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'Iraq was better off with tyrant Saddam in charge'

PUBLISHED: 17:29 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 August 2010

DISILLUSIONED: Tahrir Swift.

DISILLUSIONED: Tahrir Swift.

A VICTIM of Saddam Hussein s regime claims Iraq was better under his rule and is calling for an inquiry into the war. British forces officially pulled out of Iraq last

A VICTIM of Saddam Hussein's regime claims Iraq was better under his rule and is calling for an inquiry into the war.

British forces officially pulled out of Iraq last Thursday, six bloody years after invading the wartorn country, but Tahrir Swift, from Orpington, claims her homeland has been left like a 'festering wound'.

She said: "This is not what the British people needed. Anybody who lives in Iraq will tell you it is worse than when Saddam was in power.

"Women cannot go out without a chaperone. There are murders and rapes happening all the time. The water is dirty and there is rubbish everywhere.

"It is far more dangerous now. I am not criticising the British army, I am criticising the politicians. The soldiers can see for themselves, they are not stupid. They have been out there and wondered 'what are we fighting for?'

"This has cost the British people at least £8 billion. That is money that could have been spent on the NHS or the education system.

"I used to live on a nice street which was quite well off by the Tigress. Now everybody has gone. I say to my mother 'if you go back there you will be dead in 10 minutes'.

"The Iraqi people will never accept domination. Now the country is like Palestine, a festering wound. There should be an inquiry and not a whitewash like the Hutton Inquiry. It is easy to destroy and bomb and demolish. Rebuilding is a different story. I was a victim of Saddam. It is quite something when you can say it was better under a genocidal dictator."

However, British army officials are claiming a victory and during last Thursday's service to remember the 179 British military personnel who lost their lives.

Brigadier Tom Beckett said: "We leave knowing that Basra is a better place now than it was in 2003. We have prepared the ground for continued success for our friends and allies."

A roll call of the dead was read out and included Major Nick Bateson, 49, of Chislehurst who was killed in May 2007.

Fusilier Donal Meade, 20, from Plumstead and Fusilier Stephen Manning, 22, from Erith, who were killed by a roadside bomb on September 5, 2005 were also on the register.

The men were from the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers based in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, and had been travelling in a convoy which was hit five miles east of Shaibah airbase in Basra province.

At the time of his death, Mr Meade's family said "we take comfort in that he died doing a job he loved" while Mr Manning's family paid tribute to a "loving son and grandson" and said he would be "deeply missed."

Meanwhile the number of civilians and non-combatants who have perished as a result of the country's unrest during the six years is placed between 91,700 and 100,100.

The figure comes from the Iraq Body Count which cross references the deaths from media reports, hospital morgues and official figures.

Gordon Brown said he was 'hopeful' for the future of Iraq, a view shared by bird breeder Ghalib Al-Nasser, 63, from Chislehurst, who says it is time to move on. He was originally against the war but now believes some good has come out of it.

He said: "Personally I don't want to see an inquiry. What would be the point? We need to move forward.

"The only thing that would happen is for Bush and Blair to go on trial. If that happened they would just say they were relying on their intelligence.

"They went in there under false pretences but I try to be philosophical. Nobody expected the bloodbath which happened after 2003. I expect American forces will be out of there in the next couple of years. We have a good president in Barack Obama. He seems to have a lot of good will. Iraq is a better place now.

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