The British Retreat from Basra was the one big Victory of the antiwar elections of 2006.
I've listened to a number of lefty pundits trying to claim the current violence in Basra is a sign of that the surge failed.
The fact that there is a flare up in violence in the areas where the British retreated really doesn't say anything about the affects of the American Surge.
The current violence screams volumes about the retreat. The power void created by the retreat of the British forces was filled by militias, thugs and organized crime.
It may be true that Bush's vision of an Iraq that would peacefully take toward Democrcay was off. The policy of the next president must be based on vision created in conjunction with the next elected government of Iraq.