February 22nd, 2007

Timekeeper

War in Iraq

So, how long has it been? This is a sobering little story from the guardian about a day in the war in Iraq: story here.

"A gunman, clutching an AK-47, bobs his head around the corner of an alleyway close to a school.

Once. Twice. On the third occasion a child, a boy seven or eight years old, is thrust out in front of him. The gunman holds him firmly by the arm and steps out for instant into full view of the Bradley's gunner to get a proper look, then yanks the boy back and disappears.

"That is really dirty," says Specialist Chris Jankow, in the back of the Bradley, with a mixture of contempt, anger and frustration. "They know exactly what our rules of engagement are. They know we can't fire back.

There is a long pause, a moment of excruciating moral conflict for the soldiers and for the gunner in particular.

Suddenly, the decision is made, announced by the Bradley opening fire with four rounds from its 25mm gun, blasting a large hole in the corner of the building."

The Iraqis we're there to liberate, used as shields.

"It has been a "Darwinian process", an officer says afterwards. The stupid insurgents, and the ones who were too brave, are dead after three years of resistance. Those who are left are battle hardened and have adapted their tactics to fight most effectively against the US military."

This is a horrible situation, simply horrible. Do we belong there anymore? Did we ever? Has history taught us anything? Do we remember what happened to the Soviet Union?