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Colonel Iron and the charge of the knights

Britain's invasion of Iraq has been widely judged a political and military disaster, with the only option left being full withdrawal. But this is not the whole story; and we now have a second chance to get it right

By Anthony King   March 2009

Discuss this article at First Drafts, Prospect‘s blog

And so, finally, it ends. Six years after the Iraq invasion, British combat troops will be withdrawn by 31st July 2009. Britain’s involvement in Iraq during the first world war is recalled at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery outside Basra. Now, the latest engagement is also marked—by a redbrick memorial beside the airport that records the 178 British dead.

Two positions are clearly identifiable in discussions about what Iraq has meant for Britain. The government, the ministry of defence (MoD) and the armed forces argue that the withdrawal is a vindication…

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