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Thursday, September 22, 2005


more harm than good

london's sunday mirror ran an article this week, in the aftermath of a crystalline display of occupation antagonism toward not only sunni iraqi insurgents but the shi'a authorities, a plea from many british grunts in basra: bring us home.

Our brave troops, largely forgotten amid the July terror attacks and New Orleans floods, will stay as long as they are told to. But, for the first time, officers and squaddies are thinking the unthinkable.

They are saying out loud that staying in Iraq is no longer making things better.

One soldier speaks for many when he says: "It's time to get home. There is no point in anyone else dying here. We are past the time that we are needed here in Basra. We have done enough."

He, like others, has spent hour after hour doing his bit to train Iraq's soldiers and police to take control of their own dusty, stinking streets.

"We have trained the police and the Army," he says. "Now it is up to them. We are simply here to help the Iraqis - but they just give us abuse."
i would be the last to suggest that any poor individual soldier is or should be the final authority on what anglophone imperial stewardship should entail. but there is an observation to be made from the comments of these people, and that is that they are not helping anymore, but harming, peace and progress in iraq. if the british command decision to take military action against the british-trained basra police forces wasn't a sufficient moment of clarity on the state of affairs in occupied iraq, this should be.

the concept that an anglophone military occupation was doing more harm than good was once generally considered laughable, even if i considered as much to be the obvious nature of the problem, both short-term and long-term. indeed, it was once widely accepted, if criticized and deplored, by the iraqi majority themselves. but that tide has apparently turned against it now in iraq among the shi'a as well as the sunni -- and perhaps the tide is turning in america and britain as well.

After Uday and Qusay reached room temperature and Saddam had been captured, the victorious troops should have packed and left.

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