Iraq War Twenty Years On

On 18th March 2003, MPs in the House of Commons passed a motion to authorise military action in Iraq by 412 votes to 149. Two days later, the most contentious war in my lifetime began and tomorrow the Ministry of Defence will commemorate this forlorn milestone.

From a strategic viewpoint, the false intelligence did huge harm after it was discovered there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The repercussions in terms of public support for military operations are still being felt today as the logistics planning and combat training were woefully inadequate and caused the unnecessary death of many soldiers, marines and pilots, including crewmen from my regiment. Reputational damage increased as the insurgency continued until the ignominious withdrawal from Basra after six years.

Despite all the recriminations about the war, it is still right that we remember those who were killed (on all sides) and offer sympathy to the families affected and to the thousands of people who are still touched by the consequences. I will be particularly thinking of Corporal Steve Albutt and Trooper Dave Clarke in my old squadron, who both died in a fratricide attack that destroyed their Challenger battle tank on 25 March 2003.

Basra Insurgency

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