Leading article: General wisdom

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Sir Richard Dannatt, the outgoing head of the Army, caused a stir two years ago when he gave an interview in which he said all sorts of things senior generals are not supposed to say.

His previous remarks about the inadequacy of soldiers' pay and the poor quality of their medical care also won him few friends in Whitehall. Sir Richard's outspokenness has probably brought his career to a premature end. But at least this general can hang up his uniform knowing that he always spoke up in the best interests of those who served beneath him. Moreover, he departs knowing that all the criticisms he made of government policy with regard to the military have been vindicated.

So, Sir Richard, we salute you. And let us hope, for all our sakes, that you are not Britain's last awkward general.