November 1, 2006  

To new British Army chief Gen. Richard Dannatt,

who in an interview with a British tabloid said that U.K. troops should withdraw from Iraq “soon” and their presence “exacerbates the security problems” in the country.

Unlike Gen. Peter Schoomaker’s speech, this is the sort of straight talk that is unhelpful, at best, and explosive in a country already clamoring for a hasty exit from Iraq. Shortly after the newspaper interview appeared, Dannatt issued a clarification statement insisting British troops “don’t pull down white flags” and would stay in southern Iraq until the job was done.

But by then, the British media were having a field day.