Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chlorine Bombs

I've not seen coverage of this in UK media.

The gas cloud in Baghdad, meanwhile, suggests possible new and coordinated strategies by bombers trying to unleash toxic - and potentially deadly - materials. "Terrorists are using dirty means," said Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi, an Iraqi military spokesman.

In Baghdad, a pickup truck carrying chlorine gas cylinders was blown apart, killing at least five people and sending more than 55 to hospitals gasping for breath and rubbing stinging eyes, police said.

On Tuesday, a bomb planted on a chlorine tanker left more than 150 villagers stricken north of the capital. More than 60 were still under medical care on Wednesday. Chlorine causes respiratory trouble and skin irritation in low levels and possible death with heavy exposure.

In Washington, two Pentagon officials said the tactic has been used at least three times since Jan. 28, when a truck carrying explosives and a chlorine tank blew up in Anbar province. More than a dozen people were reported killed.


My feelings about the troop withdrawal are mixed. I can't but agree with Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, as quoted by the BBC.

"The most significant implication behind Blair's Iraq pullout is political, not military... Blair understands very well the importance of staying in Iraq... in order to prevent the country from splitting apart... He knows that an exit in defeat means an added crisis for the world and not Iraq only... That is why it is a surprise that he insisted on staying in January and then decided to withdraw three weeks later." Syria's Tishrin says 'this withdrawal is definitely the start of the actual defeat in Iraq'.

What's particularly depressing is the possibility that

a) Blair's trying to get out while saving as much face as possible

b) that course is approved by the British people

EU Referendum
says it pretty well - neither one thing nor the other. A little retreat. As Richard North writes :

Loathsome though the newspaper is, it is very hard to disagree with the general thrust of the front-page headline in the Independent today, or the tenor of their story, which begins:

It is an admission of defeat. Iraq is turning into one of the world's bloodiest battlefields in which nobody is safe. Blind to this reality, Tony Blair said yesterday that Britain could safely cut its forces in Iraq because the apparatus of the Iraqi government is growing stronger. In fact the civil war is getting worse by the day…

Meanwhile our troops are still being killed in under-armoured Land Rovers, while the Government spends £500 billion a year on other things.


Northern Monkey said...

What particularly gets me is the way people seem to have a fetish about the casualty figures.

We're in a war, people are going to get hurt/die. Decide if some thing's worth dieing for then be prepared to pay the price.

This wanting results without cost attitude is going to cause more horror and death in the long term than it will ever save in the short.

So where is the politician of principle and strength prepared to say this loudly, clearly and repeatedly then back it up with a course of action to avoid this possible/probably future? Putting up a windmill on his roof? Don't make me laugh...

Depressing doesn't describe half of it.

Anonymous said...

What's this "we're in a war" you are safe at home.
Don't volunteer death for others.
As long as there foreign invaders on their soil don't you expect thwem to fight. This was an OK thing in WW2.
Wouldn't you fight invaders?

Dave said...

Anon, which invaders? Iran? Al Qaeda? all the foreign terrorists from Jordan, Syria and Saudia Arabia?
Or the British who are trying to help and always would have left as soon as the violence quietened down..

I think its just the people who were originally anti-war (like my dad) get to shout louder every time there is a death. Told ya, see!
These supposed anti-war people are often quite racist imo, pull out now, and what if their is a mass murder after the troops leave as there was in vietnam I say, so! its upto them if they want to fight each other we shouldn't be involved they say, they need a strongman to keep them under control.

DumbJon said...

The most depressing thing has been seeing soi dissant Rightists slavering over their own countries defeat. As Steyn would say, this might be 'Blair's War' to the posturing children in the Tory Party, but the rest of the world see it as a Western war and a Western defeat.

Fulham Reactionary said...


"What's this "we're in a war" you are safe at home."

Well, not exactly. This war is not just being waged in the battlefields of Iraq. Rather, it is a war between the civilised west, and a Muslim way of life that can fairly be called barbarian. It is a war that our enemy will fight wherever we let him. We are not "safe at home". Remember the 7/7 bombings? And if we withdraw from Iraq now, then, as DumbJon says, our enemy will simply see that as a victory for them, and continue to take the war to us, but with ever increasing vigour.

"Don't volunteer death for others."

This attitude that those who are not in the army should automatically advocate surrender really enfuriates me, particularly when expressed by those on the left (and sometimes the right) who are busily undermining our soldiers at every opportunity they get. There are plenty of reasons why people might not be in the army. None of these bar them from having an opinion.

Given the threat posed by Islamic terrorists, I would rather that our soldiers were fighting against them in Baghdad, than that our civilians were facing it in London. After all, if there is fighting to be done, it is soldiers who should be doing it.

Dave said...

dumbjon, I don't slaver over our countries defeat, but, you say it is a Western War and Western defeat, maybe so but the real defeat of the West is not going on in Iraq its going on in Britain (and Europe in general) with our immigration policies. Compared to that Iraq barely even figures on the big picture.
So excuse me if I don't get excited about 'victory' in Iraq, I'm more concerned about my own country.

Voyager said...

There are elections in May...if Labour loses Wales and Scotland it is in meltdown. That is the simple truth - Blair needs something against the SNP and LibDems.

As for is a mess because we have never really controlled the place because politicians were too frightened to use real force and exude power.

It is what happens when you use an Army to act like policemen in a war zone...especially bad when using lots of Reservists who then get caught between civilian world and military world in a land where they don't speak the language.

Any decent colonialist would have kept the Iraqi Army and Secret Police and re-programmed them....but we have post-colonialist politicians who think History is Bunk.

Anonymous said...

NM ''What particularly gets me is the way people seem to have a fetish about the casualty figures.''

I was reminded that during the Falklands war we lost 255 soldiers with a further 777 injured - in just over 3 weeks fighting.
Imagine the reaction from the autocue readers at the BBC or Sky if that happened now.

Rop said...

wmobwtRather, it is a war between the civilised west, and a Muslim way of life that can fairly be called barbarian.

This statement is erroneous and ironically points to why we have lost.

When Muqtada al-Sadr became a problem in 2004, we had an opportunity to crush the Islamist. We blinked first and consequently in no way can we claim to be fighting a Muslim way of life that can fairly be called barbarian.

We chose instead to try to co-opt religious extremists.

If we can't name our enemy, then we won't win.

iancroydon said...

As long as there foreign invaders on their soil don't you expect thwem to fight. This was an OK thing in WW2.

I don't recall any invaders on UK soil in WW2, in fact as I recall the UK was remarkably successful in keeping invaders out.

In regards to the article, I'd bet once this gets noticed there'll not be so much outcry of "chemical weapons" use by the "insurgents", not like the US army's dubious use of white phosphorous which was against militia not civilians.

Curly said...

Why worry? Blair will shortly be saving The Empire!

Anonymous said...

come on iancroydon don't pretend to be thick. britain went to great ends to encourage such fighting against the invaders by the resident population - eg france , yugoslavia.
In the en it will come to paying the iraquies reparations on a grand scale and then pushing off.
'Winning' (whatever that means) is not a real option. You want what they got. Never forget this.

NotAnon said...

Anon might like to bear in mind that we were also the invaders of Italy, Germany and Japan. We set them up as democracies and then left.

I wonder if anon would have supported the "resistance" in those countries or have drawn the same moral equivalence.

Anonymous said...

Trying to organise these useless Islamic countries is a waste of lives and money. It is a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation. We must protect our (Western) countries not by this idiocy but by calling a halt and reversing muslim immigration.

These people believe in Islam first and formost and marry their first cousins. We cannot change that.

We can protect out own countries if we understand reality. Stop creeping Sharia law here.

Rob said...

No money to save soldiers lives, but £9bn for a 2012 white elephant.