The head of the British armed forces warned against sending UK troops from Iraq directly to Afghanistan.General Jock Stirrup, emphasized it was critical for British troops to get some down time before once again being forced to engage in combat. He said it was necessary for soldiers to experience a reduction in “operational tempo” in order to recover from being over stretched from years of fighting. His comments apparently came in response to statements by foreign secretary David Miliband who indicated the UK would be willing to dispatch additional troops to Afghanistan as fighting winds down in Iraq.
General Stirrup spoke, not as a politician, but as a soldier who is close to what fighting men and women are experiencing. “I have said for a very long time that the British armed forces are stretched. We are doing more than we are structured and resourced to do.” It is time for a time out in the Middle East.