“The tragedy of Basra was Blair’s real crime.”

A devastating attack on Tony Blair’s strategy in the Iraq War has been written by Fraser Nelson for The Spectator, the magazine he edits.  The article commences:

Blair’s real crime was to invade Iraq with no strategy, no understanding of the Islamist factions and no qualms about leaving Iraqis to the mercy of death squads.

The end is as follows:

In US military circles, that the British were defeated in southern Iraq is taken as a given. One of General Petraeus’s closest advisers, David Kilcullen, has declared that ‘the British A rmy was defeated in the field in southern Iraq’. Another, Peter Mansoor, wrote a piece for the British Army Journal on what Britain should learn from its ‘failure in Basra’. So, a war that was designed – at least in part – to strengthen the special relationship has actually weakened it, by making the Americans doubt Britain’s military utility.

Mr Blair’s intervention in Iraq – which I supported at the time – can now be seen as a calamity. As Basra slid towards hell, Blair looked the other way. Our failing strategy was never reassessed. Our defeat was a disaster not just for the people who lived under the terror which it unleashed, but for the morale of our armed forces and Britain’s reputation in the world. Such a display of military failure, and abject short-termism, can only encourage our enemies – leaving the world a more dangerous place. The lies were the least of it. The tragedy of Basra was Blair’s real crime.

The aim, when going to war, should be to win. Those responsible for defeat should be held to account.