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Publicly political General, OK?

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posted on Oct, 13 2006 @ 01:32 PM
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General Sir Richard Dannatt was interviewed and quoted at length in today's Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail quoted General Sir Richard Dannatt as saying he thought UK troops "exacerbated" security problems and should withdraw "sometime soon".

news.bbc.co.uk...

The Mail spun the story and it took a further interview on BBC Radio 4 to set the story straight.

He later told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that when he talked about pulling out of Iraq "sometime soon", he meant "then when the mission is substantially done we should leave".

And he said the view that the presence of UK troops "exacerbates" the problems was "not right across the country", but in parts of it.

news.bbc.co.uk...

- Later, when asked about the interview, British PM Tony Blair said (having seen the actual transcript of what was said) that he agreed with the General.

On the transcripts of those interviews Mr Blair said: "I agree with every word of it."

"He sets in proper context what he is actually saying. What he is saying about wanting the British forces out of Iraq is precisely the same as we're all saying. Our strategy is to withdraw from Iraq when the job is done."

news.bbc.co.uk...

- Now, depending on your view of the war (or whatever particular event you don't like going on) you may well think the General correct to speak out but are political Generals and a politically outspoken military OK?

I think not. I think it is a phenomenon we can well do without and should do everything to discourage.

Senior military figures that strongly disagree with their political masters should either shut up or resign (as has always been the case previously).

Thanks God that in our country the military is subbordinate to the duly and democratically elected political leadership of our country.




posted on Oct, 14 2006 @ 04:03 AM
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that in our country the military is subbordinate to the duly and democratically elected political leadership of our country.

... which has LIED about the reasons for war, and keeps lying. Bliar said Hussein had WMDs - those WMDs didn't exist, as the inspectors have said. The Director General of IAEA said it clearly that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.

I didn't vote for Labour in 2005 nor 2001, so they don't represent me.

And BTW, our real government is now in Washington D.C., not in London.

[edit on 14-10-2006 by SackBliar]



posted on Oct, 14 2006 @ 04:11 AM
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I have to agree, and add that even generals (no matter what their political leanings) should be allowed free speech.

I also disagree that he was being "political". He was commenting on operational matters, primarily - and I don't believe he should be barred from making public comment on matters of policy.

The British public and Parliament were railroaded into this war, and it's a ridiculous farce. With more open debate it might not have happened, and Bliar's being used as Washington's sock puppet might have encountered more opposition.



posted on Oct, 14 2006 @ 07:34 AM
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Well, I ain't an expert on the Iraq conflict, but I think by now the general is. If he believes that we are causing more harm then good, then how can we dispute with him? He's been there, and he's seen it.

Perhaps this is a poltical ploy but to what ends?



posted on Oct, 14 2006 @ 08:56 AM
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Daily Mail have been trying everything to try and turn the Country against the Prime Minister, including spinning headlines about immigration and muslims.

But of course, what do you expect from a paper that supported Hitler



posted on Oct, 14 2006 @ 04:54 PM
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Now, depending on your view of the war (or whatever particular event you don't like going on) you may well think the General correct to speak out but are political Generals and a politically outspoken military OK?


Me and Sminkey have different views on the War in Iraq, so I wont openly debate that issue in this thread. However, weither you agree with the general or not he has every right to openly question any elected politician or government on the merits of The Armed Forces being in a region, where he thinks they are doing more harm than good.




Senior military figures that strongly disagree with their political masters should either shut up or resign (as has always been the case previously).

Thanks God that in our country the military is subbordinate to the duly and democratically elected political leadership of our country.


If he is more experienced than any politician with regards to operationl issues, why should he shut up? Does he not have the same rights as we do? Freedom of speech. Everyone has a right to openly ask questions or questions anyone, within context of the issue.

If people like him are stopped from openly questioning any issue, then you take away our freedoms of speech. So thank god we have people like him who are allowed to openly question Governments, and not be controlled to say or think what the government wants.



posted on Oct, 14 2006 @ 05:43 PM
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As a former soldier, I believe Generals have a duty to execute the orders of their civilian and superiors at Defense; however, if they see activity they feel is illegal or dangerous, they should resign in protest.

Many US generals are now, finally, doing just that. I am wholeheartedly thankful for their voices now, but I think they should've resigned before the war ever started. That would have been a huge blow to Bush's plan to invade.

Colin Powell is the biggest disappointment of my lifetime. I used to admire him hugely. I served under his leadership (Gulf War) and thought he was of the highest caliber. When he gave his dog and pony show before the UN (before the invasion) I lost all respect for the man.



posted on Oct, 14 2006 @ 05:48 PM
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Originally posted by spencerjohnstone


If he is more experienced than any politician with regards to operationl issues, why should he shut up? Does he not have the same rights as we do? Freedom of speech. Everyone has a right to openly ask questions or questions anyone, within context of the issue.

If people like him are stopped from openly questioning any issue, then you take away our freedoms of speech. So thank god we have people like him who are allowed to openly question Governments, and not be controlled to say or think what the government wants.


In the US military, you do not have the same rights as your civilian counterparts. That's a part of the Faustian bargain when you raise your right hand. I would fully expect an officer to break down any situation honestly (and respectfully) to his superiors in private; however, his bearing in public should always be that of his commands' position.

But he can always resign. Afterall, when we swear our oath of loyalty, it is to our constitution and not to any political party. To resign in protest, in upholding the constitution, speaks volumes in itself.



posted on Oct, 15 2006 @ 09:11 AM
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Originally posted by spencerjohnstone
However, whether you agree with the general or not he has every right to openly question any elected politician or government on the merits of The Armed Forces being in a region, where he thinks they are doing more harm than good.


- Er, no he doesn't.

His 'rights' extend as far as private discussion and debate with his appropriate subordinates, colleagues and superiors right up until he is given his orders.
Then he must carry out his orders.

If he doesn't like those orders then he must either put up with it and lump it or resign.
That's how it works (it's the only way it can work).

If he chooses to resign at that point he in effect regains his 'freedom of speech', in public and on the media, so to speak, and can then say whatever he likes (under the confines of the Official Secrets Act etc).

But for as long as he is a senior military figure he has no actual 'right' to go outside the 'chain of command' and solicit to the media or anybody.


If he is more experienced than any politician with regards to operationl issues, why should he shut up?


- Because unless matter are done in the manner described above the whole thing becomes unworkable. That's why.
He, in any case, is not the sole 'expert' voice the political leadership seek advice from.
He is not even the only British military voice they seek advice from.

There are several examples where we find out in memoirs (much later) that senior military figures disagreed very strongly with their political masters, but usually they accept they will not always get their way and there may be profound, genuine and honest disagreement in tactics or strategy (with 3 'services' in the military competing to be heard - or being part of a large allied military grouping - that is not particularly uncommon).

But they do not go public in the job.
That is a major point about being 'under orders'.


Does he not have the same rights as we do? Freedom of speech.


- In private, yes, of course he does.

He can argue and debate his case with his political masters right up until they decide the issue and give him his orders.
At that point his 'freedom' extends as far as either carrying them out or resigning.
If he resigns he can then go public (within the constraints of the Official Secrets Act).

The man swore an oath to the Crown to follow the orders of the duly elected Gov.
That's it.
No argument.


Everyone has a right to openly ask questions or questions anyone, within context of the issue.


- The military isn't quite the way you seem to imagine it sj.

You'll also find if you look into this that lots of people in a huge range of professions have perfectly legal and legally binding confidentiality clauses and they can't just speak 'freely' to whoever they like about their work whenever they like and certainly not to the media.

The idea of 'free speech' isn't quite as black and white as you imply.


If people like him are stopped from openly questioning any issue, then you take away our freedoms of speech.


- No-one is stopping him questioning anything.

The issue here is about 'being under orders', confidentiality and the due processes involved in a functional and efficient chain of command.

He has no 'right' to publicly question his orders (or the rational behind them) whilst he is in his official position.


So thank god we have people like him who are allowed to openly question Governments, and not be controlled to say or think what the government wants.


- Well you can try and turn this into a 'controlling' issue all you like sj but it would appear that you don't really understand how this is supposed to work.

As for the 'political point' in this?
I'd say that lies with the Mail.
They selectively quoted (as the Generals own comments later to the BBC show and the fact our PM was able to agree 100% with those later comments).

Then again one might have expected this guy should have had a little more media savvy than he showed.

Someone made a comment on another thread about war crimes and Iraq.
Whilst I agree this war was ill-advised and I would rather it had not happened I do not agree with the war crime angle.
Some people really ought to think through what they choose to say.

One might believe it clever to make digs on this level about TB and this Labour Gov but it does ignore the fact that, if this truly is so, then every British soldier acting on those orders is also acting illegally and is guilty of war crimes then.
I don't believe that to be the case.

But if you really do think so then I'd suggest you bear in mind that Nuremberg saw the end of the 'I was only acting under orders' defence.

So, is that really to be your line of attack on this?

As I said, I'd advise people really interested in this issue to read what the General has actually said and consider that in the context of how the military operates in a democracy.
It's pretty important (and that's why I mentioned thinking about it if it was on a different issue, one you did not agree with him on).
A political military is IMO a problem we can well do without.

Those wanting to use this specific issue to rerun the Iraq debate would be better off doing it on another thread.


[edit on 15-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 10:37 AM
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right up until he is given his orders.
Then he must carry out his orders.

So in your opinion it was right for Guderian to attack France? He shouldn't have protested? And Erich Hoepner deserved to die?

People, think before you write.

Bush is indifferent from Hitler, his grandfather even collaborated with the German dictator.

[edit on 17-10-2006 by SackBliar]



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 01:11 PM
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Originally posted by SackBliar
So in your opinion it was right for Guderian to attack France?


- Eh?!
How the hell is that relevant or follow anything I just said?

......and just what the hell does the nazi system and chain of command and their invasion of France in 1940 during WW2 have to do with the media comments of a British General and our free democratic Britain acting under legal and proper UN mandate(s) in both Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006?


He shouldn't have protested?


- If you read what I actually said I said that in our democracy the military are subordinate to the political leadership, which they are, thankfully.
That is the fact of the matter and it is not open to debate and dispute.

First of all it's worth remembering that our British military is a 100% voluntary entity.

If those senior members of the British military should end up in strong disagreement and intractable dispute with the political leadership then they have a right to make their feelings very plain to our political leadership.
If they still get no joy and still feel so strongly about it - or they refuse their orders - then the remaining course open to them is to resign.
At that point they can go to the media if they wish and make their comments about their resignation (within the confines of the Official Secrets Act).

Less senior members can also refuse orders they deem illegal, in fact it is their duty under international and British law to do so.

Like I said the defense that "I was only following orders" was blown away in 1945 at Nuremberg.

That is the correct course of action, what is not correct is to try and go outside of and attempt to undermine the 'chain of command' to which they are sworn whilst attempting to remain within that chain of command.


And Erich Hoepner deserved to die?


- Oh dear, have we yet another WW2 fetishist here?

Well, you might find it all exactly like WW2 and the nazi state but I think you're out in a tiny minority there matey.

.....this is nothing even remotely like the nazi situation.



People, think before you write.


- I suggest you might like to follow your own advice
and
try a little of that thinking when you're reading what others have said.

That way you might end up commenting on what was actually said and not your own interpretation of what you imagine was said.

It might also be worth just coming out and asking any questions you have, if you have them, rather than attempting to put ridiculous words and your own daft invented parallels in people's mouths, ok?


Bush is indifferent from Hitler, his grandfather even collaborated with the German dictator.


- Fine. Right-o.

Feel free to go off and discuss US politics on the appropriate section of PTS then, that's what it is there for, ok?


[edit on 17-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 10:15 AM
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We were NOT authorised by the UN to attack Iraq. The UN didn't authorise the invasion. Bliar, and everyone who supports the war, including you, should be punished with death, just like the Nazi war criminals.



Well, you might find it all exactly like WW2 and the nazi state but I think you're out in a tiny minority there matey.

You really need to learn how to debate. If I say it's like WWII, then if you just say "No it isn't", then you don't prove anything. Listen up, cos I'm not going to repeat it: it resembles WWII.

1) An ineffective international organisation that couldn't prevent war - the UN, just like the League of Nations.
2) A totalitarian dictator - Herr Bushler, whose grandfather has been collaborating with Hitler - ever heard of the Patriot Act?
3) Using lies as a pretext for war
4) Gassing the citizens of the invaded country (In Iraq, the US has used phosphorus - and that is illegal)
5) Genocide (I've recently heard that 655000 Iraqis died as a result of invasion)
6) France unable to help the invaded country

[edit on 18-10-2006 by SackBliar]



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 10:24 AM
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You can attempt to hijack this thread all you like but you will not succeed.

You can even shout your 'points' as much as you like but why should anyone debate what you say when you take absolutely no notice of what has been said?

Carry on swerving the point all you like but the various forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are there under full legal UN mandate, right now.

That's nothing like WW2.

The point (upon which this entire thread was based) was about a top British General commenting in the tabloid media and whether it was right and appropriate.

If you want to rave on about Iraq and Tony Blair and the Labour government feel free, but please have the decency to start your own thread on the topic instead of trying to hijack others, hmmmmm?



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 02:18 PM
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We were NOT authorised by the UN to attack Iraq. The UN didn't authorise the invasion. Bliar, and everyone who supports the war, including you, should be punished with death, just like the Nazi war criminals.


Wow if that not personally attacking another member on ATS, I do not know what is. There is rules on this site against that, think you need to withdraw that posting. I could say the exact same thing against you but I wont hyjack this thread.




4) Gassing the citizens of the invaded country (In Iraq, the US has used phosphorus - and that is illegal)


The US may have, but have the BRITISH? if you have proof I would like to see it, until then you cannot blame the british for it simple as that.




5) Genocide (I've recently heard that 655000 Iraqis died as a result of invasion)


That figure is being debated both by the US and the British Govs, you cannot blame all those deaths on those forces, alot of those killins have been carried out by insurgents as well as sectarian violence in that area.




6) France unable to help the invaded country


WTH has france got to do with this? give me an answer or a link.

Oh btw if you want to start another thread I would be glad enough to answer your questions in that thread or debate the issue.



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 05:10 PM
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Originally posted by spencerjohnstone



We were NOT authorised by the UN to attack Iraq. The UN didn't authorise the invasion. Bliar, and everyone who supports the war, including you, should be punished with death, just like the Nazi war criminals.


Wow if that not personally attacking another member on ATS, I do not know what is. There is rules on this site against that, think you need to withdraw that posting.


- I had kind of hoped s/he'd take the hint and reconsider and edit a little, obviously not.

You can lead a horse but you can't make it drink, you can lead a socky pillock to the facts but you've no chance of making them think, eh?


[edit on 18-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 09:35 PM
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"Death To The Killers!"


Originally posted by SackBliar
We were NOT authorised by the UN to attack Iraq. The UN didn't authorise the invasion. Bliar, and everyone who supports the war, including you, should be punished with death, just like the Nazi war criminals.

While there's nothing wrong with having strong feelings about all this, I do ask that you not condemn other members to death, since that runs contrary to the AboveTopSecret.com Terms And Conditions Of Use.


Perhaps the biggest problem with executing everyone who disagrees with you on this topic rests in the fact that without disagreement, there wouldn't be much to talk about.


Rather -- and again, I don't want to discourage you from expressing your opinions on the issues -- why not respect the rights of other members to hold different opinions and discuss the issues constructively?


You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised at what can result.




Related topic:

Courtesy Is Mandatory



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