Reports coming from troops returing to Germany from Iraq say that since Brown has taken over as Prime Minister, the level of political control from ‘above’ has become over whelming. The generals are not being allowed to deploy their troops around Basra according to the risks they see on the ground. All are being kept ‘indoors’ to avoid the chance that they might engage with the enemy and incur politically inconvenient casualties.
The effects are two fold. First the force is being kept in place with no purpose and no tasks to carry out which is appalling for the morale of troops, and secondly the effect as usual with politicians interfering is the opposite to that intended. Casualties are mounting not falling. The only way to keep an enemy’s head down is aggressive patrolling. If the enemy knows he will not face any risks by attacking you, he will do so more frequently, and that is exactly what is happening.
Gordon Brown’s unfortunate interventions in military affairs, and what can only be described as his blatant defeatism, are coming at a time when the Americans are beginning to see positive signs in Iraq. Levels of terrorist attacks are reducing, and the political situation is stabilising as the powerful groups within Iraq come to terms, mostly the Sunni and Shia.
The Shia stil hold out one hope though. They’ve seen Blair go, and the change in British on the ground tactics, revealing a chicken attitude in the Brown regime, and their hope of splitting away the British from the Americans is leading them to attempt to kill more British soldiers.
Brown’s thoughts are all on readying his party for an election in the autumn. Defeat in Iraq before October would suit his timetable well so he could pull out the troops just before the poll, and have lots of nice soldiers homecoming pictures on the TV.
The only problem is that Brown has become the weak link in the Iraq situation, and could jeopardise the growing confidence of the Americans, just as they feel that they could finally bring the situation under control.
Needless to say, Brown is a figure of hatred in the British Army. No wonder he’s trying to ban all blogging from service personnel.
I heard from a retired army officer. He offered me these opinions. Britain only has 5000 troops in Iraq. But only half that number are fighting troops as half are clerks, bottle washers, mechanics and so on. Of those at any one time, one third will be asleep. One third will be feeding, coming in or going out and doing house-keeping tasks. Only on ethird will actually be available for patrols or action. Thatis about 800 or 900 men at most, which my source claims is an infinitessimally small number to actually achieve anything. His words were ‘barking’.
In his opinion Iraq was a bigger strategic mistake than VIetnam, as in Vietnam the Communists were spreading out their influence and there was a political objective. Iraq is more like Hitler’s attacking Russia in 1941. He was in the driving seat and didn’t need to embark on such a task which he could never win. So were Bush and Blair in strong political positions, which they have ruined.
Afghanistan is more like a potential Vietnam. If you are going to fight, it needs far more resources and the military need to be allowed to fight the war and pursue the enemy to their bases in Pakistan. If we lose, the potentail for the enemy to make further trouble for us is great. Iraq was not an equivalent base for terrorists or even extreme Moslem fundamnentalists. It was simply the wrong target.
As for Brown, my source offered that he kept expremely quiet about Iraq when Blair was pushing his way to the invasion and backing Bush. Brown if anyone could have stopped Blair from making this crucial error, but he probably applied Napoleon’s famous dictum – Never Disturb Your Enemy When He’s Making A Mistake.