Friday, May 1, 2009
BRITAIN is leaving Iraq with its head held high.
Our 4,100 remaining troops ended combat operations in Basra yesterday six years after helping oust Saddam Hussein.
The moving ceremony handing over our duties to America captured the pride and pain of the long campaign.
History will judge that this has been a glorious chapter in our military history.
We went to war for the right reason: to free an enslaved people from a tyrant who threatened world peace.
We fought that war with courage and honour.
We leave Iraq a better place.
The Lions of Basra endured hell to do their duty in an operation that lasted longer than WW2.
More than 100,000 Servicemen and women served in the furnace of Southern Iraq.
In all, 179 of our troops laid down their lives. Their names will be remembered for ever with all the gratitude and pride we feel for the fallen of previous conflicts.
And now, the troops can start coming home.
Mission accomplished, lads and lasses. Well done. And thank you.