Quotulatiousness

October 20, 2010

British defence cuts will impact the troops in Afghanistan

Filed under: Britain, Military, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 13:16

Lewis Page comes close to calling Britain’s prime minister a liar over the speech he made the other day:

Mr Cameron and other Coalition politicians have repeatedly assured us that in fact all their decisions are aimed at support of our heroic troops fighting and dying in Afghanistan — but in fact, in one hugely important respect, they are slashing support for our boys and girls.

Last Christmas, regular Reg readers may remember, in a freak outburst of common sense Labour defence ministers announced plans to buy no less than 22 more desperately-needed Chinook helicopters. The powerful Chinook, only helicopter able to really overcome the tough hot-and-high conditions of Afghanistan, is the single greatest desire of our hard-pressed troops in Helmand. Lack of Chinooks is the worst handicap their commanders face. Say what you like about Labour, but in their last months they did the right thing and ordered a good big number of these vital machines. They planned to pay for them, sensibly, by cutting some Tornado bombers among other things.

Good old Mr Cameron, though — the soldier’s friend — has cut this order to 12, almost halving it. He received massive cheers yesterday from ignorant MPs yesterday, saying:

There is no cut whatsoever in the support for our forces in Afghanistan … we have been and will be providing more for our brave forces in Afghanistan [including] crucially, at last, the right level of helicopter capability.

That is perilously close to being an outright lie, we’d suggest. No matter what you think of the rest of his plans, Mr Cameron’s decision to cut the Chinook order (to preserve Tornado bombers, too!) is an unforgivable betrayal of our fighting men and women at war right now — and then he has the gall to try and pretend that he’s actually decided to order some helicopters rather than cutting an existing order!

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