What a clash. The Chief of the Army staff has, depending on your point of view, courageously spoken out on behalf of his troops, demanding their early withdrawal or he has committed a gross act of insubordination to his Commander in Chief.
His words mean that there will be an inevitable clash between politicians and the military. I have no doubt that the instinct of Tony Blair and Des Browne is to call Sir Richard Dannant in for an interview without coffee and sack him on the spot. But just imagine the reaction among the army staff and troops if that happened. Mutiny is not a word I use lightly, but Blair knows that it is not inconceivable.
The reason they can't sack Sir Richard Dannant is that if they did, they would have to get rid of his boss too - the Chief of Defence Staff. I am assuming he will have at least tacitly approved the nature of Sir Richard's remarks in the interview.
The most likely scenario is for the politicians to persuade the CDS to take action himself. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Sir Richard may fall on his sword, albeit involuntarily.
It could, of course, all blow over but in the absence of any other big story to help bury this one, I think that's unlikely.
This is a major political crisis in the making. But it does have one silver lining for Labour. At least it has knocked the ridiculous Sion Simon off the headlines.
From Iain Dale's Blackberry