ALL this week the United States has been trumpeting the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. It started on Wednesday with President Barack Obama officially congratulating U.S. soldiers on a job well done and was followed with the actual ceremony in Iraq the following day.
Mission Accomplished, we´re returning home, was the message from soldiers and politicians alike. There was well deserved praise for U.S. troops but there was something missing; no-one mentioned the important role played by the 40'000 British troops who took part in the invasion or the 200 British soldiers who lost their lives during the conflict. One general mentioned the coalition but that was it. Britain was a key ally to the United States before, during and after the war. British troops fought alongside their American counterparts in southern Iraq and were responsible for taking Iraq´s second city, Basra. Britain paid a high price with scores killed and hundreds injured. But not a word was uttered, not even a simple thank you. I was quite amazed. Perhaps France was right and it was afterall an American war. Perhaps President Jacques Chirac was right when he told Prime Minister Tony Blair to let the Americans do it on their own. The U.S. army and their British counterparts, militarily speaking did a good job in Iraq. It was the politicians who have failed. They failed before the invasion and they have failed now the withdrawl has taken place.