Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Brit Media, Victory, and Defeat

This is not the Brit Media's finest hour - it's crowing, incorrectly, that Israel just lost a war and hasn't noticed a defeat of the British Army.

Here's the start of the
Brit defeat:

23 August. The first British camp to be handed to the Iraqis was looted almost bare within days of the Army's departure. Most items that could be removed were taken, including air conditioning units, water filtration systems, chairs, bedding and kitchen utensils.

The transfer last month was widely heralded as a signal that Iraq would soon be ready to run itself.

When the commander of British forces in south-east Iraq, Brig James Everard, discussed the matter with the province's governor he was told that the camp had "largely gone".

British officers privately say they blame the governor for much of the looting and believe some of the air conditioning units are now in his private office.

Rather than shelling the crap out of this governor's "private office", the Brits kept running (my emphasis):

26 August. Thousands of jubilant Iraqis looted the British military base in Amarah yesterday, only a day after the Army pulled out of the camp. Everything from doors and window frames to corrugated roofing and metal pipes was pillaged from Camp Abu Naji, previously Britain's only permanent base in Maysan province.

Hundreds gathered around the local offices of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric whose followers had fired 281 mortar rounds and rockets at the camp, to offer their congratulations. A loudspeaker repeatedly broadcast the triumphant message: "This is the first Iraqi city that has kicked out the occupiers."

A memorial to the 22 British soldiers killed in Maysan since the invasion of March 2003 had already been removed and is to be re-erected at the British military camp in Basra airport.

This is not to mock the brave men who fought and the 22 who died to free these wretches, but to note that leaving the enemy in possession of the battlefield is termed "defeat" and so their sacrifices were for nothing. So it's urgent the Brits learn what went wrong and fix it.

But rather than report this disaster, the London Times indulged in this gloating fantasy:

Israeli army morale shattered

The Israeli public are struggling to accept that the country’s security might now depend on whether a French-led United Nations peacekeeping force proves able to disarm Hezbollah.

The Times makes much of the public infighting going on in Israel. But the reporters are presumably kids who don't know Israelis always have brutal self-examinations after their wars. In 1973 these led to Golda Meir's resignation, and in 1982 400,000 Israelis rallied to protest the war. That's what makes the IDF so effective. Unlike the Brits, Israelis know public institutions decay over time, and their weaknesses are only revealed in the pitiless light of the battlefield.

Plus, the Israelis didn't lose - after killing 25% of Hizbollah's battlefield strength they stopped fighting because a UN resolution told them to.

And The Times missed Annan's confirmation that UN forces - French led or otherwise - won't disarm Hizbollah.

If it's capable of building a better fact base, The London Times should examine the real disaster that's happened to its own nation's army.