Thursday 22 March 2007

Welsh Armed Forces

There have been a couple of interesting posts on this site about the role of the armed forces in an independent Wales.

The armed forces question is always a potent argument against independence, and one that needs to be addressed. It is a question that needs more than a blog post to address in full, so the following is just a thought or two on a subject that needs much more attention

The fact that Welsh people have contributed, selflessly and bravely, to armed conflict when it has arisen (for better or worse) is without doubt. Any suggestion that Wales is incapable of raising an effective armed force flies in the face of history. In every war in the past 400 years the number of Welsh combatants and casualties has been more than our "fair share" per capita of population.

When the British nationalists rubbish the idea of a Welsh Army by saying it won't be good enough they rubbish every single name that appears on a cenotaph in every Welsh village, town and city. They rubbish the contribution made by the Welsh Army in every conflict before, during and since the two world wars.

The main "army" question against independence is that an independent Welsh army would be incapable of defending Wales, independently, from invasion. This is probably true. But who is likely to invade Wales? Invasions usually come from neighbouring countries. Are England or Ireland going to invade an independent Wales?

Since the formation of the United Kingdom the UK has never, ever, fought threats to these islands independently, it has always been dependant on alliances for home defence. Presumably if an independent Wales faced the threat of invasion we could depend on friends and allies too.

The only times that UK armed forces have acted unilaterally is in defence of far-flung empirical territories. Wales doesn't have an empire, doesn't want one and will never have the need to have that unilateral ability.

The current Welsh Armed Forces, under British control, have shown how much they are capable of contributing to international efforts, as part of an European force, an UN force and (dare I say it on this site?) even a NATO force. That contribution wouldn't be less if the Welsh Army were answerable to an Independent Welsh Government, it would probably be more.

Even if it was about the same or a little bit less the Welsh contribution would have a lot more appreciation and respect than it has at present.

7 comments:

Penddu said...

A Welsh military force would have no need for prohibitively expensive missiles, submarines, aircraft carriers, tank battalions, etc.

It would only need a small light infantry, inshore patrol crafts & helicopters, and its main purpose would be in supporting civil authorites in their duties - eg coastguard, mountain rescue, etc.

We could contribute towards European-led peace keeping forces, but should have no part with any imperialstic adventures on the other side of the globe.

sanddef said...

I agree with Penddu. By the way:

"the Welsh Army in every conflict before, during and since the two world wars."

Hey! What about Rorke's Drift?

Tom Parsons said...

I agree with Alwyn. The argument against Welsh independence based on military capability is ridiculous. The Irish Republic is independent, do they have a strong military? Belgium? Malta? Canada for that matter? Military strength has little to nothing to with the ability to act as an independent nation.

sanddef said...

"the Welsh Army in every conflict before, during and since the two world wars."

Hey! What about Rorke's Drift?


Doh!!! How come I didn't see the word "before" before?

Anyway, here's a link to what the WAF would look like in terms of size and equipment:

The Irish Defence Forces

Martin Eaglestone said...

This seems like a lot of twaddle now as Plaid's partnership with the Tories will ensure a focus on defence and I can see no taste on their part for an independent military force in Wales.

sanddef said...

This seems like a lot of twaddle now as Plaid's partnership with the Tories will ensure a focus on defence and I can see no taste on their part for an independent military force in Wales.

Yes Martin, of course Martin, whatever you say Martin, don't tax your brain Martin.

Can anyone remind me who made a partnership with the Tories to renew Trident?

A said...

Well, to be honest with you a Welsh army would be pretty shit when compared to say France, America or England, but it is obvious that a small, probably neutral country will have a small military anyway.

As mentioned, Wales wouldn't need a large military - no one is going to invade Wales - not Ireland nor England and anyone who wanted to from outside the Isles would have to get past England first - I doubt England would be very happy to see it's neighbour occupied - England has always been paranoid about being invaded. :D

Wales would presumably be neutral, I doubt they'd join NATO or go around interfering as the UK and probably England would.
There would hardly be a need for a Welsh army with England as a neighbour and the support of Ireland and Scotland as well.

A good idea would be for the nations to co-operate and share resources and training grounds and carry out joint operations.
Salisbury Plain could still see Welsh soldiers and English troops could still train in the Beacons.