A century of deaths.
The media has been somewhat morbidly building up to it, but it still doesn't take away from the anger that should be directed at this government. The number of deaths of British soldiers in Iraq today reached 100.
That the soldiers are still there, in a area in which is only being destabilised because of our presence is unforgivable. The British soldiers, based in Basra and around Umm Qasr long since stopped being of any worth to the Iraqis on the ground. Instead their failures have increased the danger to the citizens. Basra has become a more intolerant place, and Shia militias now seem to be in charge, having also infiltrated the police. We should have left when we destroyed the Iraqi prison where two British SAS soldiers were held because of their suspicious behaviour. Instead we stayed behind and became even more detested. Why are we still there? A spokesman is now left to inexplicably explaining that our presence will be required for as long as necessary because since we arrived there have been three democratic elections.
Perhaps though we should contrast the remarks of "Dr" John Reid, the most despicable member of the cabinet, with those of Reg Keys, who lost his son in Iraq and who stood against Blair at the general election:
"The morale among our troops is fantastic," he said.
"I only wish some of the commentators at home had the same moral courage and morale."
Reg Keys, whose son Thomas was one of six military policemen killed in an ambush in Iraq more than two years ago, said the milestone figure was "absolutely dreadful".
"We have had 100 chances to learn our lesson. It just goes on and on," he said.
"These deaths were 100% preventable. These lads are dying for a falsehood. Their oath of allegiance has been betrayed. This was not what they went to war for. They are not the world's police."
Does Reg Keys not have moral courage, whatever that is, Dr Reid? How is that nearly three years on you are still defending an illegitimate war which has killed thousands of innocent Iraqis, over 2000 American troops and now 100 British servicemen? There were no weapons of mass destruction. Sure, we've freed the Iraqis from a murderous and wicked dictatorship, but in the process we've helped turn Baghdad into the most dangerous place on the face of the planet. Electricity supply is worse than before the war. Sewage runs in the streets. Oil production, which I'm sure is more important to you than me, has dropped below pre-war levels due to both lack of workers, privatisation threats and sabotage. At the moment it still doesn't look the situation is going to get any better soon. As for the morale of the troops, if they're so pleased and content, why is that they wish to set up a 'trade' federation?
Now as well as keeping troops in Iraq, you're sending more troops back into Afghanistan, the true forgotten war. This is due to the fact that the US has lost any interest it once had, as it can just use drones to assassinate anyone it feels like instead of using men who might die in the process. With the US not really affected by the opium economy, as the heroin reaches our streets and not theirs, it's left to us to go in and clear up yet another mess, just as the situation is getting even more deadly as the Taliban seem to have managed to regroup, and having learned from the insurgency in Iraq, are adopting the same suicidal tactics. Why have you shown such little interest in the welfare of the troops and their families, apart from platitudes commenting on their morale? You only bothered to visit those who have been injured to make yourself look slightly better before announcing a new mission on which more troops will die needlessly.
Geoff Hoon was a piss-poor defence minister, but even he seems talented compared to "Dr" Reid, who only knows how to do one thing: insult people and shout at them. Why can this government not face up to its biggest mistakes? Actually, I know the answer to that one; if it had, it would have been booted out of power at the last election. How strange that it was a Labour government which took us into an illegal war and yet it managed to survive. If it had been the Tories, Labour would have never stopped attacking them and would have hounded them out. The situation is same in America. If it had been the Democrats, the Republicans would have annihilated them in the 2004 election. Instead it has been the opposite. Politics may be changing, but war certainly doesn't, and nothing this government says is going to bring back those who have died needlessly in our foreign adventures.