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Britain's Armed Forces 'Stretched Beyond Their Capabilities' By Fighting In Iraq And Afghanistan
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 6-24-2008 | James Kirkup

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 ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: armed; britain; forces; stretched
I wonder if it has ocurred to anyone to expand the size of the armed forces?
1 posted on 06/24/2008 3:18:42 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

In other words, “sorry Washington, if you go to Iran, you go without us”, right?


2 posted on 06/24/2008 3:20:41 PM PDT by Perdogg
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To: Perdogg

Sad...


3 posted on 06/24/2008 3:22:12 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
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To: blam
I wonder what would happen in Britain if they had to fight another war like the one in 1940 where they had to cover a lot more than two fronts.

I dare say a few bombs going off in downtown London would change a lot of spineless minds.

4 posted on 06/24/2008 3:22:32 PM PDT by OKIEDOC (OBAMATIZATION - A Liberals Religion ABORTION - The ultimate form of Liberal Child Abuse.)
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To: blam

Question: Were the Allies “stretched beyond their capabilities” in WWII or did they have a bunch of assets lying around unused?


5 posted on 06/24/2008 3:24:14 PM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys--Reagan and Bush)
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To: blam

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.


6 posted on 06/24/2008 3:25:21 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: blam

Churchill is spinning in his grave.


7 posted on 06/24/2008 3:30:03 PM PDT by Dog (We have entered into the realm of 9/10 all over again...Lord help us.)
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To: Perdogg
4000 + 8000 = 12000
OK, and thats “stretching to the limit”?
We have nearly that many Sailors on two carriers.
8 posted on 06/24/2008 3:31:05 PM PDT by chaos_5 (Proud to be one of the 10% not rallying around McCain)
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To: blam

What would they do if there was a real war??

Pray for W and Our Allied Troops


9 posted on 06/24/2008 3:31:59 PM PDT by bray (Drill Congress!!!)
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To: blam

They can’t afford their cradle to grave socialist state and an adequate military at the same time.


10 posted on 06/24/2008 3:35:02 PM PDT by FFranco
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To: blam
12,000 troops are stretching the Brits to the limit?

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)

11 posted on 06/24/2008 3:35:45 PM PDT by 11Bush
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To: blam

“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.


12 posted on 06/24/2008 3:36:19 PM PDT by KingSnorky
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To: blam

British military exhausted?!?

Hmmm...somebody should tell the Irish, Welsh and the Scots.

REMATCH!


13 posted on 06/24/2008 3:36:55 PM PDT by Natchez Hawk (This is Sammy Israel III filling in for DB Cooper who will be returning next week,)
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour
We're witnessing an 8 year long tantrum. It seems like I've seen this headline 1000 times.

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.

14 posted on 06/24/2008 3:36:59 PM PDT by Bronzewound
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To: blam

We are at war and I have one word for you, conscription.


15 posted on 06/24/2008 3:39:46 PM PDT by monkeycard (There's no such thing as too much ammo.)
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To: blam

Remember when the sun would never set on the British Empire? I wonder what Rudyard Kipling would say about this??


16 posted on 06/24/2008 3:44:00 PM PDT by Spok (Liberty lives only in proportion to wholesome restraint.)
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To: blam
Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup

Great name.

17 posted on 06/24/2008 3:48:26 PM PDT by iowamark
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To: blam

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.


18 posted on 06/24/2008 3:50:11 PM PDT by tillacum
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To: blam

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....


19 posted on 06/24/2008 3:50:28 PM PDT by Gaffer
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To: blam

“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.


20 posted on 06/24/2008 4:02:24 PM PDT by 353FMG (What marxism and fascism could not destroy, liberalism did.)
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To: Spok

“I wonder what Rudyard Kipling would say about this??”

The British empire is slowly entering the long, dark, Muslim night.


21 posted on 06/24/2008 4:07:01 PM PDT by 353FMG (What marxism and fascism could not destroy, liberalism did.)
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To: blam
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.

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.

22 posted on 06/24/2008 4:14:01 PM PDT by agere_contra
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To: blam
What then, exactly, would be within their capabilities?

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?

23 posted on 06/24/2008 4:16:37 PM PDT by allmendream (Life begins at the moment of contraception. ;))
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To: blam
england... the new france.
24 posted on 06/24/2008 4:33:38 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist ©® - CTHULHU/SHOGGOTH '08 = Nothing LESS!!!)
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To: blam

The service requirement for IDF works well. Its high time all NATO countries adopt it.


25 posted on 06/24/2008 4:37:19 PM PDT by LTS1
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To: blam

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.


26 posted on 06/24/2008 4:51:08 PM PDT by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: blam

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.


27 posted on 06/24/2008 5:15:49 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Dad of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier home after 15 months in the Triangle of death)
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To: blam

Yes, immediately one wonders how small Britannia’s military has become.


28 posted on 06/24/2008 6:30:43 PM PDT by jimfree (Freep and Ye shall find.)
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To: blam
The two wars have left the Forces "stretched beyond the capabilities we have," Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said.

Daily Show classic Link

29 posted on 06/24/2008 6:35:23 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: blam

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.


30 posted on 06/24/2008 7:14:40 PM PDT by tlb
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To: tlb

Socal programs are expensive ya know? Mullah needs $$$ to raise his 14 kids.


31 posted on 06/28/2008 10:33:58 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
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To: tlb

Socal programs are expensive ya know? Mullah needs $$$ to raise his 14 kids.


32 posted on 06/28/2008 10:34:27 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
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To: jimfree

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.


33 posted on 07/13/2008 12:46:26 PM PDT by Simon_Lote
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