A little while back while
chatting with my Croatian friend Anna we strayed onto the Iraq war and the reasons behind the American actions
During the course of our
conversation I struck by the fortress mentality of the US
forces in Iraq, it resonated with me – reminding me of the
Calvary holed up in forts as in the ‘old west’ against the hostile natives.
Further I characterised this
as a long term strategy – to have a permanent US presence
in the middle-east, and at the same time - as a by the by - creating cash for the people who know the right people and
a generation of battle hardened veterans.
Machiavellian perhaps – but
the US policy of retreat as in Lebanon,
did not discourage Islamic militancy; in fact it had emboldened it, resulting in 911.
An unstable Iraq creates bad headlines, but stability
in Iraq in the short term isn’t what this endeavour is primarily
about IMHO, and a couple of new stories just reinforce this.
In the chaos of Iraq, one project is on target:
Fort Iraqi - Baghdad!!
Building work at the 104-acre complex , a giant US embassy - known locally as 'George W's palace', is supposed to
be secret, but it is impossible to disguise the cranes dominating the Baghdad skyline.
The heavily guarded 42-hectare (104-acre)
site -- which will have a 15ft thick perimeter wall - the diplomatic outpost will be visible from space and cover an area
that is larger than the Vatican city
This mega-complex more than
anything underlines the idea that presented itself to me, - incidentally before I learned of the 15ft thick walls that surrounded
this self contained town – of a fort building complex, of hunkering down for the long term.
I also characterised the
British Army as having a cultural advantage; of course the legacy of empire remains, but more importantly the conflict in
Northern Ireland between organised crime masquerading as an insurgency and using terror to justify the criminal profits its
accrued and the British Army, created a generation of battle hardened veterans – with experience of peace keeping and patrolling
Telegraph | News | Gung-ho US troops urged to be more British [telegraph.co.uk]Gung-ho US troops urged to be more British
From the page: "A senior American general has ordered
his troops to reduce the lethal force used against Iraqis, citing fears that trigger-happy behaviour is aggravating the insurgency.
Chiarelli is known as an apostle of the British approach to counter-insurgency warfare that is increasingly favoured by many
in America's military.
To underline his point, Gen Chiarelli sent his subordinate commanders articles from British
newspapers criticising the sometimes tough tactics used by American soldiers at roadblocks and when driving in convoy.
officers have told their men to use a softer approach with Iraqis. Troops are encouraged to use the traditional Arab greetings
and spurn sunglasses, which prevent eye contact."
Maybe the final
word should go to British Brigadier’s anecdote about a "subjugated Iraqi" just before his release from detention.
Ba'athist was loudly lectured by an American officer, who was accompanied by a quiet British brigadier, on the dangers of
returning to his "previously nefarious ways".
As the Iraqi left he said: "Hey, Mr American, next time before you shout
so much you should speak to him. He is British - they know how to invade a country."
Sharpe Argues that the British
Army's 500 years of experience gave it a marked edge over the Americans in insurgency operations, Brig Sharpe said the senior
British officers in Baghdad should continue with their moderating influence.
than Britain punching above its weight it should "stand in
the corner, with a bucket and towel, advising the undisputed heavyweight champion about who and how to fight"
This was a fight
America was going to take to the middle east regardless, the choice becomes do we sit on the sidelines wringing our hands
because we don't like the details of America's long war, or do we choose to side with our natural allies in the hope of influencing
the outcome of the clash between cilvillisation and barbarity?