EU has let us down on Afghanistan, says Defence Secretary Liam Fox

New British Defence secretary Liam Fox has attacked Britain's EU "partners" for not pulling their weight in Afghanistan.

Scotsman Mr Fox, in his first interview as Defence Secretary, has said that he would make it a priority to reform Britain's riole in NATO and make sure other countries play their part.

Whilst he named no names, it was clear that Fox was talking mainly about Germany, France and Italy, saying that it was unfair for Britain to carry such a huge burden within the NATO alliance.

Mr Fox, a "NeoCon" with close links to the US Republican Party, also revealed that he will, amongst other things, put the MoD on a proper war footing to see through the job in Afghanistan; make it a criminal offence to discriminate against Britain's service personnel; and provide support for service personnel and their families.

Fox may be a bit of fresh air after a succession of former Marxists, Trotskyists and CND activists as Defence Secretary under the left-wing Labour Government.

EU let us down

by DUNCAN LARCOMBE, Defence Editor,
and TOM NEWTON DUNN, Political Editor
15 May 2010
The Sun

War footing: New Defence Secretary Liam Fox yesterday

DEFENCE Secretary Liam Fox yesterday declared war on Britain's Euro "allies" for failing to do their duty in Afghanistan.

In his first interview since taking over at the Ministry of Defence he insisted he would make it a priority to reform our role in Nato - and ensure other countries play their part.

While not naming names it was a clear broadside against countries like France, Germany and Italy.

There are 9,000 British troops in Afghanistan, the second largest force after the US.

Germany provides 4,000 troops while France and Italy both contribute around 3,000.

Dr Fox said: "It is unreasonable to expect Britain to carry such a full burden inside the Nato alliance."

He also revealed plans for a shake-up that will delight our Armed Forces. He vowed to:

PUT the Ministry of Defence on a proper war footing to see the job through in Afghanistan.

LOOK at laws to ban discrimination against our service personnel.

IMPROVE the provision of mental health support.

PROVIDE support for families of servicemen and women.

OVERSEE a defence review that finally acknowledges the end of the Cold War.

Speaking from his office at the MoD in London, Dr Fox made his views on Nato and the contribution of its members very clear.

He said: "We need to find better ways of burden sharing.

"But simply shouting at them to provide more troops is unlikely to bring us the benefits we want, so we need to think more widely. Who does what in the case of the defence of continental Europe, who does what in terms of international maritime?

"Other countries haven't been pulling their weight, that's not in question. They have made contributions, but they are disproportionate when compared to what countries like the UK and the United States have done - with some very honourable exceptions."


Dr Fox said our servicemen and women had to always come first. He went on: "We need to understand what the priorities are. Ensuring that those who have made sacrifices on our behalf are properly dealt with and thanked. The greatest asset we have is our people. It's not planes and tanks and ships, it's our service personnel."

He went on: "We are in Afghanistan for reasons of our national security.

"We need to succeed if we are to deal with the terrorist threat. There are lots of other things to do in Afghanistan on democracy, human rights. But they are in addition to our military mission.

"We have to be clear that success in our military mission means the Afghan security forces need to contain the threats. Our job has to be to train Afghan forces so that can happen."

Dr Fox refused to commit to a timetable for withdrawal. But he said predictions the military objectives could be met within the life of the new administration were not far from the mark.

In the meantime, he promised our troops will have all the equipment they need.

He added: "You can be assured that we would never ask our Armed Forces to do anything that they were not equipped for."

With his medical background, Dr Fox is keen to ensure our wounded and mentally-scarred troops get support. He said: "What we must not have is people who were willing to put their life and limb at risk for their country falling through the net when they leave."

Dr Fox also hopes service personnel will wear their uniforms in public with pride.

He added: "There is a disconnection between the public and Armed Forces. What The Sun has done with the Millies and Armed Forces Day has helped.

"What I will absolutely not tolerate is where military personnel are refused service in a petrol station or other public places. We will look at whether to legislate to make that an offence."

This year the forces face the first Strategic Defence Review for 12 years.

Dr Fox said: "We need to establish what Britain's national interests are, what threats exist and what capabilities we need.

"We need to invest in the technology that will protect us rather than being overly tied to the programmes of the Cold War."

But Dr Fox refused to rule out cuts to defence spending. And he added: "Our Armed Forces, their families and our veterans - unless all three groups are looked after then we are failing in our part of the military covenant."

Dr Fox also pledged to force through plans to set up new Help for Heroes homes for servicemen

The charity, backed by The Sun and its readers, has 20million to build five centres.

But red tape is holding up progress.
Last edited by Blackleaf; May 16th, 2010 at 10:12 AM..
Out with the old, in with the new, but the same old borrow-and-spend spiel. Is there any tax hike to go with that spending or just more debt?
Bar Sinister
No Party Affiliation
Does he mean the EU or NATO? They are two different and not necessarily related organizations.
Over the last 8 years NATO and the west have proven that without total devistation from the air it's nearly impossible to control the ground.