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September 02, 2007

Comments

James Rogers

British forces: You are doing sterling work. You have my full and unfaltering support. I hope our government increases defence spending year on year to pay for better equipment, better housing, better financial resources and better pay for all of you. A nation unwilling to adequately provide for its troops, sailors and airmen is a nation history will not long allow to exist.

gulfbridge

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson’s parents are about to pay with their home and their life savings to take care of the son who has been left grievously injured thanks to the utterly stupid Iraq policies of Gordon Brown and his ex-boss Tony Blair. I wish an early election is called in fact, so that I can let Gordon know how I feel.

By the way, Tony, I understand you plan to make a fortune from your autobiography and from other things you plan to do. Well, why don’t you contribute some of that money to Lance Bombardier Parkinson’s parents to help them to care for their son, a son who wouldn’t be in this state if not for your stupidity?

carol & raymond Jones

Ou son was killed in a 'snatch' vehicle. We are with you all the way

Peter Mitchell

Iam a former military medic and an RN who would be very proud and pleased to offer my services to work with military personnel who have been injured whilst serving their country in a dedicated military hopital, run by the military.
Peter Mitchell RN RPN

Tim

I have a sister and Brother inlaw serving here in Australia.
What can I say I am proud of them as well as all service personell doing what they do in defence of our freedoms.
To lose ones life due to lack of proper equipment in this day and age is JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE!
I am ashamed of our Politicians and Some Armed force Leaders for not doing there jobs and supplying our and British troops with THE BEST MONEY CAN BUY.
After all I know My Sister and her Husband DO THERE BEST FOR THERE COUNTRY.
Priority should be given to all returning troops as well as the ones who have paid the ultimate PRICE for US.
LEST WE FORGET.
GOD BLESS ALL OF U BRITISH AS WELL AS AUSTRALIAN TROOPS U R DOING US PROUD!

Nick Torrington

I, and many like me, will never know or understand what it is like to risk life and limb in 40+ C; we are very unlikely to know hardship, fear and shortages of life's basic. I thank you for your efforts and sacrifices; and will do what I can to see that you get a fair deal.

I know a Staff-Sergeant, now a Warrant Officer, who displayed a sign near his office: "If you can read this, thank a teacher' if you can read this in English, thank a soldier."

Light-hearted, perhaps even a little flippant, but true nonetheless.

GianniC

Hi,

I'm a boy from Belgium, 19 years old. I frequently read the Independent online and saw today this call. Despite I'm not from the UK or another country of the allied forces I'd like to thank you all for what your doing. Wheter it is for oil, or a fight against terrorism, you guys (and girls) are doing the actual fighting, and that is what many of us forget these days; war is a mess.. for everyone.

Thank you brave soldiers,
Regards,

Jimbo

If only we could return to the old days, when the leaders who take us into war, must also lead the troops. At such a time we would in all probability have rid ourselves of the like of Blair.
To have inadequate equipment is a national disgrace, and to offer poor medical treatment is disgusting. Thank you to the Americans who have offered body armour, munitions ans sometimes food.
Find the safest carriers for troops, not the cheapest.

Steve

At last we might be getting something done, thanks to your and other newspapers campaigning for better treatment for our servicemen. It is not suprising that when the 'heat' is turned on politicians and bureacrats, they start to squirm and their weasel words seem no longer adequate. The solution is simple. More money for those areas where the need is most, namely support for injured servicemen and proper equipment to protect them whilst doing thier job. There is also a need for people, who have high moral standards and a sense of justice, to implement these changes. I am afraid the current bunch fall well below the mark and proven to be derelict in their duty towards these brave servicemen.
I also find it a bit rich that former generals, who are now retired, criticise the MOD and the government for these shortfalls. Most of these problems were well known when they were in command. Why was nothing done then?. Why did they not stand up then and speak openly about it, or resign in protest about the way their people were being treated?. I will let the reader come to their own conclusions about that.
Whatever we think about the whole lot of them, one thing is for sure. The servicemen of this country deserve a better deal and I fully support any firm 'kick up the pants' to get those in authority to do something about this disgraceful situation.

David Babb

That this campaign has to exist beggars belief. That troops are dying because they have not been furnished with adequate equpment to perform their duties, is nothing short of shameful. Regardless of any opinions of the legality of the conflict in Iraq, we must all agree that the troops laying their life on the line for us all, should be honoured by the military covenent. the blatant lack of respect displayed by this government, shows thst they genuinely do not care, this has to change. The work these service men and women do, in the worst of conditions, must never be overlooked, or forgotten. We gather at the cenetaph every year on November the 11th, to remeber and honour our war dead, why does the government also seem to ignor those still alive after suffering horrific injuries, this again has to change.

M Creek

I whole heartedly support this campaign and all those who serve Queen and country at home and abroad.
What I really want to say I am reticent to type here, given the culture of fear this Government have created and MOD's insistence that no serving member of the Armed Forces should communicate with the public about the conditions of their service and their associated experiences.

Indeed what the hell kind of country are we living in?
Too frightened to speak the truth in case of retribution and censure, does this not remind you of other oppressive regimes that in the past our military have fought to save us from?

The legacy that Labour have left this country has a foul stench about it.

The vast majority of the serving Armed Forces are drawn from areas of the country with low employment prospects and families with little else to offer their children in terms of a safe alternative to earn a living. Thus the working class that Labour pride themselves upon being drawn from and representing are the very people that they have let down and betrayed.
The military covenant is something to be revered and honoured and those that serve are people to be looked after and not discarded like old rags with utter disdain.
Mr Blair/Mr Brown et al you have used our military like cannon fodder.
You are an insult to this country and to the office you held/hold.

Shame upon you.

Mr Blair you sent our troops to war and you kept your sons in the comfort of expensive education and well away from the front line. Actually you appeared to do everything in your power to stay away from the military or honour them on their return. You wouldn't know a front line if it hit you in the face.

I despair.

On a lighter note, on a recent holiday to America we visited the theme parks in Orlando. They have a scheme in the USA called Here's to our Hero's..it has been created to honour those who serve the USA in the military and their families. One of the benefits of this scheme that we as foreign military were able to enjoy was free admission for our family to Sea World Orlando, for rest and recuperation. If anyone has been they will know when I say the stadium for Shamo the whale is massive. Before the show the audience were shown a trailer informing them about the scheme and shown footage of returning soldiers being clapped and cheered as they walked through an airport. That trailer received a standing ovation.
Then just before the show, members of the audience who were in the military irrespective of where they were from were asked to stand up with their families. So we did. The whole stadium then erupted into cheers and applause and shouts of support. I stood there with my children and my husband and I felt ashamed. I felt ashamed that I had to stand in a foreign land, in a theme park for god's sake and be thanked for supporting my husband in his work and bringing our children up in his absence, when no one in my own country had ever said 'thank you' to us as a family. It made me/us realise how little we were valued by our own country and when I sat down I felt utterly sad. I looked at my daughter and she said "Mum, thats the nicest thing anyone has done for my Dad since he got back" we were both in tears.
The Americans know how to look after the military after getting it all so wrong in the past they at least are trying to rectify things now.
Back in the UK the betrayal continues and I still feel as if the populus dont give a .... about my husband, his colleagues and least of all his family.
I wish you well with this campaign I really do, but to the politicians I say this.

Walk a little in the boots of those you send to war ( if you can get any) then as you return them, look that person in the eye and tell them you will look after them as they put those boots back on and go look after you.

And remember, he/she is paying your wages.

Gareth Watson

I truely hope this IOS campaign has the desired effect as our troops deserve the best of everything manpower, facilities, equipment, pay, medical treatment.
With all the controversy that surrounds the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and the way it is reported in the media more than often our troops are neglected and are not shown the respect they deserve.
We have have an obligation to ensure that the military covenant is adhered to and our troops are protected to the highest level in conflict zones and also at home. If they were doing a day to day job back home and the employer neglected in their duties to protect their employees and put them at risk they would be prosecuted under health and safety law. And yet we hear more and more stories about soldiers being put at risk due to inadequate equipment.
The true casualty figures should be more open and without doubt there should be dedicated military hospitals back home to treat our soldiers.
Guys and Girls we are behind you all the way even if we are not behind the reasons for these conflicts.
Gareth Watson ex RAF

Chris Quirke

I wholeheartedly support this campaign.

Jennifer Hynes

I am ex-Royal Navy and served with BRITFOR in Sierra Leone, so am well aware of the professionalism and dedication to the job of the squaddies our government sends to do its dirty work.

In my mind, they are treated today as mercenaries and this government had better wake up fast to the pain it is causing the most successful military forces in the world. They can only take so much.

I demand that the government listen to the generals, listen to the troops, and stop forcing ever smaller numbers of soldiers to fight ever increasing wars, without care for their welfare or futures, or for that matter of their families, and without the right resources and equipment.

This isn't just a Labour problem, I joined up when Thatcher was still in power and the degredation of equipment I had to deal with was immense. In the frontline, troops deserve the best, not financial retardation.

Helena Forsyth

Please lay down your arms and refuse to fight - remember you are as responsible for the actions you are taking in Iraq as the politicians who sent you there. Throughout human history people have been manipulated into fighting for their country either through economic need or propaganda. This is your chance to change the world - there would not be wars, illegal or otherwise, if people refused to fight in them.

Dan Byles

Last week, three British soldiers in Afghanistan were killed in a friendly fire incident. In the same week, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported that opium production in Afghanistan has doubled in the last two years and now accounts for 93% of the world’s opiates.

I am a realist when it comes to the horror and confusion of war, and I refuse to join the usual America-bashing over these tragic deaths. Mistakes happen on the battlefield, and British lives are being saved daily by American close air support. I am less forgiving, however, when it comes to sending British servicemen and women to war with equipment that is known to be inadequate.

The lack of an effective ‘battlefield identification system’ was highlighted five years ago by the Public Accounts Committee, and again in May of this year. Like the requirement for off-the-shelf Cougar armoured vehicles, which was identified as an urgent operational requirement in 2001 but took five years to implement, it seems that nothing is done until enough soldiers have lost their lives.

British soldiers are dying in a foreign war with no clear aims or objectives, while Helmand province has become the world’s largest drug producer.

Over the past year, I have watched with sadness and mounting anger as the death toll among British soldiers mounts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2001 we have lost 244 soldiers in both war zones, and in recent months the death rate has if anything increased. In Helmand Province in Afghanistan, fighting is so intense it’s estimated soldiers serving on the front line have a one in 36 chance of being killed. This is the Operation that John Reid (former Defence Secretary) claimed British troops would leave “without firing a shot.”

British troops are being overstretched and under resourced by a Government that has no real understanding of the Armed Forces, and is offering no effective leadership whatsoever. Not one of the present Cabinet has served in the military. Like many current and former servicemen and women, I find the appointment of Des Browne as a part time Secretary of State for Defence an insult to our troops. I cannot remember a previous Defence Secretary who shared this vital job with another cabinet position (Des Browne is also the Secretary of State for Scotland). Yet at a time when British Forces are fighting the bloodiest high intensity war since Korea, Gordon Brown doesn’t think we warrant a full time Minister in charge!

Perhaps this is unsurprising given the contempt with which Gordon Brown treated our Armed Forces during his time as Chancellor. While Blair committed British troops to wars around the globe, Brown actually cut the infantry by four regular battalions. Defence spending as a percentage of GDP has fallen, even as the number of soldiers dying in the sand has been rising. Blair loudly proclaimed that British forces in Afghanistan would have whatever equipment they needed, but Brown’s budget squeeze has left us with insufficient battlefield helicopters to do the job properly. Urgent operational requirements take five years to implement. And incredibly, only two months ago, the Government announced a cut in the training budget for the Territorial Army – a key part of our deployable capability – of £5 million. What planet are these ministers on?

The Armed Forces are fighting two vicious wars well in excess of Labour’s bureaucratic ‘planning assumptions’, and yet thanks to Brown’s military spending squeeze:

The Regular Army is the smallest since The Battle of Waterloo (1815)
The Territorial Army is the smallest since it was created in 1906
The Royal Navy is the smallest since the Battle of Trafalgar (1805)
Defence spending as a percentage of GDP is the lowest since the 1930s
A fully trained soldier is paid £10,000 less than a fully trained policeman, and almost half what a fully trained fire fighter earns
Traditionally, senior military officers refrain from criticising the Government in public. The current crisis facing our Armed Services has forced General after General to break this tradition:

General Sir Michael Rose:

“In the past six years, the Prime Minister has presided over a near-catastrophic decline in defence spending which has put our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan at considerable and quite unnecessary risk.”

General Dannatt (Chief of General Staff):

“We now have almost no capability to react to the unexpected… reinforcements for emergencies or operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are now almost non-existent.”

Col Clive Fairweather (former deputy commander of the SAS):

“It is the fault of Gordon Brown's Treasury that the Army is under-resourced. We don't have enough aircraft, troops or equipment.”

Our soldiers are dying daily in two wars on the other side of the world. They are not properly paid or resourced, and there are not enough of them. Despite this, they do a sterling job that should make us proud, but as a nation we should also be ashamed of how badly we treat them.

Where is Gordon Brown on this issue? Can he tell us exactly what our soldiers are fighting and dying for? Can he tell us when we will have a full time Secretary of State for Defence, who will devote his time entirely to fighting the corner for our soldiers against the penny pinchers at the Treasury? Can he apologise for his part in running down our military capability, and promise to start committing the necessary resources to our soldiers from now on?

This government has treated our Armed Forces appallingly. They are a precious asset that must be valued, adequately resourced, used with reluctance and treated with respect.

Dan Byles,
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for North Warwickshire and a former Army officer.

Ian

We should all be grateful that there are men and women willing to risk all on behalf of our country.

For our government to send our soldiers off to war and then treat them like pariahs on their return is beneath contempt. Both Blair and Brown have been more than happy to pose with healthy, happy soldiers in Iraq. But did Tony Blair ever visit any wounded soldiers back home? Has Gordon Brown done anything other than close military hospitals?

I am deeply ashamed of our government's actions.

Mikala Oxley

Nothing seems to have changed, my granddad has Deep Vein Thrombosis caused by his service career, it is an accepted condition to his war pension. Yet the MOD Veterans Agency wont recognise the causality symptoms of Oedema, Restless Legs, and Post DVT Syndrome. Has he got to die of a blood clot before they accept that the problem is related and he should be compensated for the same. Not only do they neglect the current serving personnel but they conveniently forget those that have served and need more help. No, the MOD would rather let him be a burden on other service charities than accept responsibility and pay a reasonable pension for the same. Or even worse let him die so they can save money.

Mikala O

CRL Child

During my service in the Royal Air Force many years ago I felt proud to be serving our Queen. I don't think that the general public today appreciates this feeling of pride.

Our men and women in the services deserve better equipment and remuneration and it is clear that the MoD have been letting them down.

It is quite obvious, even to a fool, that driving around in a Land Rover makes you a sitting duck and an insult to the intelligence of our troops.

John Hilton

I am a Rtd Lt Col RAMC and am disgusted with they way our service people are being treated when they have been injured.
From numerous service hospitals we are now down to one ward.And if they are lucky a rehab course at Headley Court.

We served our country so let our country now serve us.

John Hilton

PS
If we are short of troops RN Army or RAF.
Second some of the chair polishers in Government and civil service to do a proper job.

Robert

The British and their military have caused death distruction and division everywhere they have been for hundreds of years, from Afghanistan to India/Pakistan to Cyprus to Palestine/Israel to China. That is just a few of many. How many Afghanis have the Brits killed in the past 150 years? How many Iraquis since the 1920's, including those killed by British WMDs? You are just the tail of the rather short-sighted US dog who, then led by Pres. Carter backed the Taliban in the late 1970's and it was you and the yankees who put Sadaam in power and backed him against the Iranians. But it was just a game then of course. Just go home and straighten out the NHS.

G.Virr.

Where do the Service Charities, The Royal British Legion and The Soldiers, Sailors and Air Force Association, stand in terms of whom and how they are able to support and honour service personel who are killed or wounded and their families ?.
Surely these charities are able to remove the financial concerns of Ben Parkinsons family whilst campaigning continues.
Are they currently legally constrained from supporting the wounded, or honouring those who are killed, or campaigning for the Government to better provide for service personnel who are wounded or killed and their families ?.

Lilian Modlock

I wholeheartedly support the IOS campaign. The recent closure of military hospitals is a disgrace. Our troops need to be in specialized hospitals where they can be looked after in a fitting manner and nursed back to full mental and physical health. Politicians should give this their top priority.

I am in complete agreement with the comments posted by Mr Dan Byles.

Aymen Mahgoub

The British government has displayed time and time again its utter disregard and contempt for the lives and well-being of ordinary soldiers. Average British soldiers are no more than cannon fodder for Brown, Blair and the like. Why else do they keep them in Iraq when military commanders said many times that there is nothing to be achieved there?

pacje

I'm not a british citizen; I;m a british resident. But I do care about UK as country of my residence. Whatever the reason british troops figh abroad they do not ask any questions and they do deserve respect and a desent cere and reward for what they serve. I will do support any actions to help our soldiers

Robbo

Let's have some perspective here. Are you suggesting that the government is DELIBERATELY preventing troups having adequate equipment? Or that they are DELIBERATELY not giving the best treatment to wounded soldiers? Or DELIBERATELY not looking after service families? To be honest , I think they're doing their best and are well-intentioned. Whether they're any good at what they're doing is another question, but the idea that Labour has somehow abandoned the troops simply doesn't hold water.

Simon Mason

You should be so proud of yourselves for your continual courage and work. There are many of us who feel proud and honoured to be part of a country with such fine men and woman in its Armed services. As an ex RE, I feel you not only deserve the right kit, but it is a crime you have to ask for it!
Keep up the fantastic work, keep safe and take courage in the great job you are doing and the fact that you ARE thought of everyday.

Lin

Our troops are the best and deserve the best, so give them the best. Are you listening No.10?

June Walker

Thank you for raising this very important and serious issue. All who are concerned with the welfare of our troops should be ashamed of themselves for not looking after them properly. If it was any other trade or industry, measures would be in place for health and safety. We are constantly told that our troops ARE DOING A JOB! Well for goodness sake equip them properly and then perhaps the families would be able to rest a little easier.

Dick Brown

the two things which would make the greatest difference to the services would be:
a. reintroduction of military hospitals
b. the holding of coroners' courts in the home town of the person concerned and not as at the ridiculous present in the county of the airbase to which the body is returned.
These could both be easily done and would give immediate reassurance to the servicemen and their families

David Rogers

Well done for launching this campaign. Our service personnel have to be prepared to put their lives on the line for their country. Their country should be prepared to do all it can to support them and their dependents.

Tracey Cadman

Our British Forces known for 'BEING THE BEST' - you deserve the best.
We are a shameful nation to let this happen to you, you do an amazing job with whatever resources you are given. We breed heroes, let's treat them like heroes and sort this mess out for them by supporting the broken covenant campaigns, and continue to let them have free parcels on the front line.
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS THEY'RE SIMPLY THE BEST.

Frase

If the IoS is to take on the mantle of campaigning for upholding the military covenant it is essential you are accurate in what you report and decisive in what you ask for. Snatch Land Rovers are dangerously vulnerable but so are the Viking vehicles you implied are the protected vehicle of choice. They are not as your reporters need to be better informed if you are to lobby successfully for more of the right vehicles, with v-shaped hulls and reactive armour, to protect our soldiers properly. There are already a few of this type of vehicle (the Mastiff) in service with the British army but the MoD has only ordered 108 and has been very slow in getting them to the fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan. A lack of suitable vehicles like these is what is killing our soldiers. You should be demanding from the MoD to know why they have instead ordered dangerously vulnerable new vehicles like the Vector and more recently the Supercat, and then claimed these offer good levels of protection, they don't. Both these vehicles place the front occupants over the front wheels and therefore within the cone of destruction of a mine strike. We are the only nation equipping our soldiers with such dangerously incapable vehicles. You should read EU Referendum, a blog that knows what it is talking about.

Adrian Tawse

When it is not certain hw some illness or disability arose the burden of proof must lie with the state - to prove that the complaint did not arise from service. We must not repeat the utterly shameful, even despicable episode of gulf war syndrome, where ex-soldiers were denied compensation for ailments because they could not prove that those ailments arose from the un-licensed, un-tried coctail of secret drugs they were all obliged to take. This utterly disgusted me, I hold those responsible for this policy in the deepest contempt.

derrick crump

I fully support the IoS campaign for better treatment of our troops. They are experiencing great danger and discomfort in order that we can continue with our by comparison very comfortable lives. At the very least they deserve all the resources necessary to get the job done while minimising risks to themselves. Those injured because of this service deserve generous financial support. I hope this becomes a real doorstep issue so that our political leaders consider it necessary to compete to introduce long overdue reforms and make available adequate resources.

paul and christine potter

We wholeheartedly support this campaign. Our son served in Afghanistan with 3 Para Regiment last year and what a great job they did as are all our troops serving there and in Irag.
Lets give them the support and recognition they deserve.

Alison Cockerill

My son served for 6 and a half months in Afghanistan and after 5 and a half months home is due out on another tour. I am always amazed that this country can easily and rightly show emotion and support for sporting occasions like the World Cup. Flags and banners sold and flown everywhere. And yet I have to send off to USA for a yellow ribbon badge saying "Support our Troops". I live in London and flinch at putting a similar sticker on the car for fear of reprisals. When I tell people at work or elsewhere what my son is doing they are always interested and supportive - so the will is there. Even if people don't support the reasons why our military are out there, they should and do seem to support our troops. So, come on let's show that support - let's have badges sold at garages and shops and let's hear the government being more vocal about it.

Jan Hurst

I fully support this campaign and would dearly hope that the Government provide all the necessary support for our troops on the field and off.

Manny

We have a voluntary army,navy and air force. Young men and women join up in the full knowledge that the can kill and maim with impunity or be killed and maimed themselves. Why all this covenant fuss?

Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD

Republicans and Bush condemned by Greenspan
He was referring, in particular, to Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who were key aides to President Ford when Greenspan served on the president's Council of Economic Advisers. His book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, further embarrassed them by insisting on what he called a "politically inconvenient truth": that the Iraq war "is largely about oil".
In the 500-page book, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," Greenspan describes the Bush administration as so captive to its own political operation that it paid little attention to fiscal discipline, and he described Bush's first two Treasury secretaries, Paul O'Neill and John Snow, as essentially powerless.

Sir
We kept on harping all the time that the war was
1 Revenge on Kuwait attack by Saddam
2 there were no WMD so the farced war was for oil.
Let us examine the above. I fully trust Alan Greenspan as I have admired hi a lot. He could have been replaced but Dr. Bernanke but there was difference between two. One was macro economist the other micro economist.
When I read the books in American edition on economist there is a very little spoken about the English economist. Either it is Keynes or Thaterism that of course id same and the Adam smith still tops all.
This is no moral of the Blaireism and the best prize that was awarded was/is to the Vice president dick Cheney who had already contracted to rebuild the Iraq infrastructures. Boy and Colin Powel went right after sexing up the issues so bad that Tony Blaire is now sitting in the Middle East counting the bullets and the bottles that are spewed by the Palestinians and the bombs by Hezbollah, Al Mehdi party, Taliban, Israel and ducking the issues of , “ Who me, I never was in the war”.
I like this oil saga.
No matter Bush said he was not depending on oil. The reason was he though that oil would flow through the Iraq pipeline and help him. The way I see the moral of the politicians, all lied a lot and now the date is set for the soldiers to come back end 2007.
What a relief. The dead body always comes afloat or the truth can never be hidden anywhere. It always comes one day. Here it is,
When I read the book “Making Globalization Work”, I am amazed at the back cover of the book that has all the goodies about the book,”Globalization and its Discontents”. All have stated the book is great reading. I am confused why the comments are on the other book pasted on this book that states that, we can do it if we want to. Again like Thomas Friedman the book starts from the journey from India. Anything good about the globalization from India? I wonder.
Next I would plea for the book by Joseph on the Public economy. That too talks of the controversial tax and payer. Rich out to pay more. The problem is no one listens.
The books are great that I must state.
I thank you.
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
Waterloo Commercial College Ltd
P.O.Box 6044
Dar-Es-Salaam
Tanzania
East Africa

Monica Scott

I was totally against the war in Iraq and I'm not sure we should be in Afghanistan. That doesn't mean I don't support the troops - they don't get to choose where they go.

Perhaps if our fearless leaders didn't have this pathetic obsession with "punching above our weight" they wouldn't be so keen to send our troops into this kind of mess.

The best way to support them is to not send them to places like Iraq to buddy up to George Bush, not to equip them with the wrong or no body armour, not to make them wait for weeks on an NHS waiting list when they have horrendous injuries, and not to pay them insulting compensation.

Firozali A.Mulla  MBA PhD

Sir
Your paper says this and I say," This is my home". So where do we go from the forced democracy by Mr. Bush who is very busy with the fires, sad as is, and will not be available for some time till he gets the blade sharpen of his sword name VETO
Kurdish fighters defy the world from mountain fortress as bombing begins
By Patrick Cockburn in the Qandil mountains, Iraq
Published: 25 October 2007
I thank you
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044
Dar-Es-Salaam
Tanzania
East Africa

Frank Lyttle

Good article to highlight these issues.
Follow up with details about the numbers injured.
These are people and families who need ongoing support.

John Didlock

Did not Blair go to Afghanistan and promise that whatever the troops needed, they would get, "If you need helicopters, you will get helicopters."

And where is Blair now? He scuttled away from even his most basic responsibilties as an MP - he even averred that he was in no way responsible to those who voted for him as MP or anything else, he reckoned that God, whoever that may be, will be his judge.

The man should be impeached.

Richard Hoare

I would just like to add my support for your campaign.Our Armed Services have become involved in two conflicts which are likely to be long drawn out,with no likely resolution.Added to this they are ill equipped,and thus even more vulnerable than needs be.
Would Tony Blair be keen on Ewan being sent to the front line rather than a cushy number in Washington-I think not.
It is time our Politicians considered people rather than Politics and refused to go along with all the subnormal Bush demands.
R Hoare

Janet

I fully support the campaign to ensure that people in our armed services and their families receive all the support they require.

I am appalled by the soundbites i constantly hear in the media which suggest that the people of this country are not in full support of people who are often facing death in their fight against extremism. This is not what i hear from people i meet from all walks of life. People recognise the unbending face of extremism and feel grateful that people in the armed forces are fighting this on our behalf.

Edwin Knight

Hopefully after the unlawful killing verdict of Rose Gentle's son and the legal challenge that is now facing the MOD, for once I hope the do-gooders finally nail the incompetent bean counters and senior officers in their ivory towers on their big fat expenses, and put the right people in those precurment jobs, not officers who have no idea or hands on experience with the equipment they buy, why don't they take the advice of the men on the ground or employ them in decisions on the equipment they want and need, not he rubbish they always seem to waste millions on that is not fit for purpose and has to be replaced when they finally realise it, generaly when it gets to the men on the ground who have to use it! The men they should employ on such decision in the first place.

But then again I doubt it as Wellington had the same problems but he had the balls to refuse his government any progress until he ensured that his troops were trained, the right logistics were in place prior to many of his major battles commencing (relative to the period of course).

Monty was always bitterly complaining about the lack of right equipment for the army.

Yet here we are 100 years plus still facing those very same problems. I really hope that these educated idiots in London are truly nailed once and for all. This is the kind of respect you have from your own troops of all three services.

Edwin Knight

Regarding the RAF that I serve, the biggest problem is that it seems there is no where near enough of us and far too many posts for us to fill world wide. Consequently we spend more and more time in conflict zones away from our family's which will have a long term impact on retainment of its forces as a whole the beginnings of which I am already witnessing with my seniors leaving in droves. If the Government wishes to continue to commit it's Armed Forces to International Conflicts, then it will have to pay for the extra people required - not cut their numbers. Pay for the equipment, vehicles and aircraft that we need - not expect us to use outdated and ageing equipment etc, or replace with cheap stop gaps. The failings of successive Governments, both Tory and Labour have brought us to the point of rebellion. At present, I feel we have a Government now (regardless of which PM was in charge) who do not care about the Armed Forces any more than the Tory's did, and do not give us the respect we deserve. The only reason we are now getting improved benefits etc, is because the media is on our side and are highlighting the problems that we face. Without them, I doubt a single extra penny would have been spent on the Forces. The Army are very lucky that they have as their Chief, an Officer who is not afraid to speak his mind and challenge the Politicians about the State of the Forces. If only we had more like him!! Until more money is spent on the Armed Forces, improving the standard of living (accommodation, pay, proper time between Detachments, etc), retainment of recruits may not be such a problem, the replacement of the ageing Air Transport Fleet and armoured vehicles for the Army and end the mothballing of the Navy's Ships. And most of all the closing of military hospitals and specific care for MOD casualty's that don't have to fight for the after care and compensations they deserve!

The Labour Government is trying to run the MOD on a shoe string - and one day it will snap.
The media it seems is our only hope so support the the 'IoS' Military Covenant campaign!!

Kerry McDaid

Having read the article on the Military Covenant, I think that the issue here should be whether the troops should be in Iraq at all. Surely it's time for them to leave and then maybe the question of adequate funding might not be the issue it is. Perhaps if they were fighting an actual war that had some kind of altruistic motive to it, (as opposed to one centered around greed) then maybe they would have a point. But they are fighting in a country where no one wants them there apart from George Bush. People should also remember that a significant proportion of this country's GDP actually goes on defense, and that the percentage of GDP spent on defense far exceeds that of any other government department. Asking for more money, when the health and education departments are drastically under-funded seems ludicrous. If any department should be asking for more, it should be the NHS and headteachers.

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