Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Saturday, August 12, 2006

BRITISH TROOPS IN IRAQ ARE "UNDER-EQUIPPED"

British troops fighting in Iraq are under-equipped and overstretched, a group of MPs has warned.

BBC NEWS
August 10, 2006

The all-party committee said the soldiers needed more helicopters and better-protected patrol vehicles to shield them from roadside bombs.

Committee members visited Iraq in June and also say operations in Afghanastan are being done on a "shoe string."

Defence Secretary Des Browne insisted the British froces in the country were "stretched, but not overstretched."

***Sounds familiar!

And he claims that many of the equipment problems were being dealt with.

***That sounds familiar too, doesn't it?

Committee chairman James Arbuthnot, a Conservative MP, said the troops now faced a "significantly higher threat" in southern Iraq.

"We cannot send them on operations without giving them the tools they need to do the job. The MoD must address equipment shortages and capability gaps as a matter of urgency."

Mr. Arbuthnot told BBC radio 4's Today programme his committee had also recently visited British troops in Afghanastan and had similar concerns there.

***How can both the Bush and Blair administrations expect anything to get done when their troops don't have the right equipment?

"There was a feeling that the whole thing was being done on a shoe string and that we are not spending enough money on the troops we are puting into danger, and that we are asking [them] to do extremely difficult things on our behalf," he said.

***According to Bush, this war was supposed to pay for itself with Iraqi oil. If they cannot keep the insurgency away from those fields by now, they will never accomplish it. We will be paying for this war on the taxpayers' backs and our equipment will always be obsolete, because there isn't any money to pay for it to get fixed! And the result of that will be a lot more dead soldiers!


"Courage and dedication"

The MPs said their research had raised fundamental questions over whether the armed forces were structured, trained and equipped to fulfill their role.

They promised to return to those questions in the future.

***There's nothing like the present. That's typical, keep putting it off!

BBC security and defence correspondent Rob Watson labelled it a "remarkably critical report" from a "usually constrained" committee.

Mr. Browne said he welcomed the scrutiny, adding: "I am glad the committee recognises the professionalism, courage and dedication or our people in Iraq."

***How long are those troops going to stay as dedicated as they are when they have no equipment to fight with?

"On helicopters, we have a long-term programme to increase operational availability levels---and we continue to explore ways of meeting short-term needs."


"Appalling"

The MPs were particularly concerned with the use of Snatch Land Rovers, which have been deemed "ineffective" against the more sophisticated roadside bombs.

They said the Land Rovers were originally designed for use in Northern Ireland and offered "far too little protection" against the increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs seen in Iraq.

Mr. Browne offered an urgent review of them after a number of soldiers were killed.

And the Ministry of Defence is sending extra Cougar vehicles. Mr. Arbuthnot said this was good news but they were not ideal and the government had not acted quickly enough.

Colonel Bob Stewart, who was a British commander with the UN forces during the civil war in Bosnia, agreed with the committee about the Land Rovers.

"It's been appalling that so many of our soldiers have suffered as a result of raodside bombs and these Snatch Land Rovers," he said.

"The Land Rovers were not designed for the job they're doing now."

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey said equipment and capability shortages in Iraq could "prove fatal and must be urgently addressed."

"The government's reckless decision to cut the size of the Army is having obvious consequences," he said.

"With major operations in Iraq and Afghanastan, a reassessment of whether our capabilities are sufficient to meet our commitments is long overdue."

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