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Hey, we helped, sort of ...
Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 21, 2008

Bernard Jenkin, an MP for North Essex and a member of the House of Commons Defence Committee writes in the UK Independent:
Good news from Iraq has been in short supply, but the House of Commons Defence Committee recently returned from Basra considerably cheered. The logic now is that the UK should maintain a substantial force in Basra for some time yet.

This may not be what the Prime Minister wants to hear, but as he returns from Iraq, he should come to the same conclusion. We should plan to stay to build a positive military footprint of our own in part of what will become one of the richest and most powerful countries in the Gulf region. A pre-election rush for the exit will underline how the UK lacks political willpower and is deficient in the necessary military capacity to exploit recent success. Having taken a fair proportion of the effort, including battle casualties, why hand all the upside to the Americans?
What's amazing about the statement isn't that suddenly the UK sees a reason to remain, but that it gave a "fair proportion of the effort" which has, in fact, led to the "recent success".

And even more interestingly, Jenkin can't even support his own premise. In fact, he pretty much destroys it:
Throughout the last 18 months, while General Petraeus changed the US doctrine of operations from conventional warfare to counter insurgency, and began to win consent on the streets in Baghdad and Anbar province, UK forces in the south seemed to be in retreat. We had become locked down in our bases, enduring regular rocket attacks, only able to operate in heavily-armoured convoys, subject to mines and roadside bombs.

In the autumn of last year, we effectively handed Basra city to the Iranian-backed Shia militias. The police were corrupt, the local government was seen as complicit, and the prospects for stability were remote. Worst of all, the casualties we suffered seemed pointless.

On 25 March this year, Prime Minister Maliki ordered his southern security chief, General Mohan, to lead an Iraqi army offensive in Basra to clear out the Shia militias: Operation Charge of the Knights. The local 14th Division under General Mohan faltered at first, the enemy gained confidence, and Mr Maliki ordered in the Iraqi 1st Division from Baghdad as reinforcement.

Whereas British policy initially prevented Military Transition Teams (MiTTs) from deploying on operations with the 14th Division, the US Marines mentoring the 1st Division were embedded with the Iraqi military and appeared on the streets of Basra as participants in the battle, actively advising on planning and tactics as well as providing helicopter lift and air cover.

As well as achieving victory, the Iraqi army has made a quantum leap in self-confidence and respect. But there was another equally dramatic development.

The Shia militias' propaganda and religious rallies had been about ridding Iraq of the foreign invader, so there was nervousness that a visible coalition presence would undermine public support for Iraqi forces. However, instead of behaving like Iraqi patriots, Basrawis saw the militias shooting and killing Iraqi soldiers, whom the Americans were seeking to help and protect. This created sufficient confidence for British forces to deploy back on to the streets of Basra for the first time since October last year.
So, let me recap. British forces had become mostly "locked down" in their own camps, had admittedly turned Basra over to the Shia militias, refused to deploy MiTTs with the units they were training and left it up to Maliki and the US Marine MiTTs which deployed with them to take Basra back.

All of that "created sufficient confidence" for the Brits to go back out into Basra?

Wow. Everyone wants a piece of the success, don't they?

All of this to point out the extremes to which some will go to share in victory, even when their contribution, such as in Basra, was marginal at best (and this is not aimed at the brave British soldiers who've fought and died in Iraq).

What I'm really waiting with bated breath to see is how Obama fashions his version of what Jenkin just did.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Success has many parents...
Written By: Keith_Indy
It’s bated breath ;-)

Success has many hangers on, is perhaps the better analogy.
Written By: buddy
URL: http://
success is success, and a clamoring to jump on board the train can only been seen as a good thing in my eyes, who didnt know that everyone would try to, im just glad the time is finally here.
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Jackals, hanging around the carcass, snarling for a piece of its rotting flesh might be more apt...considering the immoral war of Nazi-Like Aggression we waged.

In the end only the carrion eaters, Halliburton, but I repeat myself and the Iranians will benefit from this travesty...if only more paper-maché puppets could have been built, possibly the world would be a different and better place.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
American Decline, quagmire, blood and treasure, war-for-oil, failed surge.

You right wingnut deniers will all live to remember those famous, prophetic, words by our beloved Harry Reid - "I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week,".
Written By: looker
URL: http://
hey everone lets get on the victory wagon!!! nevermind that basara was under sadars control till iraqi forces and US forces when in and forced them out.

what happenned to the days of brave brits fighting a 100000 zulu warriors? they are a shell of their former empire. then they have the audaucity to call us imperial coloinialist. what a joke that country has become.
Written By: slntax
URL: http://
The sad thing is that the Brits had it right early on. They were the folks telling the Americans to get out of their trucks and tanks and interact with the people after the end of Major Combat Operations. How times have changed.
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
Well Jeff they DIDN’T have it was the Strykers, the Tanks, the M-2/3’s and the air power that killed the bad guys...the Brit’s hunkered down in their bases, akin to the US, it was a SURGE, getting off post AND using increased combat power that defeated the short INCREASED "kinetics" not "decreased kinetics."
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What I’m really waiting with bated breath to see is how Obama fashions his version of what Jenkin just did
Why would Obama worry about it when he has Maliki speaking for him? Anyway, Jenkin was also for staying the course a year ago. Like many people, for him staying is always the right thing to do, regardless of what conditions on the ground are.

Joe, in Anbar it was the surge of dollars we paid the black hats to put on white hats instead.
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Retief, it was a LOT of dead black hats, along with increased popular support that yielded victory...
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Retief, it was a LOT of dead black hats, along with increased popular support that yielded victory...
Details, details ... and how dare you use the "v" word?
Written By: McQ
Retief, it was a LOT of dead black hats, along with increased popular support that yielded victory...
Joe, you have to understand. Retief spells Victory: s-u-r-r-e-n-d-e-r. Just like the rest of the Democrats.

(Note: My apologies to any exceptions to that rule.)
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Maybe Maliki is not as on board with the Obama meme as Retief would like to believe
(CNN) — A German magazine quoted Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as saying that he backed a proposal by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months," he said in an interview with Der Spiegel that was released Saturday.

"That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," he said.

But a spokesman for al-Maliki said his remarks "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately."

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the possibility of troop withdrawal was based on the continuance of security improvements, echoing statements that the White House made Friday after a meeting between al-Maliki and U.S. President Bush.
Nuri, watch out for that bus!
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
"All of that "created sufficient confidence" for the Brits to go back out into Basra?"

Not only are we standing up the Iraqi army, but evidently we are also standing up the Brits, too. Sad.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

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