from Telegraph today: "British officers were said to be frustrated by orders from Whitehall not to engage armed militiamen in the city unless attacked, and to maintain a low profile. The Government is thought to be anxious to leave policing to Iraqi security forces if possible. But officers are concerned that failure to mount a strong response to the attacks could encourage further violence. One officer said: "We are now in a Northern Ireland situation where every time my boys fire their weapon we can expect a visit from the SIB (Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch). What must honest, law-abiding Iraqis think if every time the going gets tough we are ordered back into base? Instead, we should be out there giving it to the terrorists. "To be forced to sit back and allow extremists to loot and burn British vehicles did not go down well with the boys." An MoD spokesman said he was not aware of any political direction from London demanding a muted response to attacks" When will these people learn that the guys on the ground know what needs to be done and how to do it. Deciding how to fight a war in basrah from the comfort of No 10 is ludicrous. Having been in a similar position it is my humble opinion that the people of Basrah respect force: every time the boys are sent scurrying back to the SF base because Tony is scared of the Guardian story we lose a little bit of arab respect. Thoughts?