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A little premature and pessimistic I think.

I hope Iraq is not abandoned the way South East Asia was.

What is interesting is that Prince Harry's regiment is deploying to Iraq which means Prince Harry will serve there.

There was some speculation from the petty minded that the British withdrawal was driven to keep Prince Harry
out of Iraq but it seems not.

Could it be possible that the reduction of British troops is not a "pull out" as it is being portrayed but that they are no longer needed in the area they are securing in such large numbers?

After all when was the last time you heard of a suicide bombing in Basra (where the Brits are)?

The Shrub

Of course Andrei. Their deployment has been a success so they are no longer needed. It's obvous really.

Or else you could be a real party pooper and make a suggestion based on some knowledge of what's happening in the area as Juan does.

It can't possibly be right of course because it doesn't tally with the alternative reality we have been so busily constructing over the last few years (Damn these Iraqis are so ungrateful!).

Alternatively you can go to the intelligent media which has consistently spun this pretty much the way it is.,,2018561,00.html

Or you can sink back into the ignorance of your own delusions which is pretty much what I suspect you will do.


When did Juan Cole last visit Basra, Shrub?

I supposed to get all pessimistic on the word of a man that who is treated with sceptism by all except the most ardent of the left, the Cindy Sheehan crowd.


Great cartoon but I might be struggling to interpret.

John Howard looks like the last man standing there. I did not think George W Bush was too concerened about next presidential election.


Great cartoon but I might be struggling to interpret.

John Howard looks like the last man standing there. I did not think George W Bush was too concerened about next presidential election.


Rather than reading Juan Cole
how about reading Mark Steyn's analysis.
Mark Steyn: Blair is right on troops


You really are a comic aren't you Andrei. I mean think about it for more than a nanosecond. Go back and look at the respective history of the 2 pundit's predictions over the last 4 years and then tell me with a straight face that Mark Steyn has a better understanding of Iraq than Juan Cole.

He simply does not stand up to scrutiny.

That really is your problem in a nutshell. Youre source material for your opinion is crap.

Rather than seek out proven expertise you rely on right wing nutters who have been consistent in only 1 thing over the last 4 years and that is in their ability to consistently and utterly wrong on virtually every prediction they have come up with about Iraq and the Middle East.

You would think that at some stage you would realise this and start taking notice of people with a better track record but unfortunately not.

One assumes you have Had a university education. It seems to have left you bereft of the ability to intelligently critique information.

paul Litterick

Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Guardian:

'Apart from predicting that George Bush would win the 2000 presidential election in a landslide, Steyn said at regular intervals that Osama bin Laden "will remain dead". Weeks after the invasion of Iraq he assured his readers that there would be "no widespread resentment at or resistance of the western military presence"; in December 2003 he wrote that "another six weeks of insurgency sounds about right, after which it will peter out"; and the following March he insisted that: "I don't think it's possible for anyone who looks at Iraq honestly to see it as anything other than a success story."'

I remember Mark Steyn as a camp and rather witty critic of musical theatre. He was critic for The Independent and then The Spectator. Then he started ranting about politics and now he is an expert.


I love the bit about the ardent left and the Cindy Sheehan crowd. You might not have noticed Andrei but all these surrender monkey clowns are in the ascendant - dare I say they have become the moral majority.

It's the die hard Bushites who are looking a little lonely these days - the rest of the world accepted reality and moved on.

Why can't you?


What Tony Blair describes as a handover of control to Iraqis, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies explains more clearly:

The British long ago essentially ceded the two provinces they control—Basra and Maisan—to Shi’ite Islamist factions. They lost Basra in 2005 to rival Shi’ite extremist parties and essentially let most of the city become a no go zone unless they conducted active operations. They pulled out of much of the southeast to the north of Basra in 2006.

The British soft approach has worked little better, if at all, than the American hard approach. The British were not defeated in a military sense, but lost in the political sense if “victory” means securing the southeast for the central government and some form of national unity. Soft ethnic cleansing has been going on in Basra for more than two years, and the south has been the scene of the less violent form of civil war for control of political and economic space that is as important as the more openly violent struggles in Anbar and Basra.

As a result, the British cuts will in many ways simply reflect the political reality that the British “lost” the south more than a year ago. The Shi’ites will takeover, Iranian influence will probably expand, and more Sunnis, Christians, and other minorities will leave. British action will mean more pressure for federation and separatism, but local power struggles are more likely to be between Shi’ite factions than anything else.

In other words, the British have simply acknowledged what has been known for a long time, that Shiite militias control the area, and they have simply redefined that as the “victory” of “handing” control to the “Iraqis”. Spin 101.


Of course if there was any commitment beyond the reign of Tony Blair to the Iraq war, the British could deploy elsewhere in Iraq.

101 deaths as of today I believe.

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