Monday, 2 February 2009

Sand In The Gears

There are many of us in the UK who are completely mystified by the concept of 'military discipline' as it appears to be practised in the US.

In a recent post (see post), we gave three cheers to President Obama for the return to 'soft power'. He had, we were told, signed an order that the military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay were to be halted. It now transpires that a colonel in the camp has decided to ignore that order (see story), which calls into question the ability of the Commander-In-Chief to ensure that his orders are obeyed. To whom do the US military answer?

A predominant UK view of US forces is best summarised, if very unkindly and incorrectly, in 'Yes, Prime Minister' as:

"Apparently the American troops in Germany are all so drug-ridden that they don't know which side they're on anyway."

This is a prejudice that is hard to shake off, particularly now it transpires that the US will continue to outsource its torture through the process of rendition (see story). From outside of the US, it appears that the US military and intelligence services are out of control, and this is bound to make it harder for President Obama to gather support for his foreign policy.

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