The Guardian has published one of the more telling articles I have read about the consequences, motivation and competence of those who generated and implemented the invasion of Iraq. It is by former British Army Colonel, Tim Collins, who became well known in the UK for the speech he gave to his Battalion prior to going into battle in Iraq in 2003.
We go to liberate, not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
Colonel Collins has now left the army, and he has written an article in The Guardian saying he clearly was naïve, and that “it is the role of the leaders of nations to explain where we are going and why. I, for one, demand to know.”
One cannot help but wonder what it was all about. If it was part of the war on terror then history might notice that the invasion has arguably acted as the best recruiting sergeant for al-Qaeda ever: a sort of large-scale equivalent of the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972, which in its day filled the ranks of the IRA. If it was an attempt to influence the price of oil, then the motorists who queued last week would hardly be convinced. If freedom and a chance to live a dignified, stable life free from terror was the motive, then I can think of more than 170 families in Iraq last week who would have settled for what they had under Saddam. UK military casualties reached 95 last week. I nightly pray the total never reaches 100.
I shudder to think how parents who have loss a son or daughter in this war feel in the face of this unarmed truth, or indeed how a military commander feels who has led men to their deaths for such a ’cause’. I think the deceit used to fool people into believing this was a just war is an even greater crime than initiating the invasion.
An interesting contrast is the way countries are responding to the unthinkable persecution and oppression in Sudan. This piece by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times details various countries making up the ‘Axis of Medieval’, who are not only refusing to act but are even threatening those who try to show the facts about what continues to happen to the people in that country. More details can be found in this equally compelling article by the same writer. The television networks in the USA won’t even show an advertisement by this anti-genocide group trying to encourage more coverage of the killings in Darfur.
(acknowledgement to The Daily Briefing for initial links)