'Government British army'

LONDON - Britain's armed forces are tackling fierce combat in Iraq and Afghanistan without adequate resources or government support, the former head of the country's army said.

LONDON - Britain's armed forces are tackling fierce combat in Iraq and Afghanistan without adequate resources or government support, the former head of the country's army said.

General Mike Jackson, who retired in August, said the Tony Blair government had failed to put "soldier, sailor and airman" at the forefront of its priorities.

He said predictions about the scale and intensity of fighting in recent major conflicts had been outstripped by realities on the ground.

"There is therefore a mismatch between what we do and the resources we are given with which to do it," Jackson said.

He said defence planners had shown "considerable inertia" when drawing up strategies for campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The army is one of this country's greatest national assets, but to sustain that position - and, I hope to improve it - the army must have the right capabilities, the right structure, the right people, the right training, the right support and the right accommodation," Jackson said.

He said salaries were "hardly an impressive figure" and claimed some military accommodation was shamefully poor.

The ministry of defence said it was "always the first to recognise - for example in relation to medical services and accommodation - that although we have delivered real improvements, there is more we can do." -Sapa

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