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British Army chief calls for Iraq pullout
(CNN, October 12, 2006)
The chief of the British Army has called for a pullout of British troops from Iraq "sometime soon" and said that post-invasion planning for that war was "poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning." . . . Gen. Richard Dannatt told London's Daily Mail newspaper that he had "more optimism" that "we can get it right in Afghanistan." . . . Dannatt said that Britain's continued presence in Iraq had made the country less secure. . . . Britain should "get ourselves out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates security problems," he told the newspaper in an interview published Thursday. . . . "I don't say that the difficulties we are experiencing round the world are caused by our presence in Iraq, but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them." . . . Dannatt's views directly contradicts the position of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is a staunch supporter of the war and U.S. President George W. Bush's closest ally in the fight. . . . Blair and Bush both insist that troops must stay in Iraq until Iraqi security forces are able to stand up on their own. . . . But with the country edging nearer to civil war -- if not already immersed in it -- Dannatt said that the strategy for implementing an Iraqi democracy was ill-prepared. . . . "I think history will show that the planning for what happened after the initial, successful war-fighting phase was poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning," he said. . . . Dannatt said that Britain had essentially overstayed its welcome in Iraq. . . . "The military campaign we fought in 2003 effectively kicked the door in," he said, noting that was a far cry from being invited into the country. . . . "Whatever consent we may have had in the first place may have turned to tolerance and has largely turned to intolerance."
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posted by Lorenzo 7:45 PM

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