Friday, October 22, 2004


Juan Cole gives his assessment of why the British government has agreed to redeploy 850 troops to the area southwest of Baghdad:
Here's my lay guess as to what this is about: Bush wants to flatten Fallujah as soon as the US elections are over. Flattening Fallujah requires moving another battalion or so to that western city. But that battalion is now tied down fighting the guerrillas in Latifiyah and environs. So the British are being brought in to keep a lid on the insurgency there, so as to free up forces for the assault on Fallujah.


If my interpretation is correct, it demonstrates how completely overstretched the US military is in Iraq. With over 130,000 troops on the ground, with stop loss orders in effect kidnapping troops far beyond the time they signed up for, the US doesn't have 1,000 troops to spare for a Fallujah campaign. It is completely tied down. So Bush needed Blair once again to save his behind.
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