Brits out, says their general

The top British general wants an early exit from Iraq.

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.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

3 thoughts on “Brits out, says their general”

  1. The ad for "Milano, the new school, etc." is blocking the middle section of the post, at least in Safari.

  2. I'd be interested in the law and tradition surrounding civilian control of the military in the UK. I certainly wouldn't be comfortable with a currently serving American military officer speaking out in this manner. Whatever the circumstances I would expect the President to assert civilian authority and fire him.

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