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RICHARD DRAX MP: Danger signs of cutting our armed forces
WHO Dares Wins, the motto of the Special Air Service (SAS), could not have been better exemplified than by the actions of one its members during the atrocity in Kenya.
Alone, armed only with a pistol, and unsure of who and how many he was up against, the SAS Trooper went in and out of that shopping mall on several occasions, rescuing scores of shoppers.
What extraordinary courage and no doubt he will be appropriately decorated. This terrorist outrage is a sobering reminder of the dangers of Islamic extremism.
In the last two years, Al Shabaab, a Somalian organisation affiliated to Al Qaeda, has attacked at least 18 targets in Kenya, culminating in this one.
They’ve left hundreds of people dead and injured. Al Shabaab’s purpose is to exact revenge for Kenyan support of the government in Somalia’s bloody civil war.
The tentacles of terror are spreading throughout the African continent, with Nigeria, Mali, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia all having experienced the scourge of intolerance.
As I have repeated, frequently, we live in worrying times, yet we continue to cut our armed forces.
As a soldier, I was always taught to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
We have a close relationship with Kenya, so what if the country faced severe civil unrest, or worse, in the future? What if their government called for military support? What if we had to mount a large evacuation operation to rescue our nationals?
Do we have the aircraft carriers, ships, planes, troops and skills any more to meet such requirements?
In Benghazi, we struggled to evacuate our own, eventually pressing HMS Cumberland into service on her way to be scrapped.
Let this latest horror in Kenya be a reminder that we cut our armed forces at our peril.
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