Britain Declares Victory

February 20, 2007

Big news regarding our friends (yes I do think of them that way) the Brits: Blair to announce Iraq withdrawal plan

Prime Minister Tony Blair will announce on Wednesday a new timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, with 1,500 to return home in several weeks, the BBC reported.

Blair will also tell the House of Commons during his regular weekly appearance that a total of about 3,000 British soldiers will have left southern Iraq by the end of 2007, if the security there is sufficient, the British Broadcasting Corp. said, quoting government officials who weren’t further identified.

The announcement comes even as President Bush implements an increase of 21,000 more troops for Iraq.

My thoughts below the fold…

#165 ChenZhen 2/20/2007 09:19PM PST

I’m not sure how to feel about this. It does seem to be curious timing (the surge).

I DO think the ‘mission accomplished’ thing is all spin, however (logical). Blair is doing the very thing this site  a righty blog seems to chide guys like Obama and Murtha for: i.e. set a deadline for a cut and run. You can’t honestly explain an increase in commitment on our part with a decrease on their part as anything other than Blair caving to pressure. Whether you are for or against this war, I think we can agree that there lies no invisible wall between Basra and Baghdad.

It’s all about the spin. “Cut and Run” or “Declare Victory and Go Home”. It only depends on who’s saying it.

 Others blogging:

Update:  Speaking of declaring victory, here is an older blog post from an Iraq vet that seemed relevant to the discussion: Declare Victory and Go Home?

Perhaps this is simply the “declare victory and go home” strategy of the Vietnam War a generation ago. We could reasonably argue that we did in
Iraq what we originally set out to do: we dethroned Hussein (our true objective) and prevented the production/spread of WMD (because there weren’t any). All this talk of building a Jeffersonian democracy and making Iraq a beacon of liberty in the middle of the Arab world were the wild ramblings of ivory tower neoconservatives who’ve never borne a weapon in defense of his/her country and never truly saw the bloody consequences of their think tank policies they enacted.

Speaking of neocons, here’s Cheney’s predictable reaction to the news: EXCLUSIVE: Cheney Says British Troop Withdrawal Is Positive Sign 


  1. I agree. Somewhat disappointing given the timing of the announcement. Blair has been an outstanding ally throughout the war on terror so far. Maybe, as you say, he is caving in to pressure. Having said that, the withdrawal is dependent on the security situation in Iraq. This leaves the timing of the withdrawal in question and, given the current state of affairs, would probably mean the troops will not be leaving at the afore-mentioned time. The other possibility is that the troops may be needed elswhere in the region…

  2. Yea who knows. Maybe Blair knew this Iraq thing was a bad deal early on, and had been waiting for the right time politically, while keeping some commitment in the name of international diplomacy.

  3. Here in the UK while we await the Prime Minister’s actual words rather than just the reports of what he might say, Blair has many and complex reasons for this announcement. Apart from the facile thought of his Iraq “legacy”, which are definitely of SOME consideration, there are local elections in May which could impact badly on his party mainly because of Iraq. The possible fallout is compounded by the fact that Scotland and Wales (where the local elections are) are both more anti-Iraq than England, it seems.

    Also, at home Blair is seen as having stood by Bush for too long, for little reward. In fact, because, according to reports, Bush did not listen to many of Blair’s recommendations at the beginning of the invasion, and has been somewhat reluctant to consider Blair’s wishes for diplomatic discourse (for example, in Iran), Tony Blair now has a get-out. Every friendship has its own limits.

    Having said that, I don’t see Blair “cutting and running”, though he will need and want to start the process of withdrawal asap.

    By September, all things remaining the same, Tony Blair will no longer be the British Prime Minister, as a brutal consequence of the putsch within his own party. Unfortunate and wrong, in my humble opinion, as he has been an outstanding PM at home and abroad. But this could make problems for his successor – 99% likely to be Gordon Brown. Blair has recently been assiduously occupied with several domestic policy areas – “finishng the job” as he puts it. Iraq is the one big international policy which he needs to fix, just in case someone else does a botched repair job.

    My blog – Keep Tony Blair For PM – (more in hope than expectation) – explains a bit about Tony Blair – for those who are interested.

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