» Thursday, January 27, 2005

Iraq Troops

Asked to explain the discrepancy between what the Prime Minister had said last week about not increasing the numbers of British Forces in Iraq and the announcement by MOD today, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister had been talking about any increase in the overall contingent. The MOD announcement today had that an extra 600 troops would be deployed to replace Dutch troops. The majority of those troops were already in Iraq. There would be an additional 220 soldiers sent to Iraq, but that figure would soon be reduced to 150. By the end of February, we expected to reduce the numbers of troops in Iraq by 350, therefore there would be a net reduction of 200 by the end of next month. The troops being sent in to replace the Dutch were not combat troops, but were for example, engineers and cooks.

Asked if the troops were to be based in the Basra area, the PMS said that the journalist should check details of the deployment with the MOD. They had issued a Written Ministerial Statement earlier this afternoon.

Asked if the replacement of the Dutch troops would be "matched like for like", the PMS said it would not.

Asked if the reduction of troops by the end of February was therefore part of the timeline for further reductions, the PMS said she was not aware of any other announcements at this stage

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news


  1. "The troops being sent in to replace the Dutch were not combat troops, but were for example, engineers and cooks".

    So?! Does this mean then that they’re only worth half the points of combat troops? Do you need 3 cooks to equal one infantryman?!?! Why comment on it at all?

    Either way, more of the same as usual. One day we hear "no more troops", next day "more troops", and the justification is always "well it’s not actually an increase in the numbers, because it’s part of an ongoing commitment blah blah". If they doubled the number of troops in Iraq, they’d still lie about it and give us some bullshit about how, although the GROSS number of troops had increased by the square root of minus one, the NET effect was actually a reduction of 27%, because non-combat troops aren’t counted as troops and are therefore not there at all. Or something…

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 31 Jan 2005 on 1:13 pm | Link
  2. In my book troops = troops.

    All troops go through basic training – including weapons training. Equally all troops in Iraq are potential targets for the ‘insurgents’. (And, incidentally, what exactly is an ‘insurgent’ – could we have a clear definition of this from the PMOS?)

    When the date for withdrawal of British troops from Aden was announced, the NLF and FLOSY no longer attacked the Brits but started to shoot at each other, having rapidly realised that someone had to be top dog after that date. So we became spectators. There are many other similar modern instances – viz India, Malaysia, Vietnam etc

    Maybe there’s a lesson here….

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 1 Feb 2005 on 11:18 am | Link
  3. Chuck, there are lots of lessons about Iraq; in the past hundred years or so exactly HOW many times have we tried to occupy Iraq for our own purposes?! And not once did it work long term; you’d have thought that at least ONE of those lessons would have stuck.

    But I agree; however, I don’t think it is going to happen. My own personal thoughts on the subject, for what they’re worth, are that when B.Liar sent our troops into Iraq, he knew that it was going to be a long-term committment. By that, I mean with no end in sight. The reason I believe this is because I think that Bush only persuaded B.Liar to come on board with the promise of easy future access to Central Asian oil & gas; now that we’re involved I just don’t think he can get out of the agreement without the Yanks removing the carrot from the stick.

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 1 Feb 2005 on 11:58 am | Link
  4. We’re assuming here that politicians have the slightest concern about the long-term. This is debatable. Unsuprisingly, the current incumbents seem to be driven entirely by tomorrow’s headlines and the date of the General Election.

    It’s probable that the British military would have been pretty circumspect about predicting withdrawal dates for such an exercise, although I’m much less sanguine about the planning capabilities (and skill at arms) of American soldiery. Certainly Blair seems to have failed to recognise the difference between ‘regime change’ and his earlier military adventures.

    As to the more general matter of what these two great statesmen believed and agreed before getting into this shambles………well, who knows?

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 1 Feb 2005 on 3:42 pm | Link
  5. you are all a bunch of bleeding fucking liberals

    Comment by james — 21 Nov 2006 on 3:50 am | Link

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