Emma Sky writes: Although I opposed the Iraq war, I went on to serve in Iraq longer than any other British military or civilian official. When I testified before the Iraq inquiry on 14 January 2011, I explained how in 2003 I had responded to the government’s request for volunteers to administer Iraq for three months before we handed the country back to the Iraqis.
I felt I had useful skills to contribute, after a decade in Palestine working on capacity building and conflict mediation. And I did not want the only westerner Iraqis would meet to be a man with a gun.
Before I went out to Iraq I was not briefed, and had no idea what my job was going to be. I received a phone call from someone in the British government telling me to make my way to RAF Brize Norton, jump on a military plane and fly to Basra, where I would be met by someone carrying a sign with my name on it and taken to the nearest hotel.
It sounded plausible. It was June 2003. The invasion was three months previous. The war was apparently over. I assumed the British government knew what it was doing – it had just not told me. So I followed the instructions. But I arrived in Basra airport to find no one expecting me, no sign with my name. [Continue reading…]