22 July 2009

Spinning about helicopters

I listened to Gordon Brown try to defend his position on helicopter support in Afghanistan today.

He resorted to some dubious quotes from a Lieutenant Colonel and an Air Commodore. Now, respect to those guys, although important and relatively senior, they are hardly at the top of the tree as far as the MoD goes - which suggests to me that Gordon cannot find anyone of 3 or 4 star rank to support his line.

His first quote was from Air Commodore Simon Falla who said that we had more helicopters than Australia, Canada and Holland. Great sound bite, but the truth is that we have more troops in Afghanistan than those three countries combined. This can only have been said to make the aforementioned soundbite. What other logical reason can there be to quote those countries and not Germany, Poland, Spain etc. etc.? Troop numbers can be found here.

The second soundbite was from a Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson who said that "helicopters would not have saved the lives of the individuals last week". Note "last week" not that deaths have not occurred in Afghanistan because of a lack of helicopters.

It is a real shame that this sort of spin is being used. Why not just admit what everyone knows and sort it.


29 February 2008

Harry: That's the way to do it

Hat's off to Prince Harry for finding a way to get out there and serve on the front line with his troops. Doing it by stealth was far better than hailing his deployment from the rooftops like they tried to do with his Iraq deployment and which was a recipe for disaster.

The British media also deserve some credit for keeping this story quiet.

Now the news is out I am afraid he has to be pulled out. It is not about him, but the fact that his presence is known means that he will be targeted and that means the troops he serves with are under more threat.

Some of the stuff flying around now about whether his involvement makes him more of a terrorist target back home is absolute claptrap. In the current environment the Royals are all targets and will remain targets whilst the situation remains the same.

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