Gordon Brown blamed for soldier’s death

The father of Capt. James Philippson has pointed the finger of blame squarely at Gordon Brown saying, “They were outgunned by a bunch of terrorists. I do hold the Ministry of Defence (MoD) responsible for James’s death but it is not just the MoD – it goes much deeper than that.

“The Treasury and the then chancellor, Gordon Brown, will be really to blame for what happened.

Mr Philippson was responding to the damning report of Deputy Oxfordshire Coroner Mr Walker. The coroner highlighted equipment shortages as a major factor in Capt. Philippson’s death, saying that to send troops into combat without basic kit was “unforgivable and inexcusable” and “a breach of trust between the soldiers and those who govern them”.

12 responses to “Gordon Brown blamed for soldier’s death

  1. It’s a good job some people weren’t around when the British government made a mess of the expeditionary force into Belgium which led to the retreat at Dunkirk. If this catastrophe happened today they would have called for Churchill to resign and our troops to stay out of mainland Europe for the rest of the 1000 year Reich.Of course this was a tragedy and possibly a preventable one. But these things happen in wars, even against a bunch of terrorists.At least we are not sending thousands of men over-the-top to their deaths for a few inches of land, now that was “unforgivable and inexcusable” and “a breach of trust between the soldiers and those who govern them”.To blame the treasury is not the right answer. If the MOD was sending troops to battle ill equipped it is not the fault of the treasury, it is the fault of the MOD and the politicians and generals in charge of the operations.

  2. It’s a good job some people weren’t around when the British government made a mess of the expeditionary force into Belgium which led to the retreat at Dunkirk. If this catastrophe happened today they would have called for Churchill to resign and our troops to stay out of mainland Europe for the rest of the 1000 year Reich.Of course this was a tragedy and possibly a preventable one. But these things happen in wars, even against a bunch of terrorists.At least we are not sending thousands of men over-the-top to their deaths for a few inches of land, now that was “unforgivable and inexcusable” and “a breach of trust between the soldiers and those who govern them”.To blame the treasury is not the right answer. If the MOD was sending troops to battle ill equipped it is not the fault of the treasury, it is the fault of the MOD and the politicians and generals in charge of the operations.

  3. Jimmy,If you really believe that is an adequate response to James’s post you really should have another look at it. If Britain really can’t afford to equip a relatively small force in Afghanistan properly then we should never have got involved. But we did get involved and it is our government’s duty to equip our troops rather than see them throw their lives away needlessly. There is no shortage of controversial projects which are costing or going to cost lots of money (Northern Rock, ID Cards just for starters) and which should have far lower priority.Don’t forget, generals and civil servants can propose what they like (or dare) but politicians make the decisions. And the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being (‘the treasury’) is the politician with the most influence over expenditure in all departments, often amounting to power of veto.Don’t forget either that the campaign continues and the British force is very overstretched. Worse could yet befall for exactly the same reason. I hope you are worrying about this, if not you should be.

  4. Jimmy,If you really believe that is an adequate response to James’s post you really should have another look at it. If Britain really can’t afford to equip a relatively small force in Afghanistan properly then we should never have got involved. But we did get involved and it is our government’s duty to equip our troops rather than see them throw their lives away needlessly. There is no shortage of controversial projects which are costing or going to cost lots of money (Northern Rock, ID Cards just for starters) and which should have far lower priority.Don’t forget, generals and civil servants can propose what they like (or dare) but politicians make the decisions. And the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being (‘the treasury’) is the politician with the most influence over expenditure in all departments, often amounting to power of veto.Don’t forget either that the campaign continues and the British force is very overstretched. Worse could yet befall for exactly the same reason. I hope you are worrying about this, if not you should be.

  5. Priceless; having exhausted the “all our problems today are because of 18 years of Thatcher” line of excuses the Labour Troll playbook now goes back to 1940.

  6. Priceless; having exhausted the “all our problems today are because of 18 years of Thatcher” line of excuses the Labour Troll playbook now goes back to 1940.

  7. Travis,Or indeed back to 1914. I didn’t take Jimmy to task for that for two reasons. The first is that he is a regular visitor to James’s site and his posts are never pointless wind-ups. The second is that diverting the discussion to military history would draw the eye away from a situation which is with us as we write. We now hear in the press that Britain’s last reserve of infantry is to be committed the Kosovo. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of that particular commitment it is sure to be expensive. Meanwhile the war in Afghanistan continues and it certainly doesn’t look as if it is being adequately funded yet, even at present force levels which probably aren’t adequate anyway.Anyone who isn’t worried yet certainly should be.

  8. Travis,Or indeed back to 1914. I didn’t take Jimmy to task for that for two reasons. The first is that he is a regular visitor to James’s site and his posts are never pointless wind-ups. The second is that diverting the discussion to military history would draw the eye away from a situation which is with us as we write. We now hear in the press that Britain’s last reserve of infantry is to be committed the Kosovo. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of that particular commitment it is sure to be expensive. Meanwhile the war in Afghanistan continues and it certainly doesn’t look as if it is being adequately funded yet, even at present force levels which probably aren’t adequate anyway.Anyone who isn’t worried yet certainly should be.

  9. See my comments on previous posts:regarding the lack of equipment < HREF="http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2008/01/losing-good-people.html" REL="nofollow">http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2008/01/losing-good-people.html<>regarding defense spending by the UK < HREF="http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2007/11/if-brown-picks-fight-with-army.html" REL="nofollow">http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2007/11/if-brown-picks-fight-with-army.html<>But a refusal to acknowledge military history is probably a more significant mistake for politicians, generals and commentators than anything else. Instead of pay attention to history they all try to score political points, which is not what I am trying to do on this issue, unlike many others I could mention.

  10. See my comments on previous posts:regarding the lack of equipment < HREF="http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2008/01/losing-good-people.html" REL="nofollow">http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2008/01/losing-good-people.html<>regarding defense spending by the UK < HREF="http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2007/11/if-brown-picks-fight-with-army.html" REL="nofollow">http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2007/11/if-brown-picks-fight-with-army.html<>But a refusal to acknowledge military history is probably a more significant mistake for politicians, generals and commentators than anything else. Instead of pay attention to history they all try to score political points, which is not what I am trying to do on this issue, unlike many others I could mention.

  11. Jimmy,I don’t know what your military or academic backgrounds are. However I do think you somewhat distorted the two historical cases you quoted and completely ignored the long term political background to the situations in which those British armies found themselves, not to mention the politics of France (who had even more men killed in WWI than Britain). As to the equipment and manpower issues, if you refuse to believe what James is telling you, or what we have all heard from recently retired Senior Officers, then you have your head in the sand. Trying to fight wars on the cheap leads only to wasted lives and failed objectives.I turned up your two posts and can only say that I’m surprised your arguments in them were not shredded by other commentators. Your last two sentences in this post are insulting nonsense in so far as they apply to generals and other soldiers. Politicians and commentators vary. Some in both categories are charlatans. Some are both honest, knowledgable and sensible.

  12. Jimmy,I don’t know what your military or academic backgrounds are. However I do think you somewhat distorted the two historical cases you quoted and completely ignored the long term political background to the situations in which those British armies found themselves, not to mention the politics of France (who had even more men killed in WWI than Britain). As to the equipment and manpower issues, if you refuse to believe what James is telling you, or what we have all heard from recently retired Senior Officers, then you have your head in the sand. Trying to fight wars on the cheap leads only to wasted lives and failed objectives.I turned up your two posts and can only say that I’m surprised your arguments in them were not shredded by other commentators. Your last two sentences in this post are insulting nonsense in so far as they apply to generals and other soldiers. Politicians and commentators vary. Some in both categories are charlatans. Some are both honest, knowledgable and sensible.

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