Wednesday, February 21, 2007
First Troops Called Home
Read this Good news at last that the end might finally be in sight for our involvement in the "Debacle" that is Iraq however I'm not going to hold my breadth!-With Tony Blair's announcement today that British troops are pulling out of Shaiba logistics base,The Old state building and The Shatt Al Arab Hotel bases and concentrating at Basra Air Base basically means that our only presence in Basra town itself is at Sadaam Hussein's former palace on the outskirts of the town which,according to his statement,our forces will be handing over hopefully in a couple of months.What does this mean?-Well allegedly our troops will no longer be patrolling in the town itself and acting as "Bullet magnets" for any Islamic nutter with a gun and a bad attitude to "The lesser Satan"!-However the Prime Minister didn't mention our other bases in Az-Zubayr port and Umm Qasr and the various "Force Protection" duties still needed to be carried out to reach them and into Basra town itself.Although a lot of movement of service personnel and equipment is done by air,due to the extreme danger of road travel,some vehicle movement of essential convoys and large equipment is still carried out by road-The main supply route from Kuwait,"Route Tampa" runs just a few miles to the west of Basra,and is as busy as the M1 during rush hour with massive convoys heading to the north of the country,usually protected by "Trigger happy" Americans who have no hesitation of firing first and then asking who you are after the event(As many British soldiers and security contractors who got to close to the rear of an US protected convoy can testify to!)-Also there will still need to be trips into Basra town itself by British Army personnel and contractors checking on the progress of reconstruction,the armed escort and responsibility of these trips did come under the heading of "Force protection" and was carried out by British troops (I know this because that was my job in Iraq in 2004!)Are we still going to provide this dangerous service or are the Iraqi forces now in control of Basra going to take over that responsibility?-If I was still serving out there and given the choice of escort there's no way in high heaven I'd go for the Iraqi option having seen just how bad and unreliable their security forces can be!Maybe I'm being a little unfair against the new Iraqi security forces however two years is not a long time for things to have changed and recent events involving corruption and terrorist activity by the Iraqi police force in the area doesn't exactly increase confidence in their abilities or loyalties!-The Prime Minister gave the impression of no more troop movement into the town and surrounding area but this is obviously not an accurate statement!At least,in Tony Blair's favour,he is finally attempting to break contact with Iraq,but it has come too late for the 130 British troops who died there as a direct result of his illegal war and lack of support with proper equipment like body armour and adequately armoured vehicles not to mention the betrayal of our wounded service personnel both physical and mental!-Let's hope the withdrawal goes ahead asap and without further loss of life and the "Nightmare" that is Iraq will finally go away!
Analysis: when is the right time to pull out?
Analysis: British have done all they can?
You say that Blair is trying to break contact with Iraq, and that is true. But we should also ask ourselves precisely why he is doing this, and it's obviously the (home) political imperative which is driving the agenda.
I do not kid myself that it's anything at all to do with the general level of discontent here, nor with the military process. This is to do with Blair's 'Legacy' more than anything else. The man is a completely unprincipled charlatan, never to be trusted.
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