Monday, 17 December 2007

New Labour can't face the truth; UK defeated in Basra.

It is right that British troops are leaving Basra. Indeed they should leave Iraq altogther.
But New Labour will not admit to the real reason as to why they have to leave; that the UK has been defeated.
It is because they dare not loose face, the defence minister got what he deserved on the Today program this morning. John Humphries has been to Iraq himself and seen how terrible it is out there; no one is going to pull the wool over his eyes. Unfortunately for defence minister Bob Ainsworth, the Today program allocated a full length timeslot for this interview, so there was nowhere to hide. John Humphries put it to Bob Ainsworth that terrible though Saddam Hussein was, life for the average woman in Basra was better than it is now. This is patently the case, but if the minister were to simply admit to something that is common sense, his position would become untenable as a minister. So he uncomfortably alternated between proclaiming how wonderful it is that Saddam Hussain is gone, but things are not perfect, how the army and police are ready to take over, although their police chief claims the direct opposite (a circle he could not square, no matter how hard he tried). It was a long painful interview, most unconvincing.
Only when Bob Ainsworth admitted that the British presence was becoming a problem did he hint at the truth. If I was interviewing him, I would have said "Oh yes? And how long has the British troop presence been more of a problem than a solution?". No doubt he would have waffled on, but the answer would be obvious; long before today. Another question could have been "So if you admit that the British troop presence has become more of a problem than a solution, then that must prove that we have been defeated in Iraq, and then the comments from the police chief about how desperate the situation is for him makes sense; you left because you had no choice, whether the Iraqis were ready or not".
No doubt when Basra descends further into chaos, there will be those who would say our troops should have stayed longer.
I claim the opposite. I would claim it shows that our troops were wasting their time. They gave the insurgents the opportunity to practice their craft. What better training could they possibly have?
Our troops should have left years ago. In fact they shouldn't have gone in in the first place.

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