The so-called “withdrawal” of British Troops from their last post inside Basra to the Basra Air Station in the early hours of this morning came as no surprise to me.  But it is an embarrassing and shameful end to Britain’s military support of civilisation’s war against terror.  I wonder what deals have been done by the British authorities to secure their “safe” retreat from Iraq?  London’s Sunday Times carried a report “Anger at suspects freed in Basra deal” yesterday that speculated on “British forces having struck a deal to release prisoners in what some Iraqi officials say is a necessary concession to secure their safe departure…”  Among those released was a leading terror suspect and member of the Mahdi “army”, captured at the cost of a British soldier’s life – a move that has angered the soldier’s parents and friends.  I shudder to think what morale must be like out there… soldiers cowering under fire at Basra Air Station, surrounded by a mob that the USA and British forces conquered just a few years ago.
Worst of all – this defeat of the British Forces in Iraq comes just as the US Military have gained major successes in the rest of Iraq, notably in Baghdad, thanks to the recent “Troop Surge” bravely advocated by President George Bush.  One has to ask, “with ‘friends’ like the British, who needs enemies”?  The USA will now have to win the war alone.  Maybe that’s a good thing for the freedom of the world.  I strongly advise the USA not to rely on others again; and all I can say is, thank God for the USA.
Why has the British fight in Iraq ended in failure? Anyone who read my series of articles in June and July, “Why we’re not winning the war against terror will know the answer.  During the earlier stages of the war in Iraq, the British boasted about how their “tried and trusted” “Hearts and Minds” method of “winning the peace” was so much better than the heavy handed methods of the US military.  At the time, Basra was like a Sunday School picnic by comparison with the battles raging in the rest of Iraq.  The USA had hoped that at least they could leave the relatively easy south for Britain to deal with while they got on with the tough job of bringing peace to Bagdad and the rest of Iraq.  Well, the “Hearts and Minds” method has resulted in failure again – just as I predicted in my articles.  (You cannot win hearts and minds until you’ve won the war – it has NEVER succeeded).  And you can NEVER win an anti-terrorist war by patrolling from behind heavily fortified bases.  I don’t blame the British soldiers for this – it is the fault of Politicians and their tame Generals who accept impossible “rules of engagement”, whereby our soldiers’ lives seem to be less important than enemy civilian lives.
Now that the US military is pursuing the correct, tough methods (at last), they are winning in Bagdad.  You have to win the war before you can win the peace.  The British “hearts and minds” route ALWAYS ends with the bad guys taking over – just as they are now in Basra.
Peter Davies was a territorial soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists. Davies’ novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience in the war, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.

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