Friday, 17 July 2009
ACM Jock Stirrup
I remember Jock Stirrup from his Tornado aircrew days.
Nice enough bloke and destined for things.
No surprise he ends up a CDS.
However I am a little agast to read James Kirkups piece in the Telegraph.
Now I am aware Gen Dannatt has been commenting hard and certainly not singing the Gordon Brown hymn, but on Monday when the full stories where coming out on the recent losses of life in Afghanistan and the lack of equipment and helicopters, Jock Stirrup was definately on song.
He was openly briefing about loss of life, panthers claw, equipment etc. I mean the full gambit.
But James Kirkups article shows a completely different story. It shows that now General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army and Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, have called for more troops and helicopters in Afghanistan.
Sir Jock said his forces needed as many helicopters as they could get and were "busting a gut" to draft more into service.
His comments are likely to cause more discomfort for Gordon Brown who on Thursday faced a grilling from MPs on equipment and troops after the Defence Select Committee warned a shortage of helicopters was undermining the "protection" of forces.
"In this situation where you have lots of improvised explosive devices, the more you can increase your tactical flexibility by moving people by helicopters then the more unpredictable your movements become to the enemy," Sir Jock said, speaking in Downing Street after talks with the Prime Minister.
"Therefore it is quite patently the case that you could save casualties by doing that."
Asked about whether British forces in Afghanistan had enough helicopters, the Air Chief Marshal said there was "no such thing as enough helicopters in an operational campaign".
"If you are an operational commander you can always do more and do things better the more helicopters you have.
"If I thought we had enough helicopters in Afghanistan frankly we wouldn't be busting a gut to get the Merlins we had deployed in Iraq ready to go out this time to Afghanistan.
"We need as many helicopters out there as we can get."
His comments followed those of Gen Dannatt, who set out a "shopping list" of new equipment he wants to protect British forces from bomb attacks in Afghanistan.
The general's requests, made in a BBC Radio 4 Today interview, are likely to strain further his relations with Labour ministers.
Now indeed fuel to the blogosphere but I for 1 am sitting a bit quiet on this article, this afternoon. Maybe something to do with what I can only describe as a devastating post by EU Referendum and 1 which has left more questions than it answers earlier today.