Generals and dead soldiers

The smouldering scandal that led to  General David Petraeus resigning as director of the CIA due to an extramarital affair with his biographer and which may also enshroud Marine General John Allen, America’s top commander in Afghanistan, shows no sign of abating.

A good piece in Guardian America highlights how American society tends to praise its military to the point where its leaders are lauded as saviours who can do no wrong, while turning a blind eye to the wars they prosecute on its behalf.

For the sakes of both the soldiers sent to wage those wars and the inhabitants of those countries invaded and demolished, it seems prudent that both generals and retired generals are held very accountable.

Today the body of Captain Walter Barrie is being repatriated to the U.K., after he was shot dead last Sunday by an Afghan soldier in Nad-E Ali.

Despite more than a decade passing, I can still hear his thick Glaswegian accent accompanying the words,  “Al’right there, Mr. Jeffrey.”

Back in 2001 he was a Colour Sergeant and my platoon instructor sergeant at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, which trains the British Army’s officers–some of whom go on to become generals, or disgruntled ex-captains.

While others end up killed in a war mismanaged by those at the top.