Anthony @ 13:53 BST
Three articles from British broadsheet The Independent on Sunday, published 19 August, 2007.
The writing’s on the wall for British involvement in Iraq. The generals want to come home. So do the troops. And what’s more, the local population doesn’t seem to like us anymore.
I know, I know, the Americans will see us as renegades. Special relationship, an’ all that. But if they wanna stay, that’s their choice.
So Anthony says: Bring ’em home, Gordon!
Military commanders tell Brown to withdraw from Iraq without delay
By Raymond Whitaker and Robert Fox
Senior military commanders have told the Government that Britain can achieve “nothing more” in south-east Iraq, and that the 5,500 British troops still deployed there should move towards withdrawal without further delay.
Last month Gordon Brown said after meeting George Bush at Camp David that the decision to hand over security in Basra province – the last of the four held by the British – “will be made on the military advice of our commanders on the ground”. He added: “Whatever happens, we will make a full statement to Parliament when it returns [in October].”
Two generals told The Independent on Sunday last week that the military advice given to the Prime Minister was, “We’ve done what we can in the south [of Iraq]”. Commanders want to hand over Basra Palace – where 500 British troops are subjected to up to 60 rocket and mortar strikes a day, and resupply convoys have been described as “nightly suicide missions” – by the end of August. The withdrawal of 500 soldiers has already been announced by the Government. The Army is drawing up plans to “reposture” the 5,000 that will be left at Basra airport, and aims to bring the bulk of them home in the next few months.
Leading article: The generals have spoken, Mr Brown
This paper has done more than any other to highlight the sacrifices being made by our troops in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For us, these are not forgotten wars. We did not and do not support the invasion of Iraq, flawed in its justification and calamitous in its outcome, but we did accept the need for intervention in Afghanistan to root out the Taliban which was harbouring al-Qa’ida.
Retreat & redeploy: The case for withdrawing from Iraq and taking the fight to the Taliban
As the 500 British troops holed up at Basra Palace endure hourly bombardments, calls for them to hand over power to the Iraqis grow ever louder. Raymond Whitaker and Robert Fox report
Those seeking to describe what conditions are like for the 500 British troops at Basra Palace, the last coalition foothold in Iraq’s second-largest city, liken them to the US Cavalry encircled in a wooden stockade. “It’s the wild, wild west,” said Kenneth Pollack, a foreign affairs expert at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, who recently visited Iraq. A Labour MP, Kevan Jones, said the Basra Palace base was “surrounded like cowboys and indians”.
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