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In 1925, Sir Samuel Hoare, head of the Air Ministry and another close Baldwin adviser, acknowledged that "since the war we [have] spent a great deal in the Middle East, and the British taxpayer [has] asked whether the expenditure was worthwhile, and whether it could be reduced."[...]
the Conservative government began to recognize that Iraq was scoring poorly in all those areas. This meant that the only way to leave with honor would be to redefine the standards of success and overstate Iraq's achievements[...]officials consistently minimized their commitments and proclaimed Iraq's progress in public, even while privately acknowledging widespread, serious problems.[...]
The worst of these problems was Iraq's lack of security. As the United Kingdom scaled back its garrisons in Iraq, it left the country increasingly exposed to hostile neighbors[...]southern Iraq came under attack by thousands of Wahhabi Ikhwan ("brothers"). The Ikhwan were a puritanical sect that had brutally conquered the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in 1924. Like today's insurgents under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Ikhwan were Salafi fighters who invaded Iraq from the desert to terrorize its Shiites
Washington thus now finds itself facing roughly the same question that London faced between 1925 and 1927: Should it leave Iraq, or continue until its project there has truly fulfilled its aims? In the British case, both sides of the debate -- the Quit Mesopotamia critics and the Conservative officials who minimized Iraq's problems -- apparently believed that the United Kingdom could leave Iraq without repercussions, regardless of whether the mandate had actually served its purpose. They came to assume that an independent Iraq would somehow muddle along -- and that if it did not, the consequences would not affect the British.