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Another British Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

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Even as President Bush pushes for a “surge” of U.S. involvement in Iraq, America’s closest ally in the debacle has announced yet another troop withdrawal. British Prime Minister Tony Blair today told the packed House of Commons in London the 7,100 remaining troops would be cut to 5,500 soon. He hoped that 500 more would leave by late summer.

The announcement by Blair was lauded by the Opposition. Conservative Leader David Cameron told MPs that the withdrawal would be “welcomed in this House, in the country and especially to the families of those serving in Iraq over the coming months.”

Because of Iraq, Blair has been in deep political trouble in Britain, where opinion polls suggest a deep abhorrence to the civil war in general and President Bush in particular – satirized as a cowboy not quite up to the job. The prime minister is now attempting to distance himself from his once-firm stance on Iraq. Initially, more than 40,000 British troops were stationed there.

Blair himself is expected to resign as prime minister no later than September after a 10-year tenure generally considered marred by his political commitment to Bush and the Iraqi conflict. The Labour leader is expected to be succeeded by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, who promises to distance himself from the White House and “speak his mind.”

Earlier this week, tiny Denmark said it would withdraw its contingent of 460 troops serving under British command. Even tinier Lithuania plans to follow suit.

The U.S. has 132,000 troops in Iraq, followed by Britain with 7,100 and South Korea, at 2,300.

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About Rog

  • http://keepmepostedblog.blogspot.com Keep me posted

    In America today we find ourselves (young people) of being called unreliable and flip floppers on important issues of the day.

    Why is it that a woman (who happens to be running for President in ’08) can’t make a strong and level headed decision and stand by them.

    Yes I’m talking about Sen. Hillary Clinton. It’s sad that the American people were lied to about the circumstances of the war and it’s even more sad that the war was badly managed. I think it takes strength of character to do what the Senator is doing now. It’s called being honest. I know that the numerous Bush cronies out there would find this a foreign language. But it’s true politicians can stand by what they mean not because they are “staying the course” but because the American people at the time needed to be protected against a grave threat. However, how this authorization was used to lose focus on the tru battle front (Afghanistan), to feed politcal sicophants (like Haliburton), and to provoke an unathorized altercation with Iran. I thank the goodly Senator from New York’s call to make sure that the President gains authorization to go into Iran. Maybe she can hold the Bush’s madness until she gets into the Oval office. But I digress (talking about Bush and the republicans sometimes causes be to get a bit riled up, sorry).

    Senator Clinton has remained strong inspite of many critics who want in instant fixed. I’m glad when people call her “calculating”. It shows intelligence and thoughtfulness. It seems as though some would prefer a female candidate with vacuous motivations, not Sen. Clinton.

    Keep up the good fight for America, Freedom and the White House.

    All the best, we are rooting for you,
    Keep me posted Blog Team

  • JustOneMan

    I guess Hillary’s damage control has called on all of the blog puppets to counter the Hollywood bashing she got last night…

    Clinton is toast. No one “not even the scumiest of the left wing elite” wants another Clinton soiling the Whitehouse sheets and craping all over the American public.

    Fuck Hillary…and Fuck Obamamoma..they will both be out of contention before the real race begins…

    JOM

  • Minh

    It’s a public warning of the Brits that UK won’t be with US in the next adventure under Fallon command.
    It’s too late. The war machine’s in motion and now unstoppable till it destructs itself and anyone unaware of its path. Please sit down and do real research instead of reacting to the baits that is constructed for your mindset. Simply beware of youself. You’re not right or left, not libs or cons. You’re a human being. You live. Viva America.

  • STM

    Meanwhile, the Australian Government – on the eve of the visit to Sydney by US Vice President Dick Cheney – announces the addition of 70 more Australian Army “instructors” (remember the Australian Army’s term for the same thing in Vietnam: “Advisers”?) to bolster the units already there and to help train Iraqi troops.

    Add to that another 1000 Aussie troops and Black Hawk helicopters for Afghanistan, where our SAS and the Commandos have already been heavily engaged, and you are looking at a considerable surge in Australian troop numbers at the same time the British Government is announcing withdrawals. It makes no sense, and all this at a time when the Australian military is still engaged in East Timor and the Pacific trouble spots.

    You can bet the timing of Prime Minister John Howard’s announcement has nothing *cough* to do with the arrival of Cheney tonight. Sadly, Howard seems to see himself as George Bush’s Deputy Sheriff in the Pacific, and is falling over himself to do his bidding. Have we become the de facto 51st state of the US? You betcha.

    I don’t disagree with Afghanistan, but Iraq is a different ball game. We should be bringing soldiers home from Baghdad, not sending more. The Poms are on the right track: they can see the writing on the wall and are disengaging before the ice-cream really hits the fan. Us? We’re just blindly doing what we always do – playing follow the leader.

  • Lumpy

    I see opportunistic spinmongering runs out of comtrol. When did the left become so hungry for bad news that it hsd to start making it up?

    facts. The brits are in charge of Basra. Basra is no longer under attack. The brits have more troops than they need there. The brits pull some men out. Could it be any more clear.

    OMG we have no troops deployed in Detroit. It’s fallen to the insurgents. Give me a break.

  • STM

    True to an extent Lumpy, with Basra and the south where the Brits are being far less dangerous than Baghdad and the north where the US military is. Basra IS now largely under control, and without the threat from Sunni insurgents since most of the population of the south is Shia.

    But I bet there’d have been an audible sigh of relief from 10 Downing St this week when Blair was told of the cutbacks given that Britons are as divided by this war as the rest of us.

    It’s interesting though that in relation to Afghanistan, where there might actually be a real war going on against a band of fanatical nutcases who really DO want to kill all of us, there hasn’t been a peep. It would be nice too, if they are all going to stay there, to have someone actually catch the elusive Mr Bin Liner.

  • Zedd

    STM

    I saw the proceedings on BBC today.

    I heard that Howard made some unkind remarks about Obama. Wow!!

  • STM

    Well, he sees himself as Mr Bush’s number two, so what do you expect?? It’s Ok though … his party will get royally rolled at the next federal election. He has underestimated the mood of the people particularly with his IR laws, which he has called WorkChoices in a classic piece of Orwellian bunkum.

    WorkChoices actually means no choice – everyone’s lost their protection of penalty/weekend rates, entitlements to overtime, some holidays and in one memorable case, an abbattoir sacked all its workers then hired them back as casuals on about $200 a week less, and no entitlements. Also gone are redundancy entitlements and the like. In short, he has handed ALL the power back to employers, and has asked people to trust them. Lol. Some companies and corporations will be OK, and will do the right thing, but when employers are interested in nothing more than the bottom line, there will obviously be dramas in some quarters.

    These are things successive governments and generations of workers have thrashed out in the courts over the past 100 years, and they’re now gone in one fell swoop. While Aussies are pretty laid-back about a lot of stuff and won’t jump up and down until they’ve seen how it all works, they also have pretty good in-built bullsh.t detectors.

    WorkChoices falls into the category. We’ll exercise our WorkChoice at the ballot box.

    Thousands, meanwhile, are expected to protest against the Iraq war when Cheney arrives in Sydney tonight. They are already massing in the city and disrupting peak-hour traffic around Town Hall.

    More than 2000 cops have been pulled off the beat to provide protection for him, so the crims should have a field day everywhere else in town over the next few days.

    Such is the cost of our alliance ….

  • Zedd

    STM

    Sometimes I think that Karl Rove (Bush’s henchman) got nuddy pictures of Howard and Blair hence the unquestioning loyalty. Or someone will get rich off of this.

    Howard sounds like Dave’s kind of politician. He and Chaney should be in ogre heaven.

    —–
    Prince Harry is getting ready to go to Iraq to serve. Lets hope the kid makes it out. I’m sure he’ll get light duty.

  • STM

    Zedd: I think traditionally everyone hopes that, but it doesn’t always pan out that way. Harry’s uncle Prince Andrew (Charles’ brother, and in line for the throne) didn’t get light duty in the Falklands War, although I suspect he chose it that way. He was a Royal Navy helicopter pilot on active duty aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible and was in constant danger of being knocked out of the sky by an Argentine missile.

    Just flying missions generally was dangerous in the South Atlantic but one of his duties, a tactic not revealed until after the war, was to act as a flying decoy for incoming Argentine Exocet missiles of the type used to sink HMS Sheffield. Hardly bloody light duty given the death toll and the ferocity of that conflict. The Grand old Duke of York indeed …

  • Zedd

    STM

    I knew of Andrew’s (the cute one) involvement in the Royal Navy. I wasn’t aware of the level of his contribution.

    I wonder if the second in line engages in military activity in order to squelch any accusation or suspicions by the masses that they (the royals) are getting a free ride and don’t do their part.