Saturday, May 08, 2004

Another English warmonger comes to his senses:
The whole planet has been seething with anger and disgust at these photos: the murdered Iraqi prisoners, the man wearing a hood and a set of electrodes, the naked Iraqi soldiers being tormented by American servicewomen - an image that could have been devised by Osama bin Laden himself for its capacity to inflame Arab feeling.

But I have felt the extra rage of one who has been a mug. Up and down the country, I have given the same defence of the operation. "Of course Saddam never had anything to do with September 11, and of course he never had any weapons of mass destruction. But there is one powerful reason for supporting the liberation of Iraq," I say, "and that is that we rid the world of an odious tyrant, and we have made life better for the Iraqi people."

Well, look at what is happening now. As Julian Manyon reports from Baghdad in this week's Spectator, many main highways are no longer under American control, because the Iraqi police have melted away. Reconstruction has come to a halt, and half of all foreign workers have fled the country. As the siege of Fallujah has gone on, it has become more and more obvious that poor Tony Blair is engaged in yet another hopeless exercise in mendacity. These are not just "foreigners and terrorists" who are putting up resistance to the coalition forces; they are Iraqis, who believe that their country is itself under occupation by foreigners who sometimes do little to distinguish themselves from terrorists.

How would we feel if Britain had been overwhelmed by a vastly superior army, and we then saw pictures of our relatives stripped naked and tortured by smirking jezebels from the Appalachians? I must be careful what I say, but I think many Englishmen would feel an immediate urge to go to the cupboard, get out the 12-bore, and join whatever resistance we could find.

If it were just the Daily Mirror, with its dodgy photos, the impact would not be so disastrous. But these American photos are manifestly not stunted up, and this is the Abu Ghraib jail. This is the jail that was at the centre of the pro-war propaganda. This is the place where - or so we were told - Saddam's torturers fed people into industrial shredders and then chucked the remains in the fish ponds.

It later turned out that no one had actually seen this human shredding taking place; which is not to say that it did not take place, only that it is, to say the least, a pity that we have irrefutable photographic evidence of what the Americans have done in that jail, but no such photos of the victims of Saddam.

How could the American army have been so crass, so arrogant, so brutal as to behave in this way? The trailer-trash troops said they had no idea what they were doing. They weren't even aware of the existence of the Geneva Conventions. They didn't have any orders to obey, only vague instructions.

Was this really the operation I had voted for? Did I really think, when the House of Commons voted to support the American action on March 18, 2003, that it would be carried out with such boneheaded stupidity?

These people seem not only to lack the faintest idea of how to bring peace to Iraq; they also seem not to understand the values - such as basic human rights - which we hoped to bring to that country.

Via Hullabaloo.