I don't think any of us are really surprised that we would be there for years. What I am surprised at, is Straw's reluctance to admit that we are establishing a permanent garrison East of Suez for the first time since the 70's.
Personally , I have no doubt Iraq is a permanent station.
The BBC are quoting Jack Straw as saying that 'Afghanistan is the model for this kind of duty'. That'll be where the Brits were known as the Flintstones because of their crap living conditions, which were a direct result of MoD penny-pinching.
Yep, no surprise here at all , good point Viro , the bean counters have to ensure that the moral is first and foremost and that the "boys" and "girls" are well looked after as this is indeed going to be a long term commitment.