A Soldier's Lot
Ron examines the dilemma of the British soldier.
There can be little doubt that the majority of people in this country believe that going to war in Iraq was wrong, many of those who supported the war initially have changed their minds since they learnt that the reasons given were bogus. It would be surprising if a large proportion of the troops involved did not also regard the action as wrong. They find themselves in a place that they feel they perhaps should not be, among a people many of whom are hostile. They see their colleagues blown up by roadside bombs and suicide bombers, they are aware of the manner in which three of their colleagues were murdered by a mob. The soldiers must question in their minds what they are doing there. When they are stoned and petrol bombed and derided by a crowd of young men it is not unnatural for them to assume that those young men are sympathetic to the cause of the bombers and the murderers. They must have an urge to retaliate. If they were Israeli soldiers they would probably start shooting and kill one or two. They are not Israeli soldiers however, but, in one instance that we are aware of they snapped and chased and caught two or three of the attackers and beat them, the incident was filmed to the apparent glee of the cameraman, or some other bystander, who was presumably pleased to see some retaliation against the taunting violent mob. Of course the incident was very regrettable and we may be ashamed of their behaviour and disappointed by it. It brings disgrace on the British army and will only make the task of the troops that much more difficult. Nevertheless we do need to show some understanding of their situation and not go overboard with the vilification.