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  • UK Withdrawal

    From the BBC today...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...st/6958395.stm

    The comments in the above piece by Gen Jack Keane are in my view a fair comment on the situation in Southern Iraq today. What surprises me a little is his apparent 'surprise' about UK strategy, in terms of operations and the political policy guiding it.

    One of the lessons quickly learned on the ground by UK in theatre commanders, and soon after by political and military commentators here is that the presence of UK forces only makes matters worse. This applies no matter how large the forces may be and its this view that lays at the heart of current UK thinking. Simply put the strategy is that we have to pull out quickly and leave the security to the Iraqi's, REGARDLESS of the consequences once we've gone.

    The main problem stemming from this is that its the virtual opposite (politically) of current US strategy, which i see as staying 'in theatre' until post occupation security is certain and set to last. A futher problem posed by this 'unexpected' UK strategy is the effect it will have on the situation in the US zone? How can the current UK strategy be such a surprise and given the Generals comments regarding a vacuum of power i would ask does the US have any strategy ready to deal with it?

    How will US commanders deal with one third of Iraq being out of 'Allied control' and possibly 'lawless'?

    In my view the most interesting quote in the piece comes from the MoD in London...

    "Our plans are not inconsistent with those of the US - we remain united in our strategy of handing over provinces to Iraqi control as and when conditions allow."

    ... which i feel would benefit our American cousins with a translation...

    'Although we desire the same outcome in Iraq as our US allies, we have an entirely different strategy to attain it - we will pursue that strategy PRIMARILY with regard to our own self interest, specifically we will act accordingly and use our own good judgement regarding when to get the hell out!'

    Would members care to comment on the effective split in both allied overall strategy and any consequences it might bring... comments from US members would be of interest since its likely their armed forces will have to deal with the fall out.

    Final comment...

    As i'm writing this, its occured to me that this change in UK strategy in general roughly follows the same time line as Blairs replacement by Brown.

    Might it be that this strategy of set withdrawal was formulated around a year ago when the change in leadership was first postulated?

    An even more cynical view might be that the strategy was formulated to reverse the political fortunes of New Labour once Brown took office... the current poll lead Labour now enjoys when compared with a ten point deficit under Blair would tend to confirm this?

    Is this an overly cynical view?

    regards

    Gaz

  • #2
    Your analysis of government thinking is probably spot on mate.


    I think the chickens have come home to roost for this government and that is Blairs true legacy. Involving us in a major conflict whilst stripping the miltary of men and kit. The areas is too big to control with the men we have whilst having operations in afghanistan,Bosnia etc, trying to maintain a reserve and allow for r and r. The amateurism of this labour government is amazing and have damaged our reputation enormously (whilst encouraging the enemy ,current and future)when we've had the best anti guerilla/terrorist army of modern times. God knows what the troops must think. Hair being pulled out all round I suspect.
    Last edited by copenhagen; 23 Aug 07, 05:51. Reason: typing error

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    • #3
      I would contend that 10 years of spin have reduced the British Army's capacity to defend its homeland never mind the operations overseas. Its something that they need to look at now.
      "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."- General Heinz Guderian


      "Oakland Raiders: Committed to Excellence"

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      • #4
        The time has come for Britain to announce that it will leave Iraq. The Army presence is no longer able to ensure law and order in Basra, which is in the grip of the Shia miltia groups (who also control the Police). Yet every month more British soliders lose their lives for little purpose other than being to seen to in line with President Bush. If the departure of Blair has helped enable the process of withdraw at the highest level, than it is good he went. Gordon Brown should continue to distance ourselves from the failed policies of George Bush in the Middle East.
        War is less costly than servitude

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kendrick View Post
          Gordon Brown should continue to distance ourselves from the failed policies of George Bush in the Middle East.
          History has yet to show whether the Bush administration is right or wrong in its present dealings with the mid-east countries. Your calling a football game over before halftime.
          "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by trailboss49 View Post
            History has yet to show whether the Bush administration is right or wrong in its present dealings with the mid-east countries. Your calling a football game over before halftime.
            On the other hand, if all a team can accomplish in the first half is a series of possessions resulting in punting from your own end zone, it comes to follow that any good coach is going to definately readdress the prevalent team strategy. Top to bottom. Not rely on the same old game plan.

            Perhaps our British friends have come to the same conclusion. I find it disconcerting that they are "pulling up stakes" but I do not find it surprising. Frankly, I think they have shown remarkable forebearance in putting up with the US's approach to this war for this long.

            Is/was there another viable course the US could have taken to accomplish the mission of "beating" terrorism and bringing to justice the perpetraitors of 9/11? Ah, but that is now better addressed in "Alternate Timelines" threads.

            We have a situation here, of our own doing and of our own strategic and tactical errors. However we manage to get out of it now, I can only see our prestige and honor smeared with mud.

            GG
            "The will of a section rooted in self interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people." -Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain-

            "Fanatics of any sort are dangerous." -GG-

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            • #7
              Originally posted by trailboss49 View Post
              History has yet to show whether the Bush administration is right or wrong in its present dealings with the mid-east countries. Your calling a football game over before halftime.

              Once again America does not understand the countries they invade , sorry Liberate....not everybody wants to be American or have American way of life shoved down their throats..

              per ardua ad astra

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bow View Post
                Once again America does not understand the countries they invade , sorry Liberate....not everybody wants to be American or have American way of life shoved down their throats..

                per ardua ad astra
                Yet we should have. The biggest single failing, I believe, was for the US Government not to understand the animosity between the three major groups living in the collective termed Iraq.

                We KNEW the Kurds had been mistreated by Saddam and that there were a number of Kurds living in Turkey. (A staunch ally.)

                We KNEW there had been centuries old animosity between Shi'ites and Sunnis.

                We KNEW that the Sunni minority, under Saddam, had lorded it over the Shi'ite majority for years.

                What we should have known, or at least anticipated, was once we removed the iron rule of Saddam from this boiling kettle, there would be the natural tendency to get some payback.

                Adding fuel to the fire, of course, is Al-Queda (sp?) fanning the animosity between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites by targeting both factions in terrorist attacks. (From a purely objective point of view, the tactic is genious, helps AQ further destabilize the Iraqi "Central" Government, ramps up more animosity between factions [and distrust], each faction believes it needs "militias" to help defend themselves from the other factions..... well you see how it feeds the fires.)

                Whatever made the US Government ignore the potential of internal factional violence? Poor intelligence? Poor advising to the President? To me, the whole thing is a glaring oversight of monumental proportions.

                Somewhere down the line some author is going to address this, backed up by documents that are unattainable right now, and reveal that Colin-Powell had been advising against Iraq for this and other reasons. That Condi Rice supported her "boss" in the best interests of her further employment and thus it was that Colin-Powell retired and CR became SecState.

                I do agree, however, on your insight that not every country wants the US form of Government foisted off on them. What I do believe is that it is essential for the people of a country to have the freedom to decide what form of government works for them. Not have it dictated by a conquerer or part and parcel of a promise of "foreign aid", or have it put on them by some religious leader.

                I treat every nations' right to government like I do religion. Whatever gets you through! With the caveat that this pursuit of freedom does not interfere with other countries' pursuit of their perceived freedoms. (.... and that opens a whole new can of worms!)

                GG
                "The will of a section rooted in self interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people." -Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain-

                "Fanatics of any sort are dangerous." -GG-

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bow View Post
                  Once again America does not understand the countries they invade , sorry Liberate....not everybody wants to be American or have American way of life shoved down their throats..

                  per ardua ad astra
                  PFFT!

                  It's not that. But the fact that we think we can change a thousand year-old culture.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bow View Post
                    ..not everybody wants to be American or have American way of life shoved down their throats..

                    per ardua ad astra
                    perhaps not shoved down their throats... but I think - sadly, very sadly - you are wrong here.

                    people arond the world want the american way of life - an unsustainable life fo consumption and waste - one that will doom all of us to some disaster for depletion of resources and massive pollution. thankfully the world is not yet to that level of way of life.

                    the true problem is not if the world will get to the american way of life, it's can the west leave that way of life peacefully and quietly? that will be a tough thing to do.
                    "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Marines View Post
                      PFFT!

                      It's not that. But the fact that we think we can change a thousand year-old culture.

                      Yep given our cultrue changes every sixty seconds, we really do not understand what it means to have deep cultural roots.
                      Boston Strong!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bow View Post
                        Once again America does not understand the countries they invade , sorry Liberate....not everybody wants to be American or have American way of life shoved down their throats..

                        per ardua ad astra
                        By making this argument you naturally agree that Sadaam was good for Iraq... Most people respond that they did not like Sadaam, but yet they think he was able to rule and unruly country. However, I think that people who deny or justify why others do not deserve freedom, are mislead. Although we can look back and argue about the preceedings leading up to war, why do question the ability of others to be free?

                        Without bringing Bush into the equation, not all conservatives think Bush is a true conservative, I ackownledge that all people deserve to be free. Right or wrong aside, if it was wrong to invade Iraq, why does the UN or other "free thinking" countries intervene in affairs in Africa? Why do countries critize the politics of others, but yet deny people the right to wear symbols associated with their religion??

                        I would welcome a response, but please do not ally me with Bush, that seems to be the argument of the day, we get away from talking about issues and talk about political figures.

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                        • #13
                          I haven't been keeping close tabs on this. Is the situation really as bad as that in Basra? That port city is absolutely critical to the Iraqi economy.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                            I haven't been keeping close tabs on this. Is the situation really as bad as that in Basra? That port city is absolutely critical to the Iraqi economy.
                            There is a lot of tension as various Shiite factions jockey for control. The fear is once the British troops pull out of the city, there will be no restraint on these groups and all hell will break loose. The Iraqi Army unit taking over, (I believe its the 10th) is one of Iraq's better units. However, it is unlikely they can control the situation, even with British troops providing some support from their base.

                            They certainly won't be able to provide security in the Basrah area while simultaneously protecting our own supply lines. I don't think the US military can avoid sending a task force to the south very long. Either that, or British troops will need to move back into the city in greater numbers.
                            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Deltapooh View Post
                              There is a lot of tension as various Shiite factions jockey for control. The fear is once the British troops pull out of the city, there will be no restraint on these groups and all hell will break loose.

                              http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/6975375.stm

                              Start your stopwatches. Of course the Army may be helping one side or the other.
                              Winnie says
                              ---------------------------------
                              "He fell out of a Gestapo car, over a bridge, and onto a railway line. Then was run over by the Berlin Express.

                              It was an Accident."
                              Herr Flick.

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