Britain could have stationed aircraft carriers offshore in order to suport operations in Jugoslavia...
Britain could've stationed Mecha-Godzilla offshore in order to support operations in Yugoslavia, to roughly the same effect, i.e. none whatsoever.
So went the chat at the cheerful Hey, Let's Stage a Complete Renewal Of Progressive Politics Right Here In The Church Hall! website Liberal Conspiracy this week, on the subject of multi-million pound military hardware and its utility in modern warfare.
It's an urgent issue, given the casualties British forces are taking in Afghanistan right now. Newspaper articles I've seen today have called for more helicopters and better armour, especially troop transports.
Well, British squaddies have been getting killed in Afghanistan for seven years now without any noticeable progress or the government taking any serious flak about it, so I think it might be time to make a suggestion of my own.
It's a question of What Could Be Done In Theory versus What Can Actually Be Done In Reality. Why spend a fortune on armoured vehicles when we could use the Earth's natural resources?
From what I can tell, this has been the standard order of battle for British forces in Afghanistan for at least five years, i.e. being airdropped onto a Helmand plain or the side of a mountain to provide the Taliban with something to shoot at.
Well, the problem we have here looks to me like the famous - and probably apocryphal - story of how the Americans tried to solve the problem of writing in space. Remember, pens can only write because gravity pulls ink downwards, and there's no gravity in a vacuum. The urban myth I heard says that the Americans spent a million dollars on a pen that would force ink downwards artificially - the Russians, on the other hand, were alleged to have said Fuck it, we'll use pencils.
We have the same story here. There's a form of armour that would offer British soldiers 100% bullet and blast-proof cover that military strategists have overlooked. I call it "The Curvature Of The Earth," and the secret to protecting our boys is to make sure that there's at least a thousand miles of rock between British soldiers and the enemy. We could do this by staging a tactical withdrawal to, say, Aldershot - very popular with squaddies, in my experience.
By way of demonstration...
Readers might think this is inappropriate and flippant stuff to be posting in a time of war, but I would argue that my idea a) will work and b) will not cost hundreds of millions of pounds.
On that basis, I commend it to the MoD.
Note: This proposal is conditional on several factors, the most important being that I'll go back to the drawing board and start from scratch if the Powers That Be have, at long last, come up with some kind of detailed proposal or set of commands for achieving victory that doesn't involve dropping squaddies into the middle of nowhere and letting the Taliban take potshots at them. I'm no expert, but I believe military strategists call it a "plan".
Note2: The Soviet-Afghan war produced the Russian version of Full Metal Jacket - it's a very dodgy film on several levels, in my opinion, but it provides a primer for taking on potentially-unwinnable conflicts. Let's not talk about The Beast Of War.
Note3: Anybody else notice how the word Vietnam stopped cropping up in the press since President Obama got elected?