13 October, 2006

Army chief speaks out.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff (head of the army) has been talking to the Daily Mail. The headlines around the world will be dominated by General Dannatt's view that the army should be withdrawn from Iraq because it is not going to be possible to fulfil the original mission of introducing a liberal democracy there and the troops' presence is only destabilising the country.

I suspect rather less attention will be given to Sir Richard's view that the military action in both Iraq and Afghanistan is a defensive response to Islamic attacks on western civilisation. He argues that the weakening of our society's Christian moral values is creating a vacuum which Islamic extremists are attempting to fill by forcefully imposing their own perverted version of Islam; unlike the Cold War, which required defence against territorial threats, the Islamist threat requires defence, both at home and abroad, of the Judeo-Christian values underpinning our society's way of life.

We can't wish the Islamist challenge to our society away and I believe that the Army, both in Iraq and Afghanistan and probably wherever we go next, is fighting the foreign dimension of the challenge to our accepted way of life.
What then, he was asked, of Islamic soldiers serving in the army? No Metropolitan Police style PC cowardice from the General: they have taken the Queen's shilling so should go on whatever missions they are sent.

Sir Richard also has some forceful views on the treatment of wounded soldiers in civilian hospitals and he has not been afraid to express them to the defence secretary.


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