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Monday, October 5, 2009
DEFENDING THE HONOUR OF THE FORCES - THE BRITISH WAY
"Army chief quits suddenly as protests over troops mount"
An army major general who was extremely critical of the government's treatment of British troops in Afghanistan has suddenly resigned, the Ministry of Defence confirmed.
Andrew Mackay, who was recently promoted general officer commanding of the army in Scotland, the north of England, and Northern Ireland, is the latest high-flying senior army officer to quit early amid protests at the treatment of the forces.
As the brigadier commanding British troops in southern Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008, he said he had felt like a student – getting to grips with Afghanistan, counter-insurgency and managing a large organisation. He said he was struck by the lack of clear direction from above. There was a sense of "making it up as we go along", he said.
Mackay signed a "ground truth" memo, sent to London, which listed serious problems with his soldiers' equipment. It noted that many of the Household Cavalry's elderly Scimitar reconnaissance tanks had defective engines. Tanks labelled "working" could not get into reverse gear without restarting the engine, a limitation "not helpful in combat", the memo said.
A quarter of the Mastiff armoured vehicles were out of action for weeks because of suspension problems, and many of the new Vector armoured vehicles in Helmand were not being used because "the wheels just kept falling off". Heavy machine guns and reinforced Land Rovers were also in short supply, the memo added.
The memo was disclosed earlier this year in the book Operation Snakebite, by Stephen Grey, a journalist who witnessed the recapture of the town of Musa Qaleh from the Taliban, the pivotal operation of Mackay's tour for which he was awarded the CBE.
Other former British commanders in Afghanistan to have resigned prematurely include brigadier Ed Butler, who was commander in southern Afghanistan in 2006 when the then defence secretary John Reid expressed the hope that British troops would not fire a shot in anger.
Butler's decision to quit in 2008 prompted speculation that he was leaving because of frustration at the failure to provide adequate funding for the armed forces. He had spoken of the "well-known constraints and restraints" within which his soldiers were required to operate in combat operations. He resigned soon after Lt Col Stuart Tootal, who left in disgust over what he called the "appalling" and "shoddy" treatment of troops."
( Source: The Guardian, UK)
Girls march topless in UK to support British soldiers
A dozen women paraded through Manchester topless to show their support for British troops fighting abroad. They stripped off to persuade onlookers and members of the public to dig deep and donate to plastic buckets to raise cash for British Forces. The group campaigns to get better equipment for British Forces.
(SOURCE : The Times of India- (TIMES GLOBAL), Oct 01,2009.