04 Mar 10. The Times reported today that British soldiers’ lives were lost in Iraq and Afghanistan because Gordon Brown failed to fund the Army properly when he was Chancellor, a former chief of the defence staff said yesterday. The Prime Minister is due to appear before the Iraq inquiry today at 10am. General Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, who led the Armed Forces from 1997 to 2001, told The Times: “Not fully funding the Army in the way they had asked . . . undoubtedly cost the lives of soldiers. He should be asked why he was so unsympathetic towards defence and so sympathetic to other departments.”
The families of servicemen who died on the front line in lightly armoured Land
Rovers are already demanding to know why the Government did not send troops out with more helicopters and stronger vehicles.
The Chilcot inquiry has heard that defence chiefs threatened to resign after Mr
Brown ordered defence cuts six years ago while troops were fighting in both Iraq
A senior serving officer told The Times that commanders had to use a Treasury contingency fund to buy new equipment. “Because we were just buying small numbers, and they were breaking down, we were thrown back on what we had in large numbers, which was Snatch Land Rovers.”
The rough terrain in Afghanistan meant that new vehicles kept breaking down and,
with no spare parts to fix them, soldiers had to cannibalise parts to keep other
vehicles on the road.
Susan Smith, whose son died in Iraq in 2005 in a Snatch Land Rover, will be in
the public viewing area at today’s hearing. Writing in The Times, she challenges
Mr Brown: “You were Chancellor at the time, holding the purse strings, so why wasn’t money spent on getting the right equipment?”
It also emerged that Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb, a former head of the
Special Forces, told officers that the MoD was buying equipment “we probably do
not need”. He said that the SAS had been denied even Vietnam-era equipment that
could have saved lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to The Daily Telegraph, he said that much of the Army’s equipment was “either broken or lacking”, that the Iraq conflict had tarnished Britain’s standing and that, until recently, Afghanistan had been “stumbling towards failure”. He has since taken up a post with the US General Stanley McChrystal as head of the counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan.
We have commented in BATTLESPACE on numerous occasions regarding our views of Gordon Brown’s attitude to defence and the Army in particular, which is obviously deeply entrenched. Reports of his bullying were reported two weeks ago. This policy in cutting funding to the Army is synonymous with the behaviour of a bully – make your victim suffer slowly but surely and he will eventually fail. General Sir David Richards commented on the lack of morale in the Army last week, this is the first sign that the bully boy tactics are working.
For this act alone Gordon Brown should be removed immediately – but it won’t happen! Disloyalty to the Armed Forces is unheard of from any previous U.K. Prime Minister. Winston Churchill would turn in his grave with this sort of behaviour.