The CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES has had a few words to say about Iraq.
I do wish he hadn't.
Now, I do not doubt that what he said was in fact PROBABLY TRUE. And OBVIOUSLY it is very AMUSING to have Lord Blairimort dropped in it.
But think how you would feel if it had been the OTHER WAY ROUND: suppose a Liberal government had decided NOT to join the Americans in invading and the Chief of the Army said:
"Oh no, that was very, very wrong!"
General Dannatt is probably RIGHT. It IS very likely that just by being in Iraq we are making things WORSE for ourselves both at home and when we have to send our soldier ABROAD – to places like Afghanistan, where we are operating with the UN authority and the NATO mission.
And we are probably making things much worse FOR Iraq, too. This one is more difficult to judge – we may be, as Lord Blairimort likes to say, the one thing between the people of Iraq and total civil war. On the other fluffy foot, we MIGHT be PROLONGING the agony by forcing the disparate bits of Iraq to remain united when they don't want to. No one has asked the Iraqi people what they would think of a three country solution – though in fairness they might hate the idea. (The Kurds would probably like it, but Turkey is VERY against an independent Kurdistan because they don't want it laying claim to any bits of Turkey!)
And the General has a perfect right to SAY that in public – as long as he RESIGNS his commission FIRST. Because at the moment, he is under oath to SERVE the elected government (even if they are as bonkers as Lord Blairimort is).
There is a proper procedure called the CHAIN OF COMMAND for the voicing of complaints and problems like this, and General Dannett can always go and talk to Lord Blairimort – which is more than most of us are allowed to do. Unless Lord Blairimort is asking the army to do something ILLEGAL – and that is a completely different kettle of boiled fish – then those conversations should be CONFIDENTIAL. Ministers have to be able to take advice and know that their questions and decisions won't end up splashed over the DAILY GNOME front page.
(Note to Mr David Blunkett – this applies to you too! What could be more revolting than CASHING IN on your time in government by doing the dirty on people who are supposed to be on your own side? Daddy Alex mentions that there is probably more money in it while it is still topical… he does NOT mean this approvingly!)
Of course, later that day – one quick trip to Room 101 later – the general was professing his LOVE for
We have ALWAYS been at war with EASTASIA; EURASIA has ALWAYS been our ally.