Max Hastings is an old-style Tory, famous as a journalist for strolling into Port Stanley ahead of the British troops during the Falklands War, and later editor of The Daily Telegraph and the London Evening Standard. Max likes the military and understands it.
So his article today had particular bite: “So much bad news turned up at Chequers over the weekend that the prime minister might be forgiven if he failed to spot the latest barrage of suicide bombings in Iraq. But Britain’s 8,000 troops on the ground noticed, and are not happy. They are prisoners of an American command whose incompetence is manifest, whose soldiers are unsuited to their task, whose failures of policy have been laid bare.”
He goes on to make an important point about the relationship between Britain and the US, and between all of Europe and the US.
“If we are really fed up with Bush, if we recognise that no future US president is likely be entirely to our taste, we should surely get on with creating credible European armed forces. As it is, no European nation — with the possible exception of France — shows the smallest interest in spending money or displaying spine for this purpose.
“Until we address this, and against the background of a struggle against international terrorism that is likely to grow more alarming rather than less, America remains the indispensable ally and shield. That means George Bush. At the very moment when most of us feel surfeited with the president’s vacuous grin and impregnable moral conceit, we cannot walk away from his follies unless or until Europe makes itself something quite different from the eunuch it is today.”