General Dannatt’s comments in the Daily Mail are typical of what most senior Army commanders have been saying about Iraq for a year, and are beginning to say about Afghanistan. That we are not making any difference to the inevitable outcome by being there.
We could have done a lot to help Iraq if we had had enough troops right from the start, but 7500 is a tiny force and too weak to defend itself properly let alone provide the kind of backbone Iraq has needed these last three years. The fact is we didn’t have and don’t have nearly enough troops, and neither do the Americans.
There is no point in getting involved in wars in the first place unless we commit proper resorces. It is too late to turn Iraq round now and probably too late for Afghanistan. The middle class are leaving Kabul, which is a sure sign of which way the outcome’s going to be there.
The only way to have got a result from Iraq and Afghanistan would be to increase our defence spending to 6% of GDP from 2.4%, and bring in a Draft. As it is, the coming withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan will hand a huge victory to the Islamists and boost their morale globally. Blair and Bush should not have gone to war unless they were prepared to win it.
Next time any wars are to be fought, we will have to be properly resourced with enough numbers. It could be, however that other nations from other continents will fill the vacuum of power the Europeans and the Americans have created. An alliance between Japan, China and India could rise to defend the world from Islamism.
Japan has started by taking the lead with sanctions against North Korea. Our weakness will be replaced with nations who really do fight wars and win them. At least this time we will be on the same side as Japan. And that’s thanks to America investing the resources that were necessary to first defeat Japan and then to bring her into the world. The West need not lose the wars against Islamists, but we will if we don’t commit ourselves properly to the task in hand. We cannot afford to play at it much longer.