Much to my own surprise, my feelings on Iraq are much more in alignment with the Bush and McCain regimes rather than Obama's and most of the lefts. While the left are demonstrating and making loud noises about pulling the troops out of Iraq, my view is that we took a country that, albeit run by a murderous dictator, was a working model and smashed it to smithereens. Five years on and although there have been small advances, nobody can honestly say that if we go now we would be leaving Iraq in a better position than how we found it. I maintain the view that we broke it, we have a moral and ethical duty to stay until such a time that it IS a better place than when we shock and awed it in 2003. To just up an leave would expose the Iraq civilians to the terrorists that we filled the country with and sadly, if the choice is between an innocent Iraqi being blown apart as they go about their everyday business or the UK/US military bearing the brunt, the unprotected civilian should come top every time.
Strangely, the reverse is true in Afghanistan where the left seem to be advocating a surge of troops to combat a resurgent Al-Qeada & Taliban combination. With NATO now seemingly intent on spreading the conflict to Pakistan with its cross border incursions, resulting in gunfire exchanges between NATO and Pakistan troops, we have to rethink our whole strategy in the country.
Rather than picking up an even bigger stick to hit with, we have to swallow our pride and sit down with our enemies. The truth is we are not going to win a military victory in either country, all we can do is arrange to leave both countries with a manageable level of insurgency that can be managed by the relative countries armies as Britain's most senior military commander in the country is proposing.
Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said: "If the insurgents were prepared to sit on the other side of the table and talk about a political settlement, then that's precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this."
We shouldn't be in either country but the situation is that we are and to continue along the same path that we have been following since the invasions is folly and will only mean more deaths and a widening arena of conflict.
Certainly we should be working towards pulling the troops out but not until we have made sure that both countries are secure and our leaders learn the painful lesson from our very recent history which is don't be so eager to start wars in the first place because nobody has ever died through sitting around a table talking.