16 October 2006
A very British coup?
It appears that General Sir Richard Dannatt's comments to the Daily Mail may have been rather more calculated than they first appeared. In fact, it is possible that the Defence Secretary, Des Browne, may have been in on the ploy that fired such a massive shot across Blair's bows.
At first the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) press office declined to give the general permission to speak to the press, so he took the matter up with Browne directly and the latter "reluctantly agreed," according to one source.
The general then made his explosive comments, and followed them up with a further salvo on BBC radio, where he declared that the war against Iraq could "break" the army.
The mere fact that this second interview was given suggests that the MoD is either supporting the general, or at least not actively hindering his efforts. In other words, Gen. Dannatt has the tacit approval of Des Browne.
Further evidence that leads to this conclusion is the way in which Blair has been forced to say that he agrees with everything that the general said.
OK, so little Bambi now believes that the war against Iraq makes the security situation worse and that the British should leave, otherwise the British Army could be broken? That is what the general said, and nobody could claim with a straight face that this is what Blair actually believes.
Blair probably fell into line because Des Browne told him that the general was speaking for the MoD and, maybe, a sizable chunk of the cabinet.
If this is true then Blair is now completely isolated, and what we have just witnessed is a very British coup.