13 October 2006
Troops out of Iraq, says senior British general
General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, has admitted that the British army's presense in Iraq only "exacerbates the security problems," and that the British should "get out some time soon".
His outspoken comments go against the official line that the British have "a clear strategy" in Iraq.
This is usually how guerrilla wars start to unravel: when elements on the the colonial side realise that continuing the war is not worth the candle. Sometimes it can be because of economic pressures on the economy, or because the conflict has become a divisive politcal issue at home. Or, as in this case, it can happen because the army realises that they are going nowhere, and wants to call it a day.
Whatever the underlying reason, what usually happens next is an unholy row within the political elite as various factions start accusing the rest of treason or defeatism.
The socialist response should be to encourage these divisions to grow wherever possible. Andrew Burgin of the Stop The War Coalition was clearly on the ball with this strategy when he issued an invitation to General Dannatt to address the next anti-war demonstration. Obviously the general will not accept, but the mere act of inviting him may encourage various warmonger types to start throwing accusations of defeatism in his direction. If this happens the general's supporters can be expected to rally to his defence and the rift will widen.