It would have been neat if Prime Minister Brown had marked the retreat from Basra by appearing on the flight-deck of an aircraft carrier clad in a leather jacket with a banner stretched above him proclaiming: " Submission accomplished."
But these Scots Presbyterians have no sense of style.
Brown's only bit of theatricality came at his press conference on Tuesday when he brought the house down with a deadpan display which would have done credit to Buster Keaton on botox. The withdrawal under cover of darkness was not a defeat, he insisted, but had been "pre-planned".
And so it had been. So clearly signalled, indeed, that Muqtada al-Sadr had been able to react three weeks in advance.
"The British have given up," the Shia cleric told the Independent on August 20. "They are retreating because of the resistance they have faced."
At the same time, al-Sadr ordered a six-month moratorium on attacks on British and American forces, explaining that this would give his Mehdi Army time to regroup. You'd have to be seriously naïve not to believe that the retreat and the ceasefire were inextricably linked.
British troops can now complete their withdrawal without fear of pursuit by the bombs and bullets of the Mehdi Army, while al-Sadr can try to consolidate his hold on the region without the distraction of having to oppose the British presence.
We might pause for a moment to admire the indomitable chutzpah of the Sun, which, on Monday, appeared plastered with pictures of beaming squaddies giving the camera the thumbs-up and an exultant headline 'The job's done for our boys'.
It might have been more accurate to say that the job did for our boys - 168 so far.
What did they die for? Since becoming Prime Minister, Brown has at least had the nous not to repeat Blair's lie that they made Iraq better for its people and the world safer for us all. But does he have an alternative explanation?
A couple of years back, I met with mothers of young American and British men who had been blown to bits or bled to death in some obscure (obscure to us, anyway) dusty corner of a faraway country, and this was the question which, even more than the loss of a loved child, seemed to torment them. Grief they had, perhaps, the strength to handle. But the sense that their sons had died for no good, brave cause, but for reasons that nobody would come clean about and that weren't worth crossing the street for, that's what made the sadness unbearable.
I wonder what Rose Gentle was thinking in Glasgow as news came in that the Basra Palace had been evacuated. Her son, Gordon (19), was on patrol in Basra in June in 2004 when he was killed by an insurgent's bomb. "Some people say that soldiers have to expect to die or be injured when they sign up," she said. "But they also have the right to expect that they will only be sent to fight for a proper cause, by a government which tells the truth.
"Tony Blair said our troops would be welcomed. Instead, it is all bloodshed and chaos. If my children had the same regard for honesty as the Prime Minister, I would be ashamed.
"If he cares, why doesn't he bring our troops back home before more are killed?"
Since then, a hundred more have had their lives taken, as well as around 2,000 Americans and possibly half a million Iraqis.
And for what?
The neo-con gang which manoeuvred the US into the war, with Blair dragging Britain along in their wake, are almost all gone. Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Alberto Gonzalez, all gone, some in disgrace, none to their graves.
Dying is for people like Rose Gentle's son, for fresh-faced young men drawn disproportionately from the poor, flung ill-trained and ill-equipped into battle to take bullets for Bush and Blair.
Paul Long (24), from Tyneside, was killed at Majar al-Kabir, north of Basra, in the first weeks of the occupation when his six-strong unit of military policemen ran out of ammunition and was overwhelmed by a crowd of 2,000 apparently inflamed by an earlier confrontation with paratroopers. He left a wife, Gemma, and a son, Benjamin, 11 months.
Commenting on the retreat from the Basra Palace this week, Paul's mother, Pat, told the Shields Gazette: "They have left it far too late ... The best thing they can do now is get all the troops out of Iraq. They shouldn't have been there in the first place. It was never our war - it was the US's war, and was all about oil."
On the day the six bodies were brought home, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw vowed that the British Government was " not going to forget", but would create an Iraq which was a "fitting tribute" to their sacrifice. Of course, his words turned to ashes as they left his lips.
The Iraq war has been a crime against humanity, perpetrated by opportunists motivated by greed and aggrandisement. Instead of travelling to Finland on an irrelevant 'peace' mission, local politicians might better add their voices to the millions telling Gordon Brown to apologise to the families of the dead and to all the people of Iraq and to get the Troops Out Now.