Juan Cole on Brits Leaving: A Rout
By: Mark W Adams

Nobody is really buying Vice-Decider Cheney's spin, trying to turn the sour news that Great Britain was was removing troops from Southern Iraq into lemonade -- that this was some kind of indication of how well things were going.

Orwell's finest student wants us to believe yet another corner was turned with Lithuania and Denmark's announcement that their folks were going to bug out too. Purple Fingers For Everyone!

Professor Cole's assessment was unexpectantly blunt: "This is a rout, there should be no mistake."

Blair to Draw Down British Troops

Tony Blair is taking 1600 troops out of Basra in the next few months and will aim to be down to only 3,000 or so (from 7,100 now) by the end of the year. Denmark is also going home.

This is a rout, there should be no mistake. The fractious Shiite militias and tribes of Iraq's South have made it impossible for the British to stay. They already left Dhi Qar province, as well as sleepy Muthanna. They moved the British consulate to the airport because they couldn't protect it in Basra. They are taking mortar and rocket fire at their bases every night. Raiding militia HQs has not resulted in any permanent change in the situation. Basra is dominated by 4 paramilitaries, who are fighting turf wars with one another and with the Iraqi government over oil smuggling rights.
Cole was also quoted in USA Today explaining that the region is, "really dangerous" and "not under control" despite Cheney's reports from friends who like to joy-ride through the militia infested area, hardly noting the oil we've been trying to "secure" since Kuwait was invaded is getting stolen and sold on the black market.
"This idea that the British could leave because the local authorities have things under control is just completely false." (Cole, HT: Carpetbagger)
If Dick would squirm out of his bunker long enough to sniff the stench of unholy hell his neo-con nightmare unleashed, he'd learn about how adept the insurgents were becoming at shooting down our helicopters and that they've got a new toy -- deadly chlorine gas bombs.

Even a rat has the common sense to run out of a burning house.