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Penny wise, pound foolish
We are governed by fools. But you know that already.
1) From The Times
British forces should buy off potential Taleban recruits with “bags of gold”, according to a new army field manual published yesterday.
Army commanders should also talk to insurgent leaders with “blood on their hands” in order to hasten the end of the conflict in Afghanistan. I thought for a brief, heady moment, that it was our army commanders who should attend with blood from a recently dispatched insurgent still on their men's bayonets so as to encourage the taliban to co-operate, but sadly not.
The edicts, which are contained in rewritten counter-insurgency guidelines, will be taught to all new army officers. They mark a strategic rethink after three years in which British and Nato forces have failed to defeat the Taleban. The manual is also a recognition that the Army’s previous doctrine for success against insurgents, which was based on the experience in Northern Ireland, is now out of date. That at least is a result, even if the Danegeld idea is stupid.
Major-General Paul Newton said: “The best weapons to counter insurgents don’t shoot. In other words, use bags of gold in the short term to change the security dynamics. But you don’t just chuck gold at them, this has to be done wisely.”
British commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq have complained that their access to money on the battlefield — cash rather than literal gold — compares poorly with their US counterparts. I know that a few concealed gold sovereigns, bribery for the use of, were part of the survival kit of air crew and commandos during WWII; I don't know what a taliban would make of the Britannia's trident and the head of HM these days.
The manual says that money can be the answer, if it is prudently distributed. “Properly spent within a context of longer-term planning, money offers a cost-effective means for pulling community support away from the insurgents and provides the military with a much-needed economy of force measure,” it says. “Unemployed and under-employed military-aged males typically provide the richest vein from which insurgents recruit ‘foot soldiers’. Short-term, labour-intensive projects are therefore the best way to disrupt such recruiting.”
“The counter-insurgent should be careful not to be over-generous since this will distort local economic and social activity and may lead to unproductive dependency.” And a desire to emmigrate to the country from where such largess emanates.
This comment sums up my own feelings.
Jack Reacher wrote:
We can’t afford to equip our soldiers adequately, but we are prepared to bribe the enemy.
Bribing the poppy growers evidently had no significant impact but we believe bribing religious fanatics will work!
We don’t pay the loyal Afghan interpreters who work for us over there when they get injured fighting side by side with us, but we will pay those who shot them!
We are planning to drastically cut public services and no doubt raise taxes in the UK, because we have gone bust, but we think we can afford this additional expense.
Not to mention shutting the specialist military hospitals and challenging payments awarded to paraplegic soldiers recently discharged.
2) From The Telegraph
Some of Britain’s most dangerous suspected terrorists have received more than £600,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay for their living costs while they have been under surveillance by the security services.
There are currently 13 suspected terrorists under control orders. Their movements and actions are restricted because the security services believe that they pose a threat to public safety.
They cannot be kept in prison because judges have ruled it would breach their human rights. However, they cannot be put on trial because the security services believe the information that would be used to prosecute them is too sensitive to disclose in court. Instead they are ordered to stay at home, under regular supervision.
Because it is impractical for them to find work, the taxpayer has to pick up the bill for some living costs.
One suspect received more than £9,000 in a single year, consisting of £7,744 towards his accommodation, £891 for utilities, £429 for council tax and £88 towards phone line rental.
The figures — published last week in Parliament — were uncovered by the Conservatives, who said that they strengthened the case for scrapping control orders and putting suspects on trial.
Has anybody reconsidered internment? It got a bad press in Northern Ireland, but the troubles were not officially a war. And the authorities are starting to realise that this current situation is not Northern Ireland.
3) from The Sun
DRIPPY jail bosses were last night accused of bowing to the demands of hook-handed hate preacher Abu Hamza - by wasting £650 on new taps for his cell.
Plumbers replaced standard twist taps Hamza has used for years with chrome lever ones in top-security Belmarsh jail.
A prison source said: "It seems that whenever he says 'Jump', the authorities ask him, 'How high?'. No one in here can understand why we're suddenly spending the money to do this when he's had no problem using the same taps as everyone else for the five years he's been here."
Two cells had to be fitted with the taps, because high-risk lags are moved every month for security reasons. Handrails were also placed by the toilets in both cells. The work, all at taxpayers' expense, took two days.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said: "Two cells have been fitted with hospital-style taps to enable disabled prisoners to use them. The cost is approximately £650, which will offset the cost of prison staff providing physical assistance to prisoners."
He doesn't seem to have any trouble with the sink when he is preaching the koran down the U-bend. The sooner we can get him extradicted to the US the better.