Letter: Troops must stay in Iraq to keep peace

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The Independent Online
Sir: Charles Kennedy suggests that we should seek ways to bring our troops home as soon as possible ("British troops must now prepare to leave Iraq", 1 February), and offers as encouragement the fact that other nations have done so, or are about to do so, or are unwilling to commit troops at all. Rather than being a reason for us to follow suit this fact is a hindrance to his laudable objective.

We got ourselves into this. At the time, and based on the history of lies and deceit on the part of Saddam's regime, many thought it was justified. However mistaken those beliefs we are where we are, and must begin from there; history cannot be rewritten. That history carries with it a responsibility to ensure that a proper transfer of authority from the old deposed regime to a new one takes place as peaceably as possible. If others will not step in then we cannot step out.

It is a strange predicament, and the insurgents, who claim to want us to leave are the very people who are preventing us from doing so. If Iraq was peaceful then it would be a simple matter to set a short timescale for withdrawal and carry it through. In the present circumstance the only troops apparently available are coalition ones, and they are necessary to maintain any form of order. I know it is a pretty lousy form of order, but if the coalition forces withdrew the open civil war which would follow would be very bloody indeed.

DAVE TOOKE

Alderholt, Dorset

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