If the current verbal confusion among the Allies in Iraq is an indicator of their military performance, you can see why this has not yet been recorded as one of the great textbook warfare successes of modern times…

“… the situation in Iraq makes it possible for Denmark and Britain to reduce their numbers of troops.” — Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

“We are planning to pull out the troops because the British and the Danish are doing so.” — Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas.

“At the present time the level of violence is totally unacceptable, and until the Iraqis are able to contain it to a reasonable level we should stay.” –Australian PM John Howard

“There is no such thing as victory in Iraq.” – Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson

“… I will settle for nothing less than complete victory.” – US President George Bush (November 2005)

“The American public will be quite perplexed by the President adding forces while our principal ally is subtracting forces.” – US Senator John Warner

The history of military incompetence is littered with reasons for failure on the battlefield, but when political leaders can’t even agree on the basic objective of whether they are pursuing victory, it’s clear the battlefield isn’t the major problem here.

Peter Fray

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