Friday, October 13, 2006

British General say Iraq is worse because we're there

But did General Richard Dannatt really say that?

In the Daily Mail interview, Dannatt said: "I don't say the difficulties we are experiencing round the world are caused by our presence in Iraq but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them."

Britain should get "out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems," he told the newspaper.

First off the Daily Mail is well known for its opposition to the conservative government’s policies… Think New York Times…

Second, what’s he really saying here? Is he discussing Britain’s popularity around the world or the current climate of unrest in Iraq? Sounds like the former, but regardless, is that really true? Will things around the world get better if foreign troops leave Iraq? The Iraqis don’t think so, and I don’t think Muslims around the world will all of a sudden be at peace as soon as we leave Iraq. They flew planes into the WTC long before we were in Iraq. They bombed the USS Cole long before Iraq. They bombed 2 American embassies in Africa long before Iraq. And here’s a host of others’ opinions on the necessity of the Brits (and our) presence in Iraq.

And now the good General has come back out and clarified his comments that appear to have been taken out of context saying that the troops should come home soon,

Gen Dannatt said there was not "a piece of paper, however thin" between him and the government.

The general refused to back down on the substance of his remarks and to some degree compounded them. "I am not a maverick in this sense. I am soldier speaking up for his army. I am just saying come on, we can't be here forever at this level," he told Radio 4's Today programme.

"I have got an army to look after which is going to be successful in current operations, but I want an army in five years time and 10 years time. Don't let's break it on this one."

In another interview, with Sky News, Gen Dannatt said: "The army is exceptionally busy so I want to see this mission successfully concluded, but I also want to make sure I've got an army that's not so exhausted that it's still there and can do the job in five years' time, in 10 years' time ..."

And again the paper tries to take his comments and infer ulterior meanings from them, but all he’s doing is looking out for his troops, and acknowledging commonly held beliefs that we’re not going to be in Iraq forever, but while we’re there, we’re there to win.

These are hardly that inflammatory.

We’re there. We’re needed. And we’ll be there for several years, but not at the same troop levels we have now. Use your heads people. The Iraqi army and police force are growing and quickly become more and more capable. We’ll get there…. It’s just a matter of when.

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