sir Richard, Good day.
you open by saying that troops facing combat abroad must trust their government. Well, firstly, I would say that first and foremost they need to trust their General Officers. For, if they are politicised then all is lost. I think that the way Great Britain is fighting illegal actions abroad, with hardly a peep from the top brass who, for the most part, know exactly why we are involved in these wars: And to be clear it certainly is not terrorism, what reason do the troops have to trust the politicians or the general staff.
My reality sees a country tricked by its government and its handlers (the Corporations and Bankers) into securing the energy resources and strategic land areas with which to protect these interests once successfully stolen (secured). Why does the US maintain over a 1000 bases around the world? Paranoia? I doubt it. How is the US funding these marathon commitments? With the funds “earned” by the seizure of foreign resources.
Haiti has extensive resources, including diamonds and oil: So it will be worth noting whether the US leaves these resources for their owners or stays and takes them for their imperial treasuries.
For myself I am in despair at the events in Afghanistan. I do not for one second believe that all these roadside bombs are laid by the Taliban. I have archived articles and reports which state that witnesses have observed cornered “Taliban” being airlifted to safety by allied helicopters. The real agenda is emerging showing just how managed is this dirty and odious little war.
UN figures show that when the Taliban were dominant the Herion stopped flowing. Now Nato is doing its thing; making war, the Heroin is flowing free as you like: There are even pictures of US troops guarding poppy fields from the Taliban. Who exactly are the terrorists Sir Richard?
FORMER SOLDIER WILLIAM SAID.
“When the British soldier fixes his bayonet and goes forward in battle, he must believe that what he is doing is absolutely in the national interest.”
I served in another Middle Eastern theatre, the Aden Protectorate, in 1965. When we were visited by the then Minister of Defence, Dennis Healey, one of my NCOs asked him the highly pertinent question, “Why are we here, sir?” Mr Healey declined to answer this but instead, as politicians so often do, answered another. At that point – and Mr Healey was a man who I otherwise admired – trust was lost, and the seeds of my own disenchantment with my chosen career were sown. So what has happened under the present government, whether led by Mr Blair or Mr Brown, is nothing new, I´m afraid
“Looking to the future, we may fight tank battles in wide open spaces somewhere, some time, but it is much more likely that we will be conducting complex campaigns against cunning adversaries in out-of-the-way places – Yemen, Somalia, Congo all spring to mind.”
Why in god’s name would we want to get involved in hell-holes like this? The Congo is the original “Heart of Darkness”
Let’s be honest here and admit that we would not give two hoots for Somalia or the Yemen(both beyond redemption anyway) were it not for the Islamic colonisation of our country.
But of course Sir Richard knows this perfectly well. We need another Cromwell
“In risking our lives, we must believe that the cause is just and place our trust in our Government’s integrity.”
The Westminster regime has no integrity and cannot be trusted, nor does it have any real legitimacy; either electorally – the system’s hopelessly bent – or in terms of the bankrupt third world basket case it is making out of our country.
Blair argues that regime change is a matter of moral judgement not law; well what is sauce for the goose is source for the gander.
I hope that the armed forces are taking a clear-sighted view of our dire predicament.
WHEN THE RUSSIANS WERE IN AFGHANISTAN- WHY DID THE NOW OBAMA ADVISOR GEE UP THE TALIBAN GIVING THEM MONEY FOR ARMS ETC ETC ETC………………
Trust has been the biggest casualty of the Iraq affair
Soldiers must believe in their government’s integrity when they are risking their lives in war, says Richard Dannatt
By General Sir Richard Dannatt
Published: 9:00PM GMT 30 Jan 2010
Comments 44 | Comment on this article
Previous1 of 2 ImagesNext Tony Blair with troops in Basra Photo: PA
Tony Blair with troops in Basra Photo: PA POSING AS CHRIST!
If the most basic requirement of any British government is to act in the best interests of the defence of the realm, the security of our citizens and the well-being of the Armed Forces, last week has been one of the most challenging in modern times.
Looking backwards, the Chilcot Inquiry has heard exhaustive evidence from lawyers on the legality of the Iraq war and from our then prime minister, Tony Blair, on its justification. Confronting the present, the London Conference on Afghanistan has attempted to reset the agenda on that most pressing of matters. And with an eye to the future, our Service Chiefs have continued to put their cases for what they see as important to the future security of this country.
Report: US commanders ‘incompetent’ over nine soldiers killed in Afghan battle of Wanat
Armed Forces Day: a grateful Army says thank you to the nation
Iraq analysis: high wages meant workers shrugged off extreme risks
TV Review: Occupation (BBC One) and Personal Affairs (BBC Three)
Charity appeal: how brain scans show the trauma of warIt is often said there are no votes in defence, but defence and security dilemmas forced themselves firmly into the public consciousness last week, and the implications are hugely significant. Do we believe what the lawyers said about Iraq, or do we believe Tony Blair? Do we have confidence in the new approach to Afghanistan? And do we really believe that the heads of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force are simply fighting their narrow corners for marginal advantage? If ever there was a time to ponder these things, it is now.
On Iraq, it has been a crunch week. The two most senior legal officers in the Foreign Office could not have been more unequivocal in their belief that our participation in the US-led intervention did not enjoy the support of international law – an opinion apparently shared by the then Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, until he had a Damascene conversion a few days before the issue became critical.
And our then prime minister, with all his characteristic charisma, managed to assert, in effect, that the ends justified the means. The greater evil of an even more aggressive Iraq was to be removed, to the benefit of us all. Yes, a second United Nations Security Council resolution would have been helpful, but (with an eye to the greater good) apparently was not that essential when it was clearly not forthcoming. And weapons of mass destruction? Yes, they were the case on which we went to war, but even when subsequent reality and the partial intelligence available at the time showed that they did not exist, the line that we were acting in the longer-term best interests of all still prevailed.
But 179 British citizens, almost all from the Armed Forces, died in this campaign – a tragedy for 179 families and their friends. Was the loss justified? There is no doubt that southern Iraq is a better place than it was under Sadaam Hussein, free from dictatorship, open to investment and perhaps with the chance for Basra to begin to emulate nearby Kuwait. But was that the real issue? There is no doubt that the Armed Forces, and particularly the families that suffered tragic loss, should feel proud about what they achieved. The nation asked us to do a job and we did it. But what has been the real cost?
I am afraid there is only one word, and that is trust. When the British soldier fixes his bayonet and goes forward in battle, he must believe that what he is doing is absolutely in the national interest. There can be no equivocation. The generals tell the officers, who tell the soldiers, that this is what we are doing and why – and that what we are doing is really important. And, as an Army, we trust each other, because we all know that our personal liability is unlimited. The ultimate risk is a flag-draped coffin, and now a few minutes’ recognition in Wootton Bassett.
So all involved need to trust each other. When giving talks on defence and security, I am often asked whether there has ever been a moment when I was given an order that I had difficulty in following. My answer is no, and I am so grateful that that is the case, because for 40 years as a professional soldier I chose to believe that what the British government decided would always be legal and in the best interests of the defence of the realm, the security of our citizens and the well-being of the Armed Forces.
In 2003, when the decision was taken to commit to intervention in Iraq, I was in Germany commanding our Nato-assigned forces there, so was out of the immediate discussion. However, when our then Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Michael (now Lord) Boyce, had real misgivings about Iraq and sought independent legal advice, he was following his instinct that what really matters when committing British Armed Forces to action was legality and trust – legality that the operation is right and trust in the judgment of the government of the day that the venture justifies the human cost that will inevitably follow. These are critical issues and cannot, must not, be trifled with – they underpin the ethos and efficacy of our Armed Forces. Our intervention in Iraq has sorely tested all this. For the future, we must be very careful.
Afghanistan is a very different matter. It was from that country that the attacks on 9/11 were mounted. It was in that country that Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar had established their bases, from which they mounted their extremist campaign to recreate the historic Caliphate of Islamic influence, through a perversion of one of the world’s great religions. This is a really important mission and one that governments such as ours should firmly support and prosecute. In this regard, the London Conference last week was most welcome. As part of a comprehensive approach, the willingness to do deals with the Taliban rank-and-file is the kind of activity that the military would associate with a sensible counter-insurgency strategy and is indicative of the way that future conflict is probably going.
Looking to the future, we may fight tank battles in wide open spaces somewhere, some time, but it is much more likely that we will be conducting complex campaigns against cunning adversaries in out-of-the-way places – Yemen, Somalia, Congo all spring to mind. So what is the relative price and value of soldiers, aircraft carriers and fast jets? That is the question for the future. But today, and after this past difficult week, what is the question to be answered now?
It comes back to that word, trust – the commodity on which modern war by volunteer soldiers depends. The abiding memory of this week was from the Chilcot Inquiry. It was not Tony Blair’s bravura performance but the reaction by the public gallery to Elizabeth Wilmshurst’s more humble testimony – she personified integrity, and the people applauded. The people of this country innately know what is right and what is wrong – please do not place the Armed Forces of this country in this kind of position again. In risking our lives, we must believe that the cause is just and place our trust in our Government’s integrity. Anything else spells disaster and is not the British way of warfare.
General Sir Richard Dannatt was Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009
I am a 74 ex soldier. Ashamed of MY country, I would sooner believe the Taliban than anything any politician OR General spouts.
We are currently no more than terrorists ourselves.
And untill Blair and Co are tried we have as much credibility as Chemical Ally.
on January 31, 2010
at 01:03 PM
I weep for the honour of our country as the Iraq Inquiry ‘thickens’; for the fact that the newspapers have endless front pages of unmitigated corruption and lies to report, traced back to our corrupt and lying political leaders.
We need men of honour (like Sir Richard Dannatt, and I believe, like David Cameron) to enable us to hold our heads up with pride again.
Is it true, however, that whatever party comes in, we will have a large reduction in troops and MOD civilians as an immediate first step?
How does that fit in with paying the Taliban handsomely to ‘down tools’?
Will this be and ‘trustworthy’ and honourable solution?
on January 31, 2010
at 01:03 PM
David @ 1129am
You have hit the nail firmly on the head.
Sinna Mani @ 1202pm
It is a mistake to rely on the rule of law in a police state.
The issue is not trust . There is nothing in which to trust. What has been exposed is that the British political system is broken and can br hijscked by a demagogic and self- obsessed ego maniac convinced that his personal mission driven by religious fanaticism is more important than t the system of government he is supposed to defend.
Blair’s contempt for the British parliament has exposed the need for a written constitution to control the powers of a Prime Minister with a large lobby fodder majority in Parliament.
Btitian is ruled by the Dictatorship of Downing Street where a leader with only 22% of the elcetorate’s support can trash Cabinet Government ignore parliament and behave in an authoritarian and cavalier manner dismissive of all opposition .
Britain’s electoral system and system of Government is in crisis and Blairis largely to blame.
INFILTRATION BY FABIANS WAY BACK- TO BLAME DAVID- BLAIR KNOWS THIS TOO- BUT THEN SO DO ALL THE MINISTERS- AND QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WE HAVE A WRITTEN CONSTITUTION FOR GODS SAKE- THATS’ WHERE THE USA TOOK IT’S FROM!
IT’S MADE UP OF MORE THAN ONE- BUT STILL IT FORMS THE CONSTITUTION.
EXAMPLE- BRITAIN CANNOT GO TO WAR WITHOUT FIRST BEING ATTACKED HERSELF- IN OUR CONSTITUTION—BUT ALSO LAYS OUT RULES ON TAXES ETC ETC—MINISTERS CAN’T ALLOW THAT CAN THEY?
ALSO the UN is no longer respected. UN SCR 1441 was not a trigger for war as made plain by FRANCE.
Thats why a second resolution was demanded by the world.
We betrayed the principles of the UN.
Its become another League of Nations.
LEAGUE OF NATIONS= FORERUNNER TO THE UNITED NATIONS- FABIAN SPAWNED- THERES’ A SURPRISE——-NOT!!
THE FABIAN BLAIR- THE FABIAN UN- THE USA CFR = FABIAN- BUSH CFR!