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The next flight home

I have written a letter to the Sunday Times following Michael Portillo's article today arguing we need to continue to occupy Iraq.
Michael Portillo's thesis on the continuation of the occupation of Iraq fails to consider perhaps the key issue of the dispute. Iraq is a segmented society. The primary patterns of loyalty are to the tribe and extended family. If a member of the tribe dies as a result of the occupation (and in his article perhaps 100,000 people have died for that reason), then their cousin-brothers are duty bound to obtain vengeance against the occupiers.

The longer the occupation lasts the more resentment it generates. This resentment spreads around the world. Al Qa'ida and Al-Sadr's forces both find the occupation as their main recruiting sargeant depending upon the sect that the new recruit supports. The recent events in al-Basrah are not signs of infiltration into the Iraqi security services, but instead the Iraqi security services turning against the occupiers.

British forces should return on the next sensible flight home.


There is always a balance in writing documents in terms of legalistic as opposed to simple language.

The "next flight home" is a good phrase, but obviously you would not actually take the next flight, but organise a withdrawal. The point about this is that we need to bring our boys back ASAP.

(I have linked to Juan Cole's well argued article.)

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

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