Sir Jock Stirrup: Even a US surge won’t beat the Taliban

From The Sunday Times
February 1, 2009

Sir Jock Stirrup: Even a US surge won’t beat the Taliban

Sir Jock Stirrup, Britain’s chief of the defence staff, tells Carey Schofield only politics can bring peace to Afghanistan
Fighter reconnaissance pilots possess steely resolve. Having served his time flying Strikemasters during Britain’s “secret war” in Oman in the 1970s and a Jaguar reconnaissance aircraft during the cold war, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, now chief of the defence staff, knows something about steering a difficult course into hostile territory. Indeed, he’s still doing it today. He is described by many in the services as “Gordon’s favourite defence chief” - and it is not meant as a compliment.

At a time when the armed forces are stuck in two unpopular wars, Stirrup has come under heavy fire for his willingness to work with his political masters. Typically, he brushes aside suggestions that the defence budget is in trouble. There is “serious pressure” he admits, but “we have to adjust our programme so that we can live within the available resources”. It is not hard to see why this frustrates troops waiting on the ground in Afghanistan for a helicopter that may or may not arrive to deliver supplies
More on the link
The more I read about Jock, the more I dont like it, bring back Dannant


Unsurprisingly he is towing the party line and being a good little boy. Bet his attitude changes towards the end of his tenureship when the book deals are on the table.
Could it be that Sir Jock's statements & actions will serve the RAF in good stead in the next round of cuts at the cost of the senior services ? "......I couldn't possibly comment...." 8)
I made comment about this on another thread.

The current CDS does pick his moments. Perhaps he is just being quoted out of context but I am worried it is not so.

I agree with the sentiment of the article. He no longer sounds as if he is acting in the military's best interest, rather, has become a little too much his political masters lapdog.

Perhaps he should review his role to the military..................
Having served his time flying Strikemasters during Britain’s “secret war” in Oman in the 1970s and a Jaguar reconnaissance aircraft during the cold war,

Great success at both = some leader


Book Reviewer
Must say his comments are striking me as frankly defeatist lately...
Not unlike the British approach to Basra, appease, appease, appease.

Afg needs a firm hand and lots of troops. General Petraeus is far better qualified to talk about Afghanistan. If Petraeus thinks it is winnable, I believe him.

No wonder the Americans are starting to question the supine British Military leadership.

The lads on the ground must wonder why they are bothering to make the sacrifice. Six dead in January, for what? Sir Jock's leadership? Why don't we just head for official negotiations with the Taliban and let them take control of the Country with 80% of Afghans opposed?
As fast as we get rid of one crawler in the shape of Ian Blair, another one turns up. I prefer the strong silent type. We all know the bloody machine is broke - it is his job to fix it or get a new one.


War Hero
Now I find myself asking the following given the opinion in the article that ,

, Britain will be confined to the surroundings of the capital Lashkar Gah, while the Americans take over the whole of the south.

Why the hell don't we give it up as a bad job and bring the boys home, it confuses the hell out of me that we as a nation will be willing to put up with a steady drip of dead men coming home, to be confined to Lashkar Gah, and not be out there playing a full roll rather than a token effort once the Americans turn up.
Here's the rub.

But political insiders say Stirrup has won Whitehall battles that more flamboyant generals would have botched.

Now the cynical can beleive he has protected the RAF, at the expense of others... maybe he has.

But what is more disturbing is that in an organisation that is supposed to support and nurture the Forces such "battles" have to be fought... and more to the point so often that they have a name coined "Whitehall battles".

At a time when billions can be found to support failing banks (that are failing due to the bankers OWN incompetance and greed) and millions are squandered on the unemployed, immigrants and general gross neglilence and wastage; the Armed Forces have been left "sucking hind tit" as the Americans would put it. Despite taking part in TWO major operations.


This annoys me almost as much as this tw@t's comments about the Army being 'smug'. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the argument he is the CDS and therefore responsible. If he didn't like it he had a duty to do something about it. He is digging his own grave. :x
Hmm - there was a sort of love-in with Stirrup on arrse earlier about how WE did in NI etc. WE did fcuk all - he wasn't there. The only smug fcuker is him.

The man has no moral fibre (and I don't give a fcuk about him landing a stricken aircraft - it was his job!). He should have refused to stand in for Dannat and forced the issue.

He is wnaker of the first order and not fit to lead fighting troops.

Do the Crabs have Mess Webleys?

Edited once for angry spelling :evil:
is he simply briefing against the idea of a 'surge' because he knows we cannot contribute to it? When the americans complaints about our lack of support get louder, he will simply continue to 'critique' their strategy to deflect attention away from the inability of HM armed forces to do the same.

edited for clarity.
Sir Jock appears to be being quoted in the press an awful lot lately. I'm not happy it's because he has some sort of downer on the Army or whether this is some sort of unannounced manoeuvrist approach to Afghanistan?

Either way, I think it's a mistake to take comments possibly taken out of context at face value.

Chinese PM is in London at the moment, I hope he has a meeting with the 'Killing Gentleman' Hutton...
PTP I was wondering if he is preparing the ground for negotiation and retreat....err pull back. I discounted the thought because the surge hasn't started yet and nobody knows if it will succeed. His comments appear to be spectacularly poorly timed on the back of several combat deaths in recent weeks.

Never have liked what the man says, but he could be reflecting political reality on the ground at the moment. He needs to take care though. Morale is good in Afg, but how stable is it? If he loses the support of the families he is risking an awful lot.
Exactly Nige. While he won't be as forthright in his comments as say a certain former 1st SL or Sir Richard about the realities on the ground in Afghanistan , I am left wondering as to whether ground is being prepared for either a tactical withdrawl, a changing of the mission , or indeed my favourite, opening the door for a certain regional superpower to put troops on the ground..

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