More at Pajamas Media/ Omar and Mohammed Fadhil
The news about a secret deal between the British and anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr did not come as a surprise to us. Britain’s war policy has been clear for the past several years: the country demonstrated no readiness to make sustained efforts in a prolonged war, nor did it act as a serious partner determined to win the conflict.
There are three aspects in this British betrayal. First, striking a deal with the enemy; second, selling an Iraqi city to the enemy of their Iraqi hosts and partners; and third, by not informing their American partners of their plans, enabling the U.S. military’s reliance on an untrustworthy partner — something the British military leadership turned out to be.
What’s worse — even assuming the “accommodation” was a thoughtful plan with good intentions — is that Britain upheld the deal even when the militias violated it. The militias did not renounce violence (attacks continued), and they did not switch to civil political activity. Still, the British didn’t take action.
To be fair, Britain deserves credit for being a good team member during the good days in the beginning of the war. They sent in some 40,000 troops and were enthusiastic about contributing to the quick collapse of Saddam’s defenses.
They sent the largest number of troops after the U.S. and celebrated the initial victory, showing themselves as allies of the U.S. But it looks like Britain wanted to share only the good days, nothing more. Things changed fast soon after. In fact, over the last two years, Britain has adopted a policy in Iraq that is opposite in direction to that of the U.S.
August 9, 2008, 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm
I agree that the British position in Iraq has been a little odd in recent years but the deal with the Mehdi Army was no different from the deal with Sunni Insurgents that the US has made. It didn’t seek British approval for that.
I think that there are many reasons for the actions of the British Government over Basra in recent years. I think that behind the scenes there was some kind of falling out over Iraq between Bush and Blair. Whatever Blair was promised for his support, I don’t think he got it. I also think that Britain was annoyed how they became a very junior partner in Iraq, involved in no major decisions on the way forward in Iraq. Despite the early contributions, Britain has walked away with practically nothing from Iraq but bad press, ill feeling and body bags.
I also think that the prolonged action damaged British morale, initially welcomed in Basra, things soon turned, that wasn’t what the British were there for. The battles with the insurgents also showed up the funding gaps, cutbacks and general inadequacy of the British army, this embarrassed both the army and the Government.
Then there is Afghanistan, where Britain has been bearing the brunt of the action from the earlier campaign for several years, the British army quite literally cannot afford to fight two wars.
With no clear strategy in Iraq, no plans for handing over power, withdrawals or reconstruction, I suppose the British Government just decided that it was a hiding to nothing, there was no money in it, no political mileage, no long term gains, just bad press.
Things may be different in the US, but in Britain the ‘war’ in Iraq is not popular. I did get the impression years ago that the British Government has decided to get out as quickly as possible.
August 9, 2008, 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm
Not popular here either, Sir Charlie. Although the tide has turned a bit more favorable, since the “surge” AND the Iraqi’s carrying their share. At least as well as they are able to, at this point.
I think (and that’s bad to do) the Fadhil brothers were writing more out of frustration, then vindictiveness. They and millions of other Iraqi’s have had a taste of freedom and tire of the war. Primarily, the way it’s been fought.
I believe the U.S. still has not recovered from the Vietnam war and even further back, the Korean war. Meaning, yes we can shoot here, no, we cannot shoot there crap. If MacArthur (and he was born in Arkansas…channeling Clinton..lol) had his way, the 38th parallel, would have been moved up a tad, like the Chinese border.
I know war is horrible, but I’m kind of a smash the piss out of them guy. Kill ’em, let God sort ’em out, as the English speaking allies and the effort of the Soviets, during WWII was.
August 10, 2008, 12:21 am at 12:21 am
I’m with Tiz. Korea was a debacle because that tailor-president Truman’s nut sack shriveled up whenever he was near MacArthur (Of course, Truman was a Democrat and MacArthur was a Republican), so he fired him, just because he could, and because he had penis envy. Truman’s failure to properly handle MacArthur enabled VietNam, Communist China, and the repercussions echo down to this day.
Of course, Roosevelt’s failure to provide adequate logistics to Patton in WW II even presaged that (Yes, Roosevelt was a Democrat and Patton a Republican). Had Patton and MacArthur been allowed to fulfill the destiny God intended for them, there would never have been any USSR vs. USA cold war, and there would be no such thing as Communist China or North Korea.
Some times I think, “Fuck it. Let the US military rule the world.” Pax Americana, baby.
August 10, 2008, 9:23 am at 9:23 am
I do agree with them that the situation is frustrating, Britain should never have joined in with the war if it didn’t have the ability to see it through, and Britain did not. Clearly for some reason other than the cost and logistics the British Government didn’t have its heart in it, and has been building up to this sharp exit for a while.
I also think it may have something to do with the liberal idiots that run things over here, the longer we were in Iraq the more words like colonialism came up, as Britain was a former colonial power in Iraq, and anything that might connect us to the bad old days of Empire is simply not allowed. Britain has spent 200 years fighting insurgencies around the world, I don’t think they liked the idea of another one.
I’ve read a lot of about how the US problems in Iraq are caused by its inability to fight long small wars, the US public much preferring short wars, like the first Gulf War, Grenada, Panama, where the aims are clear and quick victories are easily attained and don’t like being ‘bogged down’. Which is why Vietnam and Korea weren’t so popular.
Whereas European powers have always fought and expected the long, drawn out wars and been better placed to fight them. Ironic then that Britain isn’t doing this in Iraq and France and Germany are doing everything they can to avoid the action in Afghanistan.
August 10, 2008, 9:42 am at 9:42 am
I thought that MacArthur was fired because he wanted to use nuclear weapons on the Koreans?
I don’t know, there was nothing much that could be done to prevent the Cold War, after all Stalin was in charge and he made Hitler look like an amateur.
Once I might have agreed with you, but I think in a world so closely linked and informed, one single all powerful nation just doesn’t work. There needs to be a balance, even when Britain was the dominant power it was always about keeping a balance between the major powers. Today the world is unipolar and whilst Europe and the West enjoy the benefits of this, less fortunate countries are envious and want a place at the table.