Two weeks ago it was announced that French troops were going into Mali to sort out the dangerous Islamic extremists, David Cameron supplied them with military air transport planes and stated “There will be no British forces’ boots on the ground”.
Cynic that I am, on the grounds of my belief and long experience, that it is not when a politician’s lips are moving, he is lying, it is when he is breathing. I didn’t believe him. I made a bold statement to my cronies that our Special Forces were already in Mali.
Lo and behold a statement was issued last week that “A small number of U.K. Special Forces are already on the ground in Mali” They are only giving non-combat support against Jihadist groups. We then learned that we are offering reconnaissance aircraft and talk is of making available tactical drones, if we can spare some that are in present use in Afghanistan.
Today it is announced that the US have begun to airlift French Forces into Mali. Oh dear, does this sound familiar. Here we go again! Is it only people of my age that can remember that the American troops went into Vietnam at first, they were only there to train the locals. When the “Butcher’s Bill” read 16,000 dead Americans the official line was that they were only advisers. There were 60,000 dead when they finally stopped advising.
11 years of advising and training in Afghanistan have left around 3,170 coalition troops dead and I am not going to mention Iraq. As Bob Dylan once sang “When will they ever learn?”