Friday, October 12, 2007

From the Pale and Downtrodden

I make no apologies for continuing to post regularly about the plight of Iraqi employees of the British government.

The other day, Nick Cohen addressed the problem in the way that only he could as part of his latest attempt to convince himself that he alone occupies the moral high ground. In the now all to familiar style, he bemoaned the fact that not enough attention was being paid to the people who are actually doing the killing in Iraq. "Many find it impossible to declare who is killing interpreters, Christians and soldiers, and why" he declared*.

What then would Nick Cohen make of David Miliband's blog post today on the subject of Iraqi employees? Miliband goes one step further and completely avoids mentioning the fact that trhis policy is needed because some of these people are being killed and many others live in fear for their lives. No mention. At all.

Comments are open on Miliband's blog if you wish to express your opinion. If you do, please take care to be scrupulously polite. I'm not joking. Hostility will not help over there. Be polite!

Doing my best to see this from "the other side", I can see that this is a tricky situation for the government. They are desperately trying to claim that the south of Iraq is a success story and that security situation has improved to the extent that British troops can withdraw. The fact that Iraqi employees of the British are in grave danger makes a mockery of this assertion and is politically embarrassing for the government. As a consequence, they're trying to publicise a policy to deal with a problem which they don't want to acknowledge even exists. The result is the half-hearted effort announced at the beginning of the week.

And that's where any attempt to see the government's point of view breaks down. Avoiding political embarrassment versus saving people's lives? There's no way I can even begin to understand anyone who chooses the former over the latter.

As it stands, the government's policy will save some lives but leave many others to their fate. Please do consider writing to your MP to lobby for a further change in policy. Dan Hardie has all the information you need.

Finally, on a positive note, I emailed my MP Robert Smith yesterday to ask him to consider signing EDM 2057. This morning, I got a reply from his office saying that he had done so. Well done that man.

* I have more I'd like to say about Cohen's latest effort but not here. Maybe in another post.

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