Thursday, February 22, 2007

Americans Stunned

The American Reaction to Britain reducing troops in Iraq didn't get much coverage here, but the Washington Post is reporting that they are "stunned" and the timing was "awkward".

Democrats seized on the news as evidence that Bush's international coalition is collapsing and that the United States is increasingly alone in a losing cause. Even some Republicans, and, in private, White House aides, agreed that the announcement sent an ill-timed message to the American public.

"What I'm worried about is that the American public will be quite perplexed by the president adding forces while our principal ally is subtracting forces," said Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), a longtime war supporter who opposes Bush's troop increase. "That is the burden we are being left with here."

White House officials said they had known for a while that the British were moving in this direction and that Prime Minister Tony Blair informed Bush of his decision during a secure videoconference Tuesday. But the rest of Washington was taken by surprise, and Republicans were put back on their heels, just as they were beginning to feel more confident that the fight over war strategy was shifting their way.


I expect Bush tried hard to disuade Blair. The interesting thing is that Blair resisted. Yay! To me this signals that Blair has his sights firmly on the end of his tenure and is determined to deal with loose ends before he goes, and neither Bush nor anyone else will be able to lean on him in the old manner to do things that interfere with this. I wish he'd been this assertive in 2003, but better late than never.

1 comment:

Earthpal said...

Better late than never?

Not for all the thousands and thousands of dead or maimed soldiers and civilians.

Nothing Blair can do now will make up for him electing to go into Iraq.
He still remains defiant about it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6385163.stm