the ‘un-surge’…

Posted on Saturday 17 November 2007

After Britain partially withdrew forces from southern Iraq in September, the White House slandered its “closest ally,” claiming “British forces have performed poorly in Basra” and suggested “it’s best that they leave.” The White House should take notice of what has happened in Basra as British troops have left. According to Maj. Gen. Graham Binns, commander of British forces in Basra, the presence of British troops instigated violence. Now, violence has reportedly dropped to one-tenth that of earlier levels: "The presence of British forces in downtown Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, was the single largest instigator of violence, Maj. Gen. Graham Binns told reporters Thursday on a visit to Baghdad’s Green Zone. ‘We thought, If 90 percent of the violence is directed at us, what would happen if we stepped back?,’” Binns said.

Sectarian tensions in Basra, a predominantly Shiite city, are not as high in other parts of Iraq, but “it has seen major fighting between insurgents and coalition troops.” British Defense Secretary Des Browne observed last month: "The people of that city are no longer subject to the significant level of violence that was directed against the British forces and our allies." In April, 12 British troops were killed in Iraq in contrast to just 1 in October. Furthermore, “British officials expected a spike in such ‘intra-militia violence’ after they pulled back from the city’s center, and were surprised to find none,” Binns said.

When announcing a further withdrawal in early October, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Basra was “calmer” since British forces handed over their base in early September. “Indeed, in the last month, there have been five indirect fire attacks on Basra Air Station compared with 87 in July,” he observed.
I was recently talking about the self-serving and primitive language in dreams. The comment "British forces have performed poorly in Basra" is a fine example. Instead of saying that the new government in England acted rationally by withdrawing troops and to no one’s surprise, it decreased the violence. It was the invaders Iraqis were mad at. Our White House had to spin it into the "British forces have performed poorly" – a self-serving argument of the first kind. The British "experiment" answers a question, and it’s not about the military prowess of their forces. Their soldiers are just fine. President Bush and Vice President Cheney have held us in the grip of fear since September 11th, 2001. Iraq might have WMD. Iran might have WMD. If we leave Iraq, there will be a blood bath. The "Axis of Evil." They want to come over here and kill Americans [the big they].

What happened on September 11th, 2001 scared us all. It was the action of a fanatical religious group. Many of us think that the Bush Administration, under the control of the Neoconservatives, used this atrocity to further pre-existing goals of their own that they haven’t acknowledged. Others think that their hawkish ideology drove them. But all of us seem to see that they have acted like a paranoid group – lumping all Moslems as potential Terrorists. Treating captured soldiers as less than human – torturing them, confining them without benefit of trial, creating a domestic surveillance program that still hasn’t seen the light of day, converting our government into a war-time government without any real mandate from the electorate, operating in secrecy about everything, and putting us in a situation of perpetual war in the Middle East. Whatever their reasons, their strategy looks mighty foolish in the face of the simple British "experiment."

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.