Army becoming too political?

#1
Apologise if already covered,

According to Prof Vernon Bogdanor the Senior Top Brass should keep their noses out of politics:

"To abandon the principle of a non-political Civil Service would be a great mistake. To abandon the principle of a non-political Army would be a catastrophe"

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article7058904.ece

Controversial statement from a well educated person, might ignite a few tempers possibly?
 
#2
Anothe Lefty fool, The only reason ********* like him can make statements like that is because the Army got a bit political in the 1640s
 
#3
Simple suggestion - the learned twerp keeps his nose out of military affairs.

The sole reason any senior military officer comments upon any subject with a political flavour is because he or maybe she:

is CONCERNED ABOUT SOLDIERS or SAILORS
.

Politicians treat voters like shit.

Generals treat private soldiers like platinum and gold.
(If they do not then they should be hung, drawn and quartered.

Sadly, I am excluding the Royal Air Force in this post, as the current figurehead of the nation's Forces is a 'political pawn' - sad, but in my opinion true.
 
#4
Worra loada bollix! Operations carried out by the British Army are always the result of political motivations, from whatever party happens to be in power. It's not so much that the army's becoming more political, but that opportunistic and self-serving politicians are increasingly intruding on the traditional neutrality of the army and misusing if for political reasons.

MsG
 
#5
Bugsy said:
Worra loada bollix! Operations carried out by the British Army are always the result of political motivations, from whatever party happens to be in power. It's not so much that the army's becoming more political, but that opportunistic and self-serving politicians are increasingly intruding on the traditional neutrality of the army and misusing if for political reasons.

MsG
This comment is absolutely bang on the mark.

There is also, with the number of conflicts and service deaths over the last period that the Forces are not prepared to be as subservient as they were in the past. They now know that unless they do stand up and fight for the resources they need, they simply won't get them.

I don't think that makes them political as I would hope the same attitude would be expressed whatever party is in power. Simply pragmatic expert employees of the State, ensuring that the tasks they are set remain possible.

I'd also say that if the political leaders actually listened to CDS, CGS and crew, the robust public attitude being taken by the them, would not needed. They have simply found that it needs public embarrassment and disagreement to get this particular spin happy HMG to take notice of them. Perhaps that should be remembered by this Professor too.
 
#6
Apologies Bugsy.

Totally misconstrued your post
 
#7
The top brass are wheeled out by their political masters when they deem it fit. They are placed in the political arena. Is it fair to then ask for silence when they aren't voicing the views of the 'party line'? That's my view on the serving top brass.

As for the 'retired' senior officers, they as citizens of this country can voice their opinions as much as they like.... football players, pop stars and actors are allowed to voice their opinions as if they count for something, so why not people who should actually know what they are talking about?
 
#8
It depends on your definition of politics, really.

Should we be in Afg? That is a largely political issue and the opinions of the military chiefs are not required.

Should the troops be properly rescorced to do the job asked of them? I don't think of that as political. Any military
commander worth his salt should be prepared to wrestle Brown to the ground over it.

Don't see it as political, tho.
 
#9
I guess the argument is that disagreement should be done behind closed doors not via the media. Otherwise it becomes political.

Not saying this is my point of view, just playing Devil's Advocate
 
#10
Plant-Pilot said:
The top brass are wheeled out by their political masters when they deem it fit. They are placed in the political arena. Is it fair to then ask for silence when they aren't voicing the views of the 'party line'? That's my view on the serving top brass.

As for the 'retired' senior officers, they as citizens of this country can voice their opinions as much as they like.... football players, pop stars and actors are allowed to voice their opinions as if they count for something, so why not people who should actually know what they are talking about?
I agree.

If I recall correctly, Hoon wheeled out Admiral Boyce at a press conference and was then very dismayed when Boyce said there was not enough kit and/or the Services were undermanned.

As for retired officers, they have every right to express ther opinions although I think they undermine their credibility and criticism of Government when they refuse to acknowledge that their decisions may also have contributed to the situation.
 
#11
Not convinced any of this is new.

It is inevitable that the Chiefs are ‘political animals’ – they are operating at a level where everything has a political dimension. But that is different to them being ‘political’ in the sense of promoting or hindering the policies of a particular party. In that sense, they (and the forces in general) are actually far more apolitical at the start of the 21st Century than at the start of the 20th. Bogdanor mentions the vile Henry Wilson. It is impossible to imagine a present day senior officer behaving like HHW, or circumstances that would give rise to a modern Curragh incident. Nobody should be surprised that many/most senior officer are conservative, with or without a capital letter. Their personal beliefs don’t matter, as long as they don’t get in the way of the day job.

It is true that today disagreements between the Chiefs and politicians on matters of policy, resources, etc, which have always existed, are more public than they have been in the past. But the Chiefs have never been shy about using public channels to get their side of an argument across – I think I’m right in saying that Jackie Fisher had at least one (anonymous) letter published in Times supporting the building of Dreadnoughts.

As for retired senior officers taking a political stance, there’s nothing new or dramatic in this either e.g. one of the reasons for the way the TF was set up in 1908 was to deflect the calls for conscription uttered by the National Service League, led by Lord Roberts, formerly Commander-in-Chief.

All this only really matters when there is a really fundamental difference opinion between the Chiefs and their political masters. At this point they can a) salute, about turn and soldier on or b) resign. What they shouldn’t do is seek to seriously subvert government policy while serving – if they want to do that they can stand for election.

C_C

P.S. and if anybody believes the answer is that political posts should be filled by senior officers, then the two 20th Century examples I can think of (Kitchener as Secretary for War and Alexander as Minister of Defence) aren’t encouraging.
 
#12
Whereas the civilian encumbents of these two esteemed posts have all been runaway successes?

Kitchener at least had a realistic view of what WW1 would become and what it would require in terms of manpower
 
#13
Northern Monkey said:
Whereas the civilian encumbents of these two esteemed posts have all been runaway successes?

Kitchener at least had a realistic view of what WW1 would become and what it would require in terms of manpower
Nope, not claiming anything for civvies, simply saying the 'Minister of Defence should be military' thing hasn't produced any better results.

You identify the one thing Kitchener did get right. He got a lot more wrong (not helped by a series of very weak CsIGS until the appointment of 'Wully' Robertson in Dec 1915) and, in my opinion, had he not been drowned on HMS Hampshire would have been sacked after his return from Russia and would be remembered rather differently from the way he is.

C_C
 
#14
Your argument certainly appears to attempt to negate the call for military "defence" politicians on the basis of past performance of (2) individuals, which by extension of logic infers civilian incumbents have performed better. Re-read what you wrote and then deny it. It may not be what you meant...

What did he get wrong more than he got right? Not sure the shell crisis can be laid at his feet...and Gallipoli wasn't wholly of his doing. I'm intrigued by what else he got wrong?
Also not sure that I identified only one thing he got right-he argued the length of the conflict and the manpower required;not at all interchangeable.

Was he not possibly correct in wanting to hold his new armies in reserve, rather than allow the new strong GIGS (Wully) to squander them on the Somme?
 
#15
All that any soldier can hope for is that his or her leaders give all their allegiance to the Army that they lead. To allow a political bias or for any segment of the Army to become politicised is a mistake of gargantuan proportions and will only lead disaster for the Army and for democracy.
I think Bugsy has it right. This Government seeks to politicise everything and works on the principle that, if you're not with us you're agin us. They will not accept any public display of allegiance to his troops by a General nor will they accept anything but blind, uncomplaining obedience. Perhaps it's because the Labour leadership is so self serving that they cannot comprehend altruism in anyone but especially in someone who is not an overt supporter.
The Army's job is to carry out and enforce its Government's foreign policy. The Generals are given their mission and their only concern is that they are given the funds and the political will to carry out their objective and succeed. To achieve their aims they have to be totally politically neutral so as to neither upset Government or Opposition but should court both so as to gain the greatest advantage from both. The Army is outward facing, it either operates abroad or it defends our shores, should it ever become inwardly focused then democracy will be lost and centuries of freedom with it.
 
#16
I wouldn't particularly disagree with much that has been written except to say that it takes a giant leap of faith, and departure from reality, to make the assumption that politicians are always in the wrong and the generals are always right, as some posts seem to suggest. That is true, even for this government.

The leadership of the armed forces bear some responsibility, not only for where we are, but how we got here. It is an absolute fact that the Army was asked if it could take on Afghanistan and it is an absolute fact that the Army said yes; almost without hesitation. Reid didn't make his infamous quote because he just said the first thing that came into his head.

Moreover, as time passes more of the failures of the Iraq campaign are being recognised. That most of the readership of this site should be protective of the Army's reputation and non critical of it's operations is understandable but it doesn't do anyone a particular service. To my mind, the most interesting posts are from the few that have an open minded and innovative approach. My point is that the Army's non critical and "can do," culture doesn't do anyone any favours.

So what? Former generals may criticise and highlight the failings of the government and the MOD but a good starting point to improve would be a little more humility and constructive criticism of the Army's performance in recent theatres, not to mention their own records. The growing holier than thou arrogance will do the next generation no favours whatsoever. In this, we could perhaps learn from the Americans ability to rapidly learn from previous mistakes.
 
#17
So it's true to say that the 'men in suits' decided to make do with second hand Snatch landrovers, rather than mine protected vehicles, in case it inferred with the purchase and development of 'The holy grail' FRES.
Has FRES actually been developed yet? Was /is it just a pie in the sky. When is FRES due in service? How many young lads and ladies have been sacrificed, in order to be ready for the next war (against a conventional force.)
God forbid we defeat them, and they start being nasty calling themselves insurgents.
 
#18
lsquared said:
Simple suggestion - the learned twerp keeps his nose out of military affairs.

The sole reason any senior military officer comments upon any subject with a political flavour is because he or maybe she:

is CONCERNED ABOUT SOLDIERS or SAILORS
.

Politicians treat voters like s***.

Generals treat private soldiers like platinum and gold.
(If they do not then they should be hung, drawn and quartered.

Sadly, I am excluding the Royal Air Force in this post, as the current figurehead of the nation's Forces is a 'political pawn' - sad, but in my opinion true.
I'm with you on this one
 
#19
thegimp said:
lsquared said:
Simple suggestion - the learned twerp keeps his nose out of military affairs.

The sole reason any senior military officer comments upon any subject with a political flavour is because he or maybe she:

is CONCERNED ABOUT SOLDIERS or SAILORS
.

Politicians treat voters like s***.

Generals treat private soldiers like platinum and gold.
(If they do not then they should be hung, drawn and quartered.

Sadly, I am excluding the Royal Air Force in this post, as the current figurehead of the nation's Forces is a 'political pawn' - sad, but in my opinion true.
I'm with you on this one
Course you are, you feckin ignorant retard tw@t !!
Because RAF Airmen/Women, dont take the same oath as soldiers and sailors, they dont die in operational theatres like soldiers and sailors and they dont risk their lives on a daily basis to support the Army.
You fecking despicable piece of SHITE !!
Hopefully, the parents of one of the Airmen who have died for their country, dont come on here and see you disrespecting their efforts.

Now feckoff back under the stone you have crawled out of. TW@T
 
#20
Feedtheyak said:
thegimp said:
lsquared said:
Simple suggestion - the learned twerp keeps his nose out of military affairs.

The sole reason any senior military officer comments upon any subject with a political flavour is because he or maybe she:

is CONCERNED ABOUT SOLDIERS or SAILORS
.

Politicians treat voters like s***.

Generals treat private soldiers like platinum and gold.
(If they do not then they should be hung, drawn and quartered.

Sadly, I am excluding the Royal Air Force in this post, as the current figurehead of the nation's Forces is a 'political pawn' - sad, but in my opinion true.
I'm with you on this one
Course you are, you feckin ignorant retard tw@t !!
Because RAF Airmen/Women, dont take the same oath as soldiers and sailors, they dont die in operational theatres like soldiers and sailors and they dont risk their lives on a daily basis to support the Army.
You fecking despicable piece of SHITE !!
Hopefully, the parents of one of the Airmen who have died for their country, dont come on here and see you disrespecting their efforts.

Now feckoff back under the stone you have crawled out of. TW@T
You might want to re-read what was put. The post was a comment on Sir Jock Stirrup not on any other airman.
 

Latest Threads