Where do I start? Developments in Iraq take place so rapidly that articles mutate everytime a new piece of news comes in. The past few weeks have seen plenty of controversy that have made pitched debates between pro-war and anti-war sides even more ferocious.
Let me briefly start with White Phosphorus. Rumours were floating for months before two sources : IslamOnline and Italy’s RAI documentary kicked it off. The US military denied using it as a weapon and the doc was flaky. Then it emerged they had been using it as a weapon, and that is banned as such.
Although some apologists for the Pentagon have been questioning whether it was intentional, they miss the point. It’s a fucking PR disaster and I doubt those in Iraq are really having the same debate.
Yesterday it emerged some contractors had been making ‘trophy videos‘ and posting them on the internet.
A “trophy” video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.
[Postman Patel has more]. The day before that, CNN reported that four American soldiers had been reprimanded for burning bodies of terrorists to taunt Al-Qaeda. It’s not even worth pointing out this is also against the Geneva Convention.
Iraqis are not the only ones suffering in a war that has gotten out of control because the US administration never planned for the Iraqis after “liberating” them. Too busy awarding contracts to Halliburton you see.
Now, the pro-war lefties come into the equation. Starting with the assumption that we all want the best for Iraqis, their accusation that we are not as committed to human rights or democracy fall flat in light of the events above. As Robert Sharp so perfectly puts it:
For me, the debate about the Iraq war was not ideological, but practical. Dictators should be stopped, no question, but my objections were over the best way to achieve that aim. Telling lies over WMD and ignoring our blood-stained hand in the history of the region was not a good footing for a military campaign. If the intervention had been managed more honestly, I may have had a different view…
It is difficult to support a war started on lies and carries on with standards that sometimes mirror those of terrorists.
I support the troops currently being there because a full-blown civil war may erupt otherwise. Even the Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani has so far refused to ask for a full withdrawal because he knows the violence is primarily by Sunni terrorists against Shia and Kurd innocents. More here, via Terence.
In fact we are more committed because we want our governments to live up to our standards. The big split is that the pro-war left is failing to make them account for not upholding the same principles. Any criticism, based on the events above, is dismissed as anti-American lefty thinking.
Admittedly, people like Yvonne Ridley, whose absurd theories make the anti-war left look stupid, are not helping.
Nevertheless, regardless of what these apologists say, unless our governments and military embody the values we keep promoting, this will become another Vietnam with increasingly desperate actions justified by increasingly desperate circumstances.
While hearts and minds are being lost, some are more obsessed with definitions and playing with words. This ‘split’ in the left is rubbish. It is perpetuated by those on both sides who prefer to only look at half the picture.
For the sake of our democracy and for the future of the Iraqis, we have to keep asking our governments to be more honest with their citizens. That is the only way to defeat the disease that is al-Qaeda.
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