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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, October 13, 2006

A comment from General Sir Richard Dannet, the Head of the British Army, has indicated that the British presence in Iraq is fueling terrorism, and it would be better for the Government to reconsider the schedule for withdrawal of troops from the area..
Comments from the British man on the street appear to agree with this assessment, and would indeed like to see our boys come home.. but there have also been reports from Brits living in Baghdad, who say such a withdrawal at this time would be catastrophic, leading to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi's in continued terrorist attacks, and would in fact, allow those terrorist groups to consolidate, throwing the country into a situation wherein there is a national government which is effectively powerless to protect those who have opposed the Muslim extremist stance..
It's a fine line Tony has to walk these days. It is absolutely true that once Western troops disappear, the government of Iraq will face an enormous task of trying to deal with those who would die to restore a Caliphate, while dealing with the normal everyday incidents of crime and mayhem. This Iraqi government is totally dependent on the Western presence at this point, and is still working on the timetable set out three weeks ago, that projected a civil war in the country within two months.
If British forces depart the south of Iraq, leaving a situation that has yet to be resolved, then it could be quite rightly said that we have done exactly what George Sr. did following his withdrawal from Iraq in the early 90's.. leaving a population open to reprisals, and perhaps facing certain death.
Yet as Sir Richard pointed out, and as has been mentioned before in this journal, we are fighting a war which we cannot now, conceivably win..
This is our VietNam.. and while the deposition of Saddam was certainly a necissary action, the followup operation was always going to be a losing proposition..
A rock and a hard place aint in it.. we either commit ourselves to an almost continuous occupation, or we cut our losses, and leave it to the Iraqi's to sort it out.
It's a loss, anyway one looks at it.
One wonders, once Western forces have withdrawn, how long it will take Iran to launch an offensive against the precarious government in Iraq.. again proposing a unified attempt at implementing a religious solution.. a turning back of the clock to a Caliphate, and a government filled with Islamic zeal..

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