The end of the British occupation of southern Iraq was accompanied with the usual pomp and circumstance.
Plaques to brave troops were unveiled while the politicians who took us into this war declared it a “noble deed”.
It was anything but. The troops were sent into Iraq on the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction capable of hitting Britain in 45 minutes.
They were kept there on a lie – that they were holding back the tide of extremism and building democracy.
And now they are being withdrawn on another lie – that it is a “job well done” and the country is in a better state now it was before.
Worst of all is the claim that, despite the illegal occupation, the Iraqis appreciate the professionalism of the British army.
The harsh truth is that George Bush and Tony Blair’s war was not worth the life of a single soldier or any of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who perished. Instead of bringing peace the war has left a trail of destruction, misery and uncertainty.
The British occupation was mired in scandal. Stories of torture, summary executions, the shooting of civilians and mass roundups are still emerging.
Far from the “withdrawal” marking the end of the occupation, Britain has simply handed its bases over to the US army.
Iraq is still not independent, democratic or secure. The invasion has created a region that will continue to be the centre of instability and war for years to come.