Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Clearing the Field or normal arrogance

One of the areas that I have consistently disagreed with Cernig is the probability of overt US military actions against Iran. I don't think this is a high probability event despite the common agreement that the Cheney-led factions of the Bush administration would prefer a war with Iran for a multitude of reasons. However, my antenna twitched this afternoon when I read the Telegraph report on some administration officials thoughts on the British leaving Basra:

but there was “a lot of unhappiness” about how British forces had performed in Basra and an acceptance that Mr Brown would pull the remaining 4,500 troops out of Iraq next year.

“Operationally, British forces have performed poorly in Basra,” said the official. “Maybe it’s best that they leave. Now we will have a clear field in southern Iraq.” [emphasis mine]

Now the benign interpretation is this official is merely a firm believer in his disdain for the 'reality based' community strain of Bush policy analysis that was first exposed in 2002. Insult your allies, ignore the realities that the British did no worse than American forces, and by most metrics did better, and expect that future fantastical success will make your friends come crawling back to you. An old and tired reality inversion, but at this point fundamentally harmless.

Now the other intrepretation is not as benign. Removing the reinforced British brigade from Basra International Airport removes the last reasonable effectual international check upon US actions against Iran. The only units that could be hit would either be US Army logistic protection units, or private contractors. A strike against Iran could be stovepiped and operational security could hold a lot easier if the brigade near Basra was a US unit seeing all the signs of a strike building up versus a foreign brigade seeing the same signs...

I wish this was merely paranoia talking, but it is a plausible explanation for this comment... I just wonder who the anonymous source is in this case

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