Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Democracy = 2 million bullets

Nothing says 'we're here to help' like 2 million bullets:


June 17 - British troops in Afghanistan have fired more than two million rounds of ammunition since December, Defence Ministry figures revealed tonight.

Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth said some 980,000 5.56mm bullets - the type used in the Army's SA80 rifles - had been fired.A further 930,000 7.62mm rounds and 186,000 .50 calibre rounds used in machine guns were also fired in the last six months.

More than 920,000 rounds were fired in March alone, the Minister said in a Commons written answer to Tory Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth E).

Mr Ainsworth said the figures included rounds used in training as well as on operations... (link; see also here)
It is instructive to compare the tallies above with numbers given earlier this year concerning an earlier period (see link below). In the 14 months ending Sept 2007, British troops fired some 4 million bullets. While it is not clear what time period is represented by the recently released numbers, let us assume it is for the period of January to the end of May. In that case, sustaining the current rate would mean the firing of 5.6 million bullets in a 14-month period, or a 40% increase.

Of course, even this might understate the increase as the January-May period contained a large chunk of winter lull. However, we might temper that with the fact that there are now more British troops (and NATO troops of other nationalities) in Helmand than there were in the 06-07 stretch. Further, history tells us we might well question the accuracy of the latest figures. The British government previously low-balled their reports of ammunition usage (see link below).


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