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The poor bloody infantry

The lives of British soldiers are being sacrificed to save jobs in an inefficient domestic arms industry. We should buy more "off the shelf" equipment from the US and thereby also reduce the excessive influence of BAE Systems on our politics

By Lewis Page   March 2007

All is not well with the British armed services. The head of the army, Richard Dannatt, said publicly last year that a long-term Iraq commitment is a bad idea and that the army is “running hot,” with “only one spare battalion.” There has been misery for the other services too, with warships decommissioned and jet squadrons disbanded. Further painful economies are forecast for the next decade. And yet the defence budget has grown in real terms over the last few years. British defence spending is £32bn a year—2.5 per cent of GDP. That is about half the proportion of the…

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