Military View: Brown and Clegg found wanting

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown's unrealistic emphasis during the debate on bringing troops home safely over achieving victory in Afghanistan showed again why he has failed to give effective direction to this war.

David Cameron, demonstrating greater passion and potential as a war leader, made it clear that Afghanistan would be his top priority from day one. With a bloody and intensive campaign in which our troops are fighting and dying, he has no option. His intention to direct and co-ordinate operations in Afghanistan through a properly constituted war cabinet is vital.

Nick Clegg was dangerously equivocal over the connection between our operations in Afghanistan and security on the streets of the UK. This perhaps reflects his party's ethos: wishing to look away from something that they have no answer to. In the weakest performance on defence, his lack of understanding was also evident on nuclear deterrence.

His utopian vision of a nuclear-free world ignores the increasing danger of proliferation among unstable and extremist states such as Iran and North Korea.

While prosecution of the war in Afghanistan must be our top defence priority today, we simply cannot, as Clegg suggested, mortgage the long-term defence of this country in order to equip our forces today.

Colonel Richard Kemp is the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and author of 'Attack State Red'

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