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Old 02-22-2007, 03:48 PM   #46
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yes because there's no difference in the troops needed to fight a war and the troops needed to occupy a single province.

it is very much news and it signals the final break with whatever "coalition" invaded in the first place. Britain is done. Denmark is done. South Korea is done. the allies one needs to combat Islamist terror aren't going to be there. yet another bullet fired in another foot of the GWOT with Bush at the trigger.

American soft power is a thing of the past, or at least until a new president free of the shackles of the worst foreign policy mistake since Vietnam can begin to undo the damage Bush has done -- not least of which has been the authorization of torture -- to the past 60 years of American credibility. a whole generation of British youth now thinks of the US as a bullying, blundering, hypocritical, myopic hyperpower drunk on it's own self-delusions.

this is much more of a political move on Blair's part, as he's resigned at this point to the fate that awaits the US after this debacle:

[q]"What all this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be," Mr. Blair said, "but it does mean that the next chapter in Basra's history can be written by Iraqis." The city, he said, "is still a difficult and dangerous place."[/q]

how many US soldiers must die before we arrive at this conclusion as well?
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Old 02-22-2007, 03:59 PM   #47
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The British started out with 46,000 troops in Iraq. They have been gradually withdrawing troops for several years now. Nearly 40,000 British troops have been withdrawn over the course of the war, another 3,000 in 2007 can hardly be considered news when the withdrawal of the prior 40,000 troops was not.
Where do you get your information from? As far as I understand it the numbers of British troops has remained fairly constant at the 7000/8000 level since 2004. Obviously there was a huge number of British service personnel deployed at the start of the war in 2003 but the vast majority of these had left by the end of that year.
The numbers of British troops stationed in Iraq has been a very contentious issue and has featured on and off in the news since the war but perhaps it has only been reported in the national rather than international news That said, call me cynical but I'm sure that it's no coincidence that Labour has hyped the announcement because they are trailing in the polls at the moment (although there won't be another general election for a couple of years).
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:22 PM   #48
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[q]Why the British are scaling back in Iraq
The military can't fight there and in Afghanistan without approaching 'operational failure,' one critic says. Something had to give.
By Kim Murphy
Times Staff Writer

February 22, 2007

LONDON — Britain's decision to pull 1,600 troops out of Iraq by spring, touted by U.S. and British leaders as a turning point in Iraqi sovereignty, was widely seen Wednesday as a telling admission that the British military could no longer sustain simultaneous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The British military is approaching "operational failure," former defense staff chief Charles Guthrie warned this week.

"Because the British army is in essence fighting a far more intensive counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan, there's been a realization that there has to be some sort of transfer of resources from Iraq to Afghanistan," said Clive Jones, a senior lecturer in Middle East politics at the University of Leeds, who has closely followed Britain's Iraq deployment.

"It's either that, or you risk in some ways losing both," he said. "It's the classic case of 'Let's declare victory and get out.' "

Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has been pressed to add 800 troops to Afghanistan to halt a resurgent Taliban and a worrying escalation of drug trafficking, at the same time that it is beset by criticism for joining the United States in an unpopular invasion and prolonged war in Iraq. The 132nd British soldier to die in Iraq, Pvt. Luke Daniel Simpson, was buried Wednesday. He was killed Feb. 9.

The decision to draw down forces by more than 20% in the southern city of Basra means that Britain will significantly shrink its military footprint at a time when the Pentagon is increasing U.S. troop levels to battle militants to the north, in Baghdad and Al Anbar province.

The Bush administration hastened to present the British decision as an indication that the U.S.-led military operation was succeeding. Vice President Dick Cheney called the reduction "an affirmation of the fact that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well," and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said the U.S.-led coalition "remains intact" even though the roster of nations contributing troops, excluding the U.S., has fallen to 25 from 35.

But the Pentagon, in its most recent quarterly report to Congress, listed Basra as one of five cities outside Baghdad where violence remained "significant," and said the region was one of only two "not ready for transition" to Iraqi authorities.

Once a promising beacon, Basra suffers from sectarian violence as well as Shiite militia clashes over oil smuggling. Ferocious street battles have broken out between rival Shiite Muslim groups in provincial capitals such as Samawah, Kut and Diwaniya in the last year.



Congressional critics

Democratic leaders in Congress denounced the Bush administration assessment as misleading.

"No matter how the White House tries to spin it, the British government has decided to split with President Bush and begin to move their troops out of Iraq," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "This should be a wake-up call to the administration. Prime Minister Blair's announced redeployment of British troops is a stunning rejection of President Bush's high-risk Iraq policy."

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said the British decision "confirms the doubts in the minds of the American people" about the decision to boost the U.S. force.

"The president's escalation plan to send more U.S. troops to Iraq is out of step with the American people and our allies," Pelosi said in a statement. "Why are thousands of additional American troops being sent to Iraq at the same time that British troops are planning to leave?"

In Britain, Blair's opponents quickly painted the withdrawal as an admission of failure.

"The unpalatable truth is that we will leave behind a country on the brink of civil war, in which reconstruction has stalled and corruption is endemic, and a region that is a lot less stable than it was in 2003," Liberal Democratic Party leader Menzies Campbell said in Wednesday's Parliament debate on the troop drawdown.

"That is a long way short of the beacon of democracy in the Middle East that was promised some four years ago," he said.

For Blair, the decision to begin reducing Britain's 7,100 troops in the south to 5,500, with possible further withdrawals later in the year, was almost a political necessity. His Labor Party is trailing in the polls ahead of crucial regional elections in the spring. And Blair is preparing to hand over the reins of government this year, most likely to his treasury minister, fellow Labor leader Gordon Brown, who favors phasing out Britain's deployment in Iraq.

In announcing the troop reductions, Blair said they coincided with the increasing assumption of security responsibilities by Iraqi military and police forces. He said British troops would continue to patrol the Iranian border and remain at their main base in Basra through at least 2008, to assist Iraqi forces if needed.

"It is important to show the Iraqi people that we do not desire our forces to remain any longer than they are needed, but whilst they are needed, we will be at their side," Blair told Parliament.

"The situation in Basra is very different from Baghdad. There is no Sunni insurgency. There is no Al Qaeda base. There is little Shia-on-Sunni violence," despite "often intense fire" from Shiite militias targeting British troops, he said.

"What all of this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be. But it does mean that the next chapter in Basra's history can be written by Iraqis," Blair said.

Most analysts say the prime minister's assertion that significant progress had been made in securing southern Iraq stretched the facts. Though the south is not nearly as violent and chaotic as the capital and the Sunni heartland to the west, it remains jittery, unstable and frequently bloody. Shiite militias and armed gangs lord over such cities as Basra and Amarah, as well as the long, desolate stretches of roadway through the marshlands and deserts of the south.

British bases in Basra regularly come under mortar fire. British troops engage in almost daily gunfights with militiamen. In recent months, the British all but evacuated their downtown base and moved to a more secure site on the grounds of the city's airport.



Bastion for Islamists

A study on the south issued this week by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank that has been sympathetic to the Bush administration's foreign policy goals, describes southern Iraq in dire terms. It notes that Basra, once one of Iraq's more liberal and cosmopolitan cities, has become a bastion for Islamists who use the south's vast oil wealth to "fill their war chests."

"The province has suffered one of the worst reversals of fortune of any area in Iraq since the fall of Saddam [Hussein]'s regime," the report says.

Military and political analysts said a British drawdown in the region could leave a vacuum that could provide shelter to militiamen displaced during stepped-up U.S.-Iraqi operations in Baghdad, in a location where Iranian influence is great.

Equally serious, they said, is the fact that Basra and its environs are a crucial supply link to U.S. forces in Baghdad.

"The fear is essentially that when the U.K. pulls out, the militias will come to control the situation, rather than the Iraqi army," said Michael J. Williams, head of the transatlantic program at the London-based Royal United Services Institute.

Although U.S. and British leaders have taken pains to deny any split in policy over Iraq, "if the security situation in Basra was perfect, should the Brits be withdrawing troops, or reallocating them someplace else where they're needed, which is Baghdad?" Williams said.

"The fact is that the troops that work best alongside the Americans are leaving the country," he said.
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:22 PM   #49
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Where do you get your information from? As far as I understand it the numbers of British troops has remained fairly constant at the 7000/8000 level since 2004. Obviously there was a huge number of British service personnel deployed at the start of the war in 2003 but the vast majority of these had left by the end of that year.
The numbers of British troops stationed in Iraq has been a very contentious issue and has featured on and off in the news since the war but perhaps it has only been reported in the national rather than international news That said, call me cynical but I'm sure that it's no coincidence that Labour has hyped the announcement because they are trailing in the polls at the moment (although there won't be another general election for a couple of years).
Its true that the number of British troops was cut in half by the summer of 2003, but the United States has more troops in Iraq now than they did for the initial invasion.

I'll have to go look up the numbers, but I don't think the British were down to 7,000 by the end of 2003. I remember figures after 2003 of 13,000 and 9,000. On the internet, global security.org as a monthly break down of total US forces in Iraq, but not one for the British.
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:42 PM   #50
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Ok, lets look at the facts. There were 46,000 British troops in Iraq in March 2003. By July 2003 that number was down to 22,000. Over the next 3 years, 15,000 more British troops would gradually be withdrawn.

Were there any major news articles, to this degree, about the withdrawal of 24,000 British troops in 2003, and 5,000 more in each subsequent year?

Now that there is to be a withdrawal of 1,500 troops in southern Iraq over the next few weeks, its "news"? Why would that be "news" to this degree, when the withdrawal of nearly 40,000 British troops over the past 3 and a half years has not been?
But put it in context with Bush wanting a surge and it is news.

Context!!!
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:06 PM   #51
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Originally posted by Irvine511
yes because there's no difference in the troops needed to fight a war and the troops needed to occupy a single province.

it is very much news and it signals the final break with whatever "coalition" invaded in the first place. Britain is done. Denmark is done. South Korea is done. the allies one needs to combat Islamist terror aren't going to be there. yet another bullet fired in another foot of the GWOT with Bush at the trigger.

American soft power is a thing of the past, or at least until a new president free of the shackles of the worst foreign policy mistake since Vietnam can begin to undo the damage Bush has done -- not least of which has been the authorization of torture -- to the past 60 years of American credibility. a whole generation of British youth now thinks of the US as a bullying, blundering, hypocritical, myopic hyperpower drunk on it's own self-delusions.

this is much more of a political move on Blair's part, as he's resigned at this point to the fate that awaits the US after this debacle:

[q]"What all this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be," Mr. Blair said, "but it does mean that the next chapter in Basra's history can be written by Iraqis." The city, he said, "is still a difficult and dangerous place."[/q]

how many US soldiers must die before we arrive at this conclusion as well?
The British military's goal in the initial invasion was the area of Iraq they currently occupy. British troops were not used in the march on Baghdad, or anything much further north than where they are now. Basra was their main objective during the initial invasion. So there is little to no difference between the area the British were tasked with during the initial invasion vs. the area they are responsible for now.

For years now, the security situation in the south has been very different from the one experienced in several of the provinces north and west of Baghdad as well as Baghdad. US supply lines run through southern Iraq and if the situation was so delicate as other claim, US troops would be deploying to Basra to replace any significant withdrawal of British forces.

how many Iraqi's, citizens of neighboring countries will have to die as a consequence of a pre-mature withdrawal of US forces? How many American's will have to die from Al Quada having a better location to operate freely from with no US troops to interfere with their operations? How many US troops will have to die if the United States does not secure and stabilize Iraq now and is forced to return years later to stop a worse threat? What will be the impact to the future security and stability of the region if the United States withdraws prematurely?

A pre-mature withdrawal has severe consequences and any one proposing such an idea should be able to acknowledge that and try to answer the above questions. But thats not happening. Withdrawal to so many of its supporters is the solution to everything, when it in fact solves nothing, and will eventually create the conditions for a far worse conflict that the United States will not be able to avoid. Fundamental US and global security concerns in the region have not changed, and are not going to at any time in the near future. Iraq is not Somalia with regard to the consequences of a pre-mature withdrawal.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:08 PM   #52
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Originally posted by STING2
How many American's will have to die from Al Quada having a better location to operate freely from with no US troops to interfere with their operations?
You created this situation.

You and nobody else.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:16 PM   #53
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You created this situation.

You and nobody else.
Leaving Saddam in power was not an option. You have to look at things in a much broader context.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:18 PM   #54
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But put it in context with Bush wanting a surge and it is news.

Context!!!

Yes, context. Where are the British troops stationed in Iraq, what is the security environment like there? Where are US troops stationed in Iraq, what is the security environment like there?
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:27 PM   #55
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Leaving Saddam in power was not an option. You have to look at things in a much broader context.


and the piss-poor invasion did not have to happen how it happened when it happened with so few on board and so many against and such manipulated intelligence and the specter of 9-11 used to drive fear into the hearts of a wounded american public and with the present fools in charge.

you have to look at things in a much broader context.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:32 PM   #56
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how many Iraqi's, citizens of neighboring countries will have to die as a consequence of a pre-mature withdrawal of US forces? How many American's will have to die from Al Quada having a better location to operate freely from with no US troops to interfere with their operations? How many US troops will have to die if the United States does not secure and stabilize Iraq now and is forced to return years later to stop a worse threat? What will be the impact to the future security and stability of the region if the United States withdraws prematurely?

A pre-mature withdrawal has severe consequences and any one proposing such an idea should be able to acknowledge that and try to answer the above questions. But thats not happening. Withdrawal to so many of its supporters is the solution to everything, when it in fact solves nothing, and will eventually create the conditions for a far worse conflict that the United States will not be able to avoid. Fundamental US and global security concerns in the region have not changed, and are not going to at any time in the near future. Iraq is not Somalia with regard to the consequences of a pre-mature withdrawal.


gee, maybe you should have thought of these things before marching into Baghdad, maybe you should have spent a moment understanding how shattered Iraqi society was, maybe you should have paused to consider the differences between Sunnis and the Shia, maybe you should have used 500,000 troops to occupy, maybe you could have spent some time building an actual coalition like James Baker did in 1991, maybe you could have stop to think about just why no one wanted to go to Baghdad in 1991, maybe you could have gotten the UN on board, maybe you could have worked on world opinion, maybe you could not have legalized torutre, maybe you could have not destroyed the credibililty of the United States, maybe you could have let weapons inspectors do their job, maybe none of this had to happen how it happened but because of the 2004 election, it happened. and American soldiers have been your political pawns ever since.

if you had any belief in the necessity of the overthrow of Saddam, you'd be yelling and screaming at the manifest incompetency and grotesque manipulation of troops for political gain.

but, instead, you're just a partisan hack. no different from Cheney.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:45 PM   #57
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:50 PM   #58
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and the piss-poor invasion did not have to happen how it happened when it happened with so few on board and so many against and such manipulated intelligence and the specter of 9-11 used to drive fear into the hearts of a wounded american public and with the present fools in charge.

you have to look at things in a much broader context.
The invasion if anything was overdue, and the same military forces that did the actual fighting in Desert Storm, did the fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The central case for the invasion has not changed and was never manipulated and was laid out in front of the United Nations on September 12, 2002.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:58 PM   #59
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Not manipulated, just some very important facts were ignored as they didn't fit the goal:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/...462782,00.html

And it was so naive to think that one could enter a city such as Baghdad with a small force and everyone would be happy.

This kind of guerilla warfare is not new, and still some people think they can manage everything by conventional warfare.
Furthermore, it was crystal clear that an American army that enters and stays in Iraq won't be welcomed not only by the Iraqi, but by the Muslim world in Arab.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:24 PM   #60
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gee, maybe you should have thought of these things before marching into Baghdad, maybe you should have spent a moment understanding how shattered Iraqi society was, maybe you should have paused to consider the differences between Sunnis and the Shia, maybe you should have used 500,000 troops to occupy, maybe you could have spent some time building an actual coalition like James Baker did in 1991, maybe you could have stop to think about just why no one wanted to go to Baghdad in 1991, maybe you could have gotten the UN on board, maybe you could have worked on world opinion, maybe you could not have legalized torutre, maybe you could have not destroyed the credibililty of the United States, maybe you could have let weapons inspectors do their job, maybe none of this had to happen how it happened but because of the 2004 election, it happened. and American soldiers have been your political pawns ever since.

if you had any belief in the necessity of the overthrow of Saddam, you'd be yelling and screaming at the manifest incompetency and grotesque manipulation of troops for political gain.

but, instead, you're just a partisan hack. no different from Cheney.
These things were considered and no one thought coalition troops would be completely leaving Iraq any sooner than they would be leaving Bosnia, Kosovo, or Afghanistan.

Iraqi society was indeed shattered and continuing to be ruined by Saddam. An invasion at a later date would have found only worse conditions in many parts of the country.

The United States did not have 500,000 ground troops at the time that could be deployed and then replaced by an equilavent sized force, nor did any of the invasion plans developed by prior Cent Com commanders require a force of that size.

In terms of forces that engaged in significant fighting on the ground, the coalition that went into Iraq in 2003 was just as large as the one Jim Baker put together in 1991. There is a much broader number of countries that have suffered casualties in Iraq since 2003, than suffered casualties in Desert Storm.

The United States has never wanted to go to Baghdad unless it had to. The United States certainly never wanted to invade Afghanistan either. If Saddam had continue to fight in 1991 or did not agree to the terms of the 1991 Gulf War Ceacefire, US forces just 100 miles south of Baghdad would have moved into Baghdad, largely unapposed. But given the global situation at the time, plus the unlikely hood that Saddam would even be in power within 5 years based on most estimates, it was thought the Saddam's acceptence of the terms would be enough to insure security. But Saddam started to not cooperate signicantly in 1996, and ended all cooperation at the end of 1998. The containment regime vital to keeping Saddam in check completely came apart. There were virtually no sanctions or embargo across the Syrian/Iraqi border by the summer of 2000. Saddam was not cooperating and the containment regime was either gone in many place or quickly eroding in others.

The UN has been more onboard for the Iraq conflict than many other major conflicts. It authorized the invasion, and has authorized the occupation every year since.

Weapons inspectors can't do their job if Saddam won't cooperate! Any brief examination of what happened from 1996 through 1998 would show this.

The Iraq war and its difficulties were actually a tool used by the left in the 2004 election. Multiple hollywood movies and concerts with the war as the background theme, were used by the left to try and defeat Bush in 2004, but they lost.

The only people that are political hacks or those that think Iraqi history started in 2003, don't understand what an insurgency or counterinsurgency is, don't understand basic fundamental US security concerns in the Gulf, fail to accurately understand US policy in Iraq since Saddam came to power, and have a blind opposition to the President often based on things that have nothing to do with Iraq or foreign policy.
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