The British forces stationed in the Gulf are unprepared for a military conflict in the near future, according to Colonel Bob Stewart, the former commander on the British troops in Bosnia.
His declarations were made to the Sunday newspaper The Mail on Sunday, in which he stated that although the generals said that the armed forces are ready for a war, the truth is different because the British government has delayed sending essential equipment and materials to the area for fear of exacerbating further the fury of Arab nations, whereas the Pentagon, which could not care less about arousing hostility, equipped its forces long ago.
Colonel Stewart announced that essential goods, such as adequate food rations, has finally arrived but in general, what should already have been done is being handled in a fashion which is “disorganised” and “too late” and essential materials, such as electronic equipment is yet to arrive.
Colonel Stewart should know. In Bosnia and later, in the Kosovo conflict, the radio transmission system frequently broke down, meaning that soldiers used their own mobile telephones to communicate their positions to each other.
Colonel Stewart declared that the “brave men and women” sent out to the Gulf deserve better treatment than what they are receiving from their politicians.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Blair is looking ill and exhausted after more and more voices from within his party (New Labour) speak out against any military intervention outside the auspices of the UNO. Claire Short, the Overseas Development Minister, is the latest and most senior figure to voice the serious concerns that go through all the Labour ranks, from cabinet Ministers down to grass roots level.
If Tony Blair continues not to listen to public opinion, he risks losing not only his party but also his job. Any attack on Iraq outside the authority of the UNO is illegal under international law and any politician who makes the decision to attack will be liable for prosecution at the International criminal Tribunal in The Hague.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru LONDON UNITED KINGDOM