Colin Teevan’s How Many Miles to Basra? was originally commissioned as a radio drama by BBC3 and initially broadcast on July 11, 2004. The first stage performance of the play was produced in September 2006 by the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.
The story is about what happens when a routine checkpoint incident in the Gulf War following the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime goes haywire and results in the death of a car of unarmed Bedouins who were attempting to deliver a ransom to a tribal warlord. The CO who was in charge when everything went bad is so overcome with guilt that he decides to fulfill the mission of the dead men with a handful of soldiers, an official translator and an embedded reporter for the BBC to boot.
Although dealing with one of the most inflammatory and divisive military engagements in recent history, How Many Miles to Basra? is not entirely regarded as belonging to artistic works of drama questioning the political wisdom of the invasion of Iraq. It is classified, rather, within the more abstract genre of anti-war stories that poses questions about the moral vacuum that exists during lifetime and whether seeking redemption is not possible but worth the effort.