The unspeakable truth is that we lost in Iraq. We must not lose in Afghanistan too JAMES FORSYTHWEDNESDAY, 2ND DECEMBER 2009 James Forsyth reviews the week in politics Britain has fought more wars than any other country, but rarely has it suffered two defeats in a row. That humiliation is what this country is currently drifting towards, following failure in Iraq with failure in Afghanistan. Westminster might be obsessing over the Iraq inquiryâs revelations about how the decision to go to war was made, but the really important part of the inquiryâs work will come when it turns its attention to what happened after the invasion. The painful truth about Iraq, which no politician dares speak, is that Britain was defeated. As David Kilcullen, a Nato counter-insurgency expert whom both Gordon Brown and David Miliband have lavished praise on, has said: âIn 2006 the British army was defeated in the field in southern Iraq.â The principal job of the Iraq inquiry should be determining why this happened; everything else can be thrown to the historians. We already know that while scrambling to leave Iraq, Britain decided to concentrate resources on Afghanistan. The thinking was that Afghanistan was a far less controversial conflict and so keeping troops there would be easier politically. There was also a desire on the part on the British military to prove to the Americans its effectiveness â something that had been thrown into doubt by what had happened in southern Iraq â by taking on one of the most difficult places in Afghanistan: Helmand province. Worryingly, though, we seem intent on repeating the errors of Iraq in Afghanistan. A decision has been taken to start looking for the exit and, disastrously, the strategy is flowing from that. Brown may have announced an extra 500 troops on Monday, hardly an increase that is likely to make a decisive difference on the ground, but all the spin and pre-briefing was about withdrawal dates. On top of this, the relationship between the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary is dysfunctional, as is the one between the Defence Secretary and the top brass. More http://www.spectator.co.uk/spectator/5592488/the-unspeakable-truth-is-that-we-lost-in-iraq-we-must-not-lose-in-afghanistan-too.thtml?