Saturday, October 10, 2009

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

The BBC reports that TA training budgets have been cut, saving a pathetically small £20m.

For those who don't know, the Territorial Army's "weekend warriors" are already serving in Afghanistan, yet now those in the UK will have no training for the next six months. It's already been reported that general army fitness levels are insufficient for the hot-and-high environment of Afghanistan - ground altitudes in Helmand province can reach 10,000ft, where the air is noticeably thinner - and that some troops have arrived in theatre without ever having practiced with their weapons (particularly grenade launchers, but also rifles, as I understand).

There is one inevitable and, frankly, obvious outcome here: more British troops will be killed because training was cut back.

Gordon Brown can try to score points off General Dannatt in the press with beancounter quibbling over the precise numbers of troops in theatre, but the simple fact is that one cannot say that 7999 people isn't enough but 8000 is. It doesn't work like that. While a small force and a large one may both achieve the same goal in the end, the larger force will likely do it with fewer casualties. It therefore follows that we should not be fiddling around the exact number to deploy, we should deploy twice as many men and vehicles and do the job right.

- KoW

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