Monday, 23 May 2011

Operation Telic - The Finale

Yesterday in Iraq bombings killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 65 in Baghdad.

Also yesterday the last British forces left Iraq after eight years.  Marines from the Royal Navy stayed on after the end of combat operations to help train Iraqi soldiers.

The last British combat troops left Basra in April 2009 having been sent to war in the country by Tony Blair in April 2003.  More than 46,000 British armed forces were committed to Operation Telic, costing the country more than £10bn.

The Iraq war must rate as the most dubious participation by British forces in any war for over a century.  Some say it compares with Suez but I would disagree because there were substantial reasons for British troops to be present in Egypt.  There were no good reasons for Britain to invade Iraq.  It wasn't many years prior to 2003 that Saddam Hussein had been feted by the US and Britain.

Some think Iraq is now a better place.  It may be so but yesterday's suicide bombings are regular occurrences which must make every day life exceedingly difficult.

During the war 179 British service personnel were killed and an estimated 100,000 - 200,000 Iraqi civilians.  Thousands more were injured and will live their lives in the shadow of endless pain and profound grief.  The legacy of two egotistical men who made a calculated decision to become warmongers.

Their successors have continued in the same vein with Afghanistan and Libya which quickly turned into a lengthy operation. There will be no end to such wars in my lifetime because we have leaders who enjoy wielding their power in this way.  It's a tragedy, because we could, so easily, have gained a global reputation as a country of peace.

All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.  In my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace.  When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?  ~Benjamin Franklin


Anonymous said...

I agree with every word, both of yours and of Mr Franklin's.

It's a pity that every British prime minister has to show the world what he is made of by going to war.

Most countries' prime ministers prefer to demonstrate their strengths by making their country a better place to live. Would that our own First Minister had the power to exclude our troops from Britain's misaventures.

Oldrightie said...

As much as I heartily agree with this excellent post I must suggest that sadly we are not privy to much of the
unpleasantness that pervades the corridors of power. Those machinations lead to "dossiers" full of lies whilst our NWO and EU crooks get rich. Of the £10 billion plus, much ends up not in troop welfare but Bliar and his ilk's pockets. We only have to look at Karzai to realise our enemy is not The Taliban.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

War is profit.

Take that element out and 90% of wars would never get started.

petem130 said...

Perhaps an independent Scotland could avoid such wars. The wars of ego and arrogance which demonstrate the needs of politicians and the armed services.

Could we rely on the UN or NATO to take such decisions and for Scottish troops to be engaged as part of a UN or NATO force?

I'd like to think not. There may be wars coming which we can't avoid since we will have no option but to fight to defend our society. I hope those days are distant.

There are more questions than answers since the SNP won. I'm convinced the answers will all be positive and good for Scotland although that will require change and compromise for everyone.

Brian said...

War is vanity.

English Pensioner said...

I'm far from convinced that the average Iraqi is any better off now than under Sadam. Nor, I am quite sure, will the average person in Afghanistan feel any improvement when western troops withdraw.
The main problem is our aim of imposing western style democracy on essentially tribal countries, it simply doesn't work. This, and the obsession "Biggest is Best" with resultant mergers of separate tribal areas leads to continuous trouble with the dominant tribe oppressing the rest. Libya was, pre-1939, two separate countries run by the two main tribes, merging it into one just exacerbated the tensions.
Afghanistan should be split up into its tribal areas, and then, if they want some form of overall government, it is up to them.
This is effectively how the US works, except we call the various areas "states"! And why the EU doesn't, because they are trying to take power.

J. R. Tomlin said...

*cheers for the twitter widget* I just tweeted this.

Well said. That both of our countries COULD have been peacemakers... that some of us saw that chance with the end of the
"Cold War" and it was *sigh*

I would say thrown away but that isn't the word for something that has cost so much blood and suffering worldwide.

subrosa said...

We could be a Union with a reputation for peace Tris, but our politicians don't want that. War is macho so they think in their illusional state.

subrosa said...

Very, very true OR. Wars make money for the few and intolerable sadness for so many.

subrosa said...

Well said Crinkly.

subrosa said...

I would like to think we would have a military based on the Swiss idea petem - mainly well-trained volunteers.

Few people realise how valuable our volunteers are.

But this needs a lengthy public discussion. It's far too serious to be treated lightly.

subrosa said...

That too Brian and of course grandstanding.

subrosa said...

I'm not convinced either EP. Yes I know about the Kurds (and we could have taken action then) but our current 'war policy' stinks.

subrosa said...

Thank you Jeanne. It's taken me months to get that in place as I'm terrified to playing with the template. I wanted it to the left but, after more hours of trying, I decided to leave it where it is. Doesn't look too bad does it?

I agree with your opinion - every word of it.

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