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.