Odins Raven wrote:
Perhaps the general (and the civil servants and aides) have an inflated sense of self importance. This isn't about carefully planned pursuit of rational and national political objectives by military means. It's much more like a gladiatorial show to promote the Emperor's image to the crowds. If the Emperor is late it would be an impertinence for the manager of one of the teams of gladiators to complain about the delay and insist on starting at the original time. Those who are about to die must accept that they are being butchered to make a Roman holiday.
A slightly cynical view but probaby accurate in part. In the absence of a common cause and a unifying sense of purpose, "self" predominates and those with the biggest egos come to the fore - encouraged by the media which lives by inflating already over-inflated egos. That we are seeing the unedifying display of squabbling, disaffected senior officers, all fighting for their place in the sun, suggests (nay confirms) a deeply damaged and dysfunctional organisation. Instead of pursuing the "task need", the objective becomes self-gratification and self-aggrandisement, with all the other "actors" positioned as supporting cast.
But you are reading Brown wrong. There are three prime ministerial visits to theatre every year - spring, summer and autumn/winter. They are arranged well in advance - and have to be because of the logistics, security and poltiical issues. Nevertheless, they are not announced in advance and thus always seem to catch the media by surprise, as if the prime minister suddenly took it into his head to jump on an aeroplane and do a quick tour of Afghanistan. Therefore, the conincidence of the visit and the Musa Qala operation - the date for which was settled after the visit had been arranged - was bound to be misread by the media. To take that into account was not unreasonable. Brown is a political leader, he is a politician and he acts and thinks politically - that is what politicians do.
Where your comment becomes is cheap shot is that you seem unable to distnguish between Brown, the man and Brown the prime minister. These are not Brown's visits. They are prime ministerial visits - when or if Cameron takes over, he will fall into exactly the same pattern, because that is the one which works and people are used to working around. And, if those visits were not made, there would be hell to pay ... prime minister not interested in the troops, etc., etc.
Given that there is considerable effort and organisation involved in preparing the trips - and a lot of people (not least the press corps) are badly inconvenienced if the date is changed - it is not unreasonable at least to inquire if ops timings can be adjusted if the dates are not critical, and they may affect the visit. Not least, when there is a heavy op going on, the military really do not need the distraction of VIP visits.
Thus, there is no issue here, unless there was a specific attempt (albeit couched as a requuest) to change an operation start date. That was the allegation in the story. It was not proved and no good evidence was offered.