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Afghanistan war is 'cuckoo', says Blair's favourite general

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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:04 PM
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Afghanistan war is 'cuckoo', says Blair's favourite general
Tony Blair's most trusted military commander yesterday branded as 'cuckoo' the way Britain's overstretched army was sent into Afghanistan.

The remarkable rebuke by General the Lord Guthrie came in an Observer interview, his first since quitting as Chief of the Defence Staff five years ago, in which he made an impassioned plea for more troops, new equipment and more funds for a 'very, very' over-committed army.

The decision by Guthrie, an experienced Whitehall insider and Blair confidant, to go public is likely to alarm Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence more than the recent public criticism by the current army chief Sir Richard Dannatt. 'Anyone who thought this was going to be a picnic in Afghanistan - anyone who had read any history, anyone who knew the Afghans, or had seen the terrain, anyone who had thought about the Taliban resurgence, anyone who understood what was going on across the border in Baluchistan and Waziristan - to launch the British army in with the numbers there are, while we're still going on in Iraq is cuckoo,' Guthrie said.

In a unprecedented show of scepticism towards Blair, he said the Prime Minister's promise to give the army 'anything it wants' was unrealistic. 'I'm sure he meant what he said. He is not dishonest. But there is no way you can magic up trained Royal Air Force crews, or trained soldiers, quickly. You can't magic up helicopters, because there aren't any helicopters,' said Guthrie, promoted from chief of army staff to become overall head of the military for Blair's first term of office.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,,...
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