The men and women who make up our armed forces are still the brave, capable people they always were - but they are let down by the political and military leaders and have been for years.

It's always been my opinion that we need strong, independent armed forces. The Navy is half the size it needs to be and does not have the vessels it requires. As it stands now it is incapable of supporting the current operations of the Army and defending British interests let alone any future operations.

Likewise the RAF. The Army needs a complete overhaul in terms of arms and equipment. We should, wherever possible, design and manufacture our own equipment - guns, bullets, boots, uniforms, tanks, artillery, ships, missiles, aircraft - everything. National defence is the first duty of government. A national defence that relies on foreign equipment - or forces - is doomed to fail.

I don't know what the stance of the smaller parties is on the issue of Britain's armed forces, but I'm pretty certain that all the mainstream parties - including Blair's - have similar policies that mean more dependence and more commitment to the EU. That is why, despite the fact that I believe he is right, it makes me so goddamn mad to hear him making such a speech.


xoggoth said...

Nothing to add. Definitely one I will steal and pretend I wrote.


A politically not correct A men to that!