September 8, 2007

British General: Coalition Can't Leave Iraq In The Lurch

Last week, the world press reacted with delight when British commander General Sir Mike Jackson ripped Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration for its post-invasion planning for Iraq. Today, Jackson continued his criticism of Rumsfeld, calling his planning "intellectually bankrupt", but underscored the need to stay in Iraq and insisted that critics have prematurely declared the mission a failure:

The general who led the British army from the 2003 Iraq invasion until last year said that it was "too soon" to declare Iraq a failure and that Britain and the United States have a "moral commitment" not to withdraw troops prematurely.

"I just think it would be wrong to pack up before the conditions are right, and without the agreement of the Iraqi government," retired Gen. Mike Jackson said in an interview Friday.

But he stressed that significant troop withdrawals from Iraq should come only when Iraq can handle its own security. "I do believe we have a moral commitment," he said. "It's quite a thing to invade somebody's country, even if for the majority it is a better outcome than continuing under the wretched regime that they had."

Jackson refuted the idea that Iraq was a "busted flush," and he pointed to recent American successes in Anbar and Diyala as evidence. This contradicts Chuck Schumer's insistence that America had nothing to do with the expulsion of foreign terrorists. Instead, Jackson confirms that America's military progress has helped expedite political progress as well. He mentions former IRA commander Martin McGuiness' abritration in Finland between Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'ites -- mostly unreported by the press -- as an example of the kind of progress still in motion.

He still remains critical of the post-invasion strategies employed by the US in Iraq. That much gets plenty of notice in the American media. However, his insistence that the Coalition has a moral imperative to help Iraq to its feet will likely get overshadowed by his criticisms of Rumsfeld's actions in the past, which make great headlines but tell little about how the West should proceed in the future.


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Comments (19)

Posted by Terry Gain | September 8, 2007 12:21 PM

Coalition (America) can't leave Iraq in the lurch.

Hell no. That's Britain's job.

Posted by Jim C | September 8, 2007 2:11 PM

It seems rather pointless for Jackson to be criticizing Rumsfeld's actions now. Where was the good General and his 20/20 hindsight back in 2003? I guess it's good that he admits that we can't leave them in the lurch... but it would have been even better if he had kept his 20/20 hindsight to himself.

Jim C
Thinking Right

Posted by Drew | September 8, 2007 2:28 PM

This is just another stanza in the on-going operatic dust-up between the big-force and small-force Generals. As Jim C asked: Where in the Hell was he when the decisions were made?

Posted by daytrader | September 8, 2007 2:43 PM

Britain had their own share of flub ups in this war.

Basara was initially quiet and they managed to muck it up by trying to use the same tactics they did against the IRA.

A wrong call that has cost them dearly.

Instead of counter insurgency , they plaid their cards like cant we all get along.

Wrong play and strategy.

English blogs of note have ripped them for how they have moved their pawns and some are totally trashing them for how they equipped (or not) their troops.

Heck they were trying the same failed methods in Afghanistan until a new NATO commander stepped in and called BS.

Posted by Tom W. | September 8, 2007 2:53 PM

Kudos to the brilliant (if dentally challenged) General Mike.

Because of the superior British tactics of soft caps and wide smiles, the U.S. and Iraqis have been forced to draw up plans for going in and repacifying the South.

The Brits did nothing at all to prevent Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias from infiltrating the security forces, so at some point we're looking at redoing everything our allies "accomplished" down there.

And Iraqis said that there was nobody more patronizing than the British military. The Brits can't make up their mind: Do they want to be colonialists or suicidally PC multiculturalists?

They're very confused, like so many American feminists.

Posted by Sailfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | September 8, 2007 2:54 PM

Let's see,

1. This general knowingly disobeyed a superior officer's direct order and goes on to brag about it in his new book:

"General Jackson tells the BBC: ''We were [looking at] a possibility....of confrontation with the Russian contingent which seemed to me probably not the right way to start off a relationship with Russians who were going to become part of my command.''"

2. Gets spanked by a liberal think tank for his leadership role in the poor counter-insurgency warfare performance:

"Even American commentators not usually disposed to support Mr Bush's Iraq strategy, like Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings institution, believe Britain's reputation for excellence in counter-insurgency warfare has been critically undermined by the continuing widespread violence between Shia militias."

3. Is now pushing a revisionist book detailing all of his (in his own mind) glories.

Now, how best to get people to take notice and buy his weighty tome --- ??? --- ??? Got it! Try something novel and place all the blame on the US leadership (accepting none for yourself, of course) and use the RADIO LIE EUROPE (aka BBC) news outlet to push the right anti-American buttons.

Have I got this about right?

Posted by MarkJ | September 8, 2007 5:13 PM

General Sir Mike Jackson obviously needs to take a leaf from another "General Jackson" (i.e., Andrew) and "lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way."

Had this guy been publicly spouting his brand of back-biting, second-guessing crap during World War II, there ain't a doubt in my mind that George S. Patton himself would have personally given him a royal bitch-slapping and ivory-handled pistol-whipping.

Posted by Maly | September 8, 2007 7:30 PM

The problem here is that Jackson did say all this back in 2003 but can only go public now he's retired.

Britain's 'reputation' in Northern Ireland took all of 38 years to gain and resolution was by poitical means, not military. Surely it'll be the same in Iraq?

My understanding of his criticism of US policy is that it was dictated by the Pentagon, not the foreign affairs office, where plans had been made for the peace. Even the German army was maintained and used after WW2.

Posted by NahnCee | September 8, 2007 7:41 PM

WHy should I pay the slighted bit of attention to a British general who presumably is at a rank to be responsible for the selection, training and orders that resulted in a bunch of English sailors surrending without firing a shot to a boat-load of third-world Persians?

The British, including this Mike person, have nothing to say to me now that I'm interested in hearing, and won't have until they can manage to get it up to say, once again, "I've got your back."

Which at this point in time, I really rather doubt that we'll ever have the pleasure of hearing again.

Posted by bayam | September 8, 2007 8:09 PM

There were no strategic mistakes on the magnitude of Iraq made during WWII. That's why a much larger, more powerful, deadly enemy was defeated in a shorter period of time.

Don't underestimate the power of the US military. If the US had invaded Iraq with the number of troops recommended by the joint chiefs (following the Powell Dictrine instead of the Rummy Idiocy Path), the insurgency would have been crushed before it emerged and the Iraqis would be eating out of our hands right now.

Posted by maly | September 8, 2007 8:34 PM

Its sad to read 'Iraqi's eating out of our hands'...I thought the Iraqis had been liberated from an oppressive regime that had them eating out of its hands?

Posted by maly | September 8, 2007 8:45 PM

NahnCee...I can understand your vitriol, even if i don't agree with it. The UK has stood by the US from the start. But i think this vile war has finally destroyed any misconceptions about UK ability to stride the big stages militarily. UK troops are tough, disciplined, well trained and well led...but there aren't enough of 'em...and the situation in the south of Iraq has now proved that we simply can't maintain the commitment required. There were just over 18,000 troops in its 8000. However, I wish some of that vitriol was aimed at NATO...the Spanish and Greeks and Turks etc...some alliance, huh?

Posted by unclesmrgol | September 8, 2007 10:37 PM

Since bayam's memory is rusty, I will provide a small list of strategic mistakes made before, during wwii, and after:

a) Sudetenland
b) Allowing Germany to rearm
c) Economic warfare upon Japan without consideration of the result
d) Failure to support Poland at the outset of the war (or, more generally, failure of the Allies to mobilize)
e) the Maginot Line
f) failure to heed Patton's warning about Russia
g) allowing Russia to occupy portions of central Europe

Personally, I see no strategic mistakes in Iraq. We have positioned ourselves to make maximum war on alQaeda. We have made tactical mistakes in our deployments, but we really do have the enemy where we want them, precisely because we are where the enemy does not want us to be. They must now come and attack us on their own territory; this means far less resources to attack us on our territory.

We are also centered for action in Syria or Iran (or, if necessary, in Saudi Arabia), the support bases for our adversary.

Posted by Bennett | September 8, 2007 11:02 PM

"There were no strategic mistakes on the magnitude of Iraq made during WWII."

With respect, this is a grossly inaccurate (I crossed out stupid) comment.

Just as a place to start, I suggest taking a look at the following book

"An Army At Dawn" by Rick Atkinson

Posted by NahnCee | September 9, 2007 12:32 AM

maly, I am going on the assumption that neither Britain, Turkey, Spain nor Greece -- nor any of the rest of ever-critical Europe -- will EVER again ask for America's assistance over ANYthing. Including marauding Muslims, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunami's, Nazi's, and explosive Pakistani's. Up to and including money, armaments, bullets, soldiers, and cheering from the sidelines.

Everyone on that side of the Atlantic, and Canada, are on their own.

Posted by reddog | September 9, 2007 2:22 AM

They pulled out of Basra this week and announced a 10% troop draw down for no later than November.

The Brits will be all but gone by this time next year. They will not engage in any more fighting.

Posted by docjim505 | September 9, 2007 10:48 AM

The discussion about Jackson and his comments got me thinking about LBJ, McNamara, Westmoreland, Vietnam and how the relate to the lefty scum that wants out defeat in Iraq today.

It is obvious from history that the strategy pursued by LBJ and his war leaders, McNamara and Westmoreland, was dead wrong. It did little to secure South Vietnam from the communists while costing lots of blood and treasure (ours and Saigons). There's a difference, however, between criticizing a strategy and its architects while demanding something better and using criticism as an excuse to surrender.

Libs love finding former generals who criticize what we've done in Iraq; it gives them cover. "See? See? A GENERAL thinks Bush is stupid, too!" But they never have any ideas for victory; all they have is a constant drumbeat of surrender. Why? Because they're absolutely not interested in winning. It's all about Bush for them, and if making him look bad (worse) means losing in Iraq and Killing Fields v2.0, those are prices they'll pay with a shoot of joy.

Posted by swabjockey05 | September 9, 2007 11:45 AM

Dr J. You nail the Capt's trolls right on the button. I only hope that the majority of Americans are NOT also surrender monkeys....for that, I'd "shout for joy".

Posted by 3volver | September 17, 2007 1:47 PM

comments like 'lefty scum' and 'surrender monkeys' on this blog provide the best and most elequent statement of why America has made the biggest foreign policy disaster in the last 100 years. It also shows the level of intellect of a country that cannot understand why they are so bad at warfare on the ground and why a country like UK does what it does so well.. Good night America.....

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