Thursday, July 16, 2009

Brown's Afghan Coat Is Threadbare

The public and MPs are been taken for fools with bunkered Brown's shameless ploy hiding behind the Afghan 'security' smokescreen as he ducks the flak in the lost battle of helicopter numbers. With an influential group of MPs warning helicopter shortage puts troops at risk, Brown's Afghan coat looks distinctly threadbare. Either put up or pull out.

The Orange Party has long held the view this is the new Vietnam - but without the helicopters. A hopeless, bloody, unwinnable war. Troops should be pulled out now before the whole sorry mess escalates further.

But that doesn't mean sitting idly by as too few brave young lads are sent to their deaths in the Afghan killing fields without adequate helicopter support, without properly armoured vehicles and without the right kit to do the job.

That's the disgrace Brown is having to face up to as he desperately tried to wriggle out of any responsibility at today's grilling by cross party MPs.

With holes blown through his helicopter numbers sham, the only line of defence left was to hide behind the pathetic cloak of "security".

Brown came under fire from the defence select committee questioning his dodgy claim over helicopters numbers, with a stark warning that operational commanders can't do their job properly because of the lack of helicopters, putting lives at risk.

Time and again Brown has repeated the old mantra of a 60% increase. But 60% of 10 is six. A pathetic number considering the number of troops sent out to back-up Obama's long-awaited and long-planned troop surge backed up by a whopping 120 US choppers in Helmand alone.

Hiding behind 'security' is a nonsense. Any fool can swing round to today's Times and see the numbers and present deployment. 10 Chinook heavy lift workhorses - and not all of them deployed on the front-line.

But this is not just about cost with Brown begrudgedly signing up to Blair's war with a piecemeal, peacetime budget, it's about skin-flint planning, putting politics before lives.

Many of those killed have been hit by make-shift bombs hidden in the ground. But move out of a heavily fortified base to forward positions and the supply chain and foot patrols are vulnerable. Any tin pot general worth his pips knows that.

Troops were deliberately and coldly sent to their deaths knowing full well the back-up and support wasn't there. That legacy will now haunt Brown with every life lost.

But instead, the public and grieving familes have to put up with current New Labour spin trying to wage a piecemeal war on a peacetime budget in a country crippled with debt

How long has Panther's Claw been in the planning? Has the government suddenly woken up and realised flat Iraq is different from mountainous Afghanistan and needs a modified chopper?

How on earth can anyone justify an unwinnable war against an invisible enemy with a meagre number of ill-equipped troops, struggling with woefully inadequate numbers of helicopters and properly armoured vehicles?

But the government is pulling out all the stops with a shamelessly spinning charm offensive to con the public as troops are sent to their deaths.

Cameron has already denounced the shortage of helicopters as a scandal, accusing Brown of slashing the helicopter budget when he was chancellor.

Grilled by MPs about past calls for more boots on the ground, Brown again side-stepped the issue. The outgoing Army chief, Sir Richard Dannatt, was told to button it, after admitting travelling round Afghanistan in a US helicopter.

Every death brings renewed demands from the military top brass for a big increase in troop numbers, more helicopters, well-armed vehicles and better quality kit.

Every death brings grief. As the Orange Party asked earlier: just how many bodies will it take to force war-mongering ministers to stop the senseless slaughter?

Public opinion is split on Afghanistan. The government now faces a stark choice: put up resources or pull out altogether.

In Vietnam, the US was defeated at home on TV when night after night an endless parade of boxes and body bags, finally turned public opinion.

Trying to spin crime stats by seizing on a survey, trying to spin unemployment figures by seizing on unemployed benefit claims, are one thing. The Orange Party takes all that with a large pinch of salt.

But trying on the Brown spin to wriggle out of a disgraceful lack of troops, helicopters and properly armoured vehicles, hiding behind the cloak of security, thinking he can pull the wool over people's eyes when lives are being lost, is an outrageous insult.

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