Beatings in Basra
The video of young Iraqis, being beaten by British troops in Basra, was threatening to take the issue of the Muhammad cartoons off the agenda as the main gripe for Muslims at the time. Luckily for our boys, further Al Ghraib photos emerged and the US was again back in the spotlight. The video of the children being beaten was spooky
not because armed men were using such violence on kids, but because of the commentary.
I had thought this was a Rodney King-type video where a brave whistle blower had taken risks to film the LAPD Story. No, the Brit video was filmed by a colleague encouraging them and clearly wanting to join in. Oh yes, youre going to get it. Oh yes.. They did. The BBC said It may inflame the situation. That British use of understatement!
The BBC commentator said ..the troops appear to be assaulting the children as our men are clearly seen catching these kids and taking them out of sight from their fathers, who may have offered a bit more resistance. They are then seen holding them down and walloping them. Who would they have caught? Slower, less able, more vulnerable children. Few soldiers with pack, boots, rifle and helmet could catch a fit, scared teenager.
If foreign troops were here, would we not forgive such youthful folly or indeed encourage teenagers to protest or throw stones like these kids were doing? Was it Robert Morley, in Topkapi, who, when a Turkish border guard asks if he is a foreigner, says Goodness no, Im British.? .. We.. are...the
foreigners. Our presence is resented. Time to go.
We appear to have outstayed our welcome. Sending our young people to a country with a history of civilisation that is thousands of years older than ours, must be thought through better than this debacle was. We should have tried everything to avoid violence. We should have screamed at Saddam, bribed, stood in his way, begged him.. everything. Our kids are now the target. Our troops are being set up for disaster. Time to go.
Paul Titterton writes with under the pseudonym Hamish
'Hamish ' is an antiwar writer socialist- scientist and musician living in Scotland.