The NY Times has a story on the British pull-out, as it makes it way into American press coverage.
The British Army began withdrawing from its last base in Basra’s city center early Monday, a move that will leave Iraq’s second-largest city without foreign forces for the first time since the American-led invasion in 2003.
That's the story, but what's missing from the Times is the allied criticism found in the Brit papers. From the Times (UK):
The pullout came as two of Britain’s most influential generals during the Iraq war delivered scathing attacks on the Americans for their handling of the campaign after Saddam’s defeat. Major-General Tim Cross, who supervised reconstruction projects alongside his American counterparts in 2003, joined General Sir Mike Jackson [see Meteor Blades' post], former head of the Army, in criticising the US for ignoring British advice. General Cross, a Royal Engineer, is retired but he was a hugely respected figure in the Army and had unrivalled experience in dealing with postwar nation-building. He revealed that he gave advice to Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defence Secretary, about the size of the force needed to tackle the challenges after Saddam’s downfall, but was ignored.
The attacks by General Jackson, the former Chief of the General Staff, in his autobiography, and General Cross, in an interview with the Sunday Mirror, have laid bare the anger felt by the British military over the way that Mr Rumsfeld dismissed all the warning signs of a potential disaster in Iraq.
Although much has been said about the failures of the American strategy in Iraq, not least by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former British Ambassador at the United Nations and later Tony Blair’s special envoy to Baghdad, the strong criticism from the two generals has added to the growing sense of a rift between Washington and London.
The unusually outspoken comments by former top military men follow weeks of commentary, mainly in the U.S. press, suggesting British forces have failed in southern Iraq and are set to flee.
Defence analyst Charles Heyman told Reuters the criticism was surfacing "because everybody realises this is now a failed policy and they are all casting around for scapegoats".
"Why didn't someone resign at the time and say this is foolish and foolhardy?" he said.
He said the recriminations were not helpful to future military and diplomatic relations between Washington and London, which have traditionally boasted of a "special relationship".
Why, indeed? As Republicans continue to lead American policy over a cliff with the justification that as bad as the disastrous policy is, any other approach would be worse (trust us!), it is worth a reminder that it has never been the unanimous view of the generals, at least when they speak their mind. But the Bush administration is not above blaming our allies for problems of their own making (and the Brits have some suspicions he will). After all, this Administration never takes responsibility for anything they've done, and blaming others is the one thing they do well.