Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The modern traveler in a distant land

The Independent's lengthy and serious article on British and EU attempts to bribe the Taliban, to the extent of offering to build a training camp for 2,000 fighters in Southern Afghanistan should be read in conjunction with this tabloid article from the Sun: Army Runs Out of Machine Guns.

By "Army" is meant the British Army. And while the Tommy Atkins goes without, the supplier is making express deliveries of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

British troops “desperately” need 400 of the jumbo 0.5in calibre heavy machine guns – the weapon most acutely missed. The Army has also run out of the 7.62mm GPMG and Minimis.

Supply has collapsed partly because of a dispute with the manufacturers, Manroy – which also provides weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The leaked report – prepared for the Army’s command centre in Wilton, Wilts – reveals that generals have urged the Ministry of Defence “to prevent Manroy delivering Saudi weapons ahead of our requirement”. Generals asked the US to help but were snubbed by the Pentagon – who have dubbed British colleagues “The Borrowers”. ...

Almost HALF the Minimi Light Machine Guns used at Catterick and Brecon are also out of commission. ... Tory MP and ex-Army officer Patrick Mercer said last night: “Thank God the Army have still got their bayonets – it looks like they may be all they’ll have left. This could have been dealt with months ago.

One of the reasons why Robert Gate's public attacks on NATO for refusing to honor its commitments in Afghanistan may be futile is simply because the Europeans don't have the money or men to ante up. Defense spending is not popular on the Old Continent. And with the demographic decline young men are in relative short supply as well. Paying off the Taliban may not be a dirty game; it may be the only game. Hillaire Belloc once described the almost reflexive technological and financial sense of superiority of Britain's empire in his poem, "The Modern Traveler".

Blood thought he knew the native mind;
He said you must be firm, but kind.
A mutiny resulted.
I shall never forget the way
That Blood stood upon this awful day
Preserved us all from death.
He stood upon a little mound
Cast his lethargic eyes around,
And said beneath his breath:
'Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not.'

Not any more.


Blogger Peter said...

The Brits can't pay for machine guns for their combat troops but they can pay some Londonstan Muslim $40,000 a year in welfare for his four wives. I have given up on the Brits who can no longer distinguish an asshole from a tea kettle.

2/06/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"One of the reasons why Robert Gate's public attacks on NATO for refusing to honor its commitments in Afghanistan may be futile is simply because the Europeans don't have the money or men to ante up."


2/06/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Definition of "borrower" is that you get repaid for what you gave sooner or later.

What have the Brits done for us lately? Since, say, 1945?

Michael Yon keeps writing wonderful descriptions of their fighting ethic in Iraq, but if they don't have the bullets to play with the Big Boys aren't they doing a dis-service both to themselves and to their "allies" by being there?

And what the hell is Saudi Arabia doing with that many machine guns, any way?

2/06/2008 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

As of several years ago, the Canadians were having to buy their own personal gear, armor and etc. govt issue being totally inadequate.

2/06/2008 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Don't have? No. Don't want to.

2/06/2008 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Let's not confuse the troop with the politician. We have the same problem here although not as advanced. If the politicians here could paint the troops in a bad light the the funding would slow down too.

2/07/2008 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

So the question is, "How can the United States save countries like Great Britain and Canada from their own foolishness?"

The answer is, sadly, we can't.

This year we are about to elect a charismatic but hopelessly naive black president who is convinced that the morally superior choice for America would have been to leave Saddam Hussein in power to happily go on murdering innocent Iraqis and financing international terrorism.

The Euroweenies are on their own. I'm buying more guns for myself before they get outlawed for good.

2/07/2008 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Onward Chartered Soldiers, on to heathen lands,
Prayer books in your pockets, rifles in your hands.
Take the glorious tidings where trade can be done,
Spread the peaceful gospel -- with the Maxim gun.

The Brits used to be tough. Had they not ground their seed corn on the Somme they still would be.

2/07/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Dewage said...

The Brits are begging to be invaded. If only the jingoistic Americans were a militaristic Empire, the Brits would be natural subjects. They even speak our language, sorta. If we couldn't contract out the occupation to the Irish, we could have the Pakistanis do it.

2/07/2008 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

FN Manufacturing LLC, Columbia, S.C., was awarded on Feb. 4, 2008, a $10,728,822 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract for the procurement of at minimum 3,419 squad automatic weapons, with a maximum quantity of 15,149. Work will be performed in Columbia and Afghanistan and is expected to be completed by Feb. 4, 2013.

2/07/2008 06:20:00 PM  

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