Four depressing things to be learnt by decoding a new report from the British defence ministry, in response to very minor cuts in the military budget.
1. The British military thinks the problem associated with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan was one of “perception”.
The sources cite a long-term weariness in the British population and the widespread perception that both Iraq and Afghanistan have not been worthwhile.
2. The British military has responded to that “perception” by thinking in terms of increasingly covert, i.e. less accountable, warfare – think Libya and Syria.
Sources stress that they do not believe that a change in attitudes rules out overseas British intervention, but more will have to be planned on the basis of air and naval activity, rather than large-scale use of troops on the ground.
Future configurations would make the recent intervention in Libya possible, or the kind of relatively small-scale operations recently being undertaken by the French military in Africa last year, but not a repeat of Afghanistan or Iraq.
3. The British military wants to present this problem in terms of blaming “non-white people” – referred to in the headline as “multicultural Britain” – for the fact that we can no longer defend ourselves – that is, have an even larger military and attack other countries more often.
A growing reluctance in an increasingly multicultural Britain to see UK troops deployed on the ground in future operations abroad is influencing the next two strategic defence reviews.
4. If the military opens its doors a little to some of those non-white people, Britain might again be able to start waging proper wars against black people.
One of the issues raised is improving the recruitment of British officers from minority ethnic communities.