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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Contrary to what we have seen in previous conflicts (particularly the two world wars) today there is the risk of a serious split between governments, which decide on interventions, and the armed forces, which have to implement them. Military commanders themselves are inevitably tempted to exploit this split to criticize governments for under-resourcing the armed forces and not increasing defence budgets, especially when they are engaged in major wars. This was particularly true of the long-running feud between Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Richard Dannatt and Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the waning days of the UK Labour government. In an age when the photograph of every British dead soldier in Afghanistan is shown on prime-time television, the rationale for the intervention is all too frequently overshadowed by the political debate regarding the treatment and financing of the armed forces.

Keywords: armed forces, government intervention, military commanders, defence budgets, Labour government, military financing

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