The war in Iraq continues to claim lives, the news cameras may have departed but the killing has never stopped. The Iraqi people have not welcomed the Allied invasion as Bush and Blair promised they would, instead they have continued to defend their country, some under the banner of Saddam, some joining up under new leaders such as Al-Sadr. A puzzled British and American electorate wondering why these Iraqi´s aren´t more grateful for our intervention may have gotten some answers to that question this past couple of weeks but they weren´t answers that anyone wanted to hear. British and American troops torturing, sexually assaulting and murdering Iraqi prisoners and this isn´t just a rumour either there is an abundance of photo evidence.
One of the stated reasons we went to war to remove Saddam was that his regime was considered beyond the pale, widespread murders, torture and wrongful imprisonment topped the list of crimes. These actions have now been taken over by our troops, our emancipating army have been responsible for some horrendous crimes which Saddam´s Republican Guard would have been proud of. Prisoners kept naked in dark cells, sexually humiliated and assaulted. Hooded prisoners with wires attached to their bodies, nasty beatings and even murder as unarmed men were fired upon.
Now I have no doubt that the majority of troops have nothing to do with sort of thing but the situation which allowed it to happen has to be called into question. War is brutal and unpleasant and one of the most effective ways they build national pride to garner support for a war is to de-humanise the enemy so that acts of violence against them can be justified. It is not surprising in this climate that certain people will take advantage and exercise the darker sides of their personalities.
In watching the reaction over the last few days I have gotten the worrying impression that many people believe the mistake was in allowing this news to get out and not the fact that the atrocities were committed in the first place. If you start wars, equip your troops with weapons and tell them that their enemy is evil then this type of thing will happen - the point really is that we shouldn´t have wars. There simply is no justification for ruining and claiming the lives of innocent people.
Western society is drugged by the media to believe all sorts of myths about our army and their capabilities. They are totally professional, they can wage war without killing innocent people, and they only attack military targets and personnel. All of these have been proven to be lies; we can´t even prevent the accidental deaths of our own troops at the hands of our own troops so what makes anyone think we can avoid killing civilians?
This recent torture issue highlights the disregard our government and army have for their opponents and their overwhelming arrogance in believing that they can tout things like the Geneva Convention while moaning about other countries but then repeatedly break it ourselves. I suspect, and the comments from those responsible suggest, that they thought it was acceptable to do this, some of them even claim that they were ordered to commit these inhuman acts.
Those responsible must be held to account, the politicians caused this mess and they should not be allowed to disavow all knowledge and turn a blind eye. Bush said those responsible would be "taken care of". I wouldn´t be surprised if he means put up in a plush hotel and awarded a medal of some kind. After all, this hatred was largely created by his manipulation of the American people´s grief over September 11th - which is totally unrelated to Iraq. This incident really just proves further that Bush and Blair have handled the whole thing badly and that nothing good ever comes of war.