Our top soldier speaks

Soldiers tend towards understatement when they speak with the press. So when the operational head of the Army says of the soldiers in Afghanistan “Can we cope? I pause. I say ‘just’.” you know that you should sit up and take note.

Sir Richard Dannatt took over from Gen Sir Mike Jackson as Chief of the General Staff only last week and he has set his stall out almost immediately. You do not need a crystal ball to guess what he feels when he says of the 5% of spending earmarked for defence “There should be a national debate about whatever [is judged] enough.”

Every element of the public sector pitches for more money and I am not advocating excessive military spending but when the volume of commitments increases but the funding does not match it , something has to give.

Compare the General’s assessment with the “everything is rosy” message written by Mr Browne MP in the Guardian last week, who do you think is closer to the mark?

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