Liam Fox: outspoken military chiefs are putting lives at risk

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox

From Thomas Harding and Andy Bloxham, the Telegraph:  Military commanders who have spoken out against the ability to continue operations in Libya are putting lives at risk, Liam Fox said today.

Admirals and Air Marshals who, in the last week have voiced concerns over the sustainability of their forces to carry on attacking Libya, were giving strength and hope to Col Gaddafi’s regime, the Defence Secretary suggested. . . .

[I]n a speech on major reforms to be introduced at the Ministry of Defence, that will include a purge of generals, Dr Fox gave a severe warning to senior officers.

“We must be very careful, those of us who have authority in defence, in discussing the sustainability of our mission. People’s lives are at stake. There can be only one message that goes out to Libya that is we have the military capability, political resolve and legal authority to the through what we started.”

He then added: “We will continue our mission until our mission succeeds and Col Gaddafi must get no other signal than that. . . .”

He also fired the latest salvo in a bitter public exchange of views between senior politicians and military chiefs, which has seen leading figures in the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Army all question Britain’s ability to conduct wars in Libya and Afghanistan with a diminishing budget.

He said: “In a war you have got to be careful of the messaging you give to the other side.

“There is a time and a place for anyone in the Armed Forces to give ministers a message and they have a much greater chance of success in delivering it in the appropriate manner.”  (photo: Christopher Pledger/Telegraph)

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