Masters and commanders: BBC4 last night

#1
Did anyone catch this last night.

Masters and Commanders
Newsnight's Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban explores the tense and often explosive relationship between politicians and the military through the ages. Following the speech by Britain's top soldier Richard Dannatt about Iraq last month, the programme asks who really calls the shots and reveals colourful tales, from General Monck, who restored the monarchy, to the battle in Whitehall before the Falklands War.
I thought it was a brilliant programme that traced the ever increasing level of micro-management imposed on the work of the armed forces by their political masters.

Some really good input from Senior officers. Appears wacko Jacko seriously contemplated resignation on more than one occassion, but felt he could do more from inside than the limited effects his resignation would have on the governments policies.
 
#3
Agent_Smith said:
Did anyone catch this last night.

Masters and Commanders
Newsnight's Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban explores the tense and often explosive relationship between politicians and the military through the ages. Following the speech by Britain's top soldier Richard Dannatt about Iraq last month, the programme asks who really calls the shots and reveals colourful tales, from General Monck, who restored the monarchy, to the battle in Whitehall before the Falklands War.
I thought it was a brilliant programme that traced the ever increasing level of micro-management imposed on the work of the armed forces by their political masters.

Some really good input from Senior officers. Appears wacko Jacko seriously contemplated resignation on more than one occassion, but felt he could do more from inside than the limited effects his resignation would have on the governments policies.
Caught part of it, but not all unfortunately.

Thought it was a very good programme, and General Jackson's comments were interesting. The comment about the Admiral who resigned - until I read it here, on a post a month or so ago, I'd never heard about it.

Did Urban go back to WW2 at all? I missed the early part of the programme, but having read a few biographies, including Allanbrooke and Montgomery, it would appear that Churchill was also a meddler. Be interesting to see what he would have done with the power of modern technology.

The problem with politicians in my view, is that they all see themselves as able to be back seat generals. (And arguably the Press as well.) The lack of politicians who have real experience of the military leads them to question a professionals ability at one level, but not able to critically question the advice at the other.

I also think that Commanders at all levels have the ability to play with the "long screwdriver" - I read it described as "Squad commander in the sky" during the American experience in Vietnam, and have no doubt today that Army commanders, with access to more and more information, and Staff Officers with little to do but tinker, and justify their existence, do meddle.
 

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