A UK perspective: Jeremy Clarkson\'s observations on Iraq
This may be of interest/ surprise to some of you (Jeremy Clarkson is a popular TV personality in UK. He is of the Conservative / Republican outlook ...and he's (depressingly) spot-on in this article)
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If you won't let the Army kill, you might as well send vicars;Opinion
LAST weekend we were shown video footage of some British soldiers
Taking a gang of stone-throwing Iraqi youths behind a wall and giving
Them a bit of a kicking.
And all week we've been told by even the most gung-ho commentators
That this sort of behaviour is not on.
That the men responsible have brought shame on the finest army in
And that because their actions might upset Muslims throughout the
World, they must be hung, drawn and quartered.
Er...am I missing something?
Last year I went to Iraq and while I was being flown over Basra in a
Helicopter gunship someone stepped into his back garden and fired a
Surface-to-air missile at us.
Immediately, sensors on our chopper detected the launch and fired
Then the pilot put us into a near-vertical corkscrewing dive.
Moments earlier he'd been chatting to me about how too many girls in
The Army were lesbians. Now, he was fighting for his life. And more
Importantly, from a selfish point of view, he was fighting for mine.
Because the side door was open I could see the missile heading for
Us. It was all jolly sporty.
Our first turn and first batch of flares failed to confuse the
Russian-made SAM 7.
So we had to keep twisting and turning, so violently that my stomach
Made a dash for freedom out of my ears.
Until eventually, joy of joys, the missile was finally shaken off.
I should explain at this point that, two days earlier, someone had
Fired an anti-tank shell at a chopper that was taking me from Baghdad
To the airport.
And earlier that morning the building in which I'd been sheltering
From a mortar attack was raked with machine gun fire.
I was a bit surprised by all this. Tony and George had said the war
Was over but it sure as hell didn't feel that way from where I was
I was also a bit fed up being shot at by people who didn't even know
So after we'd survived the missile launch I was all set for some
We were in a gunship. The gunner had seen the man fire at us. So
Now, obviously, we could saw the little bastard in half.
I was looking forward to watching that, if I'm honest.
But unfortunately, Tony Blair's rules of engagement in Iraq say that
Unless the attacker has fired and is likely to fire again, you cannot
Shoot him in the middle of his face. You can't even shoot him in the
Knees. You just have to let him go.
And because the man wasn't preparing to fire again, we had to fly
Back to base.Which meant that he's still free to pop out of his
Kitchen every day and take potshots at choppers.
I'm not joking. Our soldiers are out there, each with a gun in one
Hand and half a dozen New Labour luvvies holding on to the other.
They're being sent into battle wrapped in Armour from the lowest
Bidder and 200 yards of idiotic peace 'n' love red tape.
The nuclear-free, happy clappy bunch say that you can't win a war by
Fighting like with like. Too damn right you can't.. You win by
Fighting like with hate.
How far do you think we'd have got in 1944 if we had landed on the
Beaches of Normandy armed with nothing more than a few stern words?
We weren't out to win the hearts and minds of the Nazi troops. We
Were out to put big holes in them. And do you honestly think that all
Prisoners were treated with respect and given chocolate?
Those British soldiers we saw in last weekend's footage had been
Ordered to take on a crowd that was throwing stones and, we're told,
The Brits could have been shot, blown up or captured then beheaded
On the Internet.
There's a one-in-80 chance of coming back from Iraq in a box.
But instead of hosing down the crowd with machine gun fire, the
British soldiers went in, captured as many people as they could and
Gave them a bit of a slap.
Frankly, that shows incredible restraint.
But instead of earning medals and hearty pats on the back they're
Now being hunted and demonised.
They'll probably end up being kicked out of the Forces for bringing
The Army into disrepute. Which, to my mind, they haven't.
Hitting the captives with sticks is, in fact, not too far removed
From the idea of a village bobby catching an apple scrumper and
Giving him a clip round the ear.
And that's not such a bad thing.
I did not want the war in Iraq. But it happened and, as a result, we
now have 8,000 troops out there trying to keep peace.
We can't bring them home because Iraq would descend into anarchy.
And we certainly can't leave them out there if they're going to be
condemned every time one of them fails to wipe his bottom properly.
So let's just leave them alone.
The Army is a brutal tool. It has rifles that can take a man's arm
off and shells that can atomise a whole household. The troops are
trained to kill in a number of exciting and innovative ways.
That's what an army is. That's what an army does. And if you don't
like it, who would you use instead? Vicars? Outreach counsellors?
When I was in Basra, I asked a squaddie why he had joined up.
"Because I wanted to kill people," he said.
Now he isn't even allowed to hit anyone with a stick.
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