Insight with Sir Michael ‘Macho Jacko’ Jackson: War and Peace

Talk Thursday 10th May, 2007

The legendary army general talks to Mark Urban about the British army, the war in Iraq and his military past.

Dubbed “Macho Jacko” by the British tabloid press for his refusal to obey US orders to blockade Russian troops at Pristina Airport in 1999 and “Darth Vader” and the “Prince of Darkness” by his own troops for the severity of his demeanour, General Sir Michael (Mike) Jackson is one of the best-known modern-day British commanders.

Jackson started his career in the Intelligence Corps, specialising in the threat from the Soviet Union. He served in Germany and Northern Ireland and later joined NATO to command troops in Kosovo and Macedonia.

During the aftermath of the second Iraq war in his capacity as Chief of the General Staff Jackson ordered an inquiry into photos released by The Daily Mirror that appeared to show torture of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers. They were later proved to be fakes.

Jackson relinquished his post as Chief of Staff in 2006.

No longer in the army, Sir Mike remains a champion of the armed forces and has recently criticised the MoD for the poor level of care offered soldiers and their families.

Mark Urban is BBC Newsnight Diplomatic Editor.