Reevesey's recommended reading

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Afghanistan - strategy or back of a fag packet idea?

I hate it when on the news, via TV, online or even Twitter (yes, I know that's online) I hear that another one of our gallant servicemen or women have tragically lost their lives in Afghanistan.

I feel for their families and loved ones, however their families also need to realise they lost their lives to secure our safe future. To ensure a better Britain.

Before everyone jumps up and down and screams it's another woolly Liberal going on about the war, I could well have ended up in the RAF back when I was 17, but I didn't pass the medical because of my heart disease, the RAF was where I was aiming for and was gutted I didn't make it. I wanted to be in the RAF for as long as I can remember.

Yes, I believe we should be in Afghanistan and yes, I believe Nick Clegg was right to highlight the lack of equipment for our troops there, and I do hope he will continue to do so. These two things can work together.

So yesterday, I listened to Gordon Brown outlining the strategy for Afghanistan, explaining why we are there. I wanted him to get the country behind him and our troops, unfortunately the words were there but he just isn't the greatest public speaker when it comes to emotion.

Paddy Ashdown makes the same point.

I had wanted one extra thing from Gordon Brown yesterday, a commitment that a Government Minister would be in Wootten Bassett to honour our servicemen and women who have been killed in action. I believe, it is the very least that should happen, the very least. I did welcome the fact he met the families of those servicemen and women who have lost their lives.

I also welcome the move by Her Majesty The Queen that a new medal the Elizabeth Cross will be given to the next of kin for those who served and were killed in Afghanistan.

What Gordon Brown did explain, was that we are there as part of a multi national strategy, in fact 40+ countries are involved and yes they are all there with the same objective to rid us of terrorism and deprive the Taleban and Al Qaeda of a permanent base, not just in Afghanistan but Pakistan as well. The Taleban and Al Qaeda must realise they are not welcome and nor do they have a place in our society today.

Gordon Brown goes on to say: "There is nothing more heart-breaking in the job I do than writing to the families of those brave servicemen and women, or meeting them, as I did this morning. Or standing by the bedside of a 19-year-old who may never be able to walk again, as I did earlier this week.

Each time I have to ask myself if we are doing the right thing by being in Afghanistan. Each time I have to ask myself if we can justify sending our young men and women to fight for this cause…And my answer has always been yes.

For when the security of our country is at stake we can not walk away. When the stability of this volatile region, spanning the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, has such a profound impact on the security of Britain and the rest of the international community we cannot just do nothing and leave the peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan to struggle with these global problems on their own.

But while it is right that we play our part - so too must others take their fair share of this burden of responsibility. 42 countries are involved - and all must ask themselves if they are doing enough. For terrorism recognises no borders. All of us benefit from defeating terrorism and greater stability in this region - and all members of our coalition must play our proper part."

Then when he said this and I got bloody angry, but I do have to say a big well done to Nick Clegg for getting this in the public domain and therefore speeding up the process to get helicopters and better equipment out to Afghanistan to help our troops.

Gordon Brown: "And the first Merlin helicopters - which I saw being adapted for Afghanistan at RAF Benson in July - will now be flying in Helmand within two months and together with enhancements to other types, by next Spring compared to 2006 we will have doubled the number of helicopters, and increased flying hours by 130%."

So, what Gordon Brown is saying, he saw these two months ago in July but yet it will be another two months before they are ready for Operations, so November is when they will arrive in Afghanistan - I am sorry but this simply is not acceptable. By all means review the Budgets, review your Government spending plan but get the money to our troops and get them the equipment to do their jobs and to do their jobs effectively.

Gordon then went on to say "In recognition of the debt we owe to our forces as well as the need to properly equip them, we are increasing pay for our forces at a faster rate than for other public servants."

Only this week Nick Clegg launched a campaign for better pay for the Armed Forces, go and read about the Lib Dem proposals supported by many troops. I am slightly suspicious that Gordon Brown has just copied what Nick Clegg has proposed because when Nick Clegg launched it there was an interview on the BBC where a Labour MP, possibly a Minister (I cannot remember) saying this could not be afforded and wasn't what the troops were saying.

So, if you want to read Gordon Brown's speech in full - speech. Feel free, because I believe the strategy is right, it does appear thought out but Gordon Brown and Bob Ainsworth are not the right people to sell it to the people in the UK. Gordon 10 out of 10 for content, but only 4 out of 10 for delivery I am afraid.

1 comment:

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