Just what UK needs - another General with a book to plug

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
I see from today's Telegraph that General Sir Richard Shirreff has a book to plug. He also thinks UK is pacifist, that Army is in decline and that we could be at war with Putin in a year.

Am I the only person that is tired of former VSO grandstanding to plug a book, get a job or curry political favour without explaining why they don't consider the current parlous state of the Army be be their fault? Craven abrogation of responsibility seems to be endemic in the government machine...
 
#2
Agreed, if they cared a fishes tit for the country they would be speaking out upon retirement and not waiting for a book launch to top up their pensions.
War with Russia my arse, the greatest threat facing us is much closer to home.
 
#3
On R4, Today, this morning. My first thought was "Hmmm, wasn't your pension enough to pay off the mortgage then".

To his credit one of the first things he said was that the book is fiction and thus (paraphrasing) conjecture. But he was using the high profile of his former position to feather his nest.
 
#4
I don't think the General is entirely wrong though. Russia has been rearming since 2008 and has not exactly been backward in making all of its NATO neighbours worried and invading those who are non NATO.
I say 2018 though:)
 
#5
I look forward to it, surely a professional familiar with the Army over the last two decades will be addressing such valid and relevant issues as:

The effects of the Army over promising and under delivering during two campaigns and the subsequent effect on the appetite of the British public for external military action;

The way that our pointless pre-occupation with the Middle East post 9/11 has given Russia freedom to manoeuvre in Eastern Europe and create the problems we see today;

The way the retreat of the Army from society - and in particular the attempts to get rid of the TA/AR - have resulted in a public that know far less about the Army than at any time in our history and consequently do not think it worth spending on;

The complete rolling goat orgy that is armoured vehicle procurement leading to an aging, obsolete heavy metal fleet that is unable to survive on the modern battlefield.



Oh wait. Proper soldiering. So a cry for more money and an explanation that everything that has gone wrong anytime, ever, with the Army has nothing to do with anyone in the Army. A big boy did it and ran away.
 
#6
I think the lack of imagination by retiring generals in communicating a controversial message through traditional publications is becoming a tired and leaden metaphor for foreign policy in an age of dying imperialism.

I for one won't be reading this book unless it is shoplifted.

I would pay to read/absorb the views of a retired general if they were communicated via the medium of interpretive dance by refugees wearing hijabs in a venue created on a brown field site with renewable energy and materials.
 
#7
I look forward to it, surely a professional familiar with the Army over the last two decades will be addressing such valid and relevant issues as:

The effects of the Army over promising and under delivering during two campaigns and the subsequent effect on the appetite of the British public for external military action;

The way that our pointless pre-occupation with the Middle East post 9/11 has given Russia freedom to manoeuvre in Eastern Europe and create the problems we see today;

The way the retreat of the Army from society - and in particular the attempts to get rid of the TA/AR - have resulted in a public that know far less about the Army than at any time in our history and consequently do not think it worth spending on;

The complete rolling goat orgy that is armoured vehicle procurement leading to an aging, obsolete heavy metal fleet that is unable to survive on the modern battlefield.



Oh wait. Proper soldiering. So a cry for more money and an explanation that everything that has gone wrong anytime, ever, with the Army has nothing to do with anyone in the Army. A big boy did it and ran away.
Putting my very largest tinfoil hat on I suspect that history will show us that our Middle East preoccupation was deliberately supported and massaged by a Russia that is longing to play a new imperial game.
I agree with everything you say OOTS - I almost get the impression that the moment Herrick was over the big boys just turned the lights off.
What are we prepared for now an what could we sustain even with the support of NATO allies? Questions which I would hope are being asked and planned for back in the UK.
Living in Eastern Europe now I can say that the locals are preparing as best they can.
 
#8
Isnt it absolutely amazing how not one of the problems the 4* general identifies happened while he was on watch. Its as if the moment he left the military, it all went to the dogs. Scandalous really - how did we let this happen?
 
#9
I rattle around the edges (or at least did) of international relations, and the number of times HMG's response has been (and I do not exagerate) 'let's send a strongly worded Tweet' rather than the much more effective 'lets send a Bn to Wherethef&ckistan, along with a sqn of Typhoons, and let's have a carrier battle group steam up and down off the coast'. Once you get east of Dover, military might is all that despots understand.

Edite to add: and we can't send a Bn, Sqn or CBG - becasue the cupboard is bare. Empty. Null. Voided.
 
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#10
I rattle around the edges (or at least did) of international relations, and the number of times HMG's response has been (and I do not exagerate) 'let's send a strongly worded Tweet' rather than the much more effective 'lets send a Bn to Wherethef&ckistan, along with a sqn of Typhoons, and let's have a carrier battle group steam up and down off the coast'. Once you get east of Dover, military might is all that despots understand.[/QUOTE]
No way to talk about the French.
 
#11
Putting my very largest tinfoil hat on I suspect that history will show us that our Middle East preoccupation was deliberately supported and massaged by a Russia that is longing to play a new imperial game.
I agree with everything you say OOTS - I almost get the impression that the moment Herrick was over the big boys just turned the lights off.
What are we prepared for now an what could we sustain even with the support of NATO allies? Questions which I would hope are being asked and planned for back in the UK.
Living in Eastern Europe now I can say that the locals are preparing as best they can.
You don't need tinfoil. It's why Russia went hot and cold on S300 for Iran, why they're in Syria at the moment and so on and so on.

As to what we can do, I suspect we have no idea. Refight HERRICK as far as I can tell from the chatter on here from those in at the moment.
 
#12

You are the lovechild of Lord Palmerston & I claim my 5 Guineas :)
 
#13
You don't need tinfoil. It's why Russia went hot and cold on S300 for Iran, why they're in Syria at the moment and so on and so on.

As to what we can do, I suspect we have no idea. Refight HERRICK as far as I can tell from the chatter on here from those in at the moment.
In terms of preparation I would like to think that NATO are inviting the best and brightest from the Ukraine to advise us on the latest tactics employed by Russia in Eastern Ukraine right now.
I don't think it would do any harm to move Sennelager and associated assets about 500 miles east either. I believe the US have suggested doing something along those lines with their current European assets?
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
Putting my very largest tinfoil hat on I suspect that history will show us that our Middle East preoccupation was deliberately supported and massaged by a Russia that is longing to play a new imperial game.
Wasn't it Napoleon who said "Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake"?
 
#15
Wasn't it Napoleon who said "Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake"?
Absolutely - we must accept that we have been completely outplayed by Russia in terms of long term strategy. Weak leadership across Europe and a misinformed belief that we were all on the same side in terms of "The war on Terror" has resulted in the status quo.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
I look forward to it, surely a professional familiar with the Army over the last two decades will be addressing such valid and relevant issues as:

The effects of the Army over promising and under delivering during two campaigns and the subsequent effect on the appetite of the British public for external military action;

The way that our pointless pre-occupation with the Middle East post 9/11 has given Russia freedom to manoeuvre in Eastern Europe and create the problems we see today;

The way the retreat of the Army from society - and in particular the attempts to get rid of the TA/AR - have resulted in a public that know far less about the Army than at any time in our history and consequently do not think it worth spending on;

The complete rolling goat orgy that is armoured vehicle procurement leading to an aging, obsolete heavy metal fleet that is unable to survive on the modern battlefield.

Oh wait. Proper soldiering. So a cry for more money and an explanation that everything that has gone wrong anytime, ever, with the Army has nothing to do with anyone in the Army. A big boy did it and ran away.
Personally, given his seniority, I'm more concerned about his views on finger food, 'thank you' letters and sitting next to one's spouse.

It might be no bad thing if Russia or its like became a clear and present danger. Western democracy's struggled to define itself since the fall of the wall and in the absence of a credible threat, as opposed to an occasional violent nuisance.

It may be that some heavy breathing from the East might put the brakes on the 'bread and circuses' politics of the EU and introduce a much needed dose of reality into the social engineering fantasies and general get rich quick schemes of our neo-liberal ruling class.
 
#17
As to what we can do, I suspect we have no idea. Refight HERRICK as far as I can tell from the chatter on here from those in at the moment.
I agree, however I don't necessarily agree those with recent knowledge of combat ops are all in favour of doing the same again, quite a few have said quite the opposite. I suppose though you could compare them to the BAOR saved us from the Russian hordes generation(s) (of which I may have membership), in that we all think our experience is valid but not may not necessarily be relevant for the future.
 
#18
In terms of preparation I would like to think that NATO are inviting the best and brightest from the Ukraine to advise us on the latest tactics employed by Russia in Eastern Ukraine right now.
I don't think it would do any harm to move Sennelager and associated assets about 500 miles east either. I believe the US have suggested doing something along those lines with their current European assets?
I believe we signed an Agreement that we would not permanently station forces on old Warsaw pact territory, hence the constant rotation of ground and airforces going on at the moment.

I think the American positioning of heavy amour in Georgia at the moment is a poke in the eye for the Russians, whether the Americans could position Armour there in times of conflict would be interesting...
 
#19
I look forward to it, surely a professional familiar with the Army over the last two decades will be addressing such valid and relevant issues as:

The effects of the Army over promising and under delivering during two campaigns and the subsequent effect on the appetite of the British public for external military action;

The way that our pointless pre-occupation with the Middle East post 9/11 has given Russia freedom to manoeuvre in Eastern Europe and create the problems we see today;

The way the retreat of the Army from society - and in particular the attempts to get rid of the TA/AR - have resulted in a public that know far less about the Army than at any time in our history and consequently do not think it worth spending on;

The complete rolling goat orgy that is armoured vehicle procurement leading to an aging, obsolete heavy metal fleet that is unable to survive on the modern battlefield.



Oh wait. Proper soldiering. So a cry for more money and an explanation that everything that has gone wrong anytime, ever, with the Army has nothing to do with anyone in the Army. A big boy did it and ran away.


But don't the Wooperts on Horses look magnificent as they clip clip down the Mall?
 

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