The Chilcott Enquiry

  morddwyd 07:33 07 Mar 10
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Obviously we cannot pre-judge, but somebody's lying.

If the generals asked for more equipment they would certainly have done so in writing.

If those requests were refused they would also have been refused in writing (first rule of management, particularly in the MoD, "That which is not written down has not been said").

I cannot see even GB denying he did something if written evidence exists that he did. It would be bound to come out.

From personal experience I suspect that any refusal to supply was by some anonymous faceless "Sir Humphrey" buried deep in an office in Whitehall.

  Forum Editor 09:21 07 Mar 10

Take helicopters as an example. A field commander says 'we need ten more attack helicopters'. The MOD says 'certainly, you can have them, but there aren't any more in service, so we'll have to place an order. The acquisition and construction/testing process will take six years, shall we go ahead?"

As a result, a Prime Minister may quite truthfully say 'I didn't refuse the request'.

I suspect that this scenario has played out on several occasions recently.It isn't only politicians who can be disingenuous.

  Snec 10:21 07 Mar 10

>> I cannot see even GB denying he did something if written evidence exists that he did. It would be bound to come out. <<

Really?

Agreed, it may come out later but recent events seem to suggest that being found out 'later' is something most politicians are prepared to risk.

  spuds 12:17 07 Mar 10

One of the problems with politics, is that a Defence Minister might not have the job all that long, especially when ordering and procurement is in possible motion.

But then again, we only need to look at the Falklands 'war' and see how 'prompt' purchasing and obtainment was conducted, when the British spirit was at its uppermost.

Which might also bring another thing into the arena. How many times do people state " Do it now, I will sort the paperwork out later". It happens in all walks of life. perhaps more so in some occupations or/and lifestyles!.

  wee eddie 13:47 07 Mar 10

previous cuts in Military spending left us short of the type of equipment needed to fight the type of war that we later engaged in.

We all benefited from those cuts in the form of lower taxes. That is something that we cannot undo and should not ignore.

I think that 'ingenuous' is the term used to describe, both the Military and Gordon Brown's responses.

I am not convinced that the UK should be involved in either theatre of war but we are, which cannot be undone.

I think that both the Politicians, for getting us involved, and the Military, for spending their limited Funds on 'grandiose' schemes rather than basic equipment, each have to bear a proportion of the criticism.

However 20/20 Hindsight is easy and I believe that a certain amount of the blame can be attached to us, the Public, who expect our Politicians and Military to be omniscient.

  Woolwell 13:50 07 Mar 10

Interesting viewpoint from General Sir Richard Dannatt click here

  spuds 15:44 07 Mar 10

Perhaps one thing worth mentioning. Didn't the American's want and had 'bigger and better' in the Vietnam War, and possibly in the Korean War!.

The same might apply in this situation, especially when the foe have years of experience of 'making do'.

  oresome 16:45 07 Mar 10

Only the United States and China spend more on their military with France and the UK level pegging for third place.

I suspect the generals will always be asking for more and the treasury will always be limiting expenditure to what can be afforded.

No doubt rates of inflation on high tech military equipment are way above the rate that taxes can realistically be raised to pay for them, so less kit is purchased for the money as time goes by.

Perhaps it's about time we stopped trying to punch above our weight.

  Forum Editor 17:23 07 Mar 10

Military commanders will always ask governments for more resources - it's been that way since conflicts began,and it's what you and I would do if we were in that position. What constitutes 'sufficient' in the field is a matter of judgement, and of course the judgement of the commanders is almost always that a battle will be won, or won more easily if they have bigger/better/more of everything, including troops.

Taxpayers, as represented by the government, don't always see things the same way, and although lots of people pay lip service to the idea of a better equipped army they often baulk when it's suggested that personal taxation should be increased to pay for it.

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