Love Is a Battlefield
The British Defense Ministry has leaked news that it will begin a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq. The drawdown will bring to an end a torrid, near-six-year love affair with the U.S. that began with coordinated intelligence failures and eventually led to jointly invading a sovereign country under cover of a “war on terror.”
The New York Times:
Britain’s remaining troops in Iraq will begin withdrawing from the country in March on a timetable that will aim to leave only a small training force of 300 to 400 by June, according to Defense Ministry officials quoted by the BBC and several of Britain’s major newspapers on Wednesday.
The long-expected drawdown of the British force next year from its current level of 4,100 troops will bring an effective end to Britain’s role as the principal partner of the United States in the occupation of Iraq. In the invasion in March 2003, a British force of more than 46,000 troops participated in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
In July, Prime Minister Gordon Brown already outlined a tentative plan for withdrawing most of Britain’s remaining troops early in 2009 but gave no fixed timetable and left open the number of troops who would be returning home. The Defense Ministry issued a statement after the flurry of news reports about the withdrawal that did not deny their accuracy. Although the ministry did not confirm that March would mark the beginning of the drawdown, it confirmed that the ministry was “expecting to see a fundamental change of mission in early 2009.”