Troops in Iraq 'under-equipped'

From the Beeb comes the not-so-staggering news that British troops in Iraq are 'under-equipped':

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

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

Committe members visited Iraq in June and said they were disturbed by the deficiencies they had seen.

Yes, this is worrying. Our boys are out fighting a war, and they're getting stiffed on the bill.

But this is not new. British forces are always underequipped and overstretched. The bean counters always expect the troops to do a full day's work on a half day's pay. It's been like that for centuries.

And yet, the troops always do what the British army does best, they make do and come out on top, which is why the bean counters get away with it.

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

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

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 roadside bombs and these Snatch Land Rovers,' he said.

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

Of course they weren't. The Land Rover was designed as a light transport. Resisting explosions requires either loading it up with so much armour that it can't move or, for preference, using a vehicle designed for the bloody job. Like, oh, I don't know, those frikkin' AFVs that the army is supposed to have.

But no, Land Rovers are cheaper to buy and run, so Land Rovers we'll use.

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

But will they?

How many more families will have to lose their sons and brothers because the MoD wants to save a few quid?

No comments: