Saturday, September 24, 2005

'Tis but a scratch

The Saudi government has publicly criticised US and UK government's for their policy on Iraq. When the Saudi government openly criticises US policy, it's fair to assume that the situation is becoming desperate. Prince Saud said that Iraq was moving towards disintegration and that elections were unlikely to provide a solution. The Saudi government is clearly worried about the possibility of spreading instability in the region. Prince Saud also said that his government's warnings before the invasion had not been heeded.
It is frustrating to see something that is clearly going to happen, and you are not listened to by a friend, and soon harm comes out of it. It hurts.
It's not often that I find myself feeling quite so much empathy for a member of the Saudi royal family but I know exactly how he feels (apart from the "friend" part obviously). I wonder of any of those warnings ever registered in any way whatsoever with, pardon me, this fuckwit?

I know I'm beginning to repeat myself endlessly but I just find it so incredible that our government can display such incompetance with apparent impunity. When our government invaded Iraq, by their own admission, they had failed to properly prepare for the occupation. This was in spite of the fact that all sorts of people, from leftie peaceniks to the Saudi government, were warning that the occupation would be very, very difficult.

Our government chose not to pay any attention to those warnings. Instead, they chose to support an occupation without appreciating the difficulties our soldiers would face on the ground. They chose to support an occupation under the command of Jay Garner. That appointment lasted less than two months before it became apparent that Garner was not up to the task. Not an auspicious start. The government chose to support an occupation which led to these scenes at Abu Ghraib (warning, graphic images) which in turn fuelled Islamic extremism to an extent never before imaginable. As a recent study noted:
Most of the Saudi militants [in Iraq] were motivated by revulsion at the idea of an Arab land being occupied by a non-Arab country. These feelings are intensified by the images of the occupation they see on television and the internet ... the catalyst most often cited [in interrogations] is Abu Ghraib, though images from Guantánamo bay also feed into the pathology.
There are many more failings I could list. The truth is that the occupation of Iraq has been handled abysmally from start to, well whenever. As I understand it, even most supporters of the war are beginning to agree. In what way was our government's decision to support this disastrous occupation not staggeringly, and for far too many people, fatally incompetent? Is it unreasonable for me to expect that the people responsible should be looking to explore new employment opportunities?

The way I see it, this government will always find it impossible to address Iraq's current problems because it's politically unacceptable for them to admit that these problems exist. "No, everything is just fine, look at all the wonderful things the coalition has done since we arrived. A little bit more staying the course, a little bit more resolve, and we'll be laughing...". Does anyone other than out great leader still believe in this pitiful mantra?

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