The professional head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt (the job title is Chief of the General Staff), has gone very public with concerns about the damage that involvement in the US-created Iraq quagmire is doing to his troops. (Note that he’s led them in Northerm Ireland, Kosovo, and Bosnia, and interestingly thinks that Afghanistan, currently the bloodier conflict for Britain, is doable.)
In a radio interview this morning to the BBC’s flagship morning news programme Today, (audio link from here, about half-way), he said:
Don’t let’s break [the Army] on this one.
In a long earlier interview with the mass-market tabloid Daily Mail he said UK troops should
get ourselves out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems.
It’s all wrapped up in statements of loyalty to Blair and solidarity with our American allies – he doesn’t even pretend they are getting it right -, but don’t be fooled. The man must be practically facing mutiny in the ranks to put his job on the line with such a public challenge to the government. There are times when I’m proud to be British.
Update: Kevin Drum got there yesterday, but the Today quote is fresh. And it came after yesterday’s presumed angry phone calls from 10 Downing Street to get back on board! Goodness, men who fight back.