We're coming, they're leaving, everyone's winning

The spin vs. the truth on Britain's Iraq troop drawdown.

Published February 22, 2007 5:28PM (EST)

The White House is trying hard to spin Britain's decision to remove 1,600 of its troops from Iraq as a sign of the progress being made there. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley called the development "basically a good-news story," and no less of an Iraq expert than Dick Cheney declared it "an affirmation of the fact that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well."

Oh, really?

Tony Blair didn't paint his decision with such a rosy gloss, acknowledging that Basra is not "how we want it to be" yet. And as the Los Angeles Times notes this morning, the Pentagon isn't exactly ready to declare "mission accomplished" in Basra, either. In its most recent quarterly report to Congress, the Times says, the Pentagon "listed Basra as one of five cities outside Baghdad where violence remained 'significant,' and said the region was one of only two 'not ready for transition' to Iraqi authorities."

One more sign of Bush-style progress in Iraq: Denmark announced Wednesday that it will pull most of its troops out of the country by August.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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