Tuesday, June 01, 2004

An Academic Writes

In (where else ?) the Guardian :

"British forces engaged an armed and disorganised crowd of Iraqis south of the town of Amara and killed up to 40 people. There has been no government questioning of the enormously disproportional rate of casualties."

So says "Kamil Mahdi ... an Iraqi and lecturer in Middle East economics at University of Exeter ".

Thank God he doesn't lecture in military history. I'm quite happy that when our troops engage an armed enemy, disorganised though he be, the casualties are light on our side and heavy on theirs. Long may it remain so. What would our economics lecturer prefer ?

"Come on, lads, lets see a bit of disorganisation ! Don't want our casualties too light, do we now ? Wouldn't look good in the Guardian !"

But when he writes "let's face up to it - we are torturers too" he's too hard on himself and his countrymen. Not all Iraqis did things like this.

There's another view of torture in this Guardian interview with Marianne Pearl, widow of the murdered journalist Daniel Pearl. A number of people are awaiting trial in Pakistan for his murder.

"What about the fact that the culprits were allegedly tortured during the investigation? Pearl's eyes flash. "F*** 'em. I was tortured too.""

UPDATE 4/6/04

I've only just realised. When Kamil Mahdi complained about the disparity in casualties between 20 British soldiers and 100 armed insurgents, he was talking about this - the first British bayonet charge since the Falklands. Carried out by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Mr Mahdi, an Iraqi exile, predicted the war would bring "unimaginable human consequences, occupation, US control of oil, crushing of the Kurdish autonomy, and regional repercussions that favour brutal Israeli aggression". He argued that "an end to dictatorship and a transformation of the lives of Iraqis must be achieved by empowering the people inside Iraq. Responsible opposition must have faith in the Iraqi people, in it's history of struggle for independence and democracy, and its resilience in reconstruction. It must engage with humanitarian and peace-loving forces all over the world including the growing
courageous anti-war movement in the United States."

"Empowering the people inside Iraq" in the context of Saddam's regime presumably means civil war. Can't see the courageous anti-war movement being of much assistance there.

Mr Mahdi writes for Red Pepper as well as the Guardian. I must admit to feeling a bit peeved at paying taxes (I presume Exeter are paying him) to support someone who thinks not enough of our soldiers are being killed. I wonder how the soldiers and their families would feel if they knew ?

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