When I was in Basra in late 2007, at the main British base near the airport, construction workers were building a brand-new, massive dining hall. Since British forces were reducing their presence, I asked why bother building new facilities. The reason, I was told off the record, was that new American troops would be moving in as the Brits moved out.
The British military’s unpublicized “slow-motion” retreat from southern Iraq coincided with the successful U.S. “surge” that added forces, increased patrols and helped turn the tide of the war.
The same thing is happening in Afghanistan, according to The Telegraph:
In March 2006, [U.K.] forces were deployed to take responsibility for the southern province of Helmand. Again and again they have taken some town from the Taliban and then been forced to abandon it, and American troops have had to be called in to retake it, with or without British assistance.
Equally bad, the paper contends, is “the extent to which the [Ministry of Defense] is again managing to conceal all this.”
(Photo: David Axe)