Michael Jackson, the general, still alive. Spanish Defence expenditure at risk

NOTA PARA ESPAÑOLES. Como a muchos de mi generación, el fallecimiento del cantante y menorero Michael Jackson a los 50 años de edad es motivo de reflexión. Para unos pocos -de varias generaciones- Sir Michael Jackson, un fiable hijo de puta, Coronel Jefe permanente de The Parachute Regiment, es el tío que evitó una guerra entre la OTAN y Rusia en 1999. Luis, dile a tu hermano Javier Solana que cuente la historia, al margen de su amistad con el general Clark.

Los que entonces, de un modo u otro, allí dónde quiso la suerte fiera, servimos a Jackson y a las tropas OTAN bajo su mando, le respetamos. A veces, los generales no olvidan el haber sido capitanes... Los que olvidan esto llevan a situaciones como esta: El Ministerio de Defensa debe a Industria más de 14.400 millones (Infodefensa.com 24/06/2009) - El secretario de Estado de Defensa, Constantino Méndez, detalló que los 18 grandes proyectos de modernización de las Fuerzas Armadas suponen un montante de 26.713 millones de euros de los cuales, el Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio ha prefinanciado 14.440 millones. Parece que es la última oportunidad: Méndez afirma que Defensa empezará a recibir los R-31 en las “próximas semanas” Infodefensa.com) – El secretario de Estado de Defensa, Constantino Méndez, afirmó que el Ministerio de Defensa recibirá en ´las próximas semanas´ los primeros vehículos blindados de pelotón RG-31 Mk5 que esta programado sustituyan a los BMR en las misiones en el exterior.

Servidor, por propia iniciativa, fue traductor para la revista Ejército de uno de los escasos y breves discursos de Sir Michael Jackson, el librado a propósito del liderazgo militar y las operaciones de paz multinacionales en diciembre de 1998. Lo que allí dijo se cumplio a rajatabla en Kosovo. Todavía conservo la carta de autorización para la traducción y la publicación.

Profile: General Sir Mike Jackson BBC News September, 1 2007 (updated at 2009 with Wikipedia)

Sir Mike had a distinguished 40 year military career. The former head of the Army, Gen Sir Mike Jackson, has criticised US policy in Iraq. What sort of man is Sir Mike?

Reportedly nicknamed Darth Vader and The Prince of Darkness by his men, Gen Sir Michael Jackson commanded an instant respect among his troops.

Renowned for his ferocious pursuit of perfection on military exercises and dubbed "Macho Jacko" by the tabloids, he was seen as a hard but fair commander.

Sir Mike, now 62 (64 at 2009), began his army career learning Russian in the Intelligence Corps at the height of the Cold War.

Alongside his hard man image he was seen as intelligent and able and it has been said he could have succeeded equally well in a civilian - even political - career.

Born into a military family in 1944, he joined the Army at the age of 19 before graduating from Birmingham University in 1967.

He transferred to the Parachute Regiment in 1970 after completing his time with the Intelligence Corps.

Distinguished leadership

Sir Mike, whose military hero is the Duke of Wellington, rose to command the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment between 1984 and 1986.

He also commanded 3 (UK) Division, spent two years at the Ministry of Defence and served in Berlin and Northern Ireland.

He was commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia between 1995 and 1996.

He went on to command Nato's ACE Rapid Reaction Corps from 1997 to 2000.

In 1999 he took charge of the Kosovo Force - known as K-For - in the successful operation to end the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in the former Yugoslav republic.

During the Kosovo campaign he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for the leadership he showed.

Sir Mike headed K-For troops for the sensitive mission in Kosovo

During the mission his strong character famously resulted in a clash with his American commander General Wesley Clark.

When ordered to intercept Russian forces which entered Kosovo without the alliance's agreement he refused.

"I'm not going to start the Third World War for you," he is reported to have told General Clark.

As head of K-For Sir Mike not only won the respect of his soldiers but also that of aid workers and diplomats who met him.

"Generals are generals because you defer to them and he is a particularly strong proponent of the art," one British officer said at the time.

He stepped down as head of the ACE Rapid Reaction Corps in February 2000.

Bloody Sunday

After leaving his post he was promoted to full general and made operational head of the British army.

He took up the role just a month before the Iraq war, replacing General Sir Michael Walker.

A month into the war in Iraq, he was called away from his duties to give evidence to the Bloody Sunday inquiry. On May 29, 2007, it was reported that General Jackson had come to the conclusion that innocent people had been shot by his troops on Bloody Sunday and that the "Falls Road Curfew" in Belfast in July 1970 had been a "mistake".

He was adjutant to the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in January 1972, when paratroopers killed 13 Catholic men on an illegal civil rights march in Londonderry.

On 1 September 2007, The Daily Telegraph reported a "withering attack on the US's post-war administration of Iraq by General Sir Mike Jackson, the head of the army during the invasion." The article said, "Sir Mike has condemned the approach taken by former Donald Rumsfeld as 'intellectually bankrupt' ", adding that the former US defence secretary is "one of those most responsible for the current situation in Iraq", and that "Jackson feels the US approach to combating global terrorism is "inadequate" and too focused on military might rather than nation-building and diplomacy."

Sir Mike married his wife Sarah in 1985. He has two sons and a daughter. His son, Mark, followed him into the military and has served as a paratrooper in the Gulf.

High profile

His Who's Who entry lists his interests as travel, music, skiing and tennis. He also penchant for whisky and cigars.

As head of the Army - a role which he retired from in August 2007- Sir Mike became one of the most widely known British generals since World War II.

He had to deal with claims of Iraqi prisoner abuse at the hands of UK troops and growing discontent about the role of coalition troops in the Middle Eastern country.

He launched a probe into the abuse allegations, admitting they had damaged the army but insisting the situation would be worse if there had been a cover-up.

His high media profile made him wince but it did not stop him speaking his mind when he thought it necessary.

In March 2006, in the aftermath of British Christian peace campaigner Norman Kember's freeing from kidnappers after four months by a multinational armed force Jackson attracted interest when he, barely twenty four hours after Kember's liberation, attacked the hostage's lack of gratitude for the solidier's efforts in freeing him. Jackson claimed he was "saddened that there doesn’t seem to have been a note of gratitude for the soldiers who risked their lives to save those lives", and in doing so added to a media scrum demanding Kember's apology.

His willingness to give his views, however controversial, has continued into his retirement.

No hay comentarios: