Sunday, May 02, 2004

In the last two days, the scandal over mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by Americans, has been overshadowed in this country by allegations made against the British Army. These, unsurprisingly, have been aired in the Daily Mirror where the publication of such stories has knowingly raised the temperature of the British occupation in southern Iraq, with all the attendant dangers for the troops:

In a statement, Mr Morgan said: ?There was clearly a small rogue element of soldiers who committed totally unacceptable acts against Iraqi civilians. Acts which have made our battle to win the hearts and minds of this country?s people so much more difficult.

?The Daily Mirror makes no apology for exposing this outrageous and unlawful behaviour, which has been common knowledge among disgusted British servicemen in Basra for many months.

Knowing the background and behaviour of British troops in other camps, the probability of excesses, human rights abuses and other behaviour is quite high. These events will occur during occupations, since abuses of power by the occupying forces can be policed but never fully prevented. That is a fact of life.

The authenticity of the photographs has been questioned and the veracity of certain details thrown into doubt: the type of gun used, the type of vehicle used and the clothing of the captives and soldiers. If this is the case, and the images have been faked, in order to undermine the British occupation and promote the left, then the media will have aided and abetted this effort by placing their wish to air the story above the risks faced by British soldiers. If the photos are authentic, or other allegations are proved, then justice must be seen in public to staunch the loss of morale and reduce the risks of Shi'a retaliation.

Whether the photos are genuine or faked, one course of action is clear: to investigate and resolve this confusion. Until this has taken place, it is not possible to come to any conclusion on this matter. The money quote is Colonel Bob Stewart's:

He said if it was real, those behind the captive's ordeal, or fake, those responsible for mocking it up, were responsible for extra casualties and deaths.

(20.14, 2nd May 2004)


Post a Comment

Blog Archive