Sunday, June 08, 2008

Resigning SAS Brigadier condemns lack of Resources

Brigadier Ed Butler has resigned from the services after 24 years service. He has claimed he was quitting because the pressures of overseas operations was having a ‘negative impact’ on his family.

The Mail on Sunday however says:

However paying tribute to the servicemen and women he fought with, Brig Butler said they operated 'within the well-known constraints and restraints', leading to speculation his departure was due to concern over troops' equipment and conditions.
Leaving the forces because of the negative impact on families is certainly not a new excuse. Many of those leaving just now quote this as their main reason. The forces are so stretched between Iraq, Afghanistan and their other commitments mans that despite assurances many personnel are having to do extended trips away from families without the required breaks.

Take a look at what I wrote back in November on exactly this subject to see that this is not a new issue. Among the complaints then were these.

• Delays to military inquests are a disgrace

• Military housing estates are unsafe and being overrun by immigrant families

• Poor food quality is creating a "pot-noodle and sandwich" culture among junior soldiers

• Work-life balance is an increasing concern

• Soldiers are "going sick" to get out of the Army

• Leave is often cancelled or constrained because of operational overstretch

• Harmony guidelines - the time between operational tours - are becoming meaningless

• The Army is no longer fun

• Fitness in the Army is tailing off and more soldiers are medically downgraded

None of these points have been resolved so we still have large numbers of personnel leaving the forces at the earliest opportunity. When this extends into the senior officers then you know the problem is getting worse rather than better.

This is not helped when you get Ministry of Defence insiders saying a key factor in Brig Butler’s decision was that he had been overlooked for promotion to Director of Special Forces, which would have given him responsibility for all special operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Two years ago, as commander of 3 Para, he criticised Government policy, saying the invasion of Iraq meant Nato troops were diverted from Afghanistan, leaving British soldiers with a much tougher task.

Brig Butler’s decision to tender his resignation comes just days after the head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt sparked a debate over military pay when he said that many of his troops earned less than traffic wardens.

It also follows the resignation last year of Lt Col Stuart Tootal, in protest at the ‘appalling’ and ‘shoddy’ treatment of troops.

Update: Please read this post in the Telegraph's Three Line Whip. The final paragraph by Con Coughlin says it all when speaking about the debt of gratitude we owe our forces
Indeed we do, and the fact that an officer of the calibre and experience of Brig Butler feels compelled to resign his commission at a time of war is a searing indictment of this government’s fundamental inability to understand the basic needs and requirements of our heroic armed forces.

Please contrast these with the actor Rupert Everett highlighted here.

SAS commander who attacked Iraq war quits his post 'over lack of resources for troops' | Mail Online

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