Failure of Global Test
Mark Goldberg at Tapped has it exactly backward in his post on the British redeployment decision. He worries that the decision "suggests an endorsement [by Tony Blair] of the Bush administration’s strategy for 'winning the peace' in Iraq." Fortunately, it doesn't. The question presented to Blair and Great Britain is whether they should redeploy their troops to the Baghdad suburbs given that the we are preparing our troops for an assault on Fallujah. If Mr. Goldberg thinks that Tony Blair has enough say over on the ground strategy in Iraq to stop a full assault on Fallujah, he is probably mistaken. If Mr. Goldberg thinks that a British refusal to redeploy would cause the US to forego an assault on Fallujah, he is probably mistaken. Our troops are going in no matter what, the only question presented to Blair is if redeploying his troops will help mitigate the possible disastrous outcome of the attack. I suspect it will, and I am personally grateful that the Brits made the decision they did.
The story of the redeployment controversy is the story of American credibility. This is a tactical decision that should have been made on the ground by military commanders. In a "real" world, it should be inconceivable to anyone, much less our staunchest ally, that America would make this decision on partisan political grounds. Yet they do believe it, and I certainly can't fault them for that - they would be idiotic not to be concerned about it. George Bush has failed the global test, the test of credibility - not even GBR can, or should, take us at our word.