Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Queen is coming and McChrystal is going

Yesterday was a very busy day news wise for me so I am going to cover three topics in the one post. Firstly I was genuinely very saddened to hear the news that Lt General Dermot Early has died at the age of 62, a mere two weeks after stepping down as Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces due to ill health. Dermot Early was an exceptional soldier, a brilliant sportsman and a great Irishman. Anyone who knows me is aware that I am huge fan of the GAA and that I have great respect for Oglaigh Na Heireann so you can imagine the high esteem in which I held Dermot Earley.

Lt General Dermot Early seen here recently receiving the Distinguished Service Medal by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The Queens visit
So the Queen is coming to Ireland. It is amazing to think that the head of state for our nearest neighbour has never visited this country during her 58 years on the throne. I welcome her visit and think it is long overdue. The visit which is likely to happen early next year will not be without controversy. Republican groups will no doubt protest against her visit and don't rule out the possibility of some kind of a stunt by some of the more militant elements among them. And I am sure that the point will be politely made to her by the Taoiseach that it is still the desire of the political establishment in this country to see the two parts of this island unified. However as I have said many times, the reconciliation of the two traditions of this island is the most Noble political goal any politician in this country can have. This visit will contribute to this process.

McChrystal is Fired
I have been somewhat surprised by the reaction to Obama's decision to fire McChrystal. Although I am sure they will in time, the right have not yet laid into Obama over the incident. In addition, I have read the comments for the first time. There is not a whole lot in them in my opinion and it illustrates for me the egocentric nature of politics that such fairly harmless words would expose such insecurity. I completely understand that civilian control over the military is something that should be guarded fiercely but McChrystal's words were hardly subversive the full text of which you can read here.

General McChrystal has already been replaced by General Petraus (seen here yesterday with President Obama), a highly popular and successful military leader who is currently the head of the U.S. Central Command which puts him in overall command of US forces in the Middle East. This seems almost like a demotion for him to put him back in charge of day to day operations in Afghanistan but such was his success with the surge in Iraq during 2007 and 2008 that he is universally agreed as the right man for the job. If Petraus does manage to rescue the situation in Afghanistan, history will judge Obama's decision to fire McChrystal as the right one.


Paul said...

Good to hear that the Queen is paying our nearest neighbours a visit. My question is when will she visit Israel? A good question when you bear in mind, the constant sycophantic crowing about Islam her son and heir constantly indulges in.

Ted Leddy said...


I am surprised she has never been to Israel. I did not know that. Nor did I know Prince Charles has a thing about Islam. But as Andrew Roberts makes clear, not many British these days are willing to stand up for Israel and the Jews.