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22 February 2007

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Will

The Coronet of Wales, while protected by the SAS, will safeguard our lines of communications. Never Fear.

PSD

thanks for posting this, Colonel.
So much for Cheney's rosy-glow interpretation of the Brits withdrawal as proof that southern Iraq is pacified....
one thing about the neocons is their consistency--they've never seen a glass that's half empty. Their glasses are ALWAYS half full, even when there's no visible trace of anything at all in the glass.

b

Prince Harry will hold the line. Blue blood is worth a regiment.

More seriously: Blair said one regiment will leave within six month. The Iran campaign may be underway by then and the Brits will push in reenforcements.

ali

Shall we be realistic.

No 10 is whispering a very discrete no to expanding the war. It's politically impossible for even a whipped spaniel like Mr Tony to follow the POTUS into that breach.

There are less than 10,000 Squadies in Iraq. They are out numbered 5 to one by mercenaries. Increasingly they've been off the streets and in their bases if not roaming round the empty desert in search of the ghost of T.E Lawrence.

They are very good at what they do and have been better lead than in many a war; but cursed by the foolish politics of freedoms march they have not succeeded in Basra.

The best neo-colonial army in the world does not have the ability to protect US supply lines. They simply lack the domestic public support not to mention armor to persist if the South mutinies. This is not unlikely.

There's an army still running fruitlessly round Al Anbar that is fit for the task.

It's time to think about withdrawal in some order rather than clinging to the helicopter skids and focus on averting the greater war that is beginning.

zanzibar

As Iraq continues to descend into further chaos and militia fiefdoms the Brits seeing the writing on the wall have pushed Blair into getting out. With the British force continuously getting mortar'd and shot at Blair and his Kool-Aid drinkers had to bow to the pressure from inside the military command just for the Labor party to survive. Unlike here where the Decider and the Shooter don't care about the prospects of their party and continue to use their propaganda machine of the corporate media to spout increasingly incoherent and delusional arguments in defense of their disasterous policies. Note Shooter keeps pounding absolutely incredulous propaganda like a withdrawal would only validate Al Qaeda while at the same time claiming the Brits withdrawal shows how stable and secure southern Iraq is. And there's no one challenging this guy who has zero credibility on any of these issues. Even worse no one making a big deal of the fact that he was central to weakening our WMD intelligence posture through the deliberate outing of a CIA covert agent for domestic political reasons as has been shown through evidence in the Libby trial.

What we have is an executive brach off the rails and there is no hue and cry to change that situation or to hold them accountable. What a state of affairs????

Sgt.York

When the US launches the belligerent and cowardly sneak-attack against Iran (ala, Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor), it sure will be handy to have all those soldiers in Baghdad to protect the Green Zone.

=======================

arbogast

Why does everyone ignore the political side?

This war was never about war. It's about domestic American politics.

Now, Joe Liberman is about to switch parties. The Iraq war is all but won.

Will

this guy is no Admiral Canaris.
Thank God for Gates & Company


"In response to my question about how he rated the odds of a bombing campaign against Iran, R. James Woolsey, the former CIA director, hummed an answer for me on the sidewalk as we exited the Metropolitan Club. It was a parody of the Beach Boys hit "Barbara Ann" -- "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb-Bomb Iran." "

from Armand deBorchgrave
http://www.washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20070217-103015-1714r

Woolsely doesn't care for the troops in Iraq, except using them as an opportunistic trigger for an Iran strike

kevin

Ten bucks says the Blair won't withdrawal troops. He is placing pressure on the democrat congress.

pbrownlee

The Iraq Study Group's "lifeline" recommendations are being implemented by some of the Coalition of the Willing but apparently not others. Evidently there are drowning men who will not clutch at straws; I imagine it helps if the actual drowning is done by proxy.

geoff

Is white speaking with the assumption that we plan on leaving Iraq someday?

Will

the plain text of the link didn't work (it cut off some text) so I"ll do it w/ the detested HTML

Barbara Ann and Iran

OmGonz

Obviously the UK Parliamentarian sysem has forced TBlair to act as a responsible member of the international community. US Republic system doesnt have the same influence (although there are ways). When UK Basra redeployment leaves vacuum in Basra and the vacuum is filled by further violence and death would the US admin not use the consequence of leaving as an "I told you so" to continue their already-failed vision of US hegemony? Should US opposition to neocon world vision focus on limiting consequences of civil war in Iraq by strategically redeploying and intervening in humanitarian crisis only?

Will

the de novo Army of Northern Virginia is presently deconstructing the Bush-Cheney presidency.

First they asked for some masking tape, a flip chart, and post-it notes, and then

"Early this morning the jury asked for an easel and pictures of all the witnesses, and it seemed likely they wanted to map out some sort of diagram or timeline for the case. Since there is both an MIT Ph.d and a mathematician on the jury, it's also seems likely that the jury is taking a reasoned approach to determining a verdict. That does not bode well for Ted Wells' highly emotional, "give me back my baby Scooter" entreaties. "

firedoglake.com

Steve Jones

Arbogast, war is a continuation of politics by other means, yes. But war is also the last resort when all else has failed. Even GWB has said as much. That boy must have a forked tongue.

If the "war" - which we won in April, 2003, by the way - is about domestic American politics, then it is long past time for impeachment proceedings to begin.

The "war" was sold, badly, to a fickle American public looking for revenge for the 9/11 attack. Now, that fickle public has changed its tiny mind, for which may God forgive it. I can't.

Now our troops are stuck in a new war - a civil war in Iraq. This administration has been accused of going to war with no plan for reconstruction after the victory. I contend that they went in with too many plans. The neoconservatives saw it as a stepping-stone to Iran - "Real men want to go to Tehran". Jerry Bremer saw it as a libertarian paradise (google the Harpers article "Baghdad Year Zero").

George W. Bush? I honestly don't know whether he had a plan, or was just winging it. I suspect the latter. But his nasty noises regarding Iran lead me to suspect he's on board with the neoconservatives. I also suspect that he is a God-bothering fool who believes that we are in the Final Days. That thought keeps me up at night, and with a gin bottle close at hand.

Cheney was obviously following his "one percent doctrine". Rumsfeld? I think he was just playing god with our military. And may God forgive him as well. I can't.

The rest of the bunch were just following orders.

Lieberman switching parties? Maybe yes, maybe no. Up to him, as it was up to Jim Jeffords in his day. I don't think he will, but I don't care. The Democrats are already forming their customary circular firing squad in pursuit of the 2008 ring. The good news is that the GOP is, too.

Or maybe that's the bad news. What have we got, Doctor? "A republic, if you can keep it." For all its imperfections, it is worth keeping. Grab on with both hands, folks.

ali

"There's an army still running fruitlessly round Al Anbar that is fit for the task."
Pat found that cryptic.

All those M1As, Strykers and up-armored Humvees are wasting fuel in the Wild West. Even the MC report Al Anbar is a lost cause.

Bit more useful for securing the line of retreat than Snatch Landrovers, foul language and heroicly bad teeth.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/5121546.stm

David Habakkuk

Ali:

If the U.S. does strike Iran, and the Iranians retaliate by moving against American supply lines in Iraq, what happens to the remaining British forces?

What options would be available to them? How vulnerable are they?

johnf

Sorry to spoil your optimism but I think very few people in Britain share your faith. We've been repeatedly promised withdrawal every few months since the war started.

Blair's announcement on a radio programme with Britain's fiercest cross examiner, John Humphries, was swiftly followed by a junior defence minister saying that 5,000 British tropps were expected to stay in Iraq til 2012 to keepo the exit doors open for you Yanks.

Al-Q

Troops out, Prince Harry in. Forgive me for seeming a cynic on this issue, but I would like to forecast the serious injury or possibly murder of this lad in Iraq. After all, he might not even be of royal blood ......

dan

Golly. A few points seemingly missed by Mr White.

Last Autumn the UK press was full of stories about the MoD drawing down troops - approx. 3k - this spring, once the much-vaunted Operation Sinbad had run its course. Needless to say any reasonably well-informed UK observer who had a sufficient degree of critical skepticism and a an appreciation of Whitehall spin could have told you back then that, as with the previous "drawdown fever" story binges in the UK press in 2004 and 2005, the delivery would not match the anticipation.

So the MoD is reducing its Basra contingent to 5500, with the promise of a further 1500 to leave in November-December; of course, come the Autumn, the numbers withdrawn will be between 0 and 750. If we're lucky - ie barring a total catastrophe - the MoD will draw down to its minimal level of 3-4k troops by 2009; at this point the MoD stays until the US leaves. Remember, the MoD is the "gatekeeper" here, and insofar as its function is to keep the Basra end of the logistics chain "open", it cannot withdraw to a force component that is less than 3000 troops. There are no US legions-in-waiting to pick up the slack.

Whilst Whitehall has few illusions left regarding its ability to achieve any of its stated political objectives in Iraq, the overriding UK political-strategic interest is the preservation of the Atlantic Alliance. Please don't make the mistake of linking UK committments in Iraq to what is actually happening in Iraq.

The Danes, who are deployed with the MoD in Basra, are withdrawing their entire contingent this summer. Then again, the Danes don't have UK world power pretensions and aren't leasing a so-called independent nuclear deterrent from Washington.

The August "handover" of the Al Amarah base wasn't a handover or, for that matter, planned - the MoD was forced out by persistent indirect fire attacks and constant harrassment of the logistics effort to keep the base supplied. It's worth noting that in the wake of the May helicopter shootdown in Basra, the MoD ceased all daytime flying bar Medevac, and no-one believes its wise to do nightime helicopter resupply on bases that are being mortared every night, as the Amara base was. Basically, the MoD ran and put on a splendid PR exercise by redeploying to the region East of Amara, where they loudly told all and sundry they were going to patrol the border area to prevent smuggling. All of this was covered by a Channel 4 news crew that was embedded with the MoD in Amara at the time, leading to the broadcast of hilarious footage of British squaddies huddled under desks in their base every night to a soundtrack of mortars going off.

Predictably, having announced their plans very loudly, the MoD has been shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that there was little to no smuggling going on.

W. Patrick Lang

All

Anyone ever heard of the death of the "Prince Imperial?" pl

Mike G

There would not have been much point in Prince Harry joining the army if he were not sent out to locations where actual military action is taking place. The royals have to be seen to be sharing the burdens that the rest of the citizens of the UK have to carry. But note that he is being sent to Iraq, a less risky theatre than Afghanistan. The likelihood of him coming to grief patrolling the deserts around Basra is far lower than the probability of taking a bullet in the bitter day to day confrontations with the Taliban in Helmland province.

The "withdrawal" spread out over nearly two years is being matched by an increased presence of British troops in Afghanistan. The top brass in Whitehall have recognised that Basra and the south is unwinnable; British forces are overstretched anyway; best to concentrate on Afghanistan where there is some hope of progress.

Got A Watch

This "withdrawal" is just smoke and mirors to provide cover for Blair's fighting withdrawal from British politics, and to allow the relieving Brown time to get elected. But judging from the poll numbers, Blair, Brown or whomever will not win the next election, it will be an oppostion party. Just another failed manipulation by Blair, who is probably in full panic now, seeing his "place in history" as being right next to the dumpster, not the glowing figure who would have statures and squares named after him for centuries. The "end of term, lets review what we have accomplished" dynamic in action. Too bad for him the judgement of history will be harsh, Blair will be probably be recorded as one of the worst leaders in British history, all for his slavish desire to please his Washington masters. Was he really a deep cover CIA agent? That would explain his actions better than most theories.

What I find particularily egregious about Blair is his inability to admit that he is responsible for the chaos and violence in Iraq, and no one else (except GWB/Cheney). Every time he discusses Iraq, he ties himself in knots trying to get around accepting any blame or responsiblity what so ever. Probably the truest measure of his character - it's always someone else's fault, never his. A characteristic he shares with the American neo-cons, and why they are constantly trying to change the channel to deflect any discussion of their criminal responsibilty for the sorry stae of affairs in Iraq today.

I say it is an illusion manufactured purely for domestic political considerations because in fact there will still be thousands of British troops in Iraq for many years to come. If a crisis erupts, re-inforcements will be rushed in. Blair is just putting fresh lipstick on the pig.

Got A Watch

Todays Independent has:
"Revealed: The true extent of Britain's failure in Basra" By Patrick Cockburn
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2296829.ece

"The partial British military withdrawal from southern Iraq announced by Tony Blair this week follows political and military failure, and is not because of any improvement in local security, say specialists on Iraq......

In other words, British soldiers have stayed and died in southern Iraq, and will continue to do so, because Mr Blair finds it too embarrassing to end what has become a symbolic presence and withdraw them."

Details the sorry history of the occupation of southern Iraq from credible sources. Worth a read, pertains directly to this discussion.

Cloned Poster

pl, Harry will be killed by brown people too.

What good PR that will make for fighting the evil Muslims?

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