Gordon Brown had just made a speech and taken questions on the war in Afghanistan. He addressed the equipment problems the military faces with the comment that the the counter insurgency must be 'won on the ground and not in the air'. Let us pause to contemplate the breathtaking stupidity of that comment. Air power in general and helicopters in particular are what is known as a force multiplier, that is they make the traditional 'teeth' arms of infantry, armour and artillery more effective by a factor. With modern air power this can be a large factor. So, suggesting that such a vital component of a modern force as air support, including helicopters, is in some way subordinate to or less important than ground forces is absurd. That would be true even if the government had lavished equipment on the troops on the ground, but they haven't done that either. Instead, we have had vehicles that convert into shrapnel when hit by improvised explosive devices and when their failings were pointed out Labour figures smeared whistle-blowers and senior officers instead of moving heaven and earth to give our soldiers the kit that they needed The army is only now getting vehicles that can survive IED explosions, despite the dozens of flag-draped coffins for the lack of them.
The PPS to the Defence Secretary, a former army Major, had enough yesterday and used his resignation letter to rubbish government policy on Afghanistan. Today, we found out just why things have been going wrong in this war. The man at the top doesn't have a clue.