Many newspapers and journalists have faithfully supported Blair’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it is not surprising to find columnists like Charles Moore of The Telegraph today attacking Sir Richard Dannatt for telling Blair in yesterday’s Daily Mail that it’s time to pull out the troops .
The problem is not of Sir Richard’s making. You cannot fight wars with peacetime armies. To win in Iraq, we and the Americans needed 500,000 troops not 150,000, and a large increase in defence spending from 2.4% of GDP to 6%.
As Churchill said to the Americans in WW2, you give us the tools and we’ll do the job. That is what the General should be saying now.
But he knows that with Labour in power, and with Gordon Brown’s loss of control of the country’s finances there is not a cat in hell’s chance of even a .1% increase in defence spending. With Blair arranging his appearances on Blue Peter and other critically important media events, he is most unlikely to consider the imposition of a Draft.
In these circumstances, he is right to express the view that the Army should be withdrawn. With the middle classes quitting kabul in their thousands, it is only wishful thinking that suggests we could win in Afghanistan. We could win of course but with nearer 200,000 troops than 20,000.
Dannatt should say ‘get your wallet out’ and ‘get the draft going’ but he knows that there is not the will. He has no choice but to call an end to this playing at warfare.