Two more British Servicemen have died in the last 24 hours in Iraq. That makes it four dead in the last week. We claim to have handed control of Basra to the Iraqi forces, indeed Gordon Brown was bragging about it last week to George W Bush and hailed it a success.
The truth is, of course, very different.
Whilst British Generals claim that we have succeeded in the South if Iraq, the US has a very different interpretation of our successes there. Indeed the US believe the UK to have failed in its mission and that we have essentially been defeated in the South of Iraq.
To quote them directly, from the Washington Post,
"The British have basically been defeated in the south,” a senior U.S. intelligence official said recently in Baghdad. They are abandoning their former headquarters at Basra Palace, where a recent official visitor from London described them as “surrounded like cowboys and Indians” by militia fighters. An airport base outside the city, where a regional U.S. Embassy office and Britain’s remaining 5,500 troops are barricaded behind building-high sandbags, has been attacked with mortars or rockets nearly 600 times over the past four months."
Of course the truth of the situation, as was confirmed by BBC's Newsnight last night, is that the UK is reluctant to pull out completely because it will provide a propaganda victory to the Iranians who are behind the majority of the attacks on UK forces in Basra.
So in order to avoid a "propaganda" victory whilst burying our heads in the sand to the real victory the insurgents in Southern Iraq have actually achieved, we are prepared to let our troops suffer increased casualty rates in deaths.
When the Iraqis were claiming they were winning the war in 2003 we dubbed their spokesman "Comical Ali". What name should we give our Defence Minister Des Browne now ? Batty Browne or Daft Des ?