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IRAQ: "ONE MORE STEP AND THEY'LL BE HOME"

03-09-2007

The mother of a Birmingham soldier killed in Iraq has welcomed the withdrawal of British troops from the centre of Basra. She says it's the beginning of the end of an adventure which "hasn't done any good."

Carol Jones, whose Villa-supporting son John was killed there by a roadside bomb in 2005, is "delighted" at the news that the army is pulling out of Basra Palace and retreating to the local air base.

Her verdict? "One more step and they'll be home".

The Ministry of Defence won't say that of course.

They claim this is simply part of the planned downscaling of the British presence in Iraq, leaving security in the hands of local forces (see the full MOD statement here)

That's not how it's being seen in the United States though, where Britain's actions are seen as giving encouragement to the insurgents, making life more difficult for American soldiers in Baghdad.

Foreign Secretary David Milliband argues that what happens in the capital isn't Britain's problem, and although Gordon Brown has promised that this country won't "cut and run" it's clear we can't get out quickly enough.

Carol Jones, who runs the Military Families Support Group and writes a regular blog for The Stirrer, thinks that it's the right policy.

"We've not done any good there" she says.

"Okay, they've got a police force and an Army of their own, but they are full of terrorists.

"As soon as our lads are out of the way, they'll have another Saddam back in. They can't manage without a dictator. Let's hope it goes the other way, but I can't see it.

"Once we'd got rid of Saddam and discovered there were no weapons of mass destruction, it should have ended there."

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