Bush asked Blair to send more troops to Iraq
Listening to Tony Blair's recent speech aboard HMS Albion in Plymouth in which he stated his desire for Britain to be involved in even more wars, you'd get the impression that he'd jump at the chance to send more British troops to Iraq, especially if asked to do so by his lord and master in Washington. However, it seems now that our war addicted Prime Minister was given such a request and, strangely, balked at the idea.
The Prime Minister was confronted with the request for extra help to supplement the thousands of American reinforcements on their way to Baghdad, during conversations with President Bush before Christmas.
But he turned down the plea for around 2,000 extra British troops - to add to the 7,200 already stationed around Basra - because it would conflict with the government's hopes of scaling down Britain's Iraq presence in the coming months.
In his speech Blair said that:
How does that square with his refusal to send the requested troops? Is this a tacit admission that our armed forces are in no state for an escalation of an already disastrous conflict, or has Blair decided that in the light of the huge opposition to this failed war, and in consideration of his all-important legacy that it's all too difficult and that doing the easy thing is also doing the right thing? Perhaps in an all too rare moment of lucidity Blair has realised that Bush's escalation plan goes beyond batshit crazy and is doomed to fail. Either way this is the best indication so far of a possible split between London and Washington. No doubt this welcome decision will be used as evidence of Britain's independence from the USA after the recent stinging criticisms of Blair's subservience to Bush. I'd be more inclined to believe that if I heard an unequivocal statement that Britain will not in any way be part of an attack on Iran. I can't help suspecting that Blair's bellicose speech was partly an attempt to smooth some ruffled feathers in Washington.
Interestingly, the same article in Scotland on Sunday had this little gem:
"To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible," Bush said in his weekly radio address.
There was another strategy proposed for ending the violence in Iraq. It was called the Iraq Study Group report and Bush ignored it.