Friday, January 16, 2009

Forced To Live With Useless Trident

Ex-generals have branded the Trident missile system completely useless and the £20 billion replacing it a waste of money, particularly with the economic crisis. That won't make a blind bit of difference but two cheers for trying.

As the generals denounce Trident as irrelevant, it would take a brave political leader to have the guts to scrap it. 

In an attack that wouldn't be out of place from the so-called lefties (and the Orange Party for that matter) the ex-generals have rounded on the money spent on the UK's nuclear submarine system, arguing that rather than spending £20 billion renewing Trident, more should be spent on the armed forces. 

Replacing Trident was one of Blair's legacy leaving presents, giving the go-ahead to replace the system in 2006. Now heartily backed by Brown he's probably already written his "by the time you're reading this" letter to nuclear submarine captains.

The Trident system of submarines, missiles and warheads still has a lot of life left in it, not due end until the 2020s and could be upgraded and patched up, rather than replaced with a brand spanking new US baby. 

Retired generals have a habit of speaking sense, in the past rounding on the utterly futile and hugely expensive military debacle of trying to fight wars on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Their views of course come from a military perspective. But what other view should be taken, apart from politicians quite willing to sell their souls  to the US arms trade? 

Once again it begs the question what's independent or a deterrent about the UK's independent nuclear deterrent? Their argument points out there's nothing independent about the UK's reliance on a US system, we only keep it going to get a seat on the UN security council and it makes no difference to the current nuclear arm race. 

In a letter to the Times, Field Marshal Lord Bramall and Generals Lord Ramsbotham and Sir Hugh Beach say Trident is "irrelevant" and write: "Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of the violence we currently face, or are likely to face - particularly international terrorism."

"Rather than perpetuating Trident, the case is much stronger for funding our armed forces with what they need to meet the commitments actually laid upon them. In the present economic climate it may well prove impossible to afford both."

In these hard economic times, £20 billion of our cash is a lot to fork out for seat on the top table of the UN security council. 

Trident and the whole US-owned submarine missile system is a Cold War legacy weapon. It is not a weapon for the situation we are in now, where the direct threat to the UK comes from fundamental Islam.  

The case for and against Trident will no doubt rage on, ad nauseam but when the views of these generals are taken into account, the arguments are indeed purely political rather than military.

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