Friday, 24 July 2009

'Afghan wars': Brown hopes for truce

Gordon Brown has had a bruising few rounds with General Dannatt. The General did to Gordon what Joanna Lumley did to what's-his-name; he told him what was what. Politicians don't like it when the military play them at their own game: using the media to bring pressure on the opposition.

After months of trying to influence the government in the traditional way - i.e. behind the scenes, out of the public eye - General Dannatt was forced by the government's intransigence and prevarication to bring the need for more resources in Afghanistan into the public domain. The General gave Brown a public battering with his uncompromising demands in support of the troops fighting in Afghanistan.

Wiping the blood from his nose, Brown's trainer, Peter Mandelson, whispered slyly into his ear that The General's period as CGS will be up in August and all that Brown has to do is to stick it out for a few more days and all will soon be well.

The General will be succeeded as Chief of the General Staff by General Sir David Richards. Brown's entourage reckon that General Richards is a "subtle operator"; this sounds a bit Mandelson-esque which is not a little worrying. Certainly General Richards' proposals to contract-out some of the duties currently carried out by the British troops in Afghanistan - like guarding Camp Bastion and Kandahar airfield - seem horribly like nuLabour thinking to me.

General Richards may not be as much of a bruiser as General Dannatt but let's hope that he puts up as much of a fight in his "subtle" way as The General has done and that he doesn't let down the guys on the frontline simply in the cause of political expediency.

The FT: New UK army head spurs hope of detente
The Times: The army’s been hit by Brown’s unfriendly fire