Saturday, October 3, 2009

British Army chief warns of "terrifying defeat" in Afghanistan, backs McChrystal; Brits ready to send more troops

General Sir David Richards, Chief of the British General Staff

America's most important ally would seem to be publicly pressing President Obama to back his own general in the field. From The Telegraph:

In an unprecedented intervention, the chief of the general staff described the conflict as "this generation's war" and added that failure by Nato would have an "intoxicating effect" on militant Islam.


He said: "If al-Qaeda and the Taliban believe they have defeated us – what next? Would they stop at Afghanistan? Pakistan is clearly a tempting target not least because of the fact that it is a nuclear-weaponed state and that is a terrifying prospect. Even if only a few of those (nuclear) weapons fell into their hands, believe me they would use them. The recent airlines plot has reminded us that there are people out there who would happily blow all of us up."

The general's intervention comes at a crucial time, with the US General in charge of operations in Afghanistan calling for more troops to be sent to the country to fight the Taliban.


Sir David has issued his unprecedented warning because he believed the public and even members of the government had not "woken up" to the "enormous risks" which would result if the war was lost.

He said: "Failure would have a catalytic effect on militant Islam around the world and in the region because the message would be that al-Qaeda and the Taliban have defeated the US and the British and Nato, the most powerful alliance in the world. So why wouldn't that have an intoxicating effect on militants everywhere? The geo-strategic implications would be immense."


The Army chief declared that Britain was ready to send more troops to Afghanistan if called on to do so in the wake of the revised strategy which has been drawn up by Gen Stanley McChrystal, the US commander of Nato troops in southern Afghanistan.
And for good measure, Richards went out of his way to criticize what seems to be shaping up as the Joe Biden plan:

The general criticised plans put forward by some members of President Obama's administration – notably those of Vice-president Joe Biden, who is believed to support the view that Nato should reduce troop number in Afghanistan and concentrate on counter-terrorist operations using special forces. Sir David said this was a strategy which would not work.
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