Telegraph: Dannatt wrong on troop numbers, civil servant told US

#1
The senior civil servant organising the Iraq Inquiry secretly briefed against Britain’s top general after he called for more troops to counter a surge of deaths in Afghanistan.

In a private meeting in July 2009, the civil servant told US diplomats that General Lord Dannatt, who was head of the Army, was wrong to claim that “more boots on the ground” were needed.

Margaret Aldred, who was deputy head of the foreign and defence policy secretariat at the Cabinet Office, also contradicted a defence select committee report that said forces in Afghanistan needed more helicopters.

Less than a month later she was appointed as the secretary to the Iraq inquiry. Mrs Aldred is responsible for calling witnesses, gathering evidence and scheduling hearings.

The revelations, disclosed in cables leaked to WikiLeaks, expose the advice given to Gordon Brown during one of the most testing periods of his premiership, when 15 soldiers were killed in 10 days ...
Lord Dannatt wrong on troop numbers, civil servant told US - Telegraph
 
#2
I too read this earlier, and it definitely rang alarm bells, not just on the Iraq inquiry but it gives us a useful insight into the thinking the former PM had over military affairs.

"Referring to General Dannatt’s call for more troops, she stated that the PM decided how many British troops would deploy in Afghanistan only after close consultation with the MoD" She actually admits that the PM decides on troop deployments, not the Chiefs or the General Staff!
 
#3
Why is this seen as "news"..............we all know that the Gubment decide the numbers of troops deployed...........
 
#5
How can this sort of thing happen? Some posters wonder why this site is largely anti civil servant - could this thread enlighten them?

I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that this woman is a member of the Labour Party.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#6
So CS briefing against the Army, CS leading and ensuring that successive governments, of totally different political hues, maintain cuts in the armed services, CS cocking up procurement - can anyone see a pattern here.

Is it time to replace the top tier of CS as they no longer seem to have the lack of bias they claim?
 
#7
The CS in question has a long history of - let us be generous here - being very wary of the uniformed Armed Forces gaining even the smallest measure of control over their destiny.
 
#8
I find the title of this article very mis-leading. It sort of implies Dannatt was wrong whereas the reality is that the Civil Servant was actively undermining the Head of the Army and Defence Select Committee apparently for purely party political motives.

Her lack of impartiality undermines the whole validity of her past and current work.
 
#9
The timing of all this is very interesting.

The appointment of MA as secretary to the Iraq Inquiry was always, shall we say, rather an interesting decision, given that she had been at the very heart of policy making and strategic decisions for that campaign for several years. Even if she conducts her duties in the Iraq Inquiry with the utmost transparency and selflessness, I am afraid she still fails the Caesar's Wife test of not just being innocent in fact, but being utterly above suspicion.

Now, her role at the Cabinet Office was known to at least the cognoscenti in Parliament twenty months ago. Yet no one truly cried foul then, despite what the Telegraph claims in its article. If a front bench Opposition spokesman had made an issue of it, Gordon Brown and Gus O'Donnell could not have pressed on with appointing her to be Chilcot's fixer.

Suddenly, we have a raft of stuff appearing vs her. Questions in the House, and now this.

One might almost think that someone was out to discredit the Iraq Inquiry just as it takes the final stretch of its work.

EDIT - How shall I put this? Don't ever make the mistake of thinking that MA is typical of MOD civil serpents. Her ways are... rather unique.
 
#10
A couple of 'phone calls over the past hour lead me to conclude that this woman is loathed by those who work with and for her. 'Noxious'. 'Ill-tempered and ill-mannered'. 'A disciple of Gordon's 'Take the Armed Forces down a peg or two' doctrine. These are three opinions I gathered.

My guess is that this apparent bitch wears the military rank equivalent to her CS grade '24/7' and lets no-one forget it.

It appears that the fatuous and failed oaf Brown believed himself to be a brilliant military strategist as well as a financial genius. What did this country do to deserve that man and why have we to continue to put up with the traitorous Aldred woman?

Everyone appears to be ejaculating over Sir Gus O'Donnell - he is the head of the CS and he should string that woman up like Clara Petacci. Like Stirrup before him, he has lingered too long and should go.

I agree with the poster who said the upper reaches of the CS should be cleared out. Thirteen years of being politicised by the spiv Blair and bludgeoned by the oafish lout Brown, has clearly landed them in toto on the left side of neutrality.
 
#11
Normally I'd defend the CS, but on this occasion and having seen the person involved in action and seen how she conducts business, I'd prefer not to.
 
#13
I agree with the poster who said the upper reaches of the CS should be cleared out. Thirteen years of being politicised by the spiv Blair and bludgeoned by the oafish lout Brown, has clearly landed them in toto on the left side of neutrality.
Shouldn't the same be applied to the 'upper reaches' of the three Armed Services as well?
 
#14
The timing of all this is very interesting.

The appointment of MA as secretary to the Iraq Inquiry was always, shall we say, rather an interesting decision, given that she had been at the very heart of policy making and strategic decisions for that campaign for several years. Even if she conducts her duties in the Iraq Inquiry with the utmost transparency and selflessness, I am afraid she still fails the Caesar's Wife test of not just being innocent in fact, but being utterly above suspicion.

Suddenly, we have a raft of stuff appearing vs her. Questions in the House, and now this.

One might almost think that someone was out to discredit the Iraq Inquiry just as it takes the final stretch of its work.
And Why not..? The Iraq Inquiry is a puff piece, that will finally report long after the perpetrators of the whole shambles are long gone. Will the final report call for prosecutions of those responsible? Or sackings on the grounds of gross missconduct ? Which this foul woman should be. Will it force changes in law ?
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
I think it will be difficult to reach down to find impartial AND competent CS to replace the present senior apparatchiks, even id such a manoeuvre were not blocked by the CS itself - like the BBC I think you will find that for years nobody has had any steps on the promotion ladder unless they were fully in tune with Blairism. We now have a CS fully politicised to the Left and this Govt has not even started the house clean that is needed - most of the senior CS are probably thinking 'hang in there for five years and it will go away'. Ministers lack the guts, brain power and experience to shake the CS tree and purge their depts.
 
#16
I think it will be difficult to reach down to find impartial AND competent CS to replace the present senior apparatchiks, even id such a manoeuvre were not blocked by the CS itself - like the BBC I think you will find that for years nobody has had any steps on the promotion ladder unless they were fully in tune with Blairism. We now have a CS fully politicised to the Left and this Govt has not even started the house clean that is needed - most of the senior CS are probably thinking 'hang in there for five years and it will go away'. Ministers lack the guts, brain power and experience to shake the CS tree and purge their depts.
Why do you think the military is exempt this?
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
I wasn't commenting on the military, make you own mind up (I was referring to the CS generally not just the MoD), but as serving RN, Army and RAF officers typically change jobs every two years or so on average I would say this is less important than with the CS who are, I presume, in post or at least progressing in the same job stream for longer. In Defence the CS have the whip hand as, if any uniform tries to change things, the CS only have to stonewall for two years and a new face appears.
 
#18
"In Defence the CS have the whip hand as, if any uniform tries to change things, the CS only have to stonewall for two years and a new face appears. "

Given the amount of military led and driven change that I've gone through over the years, often reinventing wheels which were previously taken out by previous military led folk, there are times Seaweed when I wish your above statement was true!

In terms of career moves, junior CS (i.e. admin grades) won't move very often as they tend to be in local jobs close to home. Once you start getting to posts that matter then the post turn over is at a similar rate to military peers.
 
#19
Thanks for that but I believe that military commanders have been equally if not more to blame.

I can recall the days when we were limited two two one hour period of central heating and every other light bulb was removed to save budget. As I recall the Brigade Commanders entertainment allowance didn't flicker.
 
#20
It is true that all high ranking public servants know what hoops they must jump through to reach the upper echelons of their chosen profession. All top jobs in the public sector have become highly politicised under Labour and it became obvious to most that you had to adjust your thinking to fit in with Labour if you wanted the top job. Even under the Iron Lady there was room for independent thinking as long as you did your job efficiently, Blair though only wanted those who would support him fully in his "presidential style" premiership.
 

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