United Kingdom

The Mess They Got Themselves Into


We have come to a bizarre twist in the ongoing chaos in Iraq. We now have Shiite militias - the al-Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade - waging war against Iraq's Shiite-dominated government. It is all going to hell, and the handbasket has increased speed yet again.

But I want to take a moment to remind kind readers of how this latest development is directly related to the UK forces in Iraq. Remember them?

Where were most of the UK soldiers stationed? Basra. Iraq's second-largest city. Where has most of the recent Shia-on-Shia violence taken place? Basra. How did a city go from a relatively stable zone to the epicenter of a renewed civil war in less than a year? Ask Gordon Brown.

We know that Tony Blair arrogantly and unnecessarily marched into Iraq shoulder-to-shoulder with George W. Bush. Why he decided to make such a strong statement is anyone's guess. He threw away his legacy, his party, and a good deal of his nation's respect and prestige (what they had left). It seems to this author that Blair suffered from the same ailment as Ian Fleming. He felt the need to reassure his countrymen than Britain still mattered. But instead of writing pulpy spy novels, he did something far more expensive and tragic. As the recent 2-part Frontline documentary, "Bush's War" outlines, Tony Blair might have been counting on a UN resolution to legitimize his zeal and quick support of the US. But when the resolution fell through, Blair continued to back Bush. UK troops occupied Basra and kept things relatively stable for 4 years.

Enter Gordon Brown. He knows he has to withdraw British troops from Basra soon. But he does so at a very slow pace. It seems to this author that the British slowly let Basra fall into the hands of Shiite militias without realizing it. At first, this tactic reduced violence in Basra. But then the powder keg exploded after the British left their base in October.

I believe that the chaos in Basra is linked to our special friends and their own, separate strategic fuck-up. Of course Blair shouldn't have joined this crusade to begin with. But what's Gordon Brown's bloody excuse?