RESPONSE TO SACKING OF GENERAL McCHRYSTAL-’GAGGING OUR BEST GENERALS’

Published  by The Evening Standard 25 June 2010

Dear Sir

Chris Blackhurst contrasts how we deal with turbulent generals with the
brasher American way.
There is another difference. Whatever General McChrystal’s travails
following his Rolling Stone interview American generals are freer to
discuss publicly issues related to the conduct of the war and are held
publicly to account by Congressional Committees. Ours are expected to make
do with below the radar representations, in frustration at which General
Dannatt came out in the media to express his concerns about the breaching
of the military covenant. Important debate about tactics, strategy and
indeed war aims has been stifled and this is reflected on the ground. How
will our leadership respond to the Taliban’s more direct, aggressive recent
tactics engaging our troops with small arms fire which suggest they are
better trained and motivated?
The US mission in Afghanistan will now be led by a great strategist with
finely tuned political instincts; the generals who make it to the top in
our Army are conformists who politicians think will toe the line. General
Dannatt slipped through the net and has paid a heavy price.
Patrick Watson

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