THE Tory Defence Secretary Fox yesterday revealed that Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff, is to be sacked early, in the Autumn, for being too pro-Labour along with Sir Bill Jeffrey, the MoD’s most senior civil servant.
Amongst those advising the sacking of Stirrup is Tory general Sir Richard Dannatt, who advises the Tory leadership.
Since the days of Oliver Cromwell and the New Model Army British capitalism has deplored political generals, but now they are arriving on the scene by the dozen.
At the root of the political and military crisis is the world crisis of capitalism and Britain’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the way that these have worsened the crisis.
The stage has now been reached where British capitalism cannot afford the extensive military forces required to pursue its class interests on a world scale, and where it is doubting that if it reconfigures its armed forces to suit the US, whether a US guarantee to defend Britain in the event of a ‘conventional war’ can be relied upon.
The current quarrel with Obama, after BP fouled the US Gulf Coast, has brought these fears to the fore.
The position the Tory leadership is edging its way towards is that if it knew how the 2001 Afghan invasion was to end up, it would not have agreed it.
Cameron, on his recent trip to Afghanistan, made the point that British forces will not stay there a moment longer than is necessary.
Defence Secretary Fox still stands by his derogatory remarks that Afghanistan is a ‘13th-century country’ which could not have democratic norms just fitted onto it.
The story now being peddled is that when in 2006 Labour Defence Secretary Reid said that British troops who were about to be sent to Helmand province would not fire a single shot, the military agreed with him, and were taken by surprise by the millions of shots that have been fired.
This is very difficult to believe, since it indicates an appalling level of military ignorance.
After all, the current UK forces will be at least the third British army to be driven out of Afghanistan with its tail between its legs, with heavy losses.
Winston Churchill wrote books about these things.
The approach to the UK’s mission in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, in 2006, was flawed, according to a senior military officer involved in planning the deployment of troops, the now retired Rear Admiral Parry.
Parry told the Today programme that the Armed Forces leaders had ‘immature’ ideas and had not expected to fight the Taleban.
He was the MoD’s director-general of development, concepts and doctrine in 2006, and played a major role in talks leading up to the initial deployment of around 3,300 troops to Helmand – a figure which has since increased to about 10,000.
‘We didn’t realise the complexity and the character of the context in which we were going to fight. In fact, we didn’t envisage we were going to fight,’ he added.
The other side of this, is that if they had known what they were about to receive, they would not have thanked the Lord like Nelson’s sailors, but would have decided not to go. A British imperialism which has forgotten or cast aside its history is indeed in danger.
Tory backbencher Adam Holloway, an ex-Guards Officer who was in Afghanistan in the 1980s, has taken the question further. A member of the House of Commons Defence Committee, he told Today that British intervention in Helmand had ‘driven radicalism across whole regions and into our northern mill towns’.
He urged: ‘The truth is that we have got to bring the people who lost in 2001 – as much of the hardcore Taleban as possible – into the political process and we have got to make a series of local deals with tribal leaders to get them to stop fighting, and we have to bring the regional powers on board.’
Come back Mullah Omar, all is forgiven, and tens of thousands, including Taleban fighters and British troops, have died because of a failed Anglo-American adventure. Their defeat in Afghanistan must be the prelude to the British socialist revolution.