The Daily Mail reports that President Bush is "furious" with Britain's Prime Minister following the decision to reduce British troops in Iraq to 2,500 by next spring. There is particular annoyance that Mr Brown did not discuss his decision with General Petraeus, US Commander in Iraq, when they met last week. The UK troop reductions may mean that American soldiers will have to be stationed in southern Iraq to secure vital supply routes with Kuwait. Mr Brown has come under heavy criticism from the UK media for the way in which he has handled his troop reduction announcements. Many have seen his announcements in the context of his plans to hold a snap General Election - plans that were abandoned at the weekend. In angry exchanges in the House of Commons, Conservative leader David Cameron described Mr Brown's behaviour as "unacceptable":
"You promised a thousand of our troops would be brought back before Christmas - but isn't it the case that 500 of them had already been announced and 270 of them were already back in the country? I have to say to the prime minister, this is of a different order of magnitude to what we've had from him over the last decade. This is not double-counting of government spending, this is not just spinning the good bits of a Budget, this is about dealing with people's lives and the families of our servicemen. And does he agree that this is just not an acceptable way for a prime minister to behave?"
Last Friday, Irwin Stelzer wrote for the Weekly Standard about the decline of the 'special relationship' during the first 100 days of the Brown administration:
"American foreign policy analysts will now have to work on a new policy in which Britain cannot be relied on to stick with America should the president decide to take military action against Iran, or in almost any other crisis involving the use of force. Indeed, the UK will be unable to do so even if it wants to: it has gutted its military to the point where British soldiers beg departing American troops for body armor and desert boots, must rely on American helicopters with which they often cannot communicate because their equipment is antiquated, and its fleet is so puny that Admiral Nelson is turning over in his grave. The "special relationship" might survive, as it has before, but it certainly is not likely to have much operational meaning in the medium-term."