Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You Know Politics is Upside Down When...

...Sunny Hundal supports the war in Afghanistan ... and EU Referendum blog says we should withdraw.

It's a funny old world...


SS said...


Wonderful Reagan talk about Socialized Medicine.Daniel Hannan is doing the same,much needed job there now.Keep Socialism out of America at all costs!

Unknown said...

Thank you Iain, I never thought you'd go near the smoking ban...It sure is a funny old world...

Roger Thornhill said...

Maybe to make Brown "look good". Leadership. Tough decisions. "I know I speak for the whole country when".

War is Peace, remember.

Jess The Dog said...

Don't know a great deal about Sunny to be honest, but there is nothing like a war to bring out the inner Stalinist amongst the "progressive left" such as David Aaronovitch....you can they are just itching to stand behind the troops, manning the machine-guns and looking for those who falter, just like the commissars at Stalingrad.

John said...

Yes it is a puzzle. Going to war in Iraq to remove an evil regime quite capable and likely to destabilise the region,maybe trigger an arms race and for humanitarian reasons - WRONG.

But - RIGHT in Afganistan.

I wonder if the Bush factor is to blame? The Commentariat and Liberal tendency led the charge into Afghanistan, so can't pin it on Dubya and they would have to blame themselves. Just not on old boy.

Ollie Cromwell said...

..and when Bob Ainsworth choses to do his first TV interview without his wig on a right wing blog.

Scott said...

I fear for Richard, I really do. He appears to be in the grip of some kind of mania.

I used to be a great admirer of his. He has done important work in the past documenting equipment shortages, the scandal of procurement policy, and the catalogue of failure at the heart of the mission in Iraq.

But on Afghanistan, he no longer makes the slightest pretense of objectivity.

The facts are not judged dispassionately and there is rarely any attempt to place them in a wider strategic context. Every reverse is simply seized upon as evidence of impending defeat.

He now reads as though he is in the grip of some sort of hysteria. He really does. I just think he has lost perspective.

Unknown said...

It sure is a funny old world...Where did the 'amend the smoking ban' video go? To much too soon maybe.

strapworld said...

Not so funny for the relatives of the dead soldiers or those many hundreds maimed.

As a parent of a soldier I worry for all our young men and women in Afghanistan.

I cannot understand why we are there, except to follow, blindly, the Americans.

Brown tells us that it is to keep terrorists off the streets of our great country. If that is the case why do the Germans, Italians, French etc. feel that they should not be on the front line alongside us, in Afghanistan?

Cameron is like a nodding donkey just agreeing to whatever nonsense this discredited government comes out with.

If we are at war, then let this country be put on a war footing. But, that would upset the muslims in this country and one cannot do that.

We, the people, have not heard one decent debate in Parliament on why we are there.What is the end plan and how we are going to achieve it.

We have had to wait years to get the actual number of seruiously injured troops WHY? What has Cameron been doing about that disgrace?

To the credit of the Liberal Democrats, they at least oppose the war.

We will come out of Afghanistan either next year or in forty years, but we will never win there. Despite the heroic attempts by our brave armed services whom I salute.

But, Mr dale, it is not only politics that is upside down over this issue. It is the whole country because we do not know why we are there and for how long!

Remember Dr. Reid and his infamous quote- which he tried, disgracefully, to deny in the House of Commons. "No bullet would have been fired"

He described a completely different reason why we are there to the one trotted out by Brown.

Too many lives have been lost. Too many families are suffering from their loss. It is time that Cameron stood up and spoke for the Country. It is time he showed us all that he has the necessary leadership qualities. He must demand that Parliamewnt is recalled for a full debate, led by Brown, on the Afghanistan War. The state of supplies and first hand accounts from the front line. Not the PR officers in the Ministry of Defence.

I believe it is time for Cameron to say he will bring the troops home and shore up our borders.

That this extremely serious issue is treated by you in this manner, I find mind boggling. Frankly it is beneath you.

JohnDevon said...

There is a telling comment on the Eu Referendum blog:

"Policy is decided, therefore, not by reference to what is right and necessary – and that which works – but what is possible within an entirely inadequate and dysfunctional framework."

This could have been made in relation to any and all policy decisions of the New Labour machine - and to a lesser extent to most UK government decisions going back to the 1970s if not earlier.

It's not surprising that different bloggers have differnet views on the way forward on Afghanistan. There is no right answer, and "I wouldn't start from here" isn't very helpful.

We are damned if we stay, damned if we leave. Given that truth, saving lives should surely be the priority?

Mal Y Pense said...

This comment has been removed by the moderator.

Richard said...

At August 18, 2009 9:15 AM , Scott said... "I fear for Richard, I really do. He appears to be in the grip of some kind of mania ... on Afghanistan, he no longer makes the slightest pretense of objectivity."

Follow the Afghnanistan thread back to 2007 ...


Then it was very obvious that the Taleban were going to resort to asymmetric warfare, where the IED was going to be the weapon of choice for the Taleban ...

Through Ann Winterton, we even raised it in Parliament, back in 2006.


Only now, however, is the Army beginning seriously to address the threat, three years behind the curve, in the context that it will take several years to devise the necessary countermeasures, equip and train the troops, deploy the equipment and introduce the new tactics.

That is an OBJECTIVE summary.

The consequence, of course, is that the Army must now ceded the tactical initiative to the Taleban in order to minimise casualties, or sustain a politically unsustainable casualty rate which would make continuation of the current campaign unacceptable.

Either way we lose.

And where do you find fault in that analysis?

Unsworth said...

@ Richard

"Only now, however, is the Army beginning seriously to address the threat, three years behind the curve,"

Garbage. The Army has taken IEDs very seriously and for a very long time. However MoD and its political masters have not. Although it may advise, the Army does not determine defence procurement policy.

Anonymous said...

The points Richard makes are I fear valid.

We have been far too slow in adapting to new conditions and indeed in pre-empting them. I cannot help think that the govts view of our presence in Afghanistan up to now has been window dressing.

Military and govt are both to blame. The govt have put the military into Afghanistan but not given them proper resources to do the right job - so the job the military have been doing is the bare minimum to hold an inadequate line.
New initiatives by the US have forced the army and govts hand and exposed the limitations of what we can currently do.
The harsh fact is that despite billions of spending we are massively under resourced for a long term hot campaign.

Rhubarb Grumble said...

"We will succeed and we must succeed." They’re the words of General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the British Army, talking about the NATO mission in Afghanistan, which is supposed to be making the world a safer place. Fighting extremists over there stops them coming over here, runs the argument. But as Captain Blackadder would say: “There's only one tiny flaw in that reasoning: it's bollocks!” Read more on the newest political blog, Rhubarb Grumble.

Richard said...

"Unsworth said...
@ Richard

"Only now, however, is the Army beginning seriously to address the threat, three years behind the curve,"

Garbage. The Army has taken IEDs very seriously and for a very long time. However MoD and its political masters have not. Although it may advise, the Army does not determine defence procurement policy."

By their deeds shall ye know them. If the Army has been taking the threat seriously, why did it field the Snatch in Afghanistan, when it was already known that it was not up to the job in Iraq?

Why did it field the Pinzgauer Vector instead of going for the Cougar 4x4 or RG-31? Why did it use the Viking?

Why did it hold out for Watchkeeper, instead of opting early for the Hermes 450 to replace the Phoenix?

Why did it opt for the Future Lynx instead of going for Bell 414s off the shelf?

And so on and so on ...

As to the relationship between the MoD and its political masters on procurement, would you like to tell me who chose and then promoted the purchase of the Vector and then from where the initiative came to purchase the Mastiff - and who opposed it?

And which minister, pray tell me, decided to buy the unarmoured Tellar for EODs, when other armies were buying MRAPs for theirs?

Cynic said...

Why has there been so little coverage of Milliband saying that terrorism is sometimes justified and can be effective?

What message does that send to the Taliban

cassandra said...

I want to highlight a couple of MOD procurement disasters that have cost lives and could have so easily been avoided with the most basic foresight and investigations.

The pinzgauer vector was brought into service to replace the wimik(landrover), at the time it was peddled as safe offering good protection and it was bloody expensive too, so the logic goes the more expensive the better the kit, its called the rolex syndrome and its very fashionable at the MOD.
It turned out that the wheel positioning of the vector meant the driver sat over any mine strike(not good) and the underbelly was not V shaped to redirect blast energy(ooops).
The defence minister at the time was very keen on the new vehicle that troops called the coffin on wheels, he subsequently got a lucrative job at the company that flogged these(hmmmm!)
Now EUreferendum was highlighting the shortcomings of vehicles like the vector and other vehicles, the MOD duly ignored then tried to smear Richard but in the end they had to admit that the vehicle was indeed a death trap.
The Jackal boy racer was touted as the answer to the armys problems, Richard tried to point out the obvious design flaws only to be the object of planned ridicule and smears, in fact the original was withdrawn and re armoured soon after killing several tommies, even after this expensive refit it still is badly designed and is still killing tommies!
Here is the problem, the MOD made a blunder, a stupid and wholly avoidable series of errors which it then tried to hide and ignore choosing to attack the messenger rather than admit blame.
The MOD employs spinners who have turned the MOD into a mini No10 using the spin'N'smear, the only problem with that approach is that it costs ordinary tommies their lives.
The Aghan campaign is short of dedicated ground attack aircraft invaluable in defeating a terrorist insurgency, the MOD retired its entire fleet of Jaguar ground attack aircraft complete with their highly trained and superbly skilled crews(very clever)these jets had just undergone an ultra expensive refit that made them possibly the finest GA jet in the world and then just when they were so badly needed they were scrapped!
In fairness to newlabour, they have poured many billions into the gaping maw of the MOD expecting a first class armed forces to appear like magic at the other end, however the cash has been utterly wasted by morons unable to see beyond their desks and the shiny brochures from the arms manufacturers.

Eureferendum has been a first class thorn in the side of a bloated quangocracy whose employees seem more interested in comfy sincures offered by the purveyors of substandard kit.

Unsworth said...

@ Richard

OK. Let's start by having your definition of 'The Army', shall we? You say 'The Army' did this that and the other, but I think it would be wiser to carefully separate and identify the participants - before labelling all of them as 'The Army'.

For example: What alternative to Snatch was available to 'The Army'? Who was making the purchase decisions and on what basis? This is, after all, a forty year old Land-Rover, albeit slightly ponced up.

All procurement should depend on perceptions of likely enemies and theatres, and on likely strategies. Those responsible for such anticipations have signally failed. Let's identify them, shall we?

Name and shame.

Cynic said...

It isnt just Ministers.

There is strong inter-service rivalry for the money and some bits of our armed forces diont yet seem to have got the message.

The RAF is particulaly anally retentive. It hasnt yet fathomed that it should now be in war mode and seems annoyed that Afghanistan is somthing that upsets the training schedules.

Hence we have delays in posing Merlins from Iraq to Afghanistan- why? Well there are some technical issues but then we dont have enough trained crews (it takes 5 crews per aircraft they allege) and whoops, even if we did they have nowhere to park them. I assume that means nowhere up to RAF standards.

Oh well, they have only had 2 years to plan all this.

Cynic said...

Snatch is only about 20 years old but it has always been top heavy, dangerously unstable and not fit for purpose outside an urban area with metalled roads

But this is war on the cheap by civil servants who dont understand the issues. I once worked with one who was absolutely, utterly useless. The sort of person who could see 20 reasons not to take a decsion and could write an immaculate brief that was cogently argued but came to absoluteley no conclusion.

One day they announced that they had been promoted into MOD - to work at a senior level on a major procurement programme.