Aug 13 2007

NY Times Notes British Failure In Premature Iraq Withdrawal

Published by at 8:40 am under All General Discussions,Iraq

While the violence in those areas patrolled by the US is finally on the wane as al-Qaeda’s brutallity created a Muslim backlash which has resulted in Iraqis swearing on the Koran to defeat the terrorists, the Southern area of Iraq where British forces operated has been a mixed bag. The UK had the responsibility to deal with the Shiia southern strongholds, deemed moderately challenging given the American’s responsibility for the Sunni areas and the mixed provinces around Baghdad. Now the NY Times is trying to claim the UK has failed in the south of Iraq, and that failure is due to their premature depature – the same premature they and their liberal allies in Congress want the US to execute:

As Americans argue about how to bring the troops home from Iraq, British forces are already partway out the door. Four years ago, there were some 30,000 British ground troops in southern Iraq. By the end of this summer, there will be 5,000. None will be based in urban areas. Those who remain will instead be quartered at an airbase outside Basra. Rather than trying to calm Iraq’s civil war, their main mission will be training Iraqis to take over security responsibilities, while doing limited counterinsurgency operations.

If anyone outside the White House truly believes this can work — that the United States can simply stay in Iraq in reduced numbers, while ignoring the civil war and expecting Iraqi forces to impose order— the British experience demonstrates otherwise. There simply aren’t reliable, effective and impartial Iraqi forces ready to keep the cities safe, nor are they likely to exist any time soon. And insurgents are not going to stop attacking Americans just because the Americans announce that they’re out of the fight.

In Basra — after four years of British tutelage — police forces are infiltrated by sectarian militias. The British departure will cede huge areas to criminal gangs and rival Shiite militias. Without Iraqis capable of taking over, the phased drawdown of British troops has turned ugly. The remaining British troops hunkered down in the city at Basra Palace are under fire from all directions. Those at the airbase are regularly bombarded.

I had to check this many times to make sure this was a NY Times editorial and not one from the Wall Street Journal. However they came to this realization, their views up to this point are correct. Premature departure basically makes all the death and injury and destruction required to get to the point of departure a waste in human suffering if the departure is too soon resulting in many of the gains being squandered through impatience to leave and declare victory. The British surrendered the streets of southern Iraq too soon, and surrendered them to an enemy worse than Saddam Hussein. An enemy aligned with Iran and using the Southern border to Iran to smuggle in explosives and weapons to kill our forces.

What is hypocritical of the NY Times is to be bashing our allies for doing the exact thing the NY Times and liberals in Congress have been proposing Bush do for years:

The United States cannot walk away from the new international terrorist front it created in Iraq. It will need to keep sufficient forces and staging points in the region to strike effectively against terrorist sanctuaries there or a Qaeda bid to hijack control of a strife-torn Iraq.

But there should be no illusions about trying to continue the war on a reduced scale. It is folly to expect a smaller American force to do in a short time what a much larger force could not do over a very long time. That’s exactly what the British are now trying to do. And the results are painfully plain to see.

Let this be a lesson to all those who tried to appease the media and leftists and who pulled support from Bush and from our efforts in Iraq. As we see a sea change take over Iraq and spread out across the Middle East, as al-Qaeda’s brutal tactics are now rejected by Muslims – not rallied around – we see how the liberal media would treat those who follow their foolish policy proposals. They would blame those who did what they suggested as being dumb to do what they suggested. The NY Times may not be bright enough to see the irony they just exposed – blasting those for being too dumb to do as they say – but the rest of us see it just fine. Not only do not follow what the NY Times proposes, just ignore them all together. Because if they think their proposals are so bad when enacted, maybe we should just stop pretending they are still a serious voice in the national debate. Clearly they are not and have not been for decades.

17 responses so far

17 Responses to “NY Times Notes British Failure In Premature Iraq Withdrawal”

  1. AJ,

    A friend of mine sent me the following when I sent him articles on the British withdrawl from Iraq:

    “British forces in Iraq were defeated by the British government, not by the enemy. Their government would not let them take the fight to the enemy for Labor Party internal politics reasons. You can’t win with defense alone. British forces were only allowed to hunker down in their bases because attacking the enemy meant arosing lefty opposition in Britain. British forces in Iraq were only a symbol of political support for America. They weren’t allowed to fight.”

    This is how the Democrats would have let American forces fight if Kerry got in the White House.

    And it is how Hillary would do the deed if she were in power.

  2. dave m says:

    I was raised in California but I’m working over in the UK for now.
    None of the UK media, not any of the newspapers, and not any
    of the TV broadcasters, including Murdoch’s, support the war.
    They’ve all been successfully “re-educated” by the bbc* to oppose
    all things Bushian.

    When Gordon Brown was allowed to take over their government,
    the swing to the Left was confirmed – not that there was that far to go,
    Tony Blair’s labor party was a lefty party, Blair’s great accomplishment
    was to re-brand it enough to make it electable, but he was always
    hated for his friendship with President Bush.

    The UK papers are already speaking of imminent withdrawal. Today
    the London Times, what could be called a Conservative paper,
    carries a warning from the Army (well somebody in the Army)
    that soldiers will die unnecessarily unless they retreat like today.
    (And some may even get their Ipods nicked like happened to
    the hapless sailors off the coast of Iran).

    Thw drawdown to unusable force levels have reduced their
    position to useless, did anyone see Michael Caine in that movie
    Zulu? I wonder how they will even get out of their airbase?
    I can see multiple transports shot down by Iranian supplied MANPADS or if they try to drive out by more EFPS than you
    could believe.

    Will Gordon Brown dare ask the Americans to safeguard their

    You have to wonder, if the Brits cannot even defend one smallish
    city against a ragtag bunch of religious fanatics, how will they
    do against the Russians, Chinese, or Iranians arriving on
    their southern beaches?

    I have to guess that about ten minutes after they call Banki Moon,
    they’ll beg for mercy. Whether they get it, that question is not today
    being asked in the UK elitist news media. I don’t know what the
    NYT prints, but this media push for surrender has been building
    for weeks, ever since Brown took over.

  3. lurker9876 says:

    Sounds like NYT hasn’t learned that USA did NOT the new international terrorist front in Iraq.

    The Brits’ loss to USA hundreds of years ago taught them to lose…I guess. And they weren’t able to win against Germany on their own either.

    Their protection or lack thereof of those Brit soldiers captured by Iran is indicative of their appeasement and retreat. Too bad that they don’t have the Winston Churchill in today’s Parliament.

  4. AJStrata says:

    Hey Trent,

    It seems from the comments here that is the consensus take from all this. The Brits fought the Murtha battle plan and it was a disaster. The question is will the media point this out to America?

    They should – it is critical in our debate how to go forward.

    Cheers, AJStrata

  5. >Will Gordon Brown dare ask the Americans to safeguard
    >their retreat?

    We will not only cover the British retreat. We will do the mission in Basra that the Blair/Brown governments refused to do. The US Army has to have the supply lines the British are sitting on.

    British PM Gordon Brown moving British forces out of Iraq is the biggest favor he could do for American forces. The whole point of Blair’s policies of supporting Bush was to have a veto power over American military actions.

    The most recent time the British used the military operations veto was in the Kosovo war when the top British general in the operation called Blair to head off a confrontation between American forces and Russian paratroopers in Kosovo’s main airport.

    Gen. Wesley Clark had a major airmobile operation planned to provide a coup de main to take the airport before the Russians got there. Blair called Clinton who nixed the operation. In the end, that made no difference as far as the Kosovo War was concerned.

    However, Blair ‘veto policies’ in Iraq have resulted in the British Army de facto shielding the Iranians and their pet militia’s as they set up to block American supply lines in event of air strikes or either special forces or wider ground operations against Iran.

    “America unleashed” is a good way to view the military impact of the British withdrawal from Iraq.

  6. Terrye says:

    Basra is mostly Shia city and so I think the Brits thought that without the Sunni influence it would be easier to keep the peace. I do think that a certain amount of the violence there is just plain criminal and not religious at all, but the Iranians will no doubt take advantage of that.

    I have heard that the Brits may go back in the city if the situation deteriorates any further, but do they have enough people to get the job done?

  7. Jules Roy says:

    The Brits’ loss to USA hundreds of years ago taught them to lose…I guess. And they weren’t able to win against Germany on their own either.

    And the USA DID win on its own against Germany? You did not win Desert Storm on your own, did you? Korea? Same again. The last time you fought a real war on your own was in Vietnam: Who won that one?

    US soldiers have a very poor reputation around the world. You are also seen as ‘friendly-fire’ champs of war. The recent killings of large numbers of civilians in Afghanistan are seen as typical of the US at war. I admit that is not entirely fair but the poor performance in Iraq – probably always unwinnable no matter how well you fought – is giving you a pretty bad reputation around the world.

  8. The Right Way To Leave Iraq…

    First the writer shows an incredible ignorance of why the British left Basra to begin with. Lets look back to the statements made at the time, back in February of 2007….

  9. Terrye says:


    I do not think the US military won WW2 alone, not at all. I also do not think that the Brits are cowards or quitters {most of the time}…but your remarks about our military are completely off base. They are the best and as for their reputation in the world…compared to whom?

    The US military has fed more people, sheltered more people, rescued more people than the frigging UN has. We have shipped more medicine, more food, more of everything than any other country in history.

    We are 85% of NATO. As for friendly fire…well..we are the people with the guns. The Norwegians are not going to be the freindly fire experts are they? Nor are the Spanish.

    We have more than 160,000 military in Iraq. In fact we have more people in South Korea than the Brits sent to Iraq.

    And if our soldiers are so poor, so bad, and have such a bad reputation, why aren’t you speaking Russian or German now?

  10. Terrye says:

    And btw Jules, Afghanistan is under NATO command now and when the terrorists hide among civilians bring fire down on them deliberately by shooting at NATO forces it would be a lot more reasonable to say the terrorists were responsible for the deaths of those civilians.

    Now if the Europeans think they can do a better job, then maybe they should take some of the load instead of leaving it to America and then bitching about the way America handles it.

  11. The Macker says:

    Of course WWII and Korea were coalition efforts. And Viet Nam was a “loss of choice.”

    Europe depends on the US for world stability and protection. That’s why Euro cowards demonstrate such pious tolerance of evil in the world.

  12. Terrye says:

    Besides all that if it were not for France, Viet Nam might have been a different story too.

  13. lurker9876 says:

    Thought we were winning the Vietnam War until Congress got involved.

  14. The Macker says:

    Right, Congress chose to lose.

  15. Dc says:

    Actually we were not alone in Vietnam either. Aussies also were there with us.

    By the time Nixon was elected, everyone knew the war in SE asia had to come to an end. Nixon ran on a campaign to bring an end to the war in SE Asia ..with dignity. Most avg people were tired of the war, but didn’t want to just drop our tails and run either. He successfully brought about conditions for a peace agreement favorable for us, getting our POWs accounted for and bringing them home, as well as something favorable for the South viet gov that would stabilize the regions between North and South and keep the gov from collasping (or the North from invading). We could then strategically withdraw on our own terms as we built up South Vietnam forces/equipment to maintain some equillibrium and stability for the region and the South Viet gov.

    The war was growing long for North Viets too. The escallated bombings were wreaking havoc on them. Tet, was a technical ass reaming for the N viets…but it was a victory in the propeganda/media war. The north lost so many men in Tet, that they were effectively finished as a large scale fighting force after it.

    Nixon had a tenative deal on our terms. But, congress, never to be outdone in their “own” efforts to surrender first…made a media circus show with J Kerry leading the front..and their “hearings”….and they soon voted to yank/stop funding to “end the war” before Nixon could finish or successfully impliment the final phase withdrawal/stabiliazation parts of his plan. All that did, was cut off aide..military and otherewise to the “south” vietnamese gov..leaving them sitting ducks and surrender any possible gains we had made with the North uncondionally back to them. The North Viets at that point had won, and knew they could do whatever they wanted (and did). All that was fought for, bled for…had been surrendered back to the North Viets…by the congress…to make a “political statement” to stop the president from sending one more solider to die in an “immoral war” turning them into war criminals, etc (J Kerry).

    It was an all out slaughter, from one end of that place to another. (including Cambodia). For all the “peace brother”, “make love, not war”, it was very, VERY hard to ignore the scenes coming out of SE Asia as Saigon fell even before we could get everybody out. I know I certainly will never forget it. Beyond that, I didn’t come away from that experience with the idea that all that’s needed in the future to correct such mistakes…is to surrender or withdraw faster.

    As it turns out, the stories and figures and facts Kerry used to get congress dryhumping on a screw the president deal were either fabricated or gross mischaracterizations to dangerously inaccurate. Nobody talked about it much…unltil election ’04. To see J Kerry run on the proud traditions of the military??? I thought I was going to throw up. He used the same “tactic” when he coudln’t get elected to congress many years ago…because people still remembered him for the anti-war nut he was.

    So, he waited a short while, relocated to a new town, and ran on the platform of his proud military service (same Boat Crew behind him, etc..etc.). Same exact thing. Nobody ever picked up on it in election ’04. It was the same exact campaign tactic he used back in the 70s that eventually helped him get elected to congress. Anyway, our fine, fearless congress….who currently has the lowest approval rating of “any” congress…”ever”. Stand and be proud.

  16. The Macker says:

    Good history!

  17. cyclekarl says:

    I can’t believe the British bashing by stupid and ignorant Americans on this site,British forces have to leave Iraq at sometime and there are only conducting American Foreign policy anyway,besides it’s not like they are cowards as some people on here are sujesting,they will probably end up in Afghanistan.

    Now lets settle one thing America has never won a war on it’s own,the war of independence was won by American and it’s allies notably the French with Dutch financial help,but the siege of York town was won by the incompetence of two British commanders arguing where to distribute their forces particularly the royal navy,the end result being the handfull of Royal navy ships had to prevent a much larger french force from deploying their heavy guns to York Town,they lost the battle which ended in the British garrison being pounded into submission,so it was infact a French victory with America excepting the surrender,but that’s all in the past we are friends now.

    America isn’t in europe for our protection as one person on here put it,but for their own strategic interest.