Top general says Afghanistan army in morale crisis

From The Sunday Times
February 28, 2010
Top general says Afghanistan army in morale crisis

David Leppard

THE head of the army has warned that British troops are facing a crisis of deteriorating morale on the home front that risks undermining the war in Afghanistan.

In a confidential draft memo prepared for ministers, General Sir David Richards, chief of the general staff (CGS), said that recent cuts to the defence budget are having a “cumulative and corrosive effect on our soldiers and their families”.

Cuts to housing, shortages of training equipment and even the cancellation of sports events between soldiers’ tours of duty were making them and their families feel “undervalued”, the army chief wrote.

The leaked memo will be seized on by the Tories as opening a new front in the tussle between army chiefs and ministers over the politically sensitive issue of defence cuts.

Memorandum from General Richards
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It echoes the row last year when Richards’s predecessor, General Sir Richard Dannatt, stepped down after speaking out about equipment shortages as well as poor pay and conditions. It later emerged that government figures had tried to smear him over his expenses.

A senior military commander emphasised yesterday that it was not Richards’s intention to criticise ministers: “He’s not whingeing. He’s simply trying to flag up what he believes is a vital issue that needs their urgent attention.
New Flash - Top General declares that the sky is blue.

He has put his post Army career on the line to say it though, even in a conveniently leaked (draft) memo.

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