Thursday, December 07, 2006

An important event

Any which way you cut it, the publication of the Iraq Study Group Report yesterday was an important event. It could prove pivotal in the history of our nation.

Better known as the Baker Report, it tells us: "The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating". It adds that, "There is no path that can guarantee success, but the prospects can be improved".

The thrust of the report, however, is towards seeking political solutions to the crisis, on the oft-argued basis that there can be no military solution. However, while it may be true that the military cannot provide the solutions, in the final analysis, without the military, there is no prospect of a political solution. It is the military which underwrites the security to an extend where the political process can develop and take root.

The presence of the military can only be sustained if casualties are kept down. We have no idea what the tipping point might be, which might trigger a political crisis that forces their withdrawal, but it must make sense to take every technically achievable step necessary to increase force protection.

We need to see substantial improvements in base protection and in the protection of mobile forces. And then, in the context of a more aggressive approach to attackers, our forces must have the capability to take the battle to them, responding to them with lethal force when they dare to attempt killing our men and women.

And those are some of the conclusions of the EU Referendum Report.


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