Thursday, October 12, 2006

Top British general calls for an exit from Iraq "soon".

The Daily Mail has a dramatic interview to be published next morning:
The head of the Army is calling for British troops to withdraw from Iraq "soon" or risk catastophic consequences for both Iraq and British society.

In a devastating broadside at Tony Blair's foreign policy, General Sir Richard Dannatt stated explicitly that the continuing presence of British troops "exacerbates the security problems" in Iraq.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Sir Richard also warns that a "moral and spiritual vacuum" has opened up in British society, which is allowing Muslim extremists to undermine "our accepted way of life."

The Chief of the General Staff believes that Christian values are under threat in Britain and that continuing to fight in Iraq will only make the situation worse.

His views will send shockwaves through Government.

They are a total repudiation of the Prime Minister, who has repeatedly insisted that British presence in Iraq is morally right and has had no effect on our domestic security.
I am surprised this is not on the news in the United States tonight. Perhaps it will be tomorrow.

BBC News:
BBC political editor Nick Robinson described Sir Richard's remarks as "quite extraordinary".

He said the new head of British army was "effectively saying we are making the situation worse in Iraq and worse for ourselves around the world by being in Iraq".

The comments "directly contradicted so much of what the government had said", our correspondent added.

Sir Richard might be issuing a "very public warning" to the next prime minister, he said.

In his interview, Sir Richard added that any initial tolerance "has largely turned to intolerance. That is a fact."

Sir Richard, who took on his role in August, also said planning for what happened after the initial successful war military offensive was "poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning".
More Iraq stories...

The Los Angeles Times:
WASHINGTON — President Bush opened the door to possible changes in his approach to the Iraq war, declaring Wednesday that "we'll change tactics when we need to change tactics," amid pressure from Republicans about the unrelenting violence and the shortcomings of the government in Baghdad.

Bush said at a White House news conference that the description of his policy as a stay-the-course stance was only "about a quarter right."
This is infuriating. Tactics are not the problem. Tactics have lead to the seizure of weapons cachets, detention of insurgents and terrorists. American military personnel are waging a difficult, up-hill campaign with exceptional courage, training and tactics. The problem in Iraq is strategic.

Peter Schoomaker was recently lauded in the blogosphere for standing up to Rumsfeld. Now, in Stars and Stripes:
“Do I think Americans understand the strategic picture as well as they should? I don’t,” Schoomaker told reporters during a Pentagon roundtable.

“I don’t think they’re well informed on what the realities of what the strategic environment is in the world today.”

Schoomaker voiced many of the same concerns in a speech Tuesday to the Association of the United States Army.

Schoomaker said that victory in the war on terror requires “a national strategic consensus, evident in both words and actions.”

That consensus existed during the Cold War, in the form of the containment strategy, designed to keep Communism from spreading beyond the Soviet Union and its client states, Schoomaker said.
A succession of Republican and Democratic presidents and elected officials maintained the strategic vision of the United States efforts against the Soviet Union. There were changes (detente), however, the strategy was well-explained to the American people. Neither the left nor the right has done this in the global war on terror.

Also, this from al Jazeera:
David Blunkett, the UK's former home secretary, has said that during the 2003 invasion of Iraq he suggested to Tony Blair that Britain's military should bomb Aljazeera's television transmitter in Baghdad.
General Peter Pace tells CNN that the plan in Iraq is currently under informal review.


Blogger Chuck said...

It appears Sir Richard wants to surrender in Iraq as a show of force to the Islamists at home. This guy has been wanking his crank too much.

I won't comment on your rant about Bush because I think you are wrong.

General Shoomaker seems to have his head screwed on right. Broken equipment, better armor, reasonable pay and post trauma care costs money. I would add that the Army should add 2 divisions.

What he really nailed was his comment about threatening to resign. Only a fool or egomaniac threatens to resign if he doesn't get his way. I have told more than one person not to let the door hit them in the ass on the way out.

7:57 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Are our tactics at fault for the situation in Iraq?

Well, maybe they are. I get upset when Bush (and before it was Condi) blames problems on a tactical level. It sort of implies that there are no adjustments needed at the strategic level.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

I look at Iraq as a tatic in a greater strategy. I think most people have lost sight of the fact that the War on Terror is Global and have assigned a higher priority to Iraq.

There is no doubt that things are not going as well as they should in Iraq and I think it is because we underestimated the will of the Iraqi people. They hold the key to success or failure.

If the Iraqis decided today that they have had enough of the insurgents terror, they could put a stop to it within a week. After all, the terrorists are hiding among them and they know who, where and what they are. An army armed with sticks can defeat a division armed with rifles if they have the will to win. The Iraqia don't have the will.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

The general maybe hedging and back-peddling after this interview. But that is the way the game is played, isn't it? First you blurt out the truth: Bush and Blair have got us into Iraquagmire (or Iraqnam).

Then you apologize for speaking the truth.

But the genie is out of the bottle. Truth, like toothpaste, can't be replaced in the tube!

For myself, I can forgive the British for supporting Bush in his un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI), if they somehow can lead us out.

I say, Shock & Awe!
Mission Accomplished!

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Chuck that the Iraqis do hold the key to victory. What I disagree with him about is that they don't have the will. In my mind, we can't honestly say they don't have the will until American troops leave Iraq. As long as we remain there, the Iraqis' number one priority will be to get us out. It is only after we leave that we will see if the Iraqis are really interested in having a unified country and purging the foreign, non-Iraqi jihadists. Iraqi insurgents are not foreign terrorists, but as long as we remain there the two groups' priorities overlap.

11:38 AM  

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