Lord Dannatt is the former head of the army. Now retired, with both political and corporate aspersions, He has connections to multi million pound contracts for the MOD. In October 2012 Dannatt, along with several other retired senior officers was the subject of a sting operation by journalists. According to The Guardian, Dannatt offered to lobby Bernard Gray, chief of defence materiel. Dannatt was quoted as saying he had engineered a seat at a formal dinner with the Ministry of Defence’s new permanent secretary, Jon Thompson, to help another company, Capita Symonds, which was bidding for a contract to manage MoD estates. According to The Independent, Dannatt acknowledged that he had offered to assist in facilitating conversations, but stated that he had rejected an offer of an £8,000 per month fee to lobby on behalf of the organisation and that he had “no inclination” to contravene the rules on lobbying. He is also a military consultant to the shadow cabinet.
Recently he called on the government to “Think the unthinkable” and send ground troops into Iraq and Syria to fight the group calling itself ISIS.
As an Iraq veteran I feel I can offer a unique perspective on this situation. Only an idiot would argue against the statement that Islamic state is a consequence of the actions of the American lead coalition. That is to say if we had not fabricated intelligence to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 ISIS would not exist.
It took about a year of lies after 9/11 to whip the western public into a frenzy over Saddam Hussein enough for a clear majority to support the invasion of Iraq. This decision was made even more justifiable by false intelligence leading us to believe the WMD possessed by Iraq were a credible threat. Last year It took only a month of propaganda to bring public support for attacking ISIS up to the same level. In other words, in 2002-2003 the coalitions PR machine took a year to do something it only took a month to do recently. If you ask me the invasion of Iraq was always an inevitability. So much so that In his 2003 report in to Iraqi WMD Lt Col LAWRENCE S. REED, USAF stated that 9/11 “provided new opportunities for action.”
You can read his report here: http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA441647
To understand the situation fully, we need to look at the difference in the times. Before the invasion the western public (especially Americans) were still quivering with bloodlust over 9/11. Until Islamic State was created (more accurately, until the news chose to begin reporting about ISIS), which was only a few months ago, self proclaimed experts and scholars were writing about the allies war-weariness, warning them not to fall into the supposed trap of isolationism, But now all this is going out the window, the hunger and bloodlust for war has returned. The participation of western troops in this conflict will only serve one purpose, to widen it. The far right and the media manipulate the facts to suit the agenda of the government. The armed forces then find themselves in an impossible situation, for as so long as we “support the troops”, whichever administration is in charge of the country has a blank moral cheque for military action, up to and including war. Have we become so indoctrinated we can be manipulated like puppets to support any foreign-policy initiative our rulers devise?
The fact of the matter is, No matter how well trained or how elite, soldiers can’t fight a roadside bomb. All that will happen if we send troops tithe Middle East again is that after a brief period of conventional warfare, we will become an occupation force, push the terrorists underground and be forced to fight yet another insurgency. It has been proven that even with the seemingly unlimited military and financial resources of the coalition that this endeavour will prove unsuccessful. Take it from a veteran of multiple tours of Iraq, including the 2003 invasion. We didn’t win then and we won’t win now.
Steve Brown served with the British Army in Iraq, he is a member of Veterans For Peace UK