Are the Armed Forces being let down by government?

Posted on Wed 11 November 2009 in general

Well the gruby counter accusations continue over a letter sent by Gordon Brown to offer condolences to a bereaved mother. For all the heat and noise it's generating for the papers, no doubt not helping the poor mother come to terms with her grief, it's become a proxy for a wider debate. Frankly I'm appalled we need such a proxy argument when the real issue we should be discussing is the mission itself and how to support it.

I've held off commenting for some time as it's a fairly hot button topic and one that raises my hackles. I have tremendous respect for the Armed Forces partly informed by my extended family's history of service. They are placed in harms way at the behest of politicians to project political will by force of arms. While we should hold our forces to the highest standards for their conduct on the battlefield the responsibility for their deployment lies with their political masters. Soldiers don't start wars, they only fight in them.

It's perfectly acceptable for a government to reduce spending on our military budget and re-prioritise funds to other areas. That is an entirely political decision. What I find objectionable however this government taking the political decision to deploy force and then failing to support the armed forces. Wars are expensive things to fight and while members of the service put their lives on the line the government has a responsibility to supply them adequately. The government then compounds the problems by equivocating and changing their political objectives for fear of domestic unpopularity. This is not the political environment that the soldier on the ground want to be in. For all of the disagreements I have with the current administration this is the thing that makes me angriest.

In the meantime service men and women continue to make the ultimate sacrifice.