Oh look, it’s General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the British Army.
Popping up like a sock-puppet in Afghanistan Not to commemorate Afghan independence from British rule, but to big up the current occupation of the country, in which the British armed forces play a big part.
“With the training we’ve got, the equipment we’ve got, and determination, and leadership, we’re winning our tactical engagements,” he said.
“Of course, tragically, we take casualties from time to time. I don’t want to get into a numbers count, but the Taleban have taken a lot more casualties than we have.”
While troops were “certainly stretched” and soldiers were not getting as long in barracks as he would like, morale was good, he said.
“We can be busy, we can be stretched, we can run hot – provided we are looking after individuals.
“Critically, our soldiers feel valued and supported and thanked for what they are doing.”
It’s hard to believe that he said this. The BBC reports it, so it must be true…
His evangelising is well-timed, I think, considering that there is no real support for the war, nor any clear understanding of its supposed purpose to the peoples of the UK.
A month ago, a memo by Dannatt was leaked to the press, in which he writes:
It is difficult to predict the long-term effect of this level of pressure on people. It is critical that we improve manning as quickly as we can.
As to the morale of troops, the resistance to the occupation is fighting for something it believes in but this is obviously not the case for the British Army. The top brass have imposed restrictions on internet usage, in an effort to limit dissenting expression by soldiers. Stories in such as this one don’t help morale much, either:
The Foreign Office has built a swimming pool for diplomats at Kabul’s British Embassy – while soldiers complain of water shortages on the front line 400miles away.
The 18-metre pool, which has been built inside the high security compound in the Afghan capital, was completed a fortnight ago for the Embassy’s 152 British and 76 Afghan employees.