13 February 2006

Winning hearts and minds - the British way

BerlinBear avatarAs a general rule, I am very sceptical about anything the British tabloid News of the World publishes or says, but all the indications are that the video of British soldiers abusing Iraqi teenagers which the NotW published images from recently is the real thing.

And, oh my God, is it ever disgraceful:

I can't decide which shocks me more, the thuggish and brutal treatment of the unarmed Iraqi boys away from prying eyes in what appears to be a military compound, or the perverse, almost sexual pleasure which the animal filming the scene appears to get from viewing such a spectacle. I am more disgusted than I have been in a very long time.

No wonder this is causing such an uproar in the UK.

I hope that those responsible and their superiors - who clearly either condone such actions (note that noone stepped in to stop the beatings) or have explicitly instructed the soldiers to behave in this way - will be brought to justice. Somehow I doubt it though. I suspect we'll get the usual platitudes about how the "vast majority" of British soldiers are splendid chaps doing wonderful jobs in Iraq and holding hands, passing out sweets and just generally being jolly nice blokes, while one or possibly two privates are designated as the fall guys, court martialed and let off with a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket.

Go on, Tony Blair, prove me wrong. I'd love you to.

The timing, too, is obviously excellent. What better way to calm the agitated mobs outside European embassies in the Middle East protesting about the Mohammed cartoons than to show them documentary evidence of Allied troops "bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq" in such a manner?

I wish I'd never seen that video. More to the point, I wish there were nothing to see. Nonetheless, hat-tip to Charlie Tan at Power Lunch.