Magazine article The Spectator

Prepare to Leave Iraq

Magazine article The Spectator

Prepare to Leave Iraq

Article excerpt

From Lord Bramall, Field Marshal Sir: As one who was against the invasion of Iraq from the start, I feel I must now urge a complete reappraisal of what our forces can realistically be expected to achieve there. Whatever views people may have had on the legitimacy of the various reasons presented to them for going to war, the operation -- from the moment the military objectives were achieved -- has degenerated into a disaster. Last week there were reports from usually reliable sources in the press that the militias have infiltrated at least half the police and internal security forces in the Shia and Sunni regions, and barely 10 per cent of the Iraqi army is considered loyal to the authority of the central government.

This was predictable as the flare-up of civil protest following the ruthless dismantling of the Iraqi civil and security infrastructure made it plain that reconstruction of a country three quarters the size of France was going to be beyond the resources of the Coalition, even including those of the United States. Having helped to bring Iraq to its present chaotic state, the United Kingdom can hardly abandon that country if -- and it is a considerable if -- the Iraqis seriously consider that they need us to help stabilise their security and economy and, also, if there is credible evidence that we shall be able to do so and not, by our continued presence, make matters even worse. …

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