Piling On: UK General Calls For Troop Withdrawal genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Running out of time

In a stunning piece of news, the leading British general has suggested that the British soon withdraw their troops from Iraq. Should the Brits announce a timeframe for the withdrawal of their military forces or even begin that process prior to the U.S. midterm election in November, it may well be the final surge in a tidal wave to remove the GOP from power. England's continued participation in the Iraqi effort has provided an important endorsement of the Bush administration's efforts in the region and should that support be withdrawn, it will be increasingly difficult to quell calls for a variety of new strategy that include the rapid redeployment of U.S. troops. BBC NEWS has the details in a newly published article.

The head of the British Army has said the presence of UK armed forces in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems".

In an interview in the Daily Mail, Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, is quoted as saying the British should "get out some time soon".

He also said: "Let's face it, the military campaign we fought in 2003, effectively kicked the door in."

The comments "directly contradicted so much of what the government had said", our correspondent added.

Sir Richard might be issuing a "very public warning" to the next prime minister, he said.

In his interview, Sir Richard added that any initial tolerance "has largely turned to intolerance. That is a fact."

While I have a limited knowledge of British politics, it has been clear for some time that Tony Blair has lost favor with many of his citizenry as well as a significant number of elected representatives. The remarks of the general may well be an acceleration of efforts to push Blair out of office. At a minimum it puts added pressure on the Prime Minister and his shrinking base of support.

He [Sir Richard] said: "I don't say that the difficulties we are experiencing round the world are caused by our presence in Iraq but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them."

Sir Richard told the newspaper: "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."

He added: "Whatever consent we may have had in the first place, may have turned to tolerance and has largely turned to intolerance."

It’s hard to disagree with his assessment of the situation in Iraq. When one also looks at the growing U.S. casualties and the added sectarian tensions, there seems to be little reason for optimism. I may be wrong, but I suspect we are approaching the day of reckoning whereby the Bush administration is compelled to make some significant changes and reframe our intentions and objectives within the troubled country and the region. While a complete withdrawal may be impractical, any further suggestions by the Bush administration that we continue the current strategy are going to be met with burgeoning opposition.

Daniel DiRito | October 12, 2006 | 6:41 PM
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