HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

Brits Spin Basra Surrender as Victory

In late 2007, Britain vacated to an airport outside the city and handed over control in Basra to the Iraqis. Applying the exact opposite approach as the United States - leaning back rather than forward - British command is now in the process of claiming similar advances in the security situation. In what must be seen as a simply stunning quote, British Major General Graham Binns said that since the UK disengaged in Basra, attacks on UK forces are down 90%.
"We thought, 'If 90% of the violence is directed at us, what would happen if we stepped back?'," Gen Binns said.

About 500 British troops moved out of one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in the heart of Basra in early September, joining some 4,500 at a garrison at an airport on the city's edge.

Since then there has been a "remarkable and dramatic drop in attacks," Gen Binns said in an interview in Baghdad on Thursday.
Applying this logic, attacks on British forces would be down an amazing 100% if they withdrew from Iraq entirely. Achieving a zero-attack level on forces is not the mission - in Basra or elsewhere. Binns continued...
"The motivation for attacking us was gone, because we're no longer patrolling the streets," he said.
This is a disturbing matrix for calculating success.

As Herschel Smith notes at The Captain's Journal, Iranian Militias Continue to Conduct Operations in Iraq, and they are based largely in southern Iraq - and pervasive in Basra. Disengaging from them seeking the safety of Zero Loss is a sad commentary on the state of the political direction ultimately guiding the British Military.

I agree with the reader who e-mailed W. Thomas Smith at The Tank on National Review Online. He said rather succinctly the following.
I cannot believe the nerve of the British leadership. What a ridiculously convoluted and euphemistic way of saying "We surrendered the city to JAM [Jaish Al Mahdi] rather than engage them with effective force, all for the sake of avoiding further attacks on us." I am sure you are already aware of the Brits' spinning of their retreat and surrender of the city, as well as their persistent defense of their "softly, softly" approach to losing. I simply could not resist pointing out yet another example of their shameless rationalization of a self-imposed defeat here. They haven't the desire to carry out the mission.
The reader simply nailed it, unfortunately.