Thursday, October 12, 2006

Britain's Top Army Commander: `It's time Britain left Iraq'

Britain's top army commander said that British troops in Iraq should be withdrawn soon because their presence is exacerbating security problems in the country.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, Britain's CIGS (Chief of the Imperial General Staff) also told the British Daily Mail in an interview published today that Britain's presence in Iraq was aggravating the security threat elsewhere in the world.

General Dannatt said the troops should "get ... out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems".

Most of the British troops, about 7000 soldiers, are stationed mainly in the Shi'ite south and have come under increasing attack by the Shiite militias.

The March 2003 invasion has come under heavy criticism in Britain to say the least..and Britain has lost 119 soldiers there to date.

General Dannatt, who just took over as Chief of the General Staff in August, pretty much admitted that the troops in Iraq had overstayed their welcome.

"The military campaign we fought in 2003 effectively kicked the door in. Whatever consent we may have had in the first place, may have turned to tolerance and has largely turned to intolerance. That is a fact. I don't say that the difficulties we are experiencing round the world are caused by our presence in Iraq but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them."

In other words, as I've written here onsite, the best we can hope for from the Shiite government we put in place is `thank you, infidels, fo ryour time and your money. Now leave so we can bond with our jihad buddies in Iran.'

The general took a 180 degree difference from PM Tony Blair and US President George Bush, and made a point of criticizing the post-invasion planning by the US-led coalition.

"I think history will show that the planning for what happened after the initial successful war fighting phase was poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning," he said.

In other words, the military did its job superbly - but the politicians, with the ridiculous rules of engagement, the failure to control the borders, and especially the failure to curtail the Iranian influence prior to the elections and take out the Iranian controlled Shiite militias dropped the ball.

"The original intention was that we put in place a liberal democracy that was an exemplar for the region, was pro-West and might have a beneficial effect on the balance within the Middle East. That was the hope, whether that was a sensible or naive hope history will judge. I don't think we are going to do that. I think we should aim for a lower ambition."

A spokeswoman at British PM Blair's office issued a statement in response to the General Dannatt interview that was echoed by the Ministry of Defence.

"It's important that people remember that we are in Iraq at the express wish of the democratically elected Iraqi Government, to support them under the mandate of a UN resolution," the Downing Street statement said.

Which in effect, of course is saying nothing at all...and Blair is still insisting that British troops have to remain in Iraq until the Iraqi Government is able to take control of security, even as President Bush said that he was open to changes in US strategy in Iraq after two senior Republicans, one of them notably Senator John Warner (r-VA), suggested that the US needed to consider alternatives policies in Iraq after returning from a trip there.

In the interview, General Dannatt appeared much more upbeat about Afghanistan, saying that he had "more optimism" that "we can get it right in Afghanistan".

He also mentioned the need to tackle militant Islam around the world.

"We can't wish the Islamist challenge to our society away and I believe that the army both in Iraq and Afghanistan and probably wherever we go next, is fighting the foreign dimension of the challenge to our accepted way of life," he said.

I agree with General Dannet in every respect except for his statement about our troops presence in Iraq exacerbating terrorism. I honestly don't think it makes a difference one way or another given the Islamist mindset. Except for that, I think he's spot on.

It's time for a major change in how we're fighting the War on Jihad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

funny. i never noticed it before.
that tall seeping brim in the front.
the red lapelets.
that jaw structure.
looks like a rooskie.