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Home > Politics

Geoff Hoon's future war

23 July 2004

This week Geoff Hoon announced massive cuts to the armed forces. Despite warnings that the conflicts of the 21st century are going to be as labour intensive as any previous war, Hoon has got a convenient rationale: the old chestnut that we're going to need less soldiers, sailors and airmen because future wars will be more 'high-tech'.

This is bollocks, of course, so we can only begin to wonder what Hoon imagines future wars and anti-terrorist operations will be like. Something like this, perhaps:

The Future of Warfare: a Strategic Policy Document by G. Hoon, 13 .

Take this hypothetical scenario: civil war has broken out in a small East European state. Militias are killing each other and conducting 'ethnic cleansing'. The UK is asked to help, as part of a UN peace-keeping force. How will the British armed forces respond?

1) Using the Internet, the King's Own Star Trek Regiment immediately bombards the militias' websites with nuisance queries, forcing them to stop butchering civilians and answer their emails instead.

2) RAF Tornadoes drop precision-targeted 'smart weapons' that reduce the quantities of 'ordinance' (military word for 'bombs') needed because they are so effective in destroying key military installations. There is a lull in fighting as militias stop to rebuild hospitals, schools, orphanages, etc.

3) New high-tech 'Robo-plane' takes off from RAF Lakenheath. The plane flies to conflict zone, disarms all guerrillas using non-lethal technology, begins a peace process between warring factions, sets up a representative interim government committed to 'truth and reconciliation', restores all vital infrastructure, produces a draft five-year economic recovery plan and does a quick whizz round with the Hoover.

(NB: plane not yet invented.)

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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