Friday, October 13, 2006

The Brits Want Out of Iraq!!

Their Mission Is Accomplished?

Sir Richard's Daily Mail Interview:


The new head of the British Army, Chief of the General Staff General Sir Richard Dannatt, has told the Daily Mail that UK troops should withdraw from Iraq "soon".

He said their continued presence "exacerbates the security problems" in the country. Here is what he said:
We are in a Muslim country and Muslims' views of foreigners in their country are quite clear. As a foreigner you can be welcomed by being invited in a country, but we weren't invited certainly by those in Iraq at the time.

The military campaign we fought in 2003 effectively kicked the door in.
The way to get out is to modify our mission statement:
The original intention was that we put in place a liberal democracy that was an exemplar for the region, was pro-West and might have a beneficial effect on the balance within the Middle East. That was the hope.

Whether that was a sensible or naive hope, history will judge. I don't think we are going to do that. I think we should aim for a lower ambition.
The Occupation is going nowhere:
. . . . History will show that a vacuum was created and into the vacuum malign elements moved. The hope that we might have been able to get out of Iraq in 12, 18, 24 months after the initial start in 2003, has proved fallacious.

. . . . I don't say that the difficulties we are experiencing around the world are caused by our presence in Iraq, but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them.
On the real central front on the global war on terror:
There is a clear distinction between our status and position in Iraq and in Afghanistan, which is why I have much more optimism that we can get it right in Afghanistan.
On his son Bertie, who was a platoon commander in Iraq until a couple of months ago:
It was tough: three of his contemporaries, young officers, have been killed. There is a lot of pressure on young commanders. When my son was deployed he got into some quite hairy situations.

I am still a dad as well as being Chief of the General Staff. I wouldn't send an army where I wouldn't send my own child.
Shock and Awe, Baby...

42 comments:

  1. Astonishing!
    Astounding!
    Awesome!

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  2. Bush will not be led out, regardless of what the British do. He is determined to "stay the course." He will never "cut and run." As long as he is president we are in Iraq. As long as Tony Blair is prime minister they will stay in Iraq.

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  3. Mad Mike how apt- Bush is an idiot.

    You asked for a British perspective on the the Chief of the General Staff's interview. This is a constitutional crisis of the first order. The last time the Military intervened in politics was in the 1650's with the rule of the major-generals. For a serving officer and the most senior general to make such a statement is unheard of. Whilst I agree with everyword of what he has said, if he is not sacked by the end of the day, Blair will be fatally weakened politically. For the Army to even contemplate taking this sort of action in defiance of a democratically elected government, things must be serious. Blair lied to the British people saying we were going to war in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, that he knew did not exist. It was not then and is not now in the British national interest to be in Iraq. It has destabilised the Middle east.The Iraqi's had nothing to do with 9/11, but they have oil, and the perception is that it is Bush and his Good ol'boys in Haliburton going after the oil resources than anything else. The US government has dragged the esteem the USA was held through the mud. A London coroner today has pronouced that a British journalist was murdered by trigger happy US marines firing on civilians, you have passed laws sanctioning torture, you have operated secret prisons, you contravene the Geneva convention on prisoners. Basically the US as Colin Powell has said lost ANY moral authority in the world. That is why British support for this illegal war is at an end. Blair is finished. If he does not sack the General, he will lead this country into a Constitutional Crisis. People like Mad Mike had better wake up and smell the coffee, your own retired generals are telling the White House the same in conjuction with our military.

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  4. Can it be that not only has Iraq broken the Anglo-American militaries, but also jeopardized our common traditions of civilian authority over the military?

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  5. Vigilante - thanks for the link. There is still huge affection between the UK and US, despite the efforts of Bush and Blair to the contrary. I see the beginning of the end, at least of this act of the "war on terror", as Blair prepares to bow out next year and Bush a year later (good riddance to both). How Act 2 plays out will very much depend on their replacements. Sadly, the choices on both sides of the pond do not engender much optimism.

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  6. Very good guthrum , what you are saying is accurate. It is also accurate here. We are also on the verge of a constitutional crisis , or even a military coup.
    The thought is out there that our congress is crooked , and even after a so called election will probably , remain crooked , our Political system is controlled by the corporatacracy factors or big money.
    Eisenhower's original speech said beware the military/industrial/congressional complex.
    Of those players, also as in your country , there is one group that may stand up in a serve and protect role for the people of our lands.
    That would be the military.
    I could see Blair now also being deposed.
    Far fetched .?
    Do we want to end up like Nazi Germany with Bush in a bunker like Hitler was.?
    This is now the time to start getting serious.
    Bush must be removed.

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  7. Bravo , to your General. This man is a real patriot.

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  8. Just as an update, Blair has just announced that he agrees totally with the General, a complete Volte Face to what he was saying at the Labour Party Conference ten days ago. Apparently over night our Ministry of Defence spent the whole night pondering how to respond to the military intervention in Politics, see BBC website, basically a cave in is in process. Politically Dannatt is right, but constitionally he has no place to say such remarks. This has been a very British coup, and Blair has trumped a foreign policy disaster with a domestic constitional disaster. For a man so concerned about his 'legacy' his ego has led us all into a situation that will have repucussions for years.

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  9. Interesting. I think Blair may have seen the handwriting on the wall. The writing said , You are about to be gotten rid of.
    I will make a prediction that Bush will not land catlike like your man there has for now.
    Storm clouds are gathering here.

    Sounds like your situation there is still playing out. Ah Politics.

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  10. I just read the full statement released today by General Sir Richard Dannatt.

    It was very different from what he said in the initial interview with the Daily Mail.

    It was bound to happen. Tony Blair must have FURIOUS. General Dannatt was told to wind his neck in and clearly, he was told to retract.

    Very brave of him but bottom line is he still takes the Queen's shilling and is expected to toe the line.

    Most important thing is he's gone public and people seem to approve. We'll see what happens next.

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  11. The Truth!!! A human being, and a responsive, responsible human being at that, speaks! Thanks, Vigilante! It is certainly true that a civilian authority that does not hear it's military's patient warnings will call in to question civilian authority over the military. Yet another reason why our civilian authority needs to be roundly admonished and corrected. I can't help but wonder if the U.S. had had a large terrorist attack last summer, how our active military might react.

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  12. I can't help but wonder if the U.S. had had a large terrorist attack last summer, how our active military might react.
    Hi Urban,
    While am retired from the military I can assure you that if we were attacked every man and woman wearing an uniform would do their duty to either defend this country or provide support to the CIVILIAN authorities. This goes for every right-wing wacko to tree hunging liberal(yes there are a few in uniform). As long as those duly elected are alive the military will obey the lawful orders from them. Those having some idea that a coup is possible have completely lost any connection with reality, just a bad as Bush's, and have no idea how our military works. Yes Skip I'm writing about you.

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  13. :)) Thumbs up, big time on your post today. How's that? :))

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  14. How do you know I was not also in the military pal , but have a different opinion than you Mr.Beach Bum.?
    Time will tell as to what I am saying.

    What would you say to different parts of the military fighting itself.?
    Think I am dreaming.?
    That's different parts controlled by different factions of the political machine. Used as pawns, as they are being used now. Hmmm. ?
    I am not saying this will happen, however I am saying that our military are pawns currently for our current rulers who are not elected.?
    Are you following me.?
    Did you see what just happened in Britain.?
    I wish you would not simplify what I said by appealing to blind patriotism , and some projected attack which I said nothing about.
    Are you following me.?
    Our military like the British military have been played for saps.
    Do you think other wise.?
    Our military is getting awfully ornery right now , because the realization has dawned on some of them that they are playing the part of pawns for the corporations to make money.
    Are we now clear on this.
    Don`t hand me the love it or leave it crap.
    I am a proud American who detests his country for what it is now.
    Got a problem with that soldier.?
    As long as those duly elected are alive they will be obeyed you say Mr. Beach Bum.?
    Who would that be that you are referring to.? You mean the president.? Reality check pal.
    I can tell you that I will back the military against our crooked and lying political system, run not by the people now , but by the multinationals. They give a rats ass about America. Wake up.

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  15. You make my heart stand still but my head spin . . .

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  16. Matthew Parris supports Guthrum saying, I agree with every word that Dannatt said. But he has got to be sacked.
    Many, appear to have concluded that in a dispute between a soldier and a bunch of politicians, favour is most likely to be found by supporting the soldier. Most of the British media will conclude likewise. All of them should look to their credentials as democrats, and look to their responsibilities towards our precious and delicate unwritten constitution, before they go crawling to people in uniforms.

    . . . the key point: that General Dannatt believed his outburst would, and knew it should, cause Mr Blair to sack him; and has the guts to go through with it. General Dannatt may. Whether Mr Blair has, we shall see.

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  17. Grumbling in the active and inactive ranks of the British Military:

    Brigadier Allan Alstead, former commanding officer of the King's Own Scottish Borderers:

    We are approaching a situation of almost impossible overstretch. I suspect he is saying publicly what he and others have been saying in private for some time.

    Major Charles Heyman, Jane's World Armies specialist

    Even the dogs in the street are acknowledging he is right. He is not the sort of guy who shoots from the hip - he has a reputation as an honest man and will have thought this through.

    Colonel Tim Collins, a commander in Iraq in 2003

    A refreshing and very honest insight into what the army generally feel.

    Anonymous soldier, on Army Rumour Service website

    AT LAST!!! After years and years, AT LAST someone at the top has had the b***s to stand up and be counted.

    Anonymous soldier, on Army Rumour Service website

    Thank God we have Dannatt.

    Anonymous soldier, on Army Rumour Service website

    Most of us are sick to death of the weasel words of the various politicians, and it is quite refreshing to hear someone in a position of strong influence speaking his mind.

    Colonel Bob Stewart, former British UN commander in Bosnia

    Most of us are sick to death of the weasel words of the various politicians, and it is quite refreshing to hear someone in a position of strong influence speaking his mind.

    Scotsman

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  18. Who says people have to have credentials as Democrats.?

    I find your slavish devotion to politicians humorous.

    Did you get what I was saying at all.?

    Politics in America is not run by the people. It is run by big money interests.
    You are a cog. Wake up.

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  19. I continue to be amazed at your format. It is so
    easy to read and understand! And for old folks like me, it is easy to keep up with who is saying what.

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  20. Across-the-Pond Consensus forming?

    It may be of interest that a 10-member commission — headed by a secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush, James Baker — is considering two option papers, "Stability First" and "Redeploy and Contain," both of which rule out any prospect of making Iraq a stable democracy in the near term.

    "Stability First," argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents.

    The "Redeploy and Contain" option calls for the phased withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq, though the working groups have yet to say when and where those troops will go.

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  21. Skip dude, I really don't believe you have had any connection with the military other than maybe watching a Veteran's day parade. Your assumptions are simply put nuts. Whatever other fantasy you might have beside your new fangled political system your "ornery" military is another one. Generals mouthing off is a long way away from sending in the 82nd to occupy the capital. Maybe in your mind you are trying to find some way that your techno babble system might come about. As for your question of different parts of the US military fighting each other that is just too funny. Just for giggles the concept is good fodder for a second rate Clancy thriller. I have no idea how you came up with that notion but you are really out there man. You really need to get out of the house more and find some friends. I live close to my last batttlion commander and plan to show him your comments on the military and the possible coup. I'm sure he will get a laugh out of it.
    The first of my comment was to Urban and the question of how the active military would react to another attack. I made no comment about lovin or leaving this country. And lastly, dude, you are the one who really needs a reality check.

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  22. Thanks Beach bum but I don`t your services as an amateur psychologist.
    I always wonder about people who use so much ad hominem and personal invective in their reasoning.

    They call people like you good soldiers. Hitler had lots of them. I am sure you would be a good soldier for Bush also.
    By the way. There is just a possibility that I know a whole lot more about the military than you do.

    I will guarantee you that the war college , and military intelligence thinks a whole lot about every thing that can be thought about. That is their job. That means everything.

    You may have noticed that some of the things I have been saying are true whether you want to believe them or not. Time will tell.
    For the time being I am sure you will be following your marching orders. Attention.~!~!

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  23. Malfrat, about that Baker Commission: Their report is complete, but the catch-22 is that publication is being held back until after the elections. Sound familiar?

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  24. Skippy old boy it would seem that we have come to a impasse. I find it funny that you have relegated me to the ranks of the Nazis unable to see your delusions. And I still believe that not only do you have no military experience beyond what you may have read in some thriller or saw on a cable channel but that yes, you are short an order of fries for your Happy Meal.

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  25. Beach, in light of your spat with Skip (and right now I'm on your side), I'd like you to take a minute and look at Guthrum's fine piece of sarcasm, Lets have a military dictatorship then! and react. It seems to me that part of the contract of civilian control over the military implies also civilian proprietary care for the armed forces. I don't see that. What I see is an attitude that (a) this is a professional army, (b) they get paid to do what they're doing, (c) they should get on with it and quit their complaining, (d) we support them - see, we got our ribbons up on our cars, and (e), you go to war with civilian leaders you have, not the civilian leaders you might want at a future time.

    I am ashamed to say, very ashamed to say, (such is my contempt for Congress), that a military mutiny. . . .

    (aw shucks, I can't quite say it yet, but if a lot of heretofore very stupid American voters don't demonstrate in three weeks' time they are awake and smell the crap in the White House, I might say anything.)

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  26. The Brits have a special domestic problem, of course. But they have a message for us, I submit: Bush's war on terror is way over-militarized as well as misdirected.

    So that I'm not to be accused of understatements, let me add that Bush's excesses and misdirections have reached criminal proportions.

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  27. My take on Dannatt's extraordinary intervention is that he is desperate to save his army unnecessary suffering. Having concluded Iraq is a turkey(forgive pun) he wants to divert resources to Kabul. By rights Blair should have sacked him for his Macarthurish hubris but, in his weakened lame duck state, he doen't have the power to do so.

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  28. If Blair had sacked Dannatt , I think it would have been viewed much like what Nixon had done , Ala the Saturday night massacre of Watergate fame.

    Bush's position is untenable.

    A double bind. Bush is in over his head.
    With no credibility now, it is just a question of time before his downfall occurs, much like Nixon's did.
    Pressure must be applied and applied hard now to Bush.

    And we thought Nixon was bad.?
    Bush will go down as the worst of all presidents.
    No contest.
    This thing is not over yet though , and more may-ham and destruction are on their way.
    Will Bush now try to start a broader war.?
    Will he make himself even a bigger target to the military.?
    Our military may be our only hope of rescue from people like James Baker and his cohorts that are the actual power brokers behind the scenes.
    Who are they power brokers for.?
    That is another question.
    Both party's in Congress are water boys for the big corporate powers that be. I think its safe to say that the American people have been shafted and sacrificed to the money god , that cares for nothing except profit. Confusing times are ahead.

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  29. Vigilante, if the Anglo-American militaries are at risk, might not the alliance also be strained?

    William Rees-Mogg writes in the Times on Line, says that Bush,

    . . preferred the unqualified and, in this respect, the incompetent department. Mr Cheney backed that disastrous choice. Mr Rumsfeld failed on the job. It is not reasonable to ask the British people to accept whatever new strategy for Iraq is chosen by these men. Those of us who believe in the Anglo-American alliance, and have always believed in it, must take this point. Just as General Dannatt has cautioned that the Army could be broken in Iraq, so we must face the danger that the alliance could be broken. The Bush Administration has treated the US-UK alliance with supercilious negligence, if not with outright arrogance. As a result, the United States is more unpopular in Britain than at any time in my life. This needs to be put right, and it can be put right only by frank consultation.

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  30. I'm maybe a little scared to say what I'm about to, but I'm British, so I might as well.

    I don't think it was the right thing to do. The head of the British army has a duty to his troops; he has loyalty from them, and in return they deserve his loyalty. Saying that they should be out as soon as possible will only lower morale of the solders, making any future deaths more needless than before.

    Also, publishing the thoughts in such a trashy newspaper show an astounding lack of respect for his men. Some things are better left unsaid... it's wonderful if he thinks it, but it helps nobody until they actually get out.

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  31. Supercal , here in America we have a very strong tradition of free speech.
    You may want to check out the Free Speech movement that happened in California in the 1960`s.

    We also have a tradition of military people following orders.
    If push comes to shove , Americans at base are freedom loving people. That means that freedom of speech trumps all, I think .

    There is a recognition that our soldiers have been used for corrupt business interests . This also changes the dynamic to favor free speech.
    Ultimately free speech is the very basis of American society.

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  32. More British military opinion on fighting in two fronts simultaneously:

    Brigadier Ed Butler, commander of 3 Para battlegroup just returned from southern Afghanistan, said the delay in deploying Nato troops after the overthrow of the Taliban in 2002 meant British soldiers faced a much tougher task now.

    Asked whether the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath had led to Britain and the United States taking their eye off the ball, Butler said the question was

    "probably best answered by politicians . . . . Have the interim four years made a difference? I think realistically they have. . . . We could have carried on in 2002 in the same way we have gone about business now."

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  33. More British Opinion, confined to Iraq:

    Lieutenant Colonel Simon Brown, commander of the 2nd Battalion:

    "We are in a tribal society in Basra and we [the British army] are in effect one of these tribes. As long as we are here the others will attack us because we are the most influential tribe. We cramp their style.

    There is so much poverty and frustration in the streets of Basra, as long as you are in the street, someone will shoot at you. We complicate the situation. We give the disaffected and frustrated a chance to empty their frustrations by shooting at us.
    "

    And an anonymous British civilian contractor attached to the British embassy:

    "We cannot substantially influence the situation. Our powers are diminishing. The army is holding the ring and they are buying us and the Iraqis time, but the talk of the troops is misleading. There can't be a military solution to what is happening in Iraq."

    We are now just another tribe!

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  34. Thanks for checking in, SuperCal. The record wasn't complete without your voice.

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  35. I agree with you completely SuperCal! There are opinions that are best kept to oneself in a time of war. And despite many opinions to the contrary this is still a war, a nasty one. It is not an occupation. To say that it is paints the men and women who serve in this troubled land as conquerors and we have conquered nothing. On the contrary and in the words of Tacidus:

    You have made a desert and you call it peace.....

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  36. Mad mike I am sorry to have to tell you this but the thing you are referring to is not a war.
    It was originally a scam to make money and keep the economy rolling along. Steal oil, you know.

    That you don`t understand that seems appalling , but every one has an opinion,
    Our troops have been played for suckers. Stooges, mercenaries.

    Wake up man. Wars like this are designed for the paper pushers to make money and to further try and control the political template.

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  37. Those killed and wounded by enemy fire would disagree with your assessment Skip. While I understand there are those whose cynicism overwhelms their sense of reason I also understand war when I see it. The Bushmaster is driven by a massive ego that does not allow him to entertain compromise. I am not certain we will ever know why he decided to invade Iraq. We know his excuses were lies. I doubt we will ever know the real truth.

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  38. P.S. At the risk of indulging in shameless self promotion Skip you might be interested in an article that speaks to Bush's recent acquisition of almost 100K acres of prime land in Paraguay, along with secret bases and etc. You can find it on my blog. Sorry Vigilante but it does fit with Skip's argument of corporate greed.

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  39. Mmmm, ya wow funny , I went over and read it. I made a few comments on your site.
    If true, it would not be surprising. Paraguay is an oddball kind of place.
    I thought about it myself for a while, as an exit strategy.~!~
    It is a witch`s brew of ex-terrorists , drug and arms dealers, old spies, and assorted people with a little money, that want to be left alone, and want to enjoy themselves , and like the robber baron class system aspect of it. Servants and all.
    All these disparate types seem to stay out of each others way there.
    It is kind of a live and let live place for people that really , for what ever reason want to get away from things that are hounding them from the past. Ha Ha.
    Bush could well fit into that zone fairly soon if this thing plays out so terribly wrong for him , as it appears to be doing.
    Even if the story is fake, there is ring of some truth perhaps in the telling.

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  40. Rummy's got plan to get out of Iraq. He's going to ESCAPEGOAT out.

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