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Uploaded: 6 july 2003

Territorial Army sent to Iraq.

A close personal friend has been sent to Iraq. He has been out there for a month living in a palace in Basra. Shortly after he arrived he was called out for riot duty and was, along with the rest of his unit, in his words, 'Shitting himself!'

What is remarkable about this is that he is a member of the Territorial Army, and has said he is being asked to do things that he has no training for whatsoever. He is an engineer.

What is the government doing sending the TA into Iraq? Who made this decision? The tension in Iraq surely demands our most highly trained and capable troops if we are going to continue to be a presence there. The decision to send in the Territorial Army beggars belief.

Amendment -

I received an email on 15 August 2003 from a Royal Engineer giving me some more relevant information and setting me right on a few things. I originally said that my friend was conscripted. He was not. This was an error in my understanding of the process by which troops are sent to serve wherever they are needed. It would seem that the TA was sent because the Regulars Army is severely undermanned due to world wide commitments.

The following is from the email: 

"The Regular Army is severely under manned due to world wide commitments.
The TA is trained and paid to fill in the gaps and to support a
stretched regular force.  If the TA were not to be deployed then in what
capacity are they to be used?  A TA soldier is paid quite well and with
40,000 TA soldiers plus buildings and equipment, that is a large amount
of cash for the government to be spending for effectively a home guard.
A home guard that will never be used as the last time I looked this
country could not be invaded by any known force, unless you think the
Germans are going to have another bash?"

If Mr. Blair is to be believed then we are indeed at risk, but from the new global threat of terrorism. If he is right, a home guard would seem to be very necessary, but I rather tend agree with my correspondent above. 

 

Keith Lindsay-Cameron 2003

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