The media and the public at large has been scathing about Britain’s involvement in Iraq: it is widely deemed both a political and military disaster, and the only option for British troops now seems to be a full—and humiliating—withdrawal. While terrible mistakes were made, this is not the whole story, reports Anthony King in an in-depth feature for our latest issue. In particular, it ignores the heroics of one man: Colonel Richard Iron, and the hitherto untold story of the dramatic “Charge of the Knights” attack to take back Basra.
Give the success of this bold mission, the last thing the British government should now be contemplating is total disengagement from Basra; not least because 178 British soldiers and several thousand Basrawis died fighting there. We now have a second chance to get it right in Iraq.