x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Losing Small Wars: what went wrong for Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan

Royal Navy reservist Frank Ledwidge, a barrister, explains how Britain's expeditionary wars went so terribly wrong in his fascinating and challenging book.

Losing Small Wars
Frank Ledwidge
Yale University Press
Dh115

Frank Ledwidge practised as a barrister in Liverpool, England, before joining the ranks of the Royal Navy reserve "for a little adventure", a post that would eventually take him, via the Joint Services Intelligence Organisation, to Britain's expeditionary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ledwidge's background shines through on every page of his fascinating and, ultimately, challenging book. His argument is clearly thought out, crisp and structured, as you would expect from a man who sharpened his teeth in the world of legal chambers.

He believes Britain's failure in both conflicts (and it surely can only be deemed as such) cannot simply be attributed to equipment shortages, but instead to catastrophic operational and tactical deficiencies.

Using historical examples and on-the-ground reporting, Ledwidge presents a compelling account of what went wrong. He also offers some prescriptive thought for the future of military operations overseas. This much is necessary, he concludes, because the reputation of the British army has been "irrevocably damaged" in the past decade.