Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Don't Mention The War

There is a memorial to British soldiers killed in Iraq. One of the dead is a south west lad; 2nd Lieutenant Henry Parkyns Bridge Baines. About a month after he was killed the British Army issued a 'Proclamation' part of which read, "our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators..." This was an illusion. Henry died for a lie. Despite the high minded proclamation, there was an already existing plan to carve the land up. Just in case you were wondering, these events did not take place in 2004, 5 or 6. This was 1917 and by 1920 Iraqi resistance to the occupation had forced the British out.

We don't mention that war much these days. It is an uncomfortable reminder of the folly of empire. But it seems that much of the media and our political leaders also does not want to mention the current war much. It is an uncomfortable reminder of the folly of empire. I looked at some military news sources to see what has been going down in Iraq and the RAF helpfully filled me in;

RAF Policeman Runs 'London' Marathon In Iraq...Sgt Tate..the 36-year-old from Bristol is determined not to let his team mates or their chosen good cause down - and will run the 26 mile challenge at the Basra Air Station military base on the same day they set off in England. Sgt Tate's course is 21 circuits of the two kilometre road inside the Basra base that is usually a bus route that takes service personnel and civilian staff to their places of work. The route has a vague 'metropolitan feel,' as all the stops are named after London train stations...Other than that the two events couldn't be more different – while in England his colleagues will run in a comfortable climate, in Iraq Sgt Tate will compete in desert heat.

OK so that was a few weeks back, but you get the point. Its all going swimmingly(ish). The Bliar regime has tried to dampen worries after the shooting down of the British chopper and subsequent riots in Basra, "British officials played down suggestions that the clashes indicated any significant escalation of the security situation in Basra.."

Well that's not what others are saying.

"One person is being assassinated in Basra every hour as order in Iraq's second city disintegrates, according to an Iraqi Defence Ministry official." says nzherald.co.nz

"..the security situation in Basra has collapsed in the wake of the killing by persons dressed as Iraqi policemen of Shaikh Hasan Jarih al-Karamishi, the head of the al-Karamisha tribe in Basra. Firefights subsquently broke out in several districts of the city at a time of political vacuum in the central government." says Al-Zaman/ AFP report

"Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Basra today in the wake of a series of killings that has led to calls for the governor's ouster and deployment of Iraqi army forces within the city."
says LA Times

Where are the British army in all this? Possibility in their barracks considering the folly of empire.

1 comment:

Dave Gould said...

Excellent article - first saw on Indymedia.