Don’t be fooled a second time. They
told you Britain must invade Iraq because of its weapons of mass
destruction. They were wrong. Now they say British troops must stay in
Iraq because otherwise it will collapse into chaos.
This second lie is infecting
everyone. It is spouted by Labour and Tory opponents of the war and
even by the Liberal Democrat spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell. Its axiom
is that western soldiers are so competent that, wherever they go, only
good can result. It is their duty not to leave Iraq until order is
established, infrastructure rebuilt and democracy entrenched.
Note the word “until”. It hides a
bloodstained half century of western self-delusion and arrogance. The
white man’s burden is still alive and well in the skies over Baghdad
(the streets are now too dangerous). Soldiers and civilians may die by
the hundred. Money may be squandered by the million. But Tony Blair
tells us that only western values enforced by the barrel of a gun can
save the hapless Mussulman from his own worst enemy, himself.
Iraqis of my acquaintance are numb at
the violence unleashed by the west’s failure to impose order on their
country. They are baffled at the ineptitude, the counter-productive
cruelty of the arrests, bombings and suppressions. They are past caring
whether it was better or worse under Saddam.
British soldiers are in a war over whose course, conduct and outcome their leaders have no control.
Signalling withdrawal would, it is
said, give a green light to the gangs and private militias, to revenge
attacks, ethnic cleansing and even partition. That threat is no longer
meaningful since these are all happening anyway.
The alleged reason for occupying Iraq
was to build security and democracy. We have dismantled the first and
failed to construct the second.
America left Vietnam and Lebanon to
their fate. They survived. We left Aden and other colonies. Some, such
as Malaya and Cyprus, saw bloodshed and partition. We said rightly that
this was their business. So too is Iraq for the Iraqis. We have made
enough mess there already.
Basra refuses to deal with Britain after raid
The Iraqi city of Basra will not
cooperate with Britain until it receives an apology and compensation
after a British raid to free two soldiers, Basra’s governor and other
senior officials said on Thursday.