Hmm. General Bell strikes me as anything but a cretin. A sociopathic warmonger, perhaps, but he doesn't seem stupid.
Agreed. Generals are typically quite brilliant, though sometimes myopic. They lead armies, devise strategies, work around practical and political limitations. No successful ruler does well placing a cretin in charge of their military resources, though some rulers may overlook a man’s shortcomings in favour of his successes. I suspect - well, I know Queen Sonorie tolerates a degree of insubordination and disrespect in General Bell simply because he did so well keeping Cresce out of the brunt of the Foi-Hellick Affair years ago, and because he’s very popular among the nobles.
Probably shoulda had him backstabbed before now though. Might be too late.