Monday, 6 July 2009
Defence Spending.... Cuts or just not done properly?
I have blogged about defence spending before. Subrosa blogged about Trident and about a U-turn on it due to costs.
But are we both right or is defence spending basically completely wrapped up in mis-management, red tape and incompetance that it just fails?
The deaths in Afghanistan of our troops regardless of rank are dreadful. But what makes the recent deaths even more shocking, along with the serious injuries inflicted to others others is when the Viking personnel carrier in which Rupert Thorneloe and his driver Joshua Hammond was blown apart by a roadside bomb, is that this tragedy could have been averted and should never have happened.
Once again it exposes the series of truly scandalous decisions by the Ministry of Defence that British soldiers should continue to travel around a highly dangerous country in vehicles not designed to give protection against roadside bombs.
Many soldiers have been killed in this way in highly vulnerable Vikings. Ten have died in similarly unprotected Snatch Land Rovers, 15 in Wimiks, 10 in Jackals, five in Pinzgauer Vectors. Almost all these 48 deaths – more than a third of those killed in action in Afghanistan – might have been avoided had the MoD equipped our troops with properly "mine-protected" vehicles, such as the Mastiffs, which have saved scores of other lives, and which are provided for the troops of almost every other nation in the theatre.
The reason the MoD has been guilty of such misjudgment is not that much-touted "under-funding" (Vikings cost £700,000 each). The MoD has been spending billions of pounds on projects which have been complete failures rather than equipping them properly for the wars they have been actually expected to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. They know what is needed.........just ask any solider, sailor or airman or their field commanders for the answer.
A quick glance at Wiki tells me the Mastiff costs c. $475K - which would appear to be very considerably less than £700K for the existing unsuccessful ground transport vehicles they use.
It also took them 8 years to get £422 million quids worth of Chinook helicopters of the ground. And for the record roadside bombs have not damaged a Chinook yet!!!!
Sadly the MOD make complete cock and bull stories on the defence procurement fiascos showing that there are far too many politicised MOD officials and not enough capable field-experienced officers directing what really needs done.
These facts are a terrible testament to the MoD's incompetence.
Both do nothing David Cameron and our supreme leader have promised to protect spending on the NHS. Super Gordon has said he will safeguard spending on education as well. Neither leader has said a damn thing about our military.
Unless ministers have simply decided that more troops will have to die, because it is not worth buying the equipment to keep them alive, the amount devoted to defence –and especially to the purchase of the weapons and vehicles that those serving on the front line need and demand – must not merely be maintained.
It must be increased, if it can not be increased.......then we think hard and bring them all home!!!! Anything less would be a criminal failure .
The politicians have a responsibility to the men and women they order into battle, especially when they lie to send them their in the first place.