3 Nov 2011 - A few days after the British entered Basra in April 2003, a company commander led his patrol of armoured carriers to a village on the bank of the Shatt al Arab waterway. In festive mood old ladies, clerics and elders mobbed the vehicles, and the commander snapped it all on his digital camera.
A few weeks later, he showed the snaps to his wife, saying: "At least some people were glad to see us." She retorted: "But look at the eyes of every young man - they are looking at you with undiluted hatred." The commander, who I believe is still serving, then told me that he was against the Iraq invasion in the first place, and so were many of his men and their families. This was far from exceptional among British units I interviewed soon after.
So began Operation Telic, Tony Blair's great contribution to George W Bush's war on terror, the climax of which was to be the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, who had hardly a passing acquaintance with al Qaeda, and the creation of a model democracy in Iraq. read more>>>