Delusional Britain

Posted in aircraft carriers, defence, Royal Navy by Deputy city editor on September 14, 2010

A reader writes. From The Daily Telegraph

1) The UK’s ‘big deck’ aircraft carrier project’s costs have risen by nearly 100% since formal commencement in January-2003: £2.9bn – £4.9bn (or £2.6bn- £5.2bn according to other references):

>> 14_07-2003- “Carrier costs ‘could escalate (above £2.9bn)” :

>> 03_07-2008″ £3.2bn giant carrier deals signed” :

>> 29_06-2009″Aircraft carriers’ costs soar £1bn”, (to £4.9bn)

£4.9bn equals roughly $7.6bn: half what the US spends for just 1 carrier (without aircraft):

– (page 53);
– (pg 2)-

2) And the UK is getting crappy vessels- IE: no armour, no armoured bulkheads; no catapults- dangerously limiting the types of aircraft that can be deployed; no missile-based anti-airborne threat defenses; no proper radars; no ‘Cooperative Engagement Capability’ (CEC)*** sensors and communications equipment making the new carriers useless- floating targets- if deployed as part of a multi-national squadron/fleet made up of current-technology vessels…

*** Amplifying an already horrendous situation, the UK’s planned new aircraft carriers are currently planned to not be equipped with ‘Cooperative Engagement Capability’ (CEC) sensors and communications kit… :

“… The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will decide in 2010 whether to acquire the US Navy’s ‘Cooperative Engagement Capability’ (CEC) for integration into selected Royal Navy (RN) surface ships after concluding a third tranche of Assessment Phase (AP3) studies.

“This comes five years after initial plans to integrate the UK CEC system into Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers were brought to a sudden halt as a result of budget pressure….”

Because they are being built without aircraft launch-catapults , the RN’s (planned) new, ‘big deck’ aircraft carriers will be restricted to embarking and deploying Harrier type (short/vertical take off & land) fixed-wing aircraft & helicopters- that can not duplicate even remotely the functions of modern, fixed-wing Airborne Warning And Control (AWACS) aircraft… :

“… In 1982 the Falklands conflict provided a stark reminder of the vulnerability of surface forces operating in a hostile air environment without (AWACS) AEW support…

“The absence of such a capability in the face of sustained air attack gave the UK Royal Navy (RN) insufficient warning to counter threats at long range, & directly contributed to the loss of several ships….”

E-2D Hawkeye: The (U.S.) Navy’s New AWACS-

Without CEC, and without the ability to deploy CEC-equipped AWACS the planned big deck aircraft carriers are in effect restricted to a less-than-8-mile radius ship self-defence/fleet-defence protection capability-envelope:

…. and are unable to react to the most likely to be encountered- and most capable- types of airborne anti-ship threats, IE supersonic sea skimming anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs****)- until ASCM’s are less than 40 seconds from potential impact and about 18 miles out…

… which might not make much of a difference to the planned vessels’ outrageous and unessessary extreme vulnerabilities to airborne (and other) threats- considering that, as a cost-cutting measure- apparently dictated by the previous Labour govt- the planned carriers are to NOT be equipped with industry-standard ship self-defence systems (SSDS), such as missile-based anti airborne threat warfare (AAW) weapons and NOT equipped with the advanced technology radar systems required to operate SSDS systems…

Defense Industry Daily, The US’s Dual Band Radar programmes:

APAR PDF ‘fact sheet’: (opens in new window…) :

“… This class of radar will track the incoming missiles, provide midcourse guidance for outbound SAMs, and terminal illumination to SAM impact…”

**** such as the Russian SS-N-27 ‘sizzler’ and clones:

“Soviet/Russian Cruise Missiles”:

Continuing with the big deck aircraft carrier project without a substantial redesign is foolish and would be highly dangerous for the UK’s future foreign policy interests and UK armed service’s service personnel

What would be worse for the UK- continuing with the dangerously badly planned and deficiently designed aircraft carriers- or cancelling the project- and temporarily- putting people involved with project out of work, until work availabilities in other parts of the defence sector present themselves??

Roderick V. Louis
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sky News and the ministry of fabrication of information

Posted in defence, defense, Delusional journalism, Iraq by Deputy city editor on April 1, 2008

British sailor heroically protects Iraq’s oil. (Not why we invaded.)

The descent of Sky News into an ever more ass-licking school of PR-journalism is reaffirmed with a classic of the genre entitled Royal Navy Lead Protection of Iraqi Oil.

This is a story that illustrates exactly how:

(1) Sky accepts access under conditions that are not made clear to the viewer.

(2) The story has been or may as well have been scripted in advance by one of 400 Ministry of Defence press officers.

(3) Visually exciting airtime is cynically built on the trope of Our Brave Boys and broadcast with no irony precisely at a time when the abandoned British sector of Basra has been in a state of near civil war, a new open-ended military engagement has opened in Afghanistan (Sky is broadcasting equally delusional embedded reports from there) and our hopeless prime minister is paralyzed & clueless.

Is this new? I think the science with which this orchestra is being conducted is really quite novel. What is happening is that the MoD has, after various disasters (like the embarrassing capture of Royal Marines by Iranian revolutionary guards, a spectacular PR stunt gone wrong), re-ordered its operational priorities so that successful PR is now the ONLY objective. Entire battles (Engagements”) are effectively staged for the benefit of the TV crews. Nobody ever asks where all that ammunition explodes, or shows pictures of killed Afghani children. Anything that obstructs the official narrative is ruthlessly swept away, including the coroners who puncture the official narrative.

It is not new that information is fabricated but that the entire MoD seems now seems to be turned over to this task is, surely, worthy of remark.

As one watches what is happening in Afghanistan, and Iraq, what is plain is that Sky News – and it is representative of a much-wider problem – has become essentially a broadcasting asset of the MoD. This serves everyone’s interests: cheap stories for Sky News, propaganda for the MoD, except those of the viewers, who should wonder what it might mean to “win” these conflicts, and ponder the mediatisation of armed conflict into a series of controlled images retailing approved narratives.

Brown cuts & runs

Posted in Bush, defence, defense, Delusional journalism, Gordon Brown, Iran, journalism, Media, New Yorker magazine, news by Deputy city editor on October 8, 2007

The glorious British retreat from the Basra Palace – “probably the worst palace in the world”

In the New Yorker last week, Sy Hersh, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, reported that Britain is ready to join the United States in an attack on Iran. Or at least the Americans think so. Quoth he:

The bombing plan has had its most positive reception from the newly elected government of Britain’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

Hersh is a distinguished and sometimes reliable journalist. He is to be commended for a robust approach even if his expertise evidently does not extend to the method by which Gordon Brown recently became prime minister. Unless I missed something, this did not include any kind of election.

Nevertheless, perhaps the British media might be expected to take an interest in this claim/revelation. And indeed, the story eventually made its way to page 35 of The Sunday Telegraph. Tim Shipman now quotes officials in Washington to support (up to a point) Hersh’s story:

Gordon Brown has agreed to support US air strikes against Iran if the Islamic republic orchestrates large-scale attacks by militants against British or American forces in Iraq, according to senior Pentagon officials.

But this is a somewhat different story to that of Hersh, as premier Brown’s support now seems contingent.

Whether Hersh had it right, or Shipman does, or neither, this was about the limit of British press interest in the story.

After all, there are new pictures of Princess Diana! Maddie is still missing! Plus free DVDs for every reader!

Happily, Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, a serious fellow, finally asked the prime minister about this at his news conference on Monday. Here is the exchange:


Prime Minister, you have said that you want to listen to the British people. One of the things that the British people seem to be demonstrating is no appetite for any new war related to Iraq. Yet the war drums are banging in Washington for an attack on Iran. Are you prepared to follow previous Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, in saying that such an attack is inconceivable. And indeed are you prepared to go further and say that you would neither support nor assist any American attack on Iran?

Prime Minister:

I will follow what I have said myself only recently that we take very seriously what the Iranians are trying to do in building up their nuclear capability for nuclear weapons. This cannot go unchallenged given that it is a breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. If they do not co-operate with the international authorities that are examining their nuclear installations, or potential nuclear installations, that is a very big breach of international rules as well. And we believe however that this matter can be resolved by diplomatic means, by the Resolutions that have been passed by the United Nations, by sanctions if necessary, but I am not prepared to go further than that. What I am prepared to say is we take very seriously what Iran is proposing and we are prepared to use the methods that we have used in diplomatic sanctions to deal with this problem and I do not rule out anything.

Looking at this, it is rather masterfully ambiguous (even after the Downing Street editors have corrected the prime minister’s repeated confusion of Iraq and Iran as he delivered this answer). Brown firmly rules out an attack on Iran when he says “we believe that this matter can be resolved by diplomatic means… by sanctions if necessary, but I am not prepared to go further than that.” Then he technically rules the possibility back in again with: “I do not rule out anything.”

So this is a master class in saying two completely contradictory things at the same time. But here’s what I think. Hersh is wrong. And not just about the British electoral system. With citation to Sam Goldwyn, as far as any adventures in Iran are concerned, you can include Britain out.I reckon Brown, who was never an enthusiast for this war and endorsed it purely as a matter of preserving his own career, is sick of Iraq, has no stomach for a conflict with Iran, and that what we’re already watching is Gordon leading the Brits on a cut and run.

Another fascinating exchange came when the prime minister answered a question from Robin Oakley of CNN, who very reasonably asked the following:


Prime Minister you have presented yourself so far as a national leader who looks above petty party-political advantage. Why did you go to Basra to announce a withdrawal of British troops by Christmas, do it at the time of the Conservative Party Conference to take headlines off your opponents, and use somewhat phoney figures, since a quarter of those you said would be coming home had come home already. Isn’t that just the kind of Blairite spinning that you are supposed to stand against?

Prime Minister:

I think you are wrong in every respect if I may say with some respect to you. I think the facts do not merit these accusations. First of all I had to go to Iraq, to Baghdad and Basra, before I made my Statement in the House of Commons. I think the criticism of me today might have been that I had not had the chance to hear from the troops on the ground, to hear from our military commanders, to meet Prime Minister Al Maliki, to meet the Vice-President, to meet the Ministers for Finance, for Trade and for the Economy to discuss not just troop movements, but also to discuss economic reconstruction in Iraq. As far as what I said, I think you will see when I announce it in the House of Commons this afternoon that my Statement is far more comprehensive about all these things than anything that was said in Basra, and I think you will also find the statement about numbers that I made in Iraq is absolutely accurate.

This seems rather insulting to Robin Oakley! Who is correct here? Both, obviously, The prime minister is a master at counting things once, twice, or as many times as necessary. He subsequently went on to confuse matters still further with talk in the House of Commons of further troop withdrawals accompanied by “briefings” that all the boys would be home by 2008. Whereas Oakley is right that the stunt in Basra was an exercise in tortured accounting, even if Brown is too slippery ever to make the charge stick.

What 2,500 British soliders left in the “Cob” at the airport are supposed to do is left rather vague. Some have driven up to the Iran border with TV crews. Others are filmed training Iraqi soldiers. It is an army now tasked to photo opportunity.

Brown is playing a slippery game, but the troops are indeed coming out of Iraq. Even if they are going to Afghanistan, which is another disaster in the making.

A giant, transparent spin offensive is underway to pretend we have won after all in Basra, with friendly hacks like Con Coughlin of the newly pro-government Daily Telegraph filing magnificently clairvoyant copy from the airport describing the improvements since our army’s triumphant retreat advance from what the soldiers called the worst palace in the world.

Taste this:

In the British-controlled southern Iraqi city of Basra there is a palpable sense that, after four years of incessant bloodshed, a corner is being turned in the struggle to bring the city back to something approaching normality.

But there is no evidence from his copy that he was even there!

Image from Telegraph web site, two days after Coughlin ponounces peace in our time

Coughlin, who just happened to be at the Cob when Brown later dropped by to annouce the withdrawal of troops who had already left, later went on to warn that premature withdrawals could threaten the success achieved by the British. Delusional.

Insofar as the story of a British triumph is concerned, Coughlin at least reveals what he was briefed by officers following MoD-approved scripts. The line is that we have given the Iraqi people the chance to have a nice stable, rich democracy – it’s up to them. By inference, whatever goes wrong in the future is their fault, not ours. That we were responsible for launching an invasion that has seen the place smashed to bits, with probably 100,000 killed and millions displaced, is not mentioned.

Here, though, is the question for the future. We know this about Brown. He is a bit of a coward. He puts his own survival first. He’s not stupid. A man for whom cowardice, caution and prudence are core, does not and cannot like war, which is always highly unpredictable and frightening.

With Iraq off the table, is Brown really prepared to unleash the dogs of war in Afghanistan? This is a campaign that is going to see lots of people killed and a lot of money being spent as even Jock Stirrup’s ropey Eurofighters are sent into the fray to drop bombs on mud huts.

Does Brown have the stomach for this? Me – I’m not sure. And with the Tories as gung-ho on the Pathun adventure as ever, perhaps the PM has something else in mind. To win his deferred election as the man who brought all of this nonsense to an end. Methinks (hopes anyway) that this is the turning point. Think prudence.

Gordon’s Great Game

Posted in Afghanistan, British army, defence, delusional defence ministers, War by Deputy city editor on October 7, 2007

Punch, April 1885. Brittania takes on Afghanistan

The blood runs cold at the report in Saturday’s Guardian that Britain is to launch a major escalation of its losing war in Afghanistan. After the collapse of the British military occupation of southern Iraq, now controlled by a variety of religio-criminal mafias, it might have been imagined that the government would have learned some humility. Not a bit of it.

As our so-called Nato allies sit for the most part on their hands, refusing to involve themselves with what is plainly an impossible mission, Whitehall has come up with a plan that suggests that much of the poppy being grown in Hellmand is being smoked in some opium den in a corner of the MoD.

The Big Idea is to involve the entirety of the parachute regiment, and even Eurofighter aircraft and Merlin helicopters, to overwhelm an “insurgency” that draws its fighters from a tribal group with a population estimated at 40 million. But of course it is not really an insurgency because the corrupt, incompetent, puppet Afghan government in Kabul enjoys not a shred of legitimacy in the south of the country.

Gordon Brown, whose claim to prudence becomes thinner by the hour, might have balked at this insane adventure. But not a bit of it. He and his part-time defense secretary, the robotic Des Browne, seem clinically psychotic, suffering from the delusion that their war on the Pashtun in Hellmand province, an utter failure so far, can somehow be brought to a successful military conclusion by the not so enormous might of the exhausted, under-resourced British armed forces.

The lies and fantasies of our Labour government on this subject are voluminous, starting with the claim to Parliament by former defense secretary John Reid that British troops could prevail in this mission without firing a shot. Two million rounds of ammunition later, with 82 British soldiers dead and hundreds maimed, not to forget thousands of Afghans killed and mutilated, the hare brained warriors of Whitehall are about to raise their bet on a losing hand.

Prepare for the British media to perform at their very worst. As this operation gets underway, we are going to be told of the bold, brave advances made by our boys and of thousands of Taliban killed. (Any Pashtun killed is automatically “Taliban”.) And then what? Does anyone seriously believe that the Pastun tribal areas will suddenly come to order?

What is the objective of this insane military adventure? What is the exit strategy? How long are we supposed to attempt to pacify Afghanistan? Ten years? Twenty years? The very last thing we should expect is an honest answer to these questions.

Victory is declared!

Posted in Bush, defence, defense, Iraq, Petraeus by Deputy city editor on September 3, 2007

Drink it and you’ll believe anything

The mission of David Petraeus is to give George Bush the “victory” he has demanded in Iraq. The surge may be working as advertised or may be a statistical mirage but the command genius of Petraeus is to realise that what is really important is to create an illusion of victory. Which is why he has so many of his brightest officers producing Power Point presentations proving that Bush is winning. Greater loyalty hath no soldier to his commander in chief.

In the information wars where spin is everything, it’s not whether you really win or lose a war that matters, but what people think happened.

The British are setting the standards for retreat having abandoned downtown Basra and preparing to quit the airport with a cock-and-bull story that this is what they had in mind all along. It was an ironic touch having the bugler blow the “advance” as the final convoy abandoned downtown Basra.

The Americans, too, are going to have to leave soon but are taking more care to build their narrative. They will not simply cut and run like us Brits. They will take care to declare victory first, then cut and run. Whatever subsequently happens in Iraq is now going to be blamed on the Iraqis themselves. What a glorious war!

That Petraeus interview with The Australian.

Defeat in Iraq – Whitehall finds the words

Posted in Britain, defence, defense, Iraq, Terror, Terrorism, War by Deputy city editor on August 13, 2007

It has been the frequent good fortune of war-mongering politicians that there are usually generals who will indulge their fantasies, in the interests of their own careers. A senior military class should, with its first-hand knowledge of the unpredictability of war, be doing everything it can to dissuade politicians from waging it. This involves a necessary modesty about the real capabilities of all those ill-equipped soliders, landlocked sailors and aircraftless airmen last seen in the BAE Systems hospitality chalet at the Paris air show.

But the sound of bugles makes for promotions and so all too often, ambitious soliders become complicit in the catastrophe that ensues. Thus has it been for Britain’s disastrous military entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the dimensions of the disaster are revealed, the officers are reduced to spouting the very same lies as their political masters. That this is demoralising for soliders, who know a fuck-up when they see one, goes without saying.

The disgrace of the British political and media classes for the war in Iraq must therefore also be shared by the senior officers who did not stand up against what was always a mad idea of simultaneously fighting two distant wars without enough air lift, soliders, specialised equipment or even bullets.

Now might be thought time for the senior officers to tell the truth. The defeat in Iraq has left remaining British forces there exposed and in terrible danger. Afghanistan is not so far from this. Yet the media trope of the excellence of our armed forces, “best in the world,” experience gained on the streets of Northern Ireland, etc., etc. (see all newspapers) survives contact with facts that show that no matter how brave and willing our soldiers, they are as ever led by donkeys.

This series of entanglements has been built on lies. Not a shot was to be fired, promised the former defense secretary John Reid, announcing the British deployment to Helmand. Officers and editors knew this was a lie. This was to have been a “reconstruction” mission. Well it’s clearly failed. Indeed, it is worse. The operation has failed to prevent, and may even have encouraged,  a come-back of the Taliban.

Hearts and minds have not be won by the massive killing and destruction for which British forces are held locally to blame. Neither have our soldiers inhibited the drugs trade, which is thriving.

British forces are now operating beyond their resources. Senior officers knew this was likely to be an operation with Falklands-level casualties yet Reid misled parliament and yet not one seems to have said a word. Let us hope a new generation of careerists now tell Gordon Brown the truth, in the interest of their own promotions.

The situation in Afghanistan suggests strongly that the war is lost there, too. It is indeed worse than ever as military operations including brutal air strikes have turned the population against the British and NATO troops who are suffering continuing casualties and making no apparent progress whatsoever. The drug traffic is at a record level. (My own suggestion on this, War on terror, how to win it, has been ignored.) Tony Blair’s promises that British troops would get everything they needed have of course been broken – with the compliance of silent senior officers.

Perhaps we should expect at a minimum a dignified silence from those who have commanded these disasters. Not a bit of it! Instead, we get more lies. We have notably had the spectacle of Air Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff, in yesterday’s Sunday Times. Here he is denying the claim in the Washington Post last week (and in I told you so a month ago) that Britain has basically lost its war in Iraq. Not at all boasts the air marshall: “”Our mission there was to get the place and the people to a state where the Iraquis could run that part of the country if they chose to and we’re very nearly there.”

Let us deconstruct this sentence which the French would call an “engrenage” or spiral, in this case of falsehood. The “line” taken by the air marshall is in fact garbage. This was not our war aim. The war aim, originally, was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, which were never found. The politicians, inasmuch as they have ever been consistent, have spoken of elimination of Iraq’s terrorist infrastructure, or protecting oil supplies, and precluding a hostile Iraq (or Iran) from dominating the Persian gulf. Paul Bremer, the American proconsul in Baghdad, spoke of a free, democratic and independent Iraq. There was none of the air marshall’s subjunctiveness about it. So the mission now described by the air marshall was never in fact the mission. Then there is his phrase: “We’re very nearly there.” Where? We know and assume that politicians dissemble. One of the things I used to find admirable about officers was their professional candour – for they knew the risks of pretending things were what they were not. I suppose I have always been naïve.

Measured by every single single one of these objectives, the British have completely failed in the south. Worse, conditions are deteriorating for a residual British force of 5,500. They are currently beseiged in a manner than is reminiscent of Gordon of Khartoum. Every night they must dispatch a 100-vehicle convoy from the beseiged airport to the beseiged Palace, and every night this is attacked.

It is actually quite hard to see how the British can withdraw in good order. If our armed forces were more capable, we’d be sending MORE soliders to the area to cover the retreat. (If we had any.) I have written before of the lessons of Clausewitz and how the British government and its commanders as yet show no signs of knowing them. So there is a really ghastly prospect of further disasters ahead.

Now is the time to tell the truth – but the senior officer in Her Majesty’s armed forces will have none of it. He is inventing war aims as he goes along.

Sir Jock’s very lack of fitness for purpose is what makes him so attractive to politicians. An airman, he is from the most expensive and incapable arm of the armed forces. Sir Jock has been up to his neck in the insane Eurofighter project (a plane so far incapable of fighting a day in the war on terror). He is like the operetta admiral who never went to sea, who is now in charge of the Queen’s navy.

I told you so noted the nature of British failure in Iraq here.

The Washington Post said the same thing several weeks later here.

The Sunday Times News Review contains a dreadful story on British military failure in Afghanistan here.

A collègue bloggeur of this parish offers a war souvenir here.

From Iraq Slogger, excellent reporting from Basra here.

Image: Baden-Powell defends Mafeking by Henri Dupray

Delusional politicians – Bernard Jenkin

Posted in biggest fuck-up of all time, conservative party, defence, Iraq, thickos by Deputy city editor on July 27, 2007

Bernard Jenkin MP poses on his web site

Is Bernard Jenkin MP the stupidest politician in the House of Commons? The competition is stiff. But his candidature is strengthened by the article currently appearing on his website titled Three Days in Iraq, reprised in a letter to The Economist.

“The present debate in London and Washington threatens to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” says Jenkin, on the basis of his 72 hours of daring first-hand observation.

Jaws of victory?

Quoth Jenkin: “We must clear away the fog generated by the original 2003 decision to invade Iraq. [Jenkin was an enthusiast.] Victory means handing over to a national government able to keep al-Qaeda down and Iran out with reducing coalition support. I can testify that this is achievable. ”

This is psychotic.

Jenkin claims (without citing the slightest evidence) that, “Defeat – to withdraw in a hurry – will surely mean not only greater carnage than we have yet seen and a massive strategic victory to Iran in the south and to al-Qaeda in the centre of the country – a far greater humiliation than Suez for the British or Vietnam for the US. This would be disastrous for global security – and for our own? Iraq may not have been about al-Qaeda when we went in but it certainly is now.”

Where to begin deconstructing this tissue of delusion? Well, one could note that in the south of Iraq, the British military has already been defeated, having impotently watched Shiite religious parties create a de facto Islamic state. The British army is irrelevent, except to provide target practice for militias and briefings for visiting half-wits from London like Bernard Jenkin.

One could observe that Kurdistan is de facto an independent state. That the central government in Baghdad cowering in the Green Zone has essentially no political authority. That by no metric has the original war aim been achieved. Nor will it be. That it is too late to keep Iran out of the south. And that to propose that this war is about al-Qaeda is literally bonkers.

Authority, of course, is what Jenkin completely lacks.

Unlike Jenkin, whose qualifications to pronouce on the geo-politics of Iraq are non-existant, Peter Galbraith has spent much of the past 20 years working on the problems of Iraq, has been there a dozen times since 2003 and does not rely for his information on MoD scripts.

Galbraith is described by Max Hastings as knowing “maybe five million per cent more than any member of the Bush administration” about Iraq and he certainly knows at least this much more than the hare-brained Jenkin.

In the current New York Review of Books, Galbraith says:

The Iraq war is lost. Of course, neither the President nor the war’s intellectual architects are prepared to admit this. Nonetheless, the specter of defeat shapes their thinking in telling ways.

The case for the war is no longer defined by the benefits of winning—a stable Iraq, democracy on the march in the Middle East, the collapse of the evil Iranian and Syrian regimes—but by the consequences of defeat. As President Bush put it, “The consequences of failure in Iraq would be death and destruction in the Middle East and here in America.”

Tellingly, the Iraq war’s intellectual boosters, while insisting the surge is working, are moving to assign blame for defeat. And they have already picked their target: the American people. In The Weekly Standard, Tom Donnelly, a fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote, “Those who believe the war is already lost—call it the Clinton-Lugar axis—are mounting a surge of their own. Ground won in Iraq becomes ground lost at home.” Lugar provoked Donnelly’s anger by noting that the American people had lost confidence in Bush’s Iraq strategy as demonstrated by the Democratic takeover of both houses of Congress. (This “blame the American people” approach has, through repetition, almost become the accepted explanation for the outcome in Vietnam, attributing defeat to a loss of public support and not to fifteen years of military failure.)

Indeed, Vietnam is the image many Americans have of defeat in Iraq. Al-Qaeda would overrun the Green Zone and the last Americans would evacuate from the rooftop of the still unfinished largest embassy in the world. President Bush feeds on this imagery. In his May 5, 2007, radio address to the nation, he explained:

If radicals and terrorists emerge from this battle with control of Iraq, they would have control of a nation with massive oil reserves, which they could use to fund their dangerous ambitions and spread their influence. The al Qaeda terrorists who behead captives or order suicide bombings would not be satisfied to see America defeated and gone from Iraq. They would be emboldened by their victory, protected by their new sanctuary, eager to impose their hateful vision on surrounding countries, and eager to harm Americans.

But there will be no Saigon moment in Iraq. Iraq’s Shiite-led government is in no danger of losing the civil war to al-Qaeda, or a more inclusive Sunni front. Iraq’s Shiites are three times as numerous as Iraq’s Sunni Arabs; they dominate Iraq’s military and police and have a powerful ally in neighboring Iran. The Arab states that might support the Sunnis are small, far away (vast deserts separate the inhabited parts of Jordan and Saudi Arabia from the main Iraqi population centers), and can only provide money, something the insurgency has in great amounts already.

Iraq after an American defeat will look very much like Iraq today—a land divided along ethnic lines into Arab and Kurdish states with a civil war being fought within its Arab part. Defeat is defined by America’s failure to accomplish its objective of a self-sustaining, democratic, and unified Iraq. And that failure has already taken place, along with the increase of Iranian power in the region.

In a parliament of dunces, Bernard Jenkin is an outstanding example of stupidity and ignorance. His talk of jaws of victory is, quite literally, mad. In proposing that the debate in Washington and London threatens to snatch his fantasy victory from its jaws, Jenkin follows the Bush script exactly. Who to blame for this disaster? Certainly not the knaves like Jenkin who voted for this war, and continue to promote it. Instead, it is to be the fault of those who dare to question and debate it!

More evidence that Jenkin is bonkers here.