Steve Gilliard over at the NewsBlog does a solid analysis of why General Sir Richard Dannatt’s statement that the U.K. should consider pulling its troops out of Iraq “soon” is important to us here in the U.S.

Just in case you’ve missed it:

Britain’s top military commander, Richard Dannatt, said Friday that in some parts of Iraq the “mere presence” of British troops “does exacerbate” violence and that “time is against us” in Iraq. But he also said Britain stood “shoulder to shoulder with Americans and their timing and our timing are one and the same.

” (Source: Washington Post)
Steve G.:

Dannatt is just saying what CENTCOM knows, Afghanistan can be saved, but not with Iraq in the picture.

But he’s placed a turd in Tony Blair’s bed. If he fires him, the House of Commons will erupt, using his words to damn Tony Blair. It might be the trigger to force him to retire.

If he doesn’t fire him, it’s an intolerable level of insubordination from the armed forces. He’s just called Blair a liar and doomed the British mission in Iraq.

And also:

Either way, in an October of surprises, this is the worst and the most critical one Bush has gotten so far. There is no replacement for the British Army in Iraq, none. The US has three brigades, two deployable, left for any crisis in the world. The British protect the gateway to Iraq. They control the highways to Baghdad and points north. Without them Sadr and friends will. And it’s a fight to the border.

Dannatt has placed his job and his word on the line. He’s speaking for the militaries of those serving in Iraq, the US and UK. It is pretty hard to say he doesn’t have the facts or hasn’t seen the data. Downing Street’s response was lame and the White House silent. But if Blair fires him, he will be eaten alive in the Commons, if he doesn’t, he’ll be expected to step down as Prime Minister.

The brotha is right (read the full post here). This is a serious crisis for the U.K. and U.S. government’s positions on Iraq and Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan regarding the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is increasingly serious — and threatening to all of us. 5 years after 9/11, how can we feel safe if the political and military situation there is restored to the 9/10 reality of Taliban/Al-Qaeda dominance. We all remember what that looked like.

The ramifications of Dannatt’s statements will be interesting to follow over the coming days as Blair and Bush scramble to do damage control. Things are unraveling fast for them both. But that could be good news for anyone with friends or relatives dodging IEDs over in Iraq. If you believe Steve, the viability of our current mission in Iraq, already struggling — will be undermined severely if the Brits pull out.

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