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Our final bit of news from London , where the Defence Secretary is expected to announce that 650 British troops will be relocated closer to Baghdad, freeing American GIs to assist in an attack on insurgents in Fallujah.
Seems a reasonable enough idea to move the troops to where they are most effective in hastening the end of the conflict. However,
As the Tories and anti-war Labour MPs questioned the motives for moving 650 soldiers to the US-controlled sector, No 10 tried to defuse the row by insisting that decisions would be taken for military reasons alone.
Two of Mr Blair's allies reacted angrily to suggestions from Nicholas Soames, the shadow defence secretary, that the troops were to be sent as a gesture of solidarity between Mr Blair and President Bush, whose campaign for a second term is under threat from the resurgent Democrat, John Kerry.
Mr Soames wrote to Mr Hoon: "I am fully aware of the importance and the timing our American friends and allies attach to the Fallujah offensive and the urgent arrest of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
Alan Milburn, Labour's election co-ordinator, condemned the remarks and similar comments by anti-war Labour MPs.
"People will look pretty askance at those who are saying somehow or other there is some sort of tawdry political deal," he said. "The allegation is that this is about Britain acting in American political interests. It is not about that at all.
"All of these decisions are taken on an operational basis. They are done in full consultation with the people on the ground."
John Reid, the Health Secretary, said that talk of a political motive "diminishes the effort that has been made by our soldiers".
In Washington, the allegation of a political deal was greeted with bafflement.
A senior official said: "It is preposterous to believe that somehow the American populace is going to know that there are 650 British troops fighting in a different location in Iraq and that that will somehow make a difference to how they vote."
True at face value, but also wrong. Unlike the Guardian's Ohio letter writing campaign the fact is that this move might actually influence the American election, by resulting in gains in the war that reflect negatively on the Kerry campaign.
The only real timing issue here is Ramadan; the decision is to bring the noise to the enemy before he brings it to us. Our allies are doubtlessly motivated by military, and not political concerns, but the fact is the two overlap in this instance.
And therein lies the truth that is an unfortunate and unspoken part of this story, at least the truth as seen by our cousins in the British Isles: the Kerry campaign loses if we are even perceived as gaining in the war. Our forward progress brings his failure, in our victory lies his defeat.
Did it have to be this way? Certainly not, he could have supported his country's efforts in Iraq and eliminated the debate (and simultaneously discouraged some enemies here in Baghdad) and campaigned on domestic issues. He could have even offered more benefits to veterans along with his full support of their efforts and appreciation of their sacrifices and perhaps won the military vote. He didn't.
Water under the bridge, as they say.
I've already voted, by the way, via absentee ballot, postmarked Baghdad.
I voted to win the war on terror.