Air Marshal Sir Roderick Faulkes-Stanley has launched a withering attack on politicians looking to reduce the RAF’s budget. According to him, the air force has been paired back so far that it no longer has the capacity ‘to carpet-bomb the towns and cities of Germany on a relentless, nightly basis.’
Britain’s armed forces have faced financial hardship for a number of years, which is affecting their ability to be lobbed thoughtlessly into warzones at the drop of a hat. But Faulkes-Stanley believes we should learn lessons from history, and maintain a force that could replicate any of the classic conflicts of the 20th Century at a moment’s notice.
“If an Indian village was to protest about the brutality of the Empire, I suppose we could just about manage to machine-gun them from biplanes”, admitted Faulkes-Stanley. “But if we were ordered tomorrow to send 753 Lancasters to re-flatten Dresden, I have to say, I think we’d find it a struggle.”
Faulkes-Stanley’s comments came just days after Rear-Admiral Woodford claimed that if the Falklands conflict was replayed today, the Royal Navy might not have the capacity to defend the suddenly-popular oil rich territory from a raised-and-refitted Belgrano, a warehouse full of French missiles or an army of mercenaries lured in with the promise of tinned meat.
“If we pretend that absolutely no lessons had been learned over the last thirty years, if we ignore the garrison, airbase and flotilla of ships defending the islands, if we assume Argentina doesn’t remember we have submarines, and we imagine a stoned hippy has somehow been elected Prime Minister”, suggested Woodford, “I think it becomes clear that we could, under those very specific circumstances, risk losing the Falklands.”
And while Faulkes-Stanley admits that a war with Germany is by no means certain either, he’s just as keen as the Navy to speak at length about how they might lose such a conflict.
“The army has been successfully re-enacting a stalemate in Afghanistan for some time now, and the Navy’s enjoying a revival of doing sea battles with pirates”, said Faulkes-Stanley. “That’s why we should amass thousands of Spitfires in the countryside of Kent. If the History Channel has taught me anything, it’s that repeats are inevitable.”