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Monday, 27 November 2017

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As we all know on this blog, the most fundamental job of the Government is to provide for the national defence.

It is quite obvious that the Westminster government is no longer capable of doing that.

Defence cannot be seen as an optional. At a time when this new thing which is cyber warfare has come along it is quite right to make available resources to combat it.

However this cannot be at the expense of more the traditional soldiery of whom we are fortunate to have among the finest in the world, but they are starved of resources.

Procurement has become a branch of the welfare state, and as a consequence taxpayers' money is being pissed away like there was no tomorrow, but on completely useless and largely unnecessary weapons systems.

May's government is on course to destroy for ever any remaining credibility the tory party had for being an acceptably competent party of government.

Intellectually weak, lacking in both charisma and vision, a natural authoritarian, and a remainer to boot; she is a disastrous PM. She's making Cameron look good.

Compliments on your recognition of cyber war being the highest priority right now, David. Generally, the use of the internet to communicate vital information and control critical infrastructure has outpaced security by years.

I have some slight sympathy with 'the Brass'. Modern warfare is already ferociously complicated and getting more so with every advance in technology. I believe that the time is fast approaching when even a mouse will be unable to move on a modern battlefield because it will be instantly zapped from some 'geek' lounging in an armchair a thousand miles away. My constant worry is that our 'Brass' are still fighting WWII!

Before we spend any more money (that we haven't got) on military ironmongery, someone should be required to define the threat. Who is going to attack the UK? And how? The nearest major military power is France, and much as I dislike the Frogs I don't see them taking military action against us. Anybody further away than France, then the answer is in the depths of the ocean.

B of E. War is not just military violence it can be blockades and denial of trade. We have little Ireland doing their mouthpiece for the EU who are threatening to withdraw trade which could affect our economy. The Irish are even raising the spectre of violence if we decide to protect our common border with them. The Germans tried to starve Britain during World Wars 1 & 2. We now have potentially 27 protaganists that do not accept the democratic vote of the British to leave the EU. Wars have began over less.
Therefore we must have the capacity to inflict on our enemies anything they wish to inflict on us. I disagree with David and we must get our carriers up and running. We must maintain our nuclear deterrent.
We must if required defend our UK border with Ireland by all means required.
Who would have thought that the Irish Republicans who went on a violent rampage for decades to obtain so called freedom would have handed their country over to the Junkers of this world.

The trouble with this sort of provocative post is that it tends to bring out the inner armchair General in all of us: and then our enthusiasm very quickly overreaches our scanty knowledge and appropriately becoming humility. So here goes…

You are quite right that we always seem ready to fight the last war. It’s almost a rule. Personally, I wouldn’t be too quick to excoriate people on just this account alone. After the event, and in any event, revisionists tend to be more contemptible yet.

I used to think that that the best deterrent was to have an absolute bucket-load of comparatively cheapo submarine cruise missiles. You can see this in the natural world with nasty little poisonous animals: try to swallow us, but don’t think it’s not going to hurt like hell. Generally, the bigger predator thinks twice and ‘peace’ reigns. But there again, I do well remember Reagan’s uber-expensive Star Wars bluster/poker effectively bringing the USSR down. Which I think ought reasonably to be accounted a Good Thing, overall and to date.

As has already been pointed out above, who is the enemy anyway and how does he fight? It's not modern(ish) Russia, I’d say. In fact, it's more like some sort of dodgy ally, to this latter-day Bismarck or Castlereagh! In reality do we, given current education and demographics, or even indeed should we, any longer have a meaningful ‘national will’ for these present purposes? That’s an awkward question.

I do definitely think we really should finally give up on this antique ‘projecting power and majesty’ malarkey. It only ends in tears, with our ‘finest’ cadging fags from their captors. Yuk! Leave it to the Yanks (and they do actually have some seriously thoughtful Generals, not least Mattis).

Overall, I’d say defence is always, on one view, going to be enormously wasteful. Must be, should be and that’s just the best case. Won’t happen, but as a first baby step we could just hypothecate (divert, but why use a simple word when you can use a slightly more intimidating one) most of the larcenous aid budget and waste it on defence instead?

All the best

Buster, you have to be ready to fight the next war although it will not be the last.

Buster,

"I used to think that that the best deterrent was to have an absolute bucket-load of comparatively cheapo submarine cruise missiles."

I'll probably require the expertise of our resident physicist TheBigHenry if only because I lack the maths to convey the "known limits" for that which is available, munition-wise.

TLAMs are the bucket-load I suppose you're talking about. I "enjoyed the privilege" sometime back of judging the jibs of - I came away not so impressed - for one thing some Princeton/MIT Swot stated (with lots of pictures and equations) that; "a non-nuclear TLAM [even the vaunted GBU] was pretty much, ineffectual for what we're facing now."

Here's what was accomplished with the 59 TLAMs sub-launched back in April of this year:

https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/why-firing-tomahawk-missiles-at-syria-was-a-nearly-usel-1794113103

And adding - as I've "lost access" (in so may ways since Hillary became Sec/State) ... I can't readily find the study-particulars I used to find necessary for the "peculiar conversations" I once had, (bear in mind, non-nuclear ) this:

http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-weapons/us-nuclear-weapons-policy/earth-penetrating-weapons#bf-toc-2

"As has already been pointed out above, who is the enemy anyway and how does he fight? ... I do definitely think we really should finally give up on this antique ‘projecting power and majesty’ malarkey. It only ends in tears, with our ‘finest’ cadging fags from their captors."

***

I've lost my place Buster ... forgot what I set out to say.

Generalship is the decider, but unfortunately, it's the one factor that decides itself.

All you can do in any epoch is watch them and see how good or bad they are. If they're good, invest in them. If they're bad, give everyone a tax cut instead.

At the moment, well, since about 1816 in fact, Blighty's generals have been shite. As though someone had certified all the worst morons out of the already third rate public sector class and given them all brass.

Best thing you could do is plug every unit headed by a colonel or lower into the US armed forces and sack everyone and their staff above.

Let the sacked ones apply for jobs in the US military and see how they fare. 100% percent unemployment, I would venture to suggest.

Only take the thing back if in a few decades or centuries time a large cluster of US top brass are made up of Brits.

If you think that's harsh, just remember this little list ...

- The entire fleet of Main Battle Tanks chosen with a main gun for which no ammo is now being manufactured.
- The entire modern destroyer fleet in Portsmouth dock with design faulty engines
- Carriers with no planes
- Lost in Afghanistan and Iraq without allied support

And that the leaders are drawn from the very worst of the authoritarian class and sub-pond of the gene pool that gave us the rest of the public sector ...

- NHS: Elderly and vulnerable people routinely starved and dehydrated to death in their thousands.
- Social Services: 1400 vulnerable girls directed into the hands of Asian gangs for use as masturbation toys.
- Education: A generation of young people with bogus and useless qualifications and an attitude problem.
- Planning: A broken housing market putting home ownership beyond the reach of ordinary folks.

When your authoritarian class sucks, outsource it.

Same goes for economics as it does for military, which is why I have my views on you-know-what.

SoD

Who is going to attack the UK? And how?

1. You are already under attack from within. That's the easy one to determine. All those beards who want to kill you because they don't like centuries of developing a common law system which, despite its faults, is way better than any other including the one "the cousins" have. Providing you are ruthless enough and have the staying power they are easy to deal with.

2. From outside that is the difficult one and hard to define. You still need a strong conventional style Navy, Army and Airforce to effectively counter such a threat.

As in past conflicts the good leaders will surface. Unfortunately a lot of lives are lost before that is recognized. They will come from the Captain/Commodore [Navy], Brigadier [Army], Group Captain [Air Force] level of service as they have in past wars. Cousins you can work out your own equivalents.

Who is going to attack the UK? And how?. The internal threat is just that - an internal one. It could be easily solved if the politicians wanted to solve it.

The external threat needs someone to threaten us. Who exactly?

I would also point out that a cruise missile is a jet propelled sub-sonic aircraft that can be shot down. Lobbing 59 into Syria might be easy - doing the same into Russia rather different. A sub launched ballistic missile is very difficult to shoot down.

I rather favour the porcupine defence strategy. We don't attack anyone else, we just roll up in a ball and fire pointed things at the enemy.

SoD - While I completely agree with your views on MOD procurement with respect those have more to do with politicians than with Generals.

Senior generals in all peacetime armies are likely to be shit, as they reach their exalted pinnacles by politics rather than kicking the shit out of those out of whom the shit must be kicked.

that is not a uniquely British phenomenon, and the US suffers equally badly and other European so-called armies even worse. But perhaps they do at least lack the pretensions.

As for your usual segue into anti brexit rant mode, well that's bollocks on stilts as you know perfectly well. Our politicos are dicks, I grant you but they are still notionally ours, especially when they can no longer blame everything bad on brussles. And mechanisms exist to keep them broadly on the straight and narrow. A bit rusty but they do exist.

The head honkies of the EU are not only even bigger dickheads, but they are demonstrably even more corrupt plus they hate the British.

Quite how you manage to conclude they would be better than our lot is something of a mystery, especially since we know you're not stupid and your heart is in the right place.

Very puzzling, and it must be a disappointment for you poor old pa:-).

"Who is going to attack the UK? And how?

1. You are already under attack from within..."

All of us in the West have that problem. We have to face that plus, face the fact that there are those among us who are aiding and abetting.

What we need David, is a realistic threat assessment, and the capability to deal with it. Stunts that are synonymous with gesture politics, such as sending a three hundred men to the Balkans is fine in peacetime, but when push really does come to shove, we really do need to be able to put boots on the ground.

If the regular Army is going to shrink to as few as 70,000 men, then we need a capable and well trained reserve of (I would guess) at least four times that number, plus the materiel and logistic support to match.

I only mentioned the Army. However, I am sure that the same (with knobs on) would apply to our Naval and RAF comrades.

"Senior generals in all peacetime armies are likely to be shit"

But we're not in peacetime, nor have we been since 2001.

And Blighty's senior generals are still shite.

Looking at all your comments they're all "you don't wanna do it like this, you wanna do it like that" like that comedy character Harry Enfield dreamt up who thought he knew how everything should be run and operated.

Like everything else, you've been encouraged by the democratic double lie that you know best how everything should be run, and you will be listened to and obeyed by the executive.

One, you know nothing, Jon Snow.

Two, your ideas and individual vote count for nothing and won't make an iotas worth of difference. Even if everyone who reads and comments on D&N had never voted, or even voted in the opposite direction, and never shared their ideas, nothing would be different.

The only thing you're fit to judge is the outcome of those who did and are doing the job.

And the outcome of that is you'd be better off buying American defence for the money than you would be buying British.

And when it comes to putting something useful on the statute (not that you ever will for the two reasons given already), you'd be better off rubber stamping what comes out of Brussels like you have for the last 45 years than the torrent of shite you've just unleashed from a reanimated Westminster.

SoD

On the subject of you-know-what ...

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/28/uk-and-eu-agree-brexit-divorce-bill-that-could-reach-57bn

So it's £89bn gross, £50bn net (sure you're ok with that netting off thing?).

£769 for each and every one of the 65bn of us.

Got a spare £350m a week for the NHS, guv?

SoD

Now here Lawrence, I'm in complete agreement with you. £50bn, give or take is not something this country simply can't afford, and don't get me started on Cameron's equally unaffordable £13bn per annum on charity.

Agree about buying american kit.

Well the funny thing is it is affordable, because we've been paying it already for the last 45 years. It just means Blighty doesn't get to spend a penny of it on anything else for years.

And look who's cock-of-the-block-and-back-on-top, even without Merkel ...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/29/britain-must-drop-objections-eu-becoming-military-power-brexit/

Britain and America disengaging from the EU and NATO has had the exact consequences I predicted: A new militarized super-power in continental europe, which we - the Anglo-Saxon world - no longer have any control over.

The worst strategic position our forefathers fretted over and gave their lives to avoid.

You can rearrange the deckchairs with your cranky military procurement and organisation ideas, I wouldn't part with a penny for any of your saloon-bar Bonaparte advice.

Why would anyone trust folks with military nitty-gritty who've made the worst strategic blunder possibly in the history of the Anglo-Saxon world?

SoD

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