The senior officers’ mess in Iraq and Afghanistan

Two books on recent British military interventionism in the Middle East

The World Today
3 minute READ

High Command: British Military Leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
Christopher L Elliott, Hurst & Company, £21.25 
At the End of Military Intervention
Ed. Robert Johnson & Timothy Clack (Changing Character of Conflict Seminar, Oxford), OUP, £54

Fears that the Chilcot report into Britain’s Iraq campaign is being postponed into irrelevance should be quickly dispelled by Christopher Elliott’s new book. High Command examines a crucial area of the inquiry – why things went wrong so quickly after Tony Blair sent British forces to southern Iraq in 2003.

Elliott, a highly experienced officer now turned academic, compares what happened to the British mission to Basra with the mission to Afghanistan from 2001, and particularly the increasingly quixotic deployment to Helmand from 2006 to 2014.

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