08 September 2007
Another British soldier dead in Iraq
As another British soldier dies in Iraq, the question has to be asked: what does the government think that it is playing at?
The British now hold Basra airport with some 5,000 troops. That is probably enough to defend the base, but not enough to actually influence matters beyond it. Basra itself is under the control of the Shia militias and the locally recruited Iraqi army and police - and where the militias end and the official forces begin is anyone's guess.
So, given that British forces are now too few to influence events on the ground, why are they still in Iraq? Gordon Brown has already ruled out a timetable for withdrawal, so presumably they are there to act as target practise for any Iraqi who happens to have them in his gun sites?