Friday, 13 October, 2006
- 13 Oct 06, 07:51 PM
The aftershocks from the comments from Sir Richard Dannatt; our diplomatic editor Mark Urban has been in Basra with British troops examining the very question that the Army's top general has raised: whether the British presence exacerbates violence.
We hear from the senior Iraqi officer who says the security situation would actually be better if the British were not on the streets in contact with the civilian population, and from the British commander who admits that every day since the liberation of Iraq, consent for the British presence has gradually waned.
All of this raises an interesting question. If this is what the troops on the ground know, and Sir Richard has had the courage to say, are British troops really in southern Iraq now not to provide security but to provide some kind of political solidarity with President Bush, who is facing some very difficult elections within the next few weeks?
Comment on Friday's programme here.