Research conducted by the Ministry of Defence, and published this week, showed the shocking finding that around half of the brave men and women in our Forces are suffering low morale. Many would leave if they could.
It is, of course, demoralising for our Forces to be caught up in two apparently unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, those who join the Services do so with a view to the possibility of having to go into battle, and to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for the civilised values of our nation.
What they do not expect is to go into battle with inferior equipment that makes them sitting ducks for a vicious enemy. Nor do they expect the politicians who take the decisions that affect their deployment to lie to them about why they are in the front line, or to lie about the quality of the kit that they are expected to use when engaging the enemy. This is the root of the betrayal of every soldier, sailor and airman in our Forces: and it is a betrayal not merely of the poor bloody infantry, or of cannon-fodder among the enlisted men and women, but of the most senior officers too.
Almost daily we hear of brave soldiers being blown up in Afghanistan because their Land Rovers are useless, or being killed or injured because their air transport falls out of the sky. If you talk to Labour loyalists about this - not that there are many of those left these days - you are fed the line that there used to be problems with kit, but these have been resolved. They jolly well haven't. But when anyone in authority seeks to argue the contrary they are summarily dealt with.
Look at the case of General Sir Richard Dannatt, an honourable man and Christian soldier in the most literal sense of the term. Distressed by the offhand treatment of soldiers for whom, as Chief of the General Staff, he is ultimately responsible, he has made his feelings known regularly since taking up that post. This is the highest mark of honour for him, and the right thing to do on behalf of his subordinates: but it has, inevitably, simply attracted contempt from his political masters.
What will happen to our Armed Forces if this goes on is all too clear. Patriotic and brave young people simply won't want to join them. Those in the ranks will leave at an ever-higher rate, fed up with the contempt with which they are being treated. Officers, depressed at the treatment they and those under them are getting, will simply choose a better-paid job in civilian life. If you doubt any of this, go to the internet and look at some of the blogs run by services insiders to see just how shamefully bad things are, not least in the MoD itself.
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH