We cannot tolerate generals saying they would take "direct action" against an elected British leader
THREATS from a senior general that the army would take “direct action” against a Jeremy Corbyn government show a jaw-dropping contempt for British democracy.
Top brass “wouldn’t stand for” a prime minister committed to international peace, we learn in the Sunday Times, and would be prepared to use “fair means or foul” to stop a PM who “jeopardise[s] the security of this country.”
The outspoken military chief remains anonymous, of course.
But where is the chorus of condemnation we should be hearing from all parties concerned with Britain’s future as a democratic society, with the people’s right to determine our military and foreign policies accepted by all?
After all, why should the military get to define what constitutes a “threat to our national security”?
Few PMs have done more to put British lives in danger than Tony Blair.
As Reg Keys, whose son Tom was killed in Iraq, wrote recently in the national press, Corbyn’s patriotism — which would have precluded lawless acts of aggression against foreign countries — is far more genuine than that of the armchair generals who wish to bomb their way out of every problem.
It doesn’t work. For the invasion of Iraq created a failed state, provoked a massive increase in the power and influence of the al-Qaida terrorist group and sowed the seeds for the emergence of Isis.
Radical religious terrorism was further boosted by the Western destruction of Colonel Gadaffi’s authoritarian but secular regime in Libya and by a flow of money and arms to the Isis-dominated revolt in Syria.
The carnage Britain and its allies have unleashed in the Middle East has seriously endangered our security, but the military did not overthrow Tony Blair ahead of Iraq, or David Cameron on the eve of the Libyan bombing spree.
It is clear, however, that what this general fears is not that Corbyn would put British lives at risk — but that his principled opposition to war would prevent our callous and corrupt Establishment from sending soldiers forth to die whenever it suits the interests of the ruling elite.
Apparently, the army wouldn’t accept a refusal to renew our nuclear weapons arsenal — although polls show most Britons are opposed to splurging £100 billion on a new set of weapons of mass destruction.
Indeed, scepticism about the utility of our nuclear weapons extends to the highest ranks of the military.
“Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently face or are likely to face, particularly international terrorism,” Field Marshal Lord Bramall and two top generals wrote to the Times in 2009.
Even Blair in his autobiography admitted Britain’s nuclear “deterrent” did nothing for our security. But when Corbyn says this, he is suddenly an existential threat.
There is nothing surprising in this. Jeremy Corbyn is a threat — not to people in Britain. We would be a good deal safer under a government that pursued peace.
But he is a threat to a rotten and discredited political system that exists to defend the privileges of a tiny minority. And as we are seeing, this system is not going to stop at media sneers and character assassination.
No, the army might need to take “direct action.” Are we really hearing this?
If Cameron cared a jot for the rights of Parliament or the rule of law, he’d be on the airwaves by now denouncing the real threat to our “national security” — an army that thinks it can forcibly reject the wishes of the electorate.
He isn’t. Because our Prime Minister cares for no rights but those of big business and no rule save that of unfettered, unregulated capitalism.
If you want to change that, the necessity of building a movement capable of getting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street and keeping him there is more urgent than ever.