Tooth and Tail

Mark Urban

  • Brassey’s Defence Yearbook 1995 edited by Lawrence Freedman and Michael Clarke
    Brassey, 396 pp, £35.95, April 1995, ISBN 1 85753 131 0
  • Broken Lives: A Personal View of the Bosnian Conflict by Bob Stewart
    HarperCollins, 336 pp, £6.99, July 1994, ISBN 0 00 638268 1
  • Looking for Trouble: An Autobiography by Peter de la Billière
    HarperCollins, 449 pp, £19.99, September 1994, ISBN 0 00 255245 0

Throughout the Cold War, the British Army poured most of its resources into training and equipping for ‘the big one’, the day the Red Juggernaut would come rumbling across Europe and bring with it the most destructive warfare imaginable. The fact that British soldiers were fighting and dying at various times in Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and the Falklands was an annoying detail to many senior officers and planners in Whitehall, a distraction from what defence was meant to be about. Now the Soviet threat is gone, defence policy consists very largely of preparing for those distractions, the limited wars which once claimed only a small percentage of the budget. In the Defence Yearbook Michael Clarke repeats what everyone knows: although ‘the Army, in particular, may lament the fact that Bosnia – like the Northern Ireland commitment – detracts from the real business of training for a major war, the fact is that the prospect of major war is now very low and the likelihood of more Bosnias is becoming higher.’

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