By Chris Floyd
"You'd have to wait a long time - perhaps to the end of the "Long War" - to get a straight answer from Rumsfeld on that one, but this precise scenario, transposed from Lower Saxony to Maysan province, unfolded in Iraq last week, when British forces abandoned their base at Abu Naji and disappeared into the desert wastes and marshes along the Iranian border. The move was largely ignored by the American media, but the implications are enormous. The UK contingent of the invading coalition has always been the proverbial canary in the mine shaft: if they can't make a go of things in what we've long been told is the "secure south," where friendly Shiites hold absolute sway, then the entire misbegotten Bush-Blair enterprise is well and truly FUBAR.
The Queen's Royal Hussars, 1,200-strong, abruptly decamped from the three-year-old base last Thursday after taking constant mortar and missile fire for months from those same friendly Shiites. The move was touted as part of a long-planned, eventual turnover of security in the region to the Coalition-backed Iraqi central government, but there was just one problem: the Brits forgot to tell the Iraqis they were checking out early - and in a hurry.
In other words, the British move makes no sense - if you accept the official spin at face value, i.e., that it's an act of careful deliberation aimed at furthering the Coalition's stated goals of a free, secure, democratic Iraq. But those in the reality-based community will see it for what it is: a panicky, patchwork reaction to events and forces far beyond the Coalition's intentions or control.
The goat is gone. The canary is dying. The surrender and sack of Abu Naji is a preview of what's to come, on a much larger scale of death and chaos, as the bloodsoaked folly of Bush and Blair's war howls toward its miserable end."