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NATO - is it actually an 'Organisation' at all?

Way back lost in the mists of time, a dysfunctional state wedged between France and the Netherlands proved remarkably unhelpful when it came to selling us ammunition during Gulf War I.

And now this is being replayed, only with rather higher stakes in the Afghanistan War, with our Canadian friends getting the back of the hand treatment:

"NATO plans to rent helicopters to resupply front lines and remote bases in southern Afghanistan – an unprecedented move that could reduce ground casualties even as it exposes the unwillingness of major European allies to send their choppers into dangerous, Taliban-infested areas.... Canada [is] the only country with a major fighting role in southern Afghanistan that has no applicable helicopters of its own...Italy, Spain and France are among the Western European countries with large numbers of big, modern helicopters protected by sophisticated anti-missile defences and flown by highly trained crews. All three countries have turned a deaf ear to repeated pleas to deploy their aircraft to southern Afghanistan. In the past few weeks, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made a final appeal for military-transport helicopters. He was turned down by Germany, France, Turkey, Spain and Greece, according to a NATO source".

What in the name of all that is holy, or come to that, profane, is the point of an alliance where members fail to pull their weight and will not risk materiel in combat? Are the helicopters more precious than the lives of the men putting their lives on the line?

Shameful, simply shameful.

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Blogger Tim Worstall said... 12:27 pm

"Are the helicopters more precious than the lives of the men putting their lives on the line?"

Err, yes. QALY gives us about $6 million for a life. Helicopters cost more than that.

But then that's the accountant's answer, price of everything, value of nothing.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 12:30 pm

Indeed, Tim, indeed. Then again, the cost of the helicopter fleets is a sunk cost presumably.  



Blogger flashgordonnz said... 6:09 pm

The valuation of helicopters is probably "replacement cost". Likely even more than the original cost.  



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