Skip to comments.Britain's Armed Forces 'Stretched Beyond Their Capabilities' By Fighting In Iraq And Afghanistan
Posted on 06/24/2008 3:18:42 PM PDT by blam
Britain's Armed Forces 'stretched beyond their capabilities' by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan
By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:12PM BST 24/06/2008
Britain's Armed Forces cannot go on running two major military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the head of the Armed Forces has admitted.
There are 4,000 British troops in Iraq and numbers in Afghanistan will soon exceed 8,000
The two wars have left the Forces "stretched beyond the capabilities we have," Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said.
It is the first time the most senior officer in the British military has expressed such grave doubts about the struggle faced by troops fighting wars on two fronts.
And his comments came as it was announced another British soldier has been killed in a firefight with the Taliban in Afghanistan, taking the UK death toll in the country to 107.
Highlighting the pressures prolonged operations are putting on soldiers, sailors and airmen and their relatives, the Chief of the Defence Staff also called for services families to be given priority access to public services.
Ten British service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan in little over two weeks, fuelling fears that the UK has been sucked into a long and unwinnable struggle in the country.
Sir Jock admitted that Britain could faces decades more involvement in Afghanistan, which he called a "mediaeval" state lacking even basic government structures.
Labour ministers have repeatedly denied suggestions that the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the Forces overstretched, and opposition MPs said Sir Jock's candid remarks have made that position untenable.
There are 4,000 British troops in Iraq and numbers in Afghanistan will soon exceed 8,000.
A resurgence in violence in Basra forced the Government to postpone an Iraqi withdrawal earlier this year, and despite ministers'
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
In other words, “sorry Washington, if you go to Iran, you go without us”, right?
I dare say a few bombs going off in downtown London would change a lot of spineless minds.
Question: Were the Allies “stretched beyond their capabilities” in WWII or did they have a bunch of assets lying around unused?
12,000 troops isn’t a whole lot. And I gather that their navy is melting away as well.
I was going to say that the Swiss army was probably quite a lot larger. Although I just learned that even that has been shrunk:
“On May 18, 2003, Swiss voters approved the military reform project ‘Army XXI’ to drastically reduce the size of the Swiss Army. Starting in January 2004, the 524,000-strong militia was pared down to 220,000 conscripts, including 80,000 reservists. The defence budget of SFr 4.3 billion ($3.1 billion) was trimmed by SFr 300 million and some 2,000 jobs are expected to be shed between 2004 and 2011.”
Still, that’s considerably more than 12,000.
Churchill is spinning in his grave.
What would they do if there was a real war??
Pray for W and Our Allied Troops
They can’t afford their cradle to grave socialist state and an adequate military at the same time.
You can find that many of the 82nd in the strip bars on a Saturday nights. (At least in the old days, not that I was ever in one myself)
“Britain’s Armed Forces ‘Stretched Beyond Their Capabilities’ By Fighting In Iraq And Afghanistan’”
The moral of the story: Ultimately, a welfare-state can’t defend itself.
British military exhausted?!?
Hmmm...somebody should tell the Irish, Welsh and the Scots.
The sad thing is the tantrums keep working because the Republican politicians appear to be absolutely incapable of standing up and sticking this crap back in the whiners' faces.
We are at war and I have one word for you, conscription.
Remember when the sun would never set on the British Empire? I wonder what Rudyard Kipling would say about this??
I don’t know what to make of today’s presstitutes on both sides of the Atlantic. During every war any country has fought, the military has been stretched, most often to the limit, so what’s so different about this war? Of course most of the presstitutes on both sides of the Atlantic have never served in the military, have no idea of the military’s capabilities. All these presstitutes have done is enjoy the freedoms and liberties bought by their military men and women. Some military have paid a very high price for these spoiled presstitutes.
They need to suck it up and stick with it. With all the repatriated citizen Muslims they’ve been letting in the UK, they could stand to have multiple thousands of combat trained troops...they’re gonna need ‘em....
“I wonder if it has ocurred to anyone to expand the size of the armed forces?”
Why should any European nation waste its money to expand the size of its armed forces when US troops are stationed there? This is exactly the reason that Europe could squander its funds on developing its socialist dreamland.
And to make matters worse — we are now trying to emulate them. Looking back at 1946, we decided to commit suicide.
“I wonder what Rudyard Kipling would say about this??”
The British empire is slowly entering the long, dark, Muslim night.
I think we can all recognise the lefty whine in this graf, and stop attributing it to the British people?
We in Britain lost 140 people dead in road accidents in the last two weeks, but only 10 in our two-front war. Stalingrad this isn't
A war so "unwinnable" that you can name every casualty, and inflict 20 to 1 casualties on the enemy (at least) is not that bad.
Talking of force maintenance: most of our battletanks are in Germany. Do you know, I think we really could afford to leave Germany to guard itself.
When a war is beyond their capabilities do they say “I say, ol’ chap, you've stretched me beyond my capabilities; would you mind slogging off a bit?”? What if their enemy doesn't comply?
The service requirement for IDF works well. Its high time all NATO countries adopt it.
Deploying 12,000 troops stretches Britain’s military to an extreme? How many troops does Britain have in total, worldwide, including Britain itself? 17,000? That’s not a military, it’s a freshman dorm at an American university.
Um, 4,000 troops in Iraq, and less than 8,000 in Afghanistan has stretched British troops to it’s limits? They must not have much of a military then.
Yes, immediately one wonders how small Britannia’s military has become.
Daily Show classic Link
Just a reminder, Tony Blair cut the army by at least a quarter after war had commenced. The navy by similar proportions. Brown will cut them further if he survives in office long enough to carry it through.
Socal programs are expensive ya know? Mullah needs $$$ to raise his 14 kids.
Socal programs are expensive ya know? Mullah needs $$$ to raise his 14 kids.
The British Army hovers at about 100,000 soldiers, of that I’d say about 50,000 are combat troops (40,000 were deployed during the invasion of Iraq)
British soldiers have to rotated out of the combat zone just like US soldiers for morale reasons in order to ensure the soldiers re-enlist. So the rule is really only 1/4 of the army can be deployed on the ground at any one time for counter-insurgency campaigns that are the defining feature of war in the 21st century. So given the 1/4 rule and the fact that Britain has commitments elsewhere maintaining 12,000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan the British Army is really being stretched to the limit.
As a Brit I argue that Britain should bring back concription but do so on the German Model where everybody is called up to do national service but they have a choice in how they serve. They can either do socially usefull work in the community or they can enlist in the army. In Germany about a 1/3rd choose the armed forces the rest take the softer safer option of community work.
In a country where aproximately 500,000 men and women turn 18 every year and if we make a conservative estimate that only 15% will choose the military option that gives a fresh draft of 75,000 soldiers a year which can be maintained in hotspots like Iraq and Afghanistan - think of the difference they could make there. Additionally they would be liable to call-up for 3 years after the end of their formal service creating a large pool of reservists to make up an impressive surge capacity which could respond to conflicts as and when they occur.
I think it is an ideal compromise, nobody is forced into the military who doesn’t want to be there and yet it provides the numbers needed on the ground to fight not only the wars of today, but also equally important to ensure we are well equipped to fight the wars of tomorrow.