Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An agenda

Your humble Devil rarely comments on the Iraq War—partly because I covered it quite extensively when this blog first started, and partly because I have always been ambivalent about the whole adventure.

However, ChickenYoghurt's sarcastic acknowledgement of "the beginning of our glorious formal withdrawal from Iraq" has reminded me of a conversation that I was having in the pub, a few weeks back, with a friend who works in one the murkier parts of the MoD.

Actually, he said, the situation in Iraq really isn't that bad; it isn't even that bad in Basra. Companies looking to invest come to Iraq and expect it to be a barren, bombed-out wasteland—and are immensely surprised (and enthusiastic) when they realise that it isn't. Few British companies, being rather risk-averse, tend to go there but the French and Americans are enthusiastically investing all over the place.

No, it's not perfect—a lot of infrastructure has been destroyed for instance. (A bit like in the former Yugoslavia, but Robin Cook didn't resign over that illegal war, so people didn't get so het up about it.)

However, the situation is not nearly as bad as our media paints it—when our glorious MSM gets the releases from the MoD, they nearly always pick on the one bad bit in the whole two-page briefing. (The above must be lies—our wonderful media would never distort the facts to suit their agenda, would they?)

Now, you can believe that I have been taken in by some devious MoD spook, but I tend to trust this guy when he says that things in Iraq, whilst far from perfect, are very much on the mend. Which is why, as my friend pointed out, we are leaving.

However, I do think that those who expected us to go in, remove Saddam, and have everything sorted out within six months were naive idiots; on the other hand, I think those who think that everything will still be utter shit in ten years are rather pessimistic.

Whether you think this justifies our intervention is a personal judgement, and I am making no such call.

P.S. Afghanistan's still a bit of a mess though...

9 comments:

Paul Power said...

Michael Totten (http://www.michaeltotten.com/) is an interesting source of comment on this area.

He wrote recently of Baghdad: "The city can be spooky at night. Millions of people live in Baghdad, but it’s dark after hours. Few lights illuminate the mostly empty sidewalks and streets. The city’s electrical grid is still offline half the time and must be replaced. Homes without generator power are dark more often than not, and almost everyone who owns a generator turns it off when they go to sleep. Baghdad after sundown is as poorly lit as a remote mountain village.

But it’s not a remote mountain village. The sound of gunshots is still a part of the general ambience. You'd be surprised by how quickly you get used to hearing them. They're like background noise as long as they aren't too close and you aren't the one being shot at. "

He was in Lebanon with Christopher Hitchens recently when Hitch was assaulted.

Anonymous said...

However, the situation is not nearly as bad as our media paints it—when our glorious MSM gets the releases from the MoD, they nearly always pick on the one bad bit in the whole two-page briefing. (The above must be lies—our wonderful media would never distort the facts to suit their agenda, would they?)

Whereas the Glorious MoD always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and never ever ever distort events for political advantage or propaganda purposes. Only truth ever emerges from the hallowed halls of the Ministry of Defence.

BTW, the people who "expected us to go in, remove Saddam, and have everything sorted out within six months" were the people selling the war, namely Messrs. Bush, Blair, Rumsfeld and Perle.

The Bear At The Table said...

Saddam was a little puppy compared with some of the people who are supposedly 'our friends'.

Antipholus Papps said...

I reckon 'intervention' is nothing more than a euphemism for aggression. No invading party is ever altruistic.

Anonymous said...

As Richard North has been saying for the last two years, the British were by any normal definition defeated in the South of Iraq. The problem for those that might want to recognise this or indeed trumpet it is that is necessary to recognise that the Americans have won strategically in Iraq. Reasoned analysis of the situation in Iraq never made the mainstream media hence an American victory is simply unbelievable to most.

Henry Crun said...

"Reasoned analysis of the situation in Iraq never made the mainstream media hence an American victory is simply unbelievable to most."

No, an American victory is simply unbelievable...they are quite adept at fucking up everything they touch. The only wars the Septics win are on cinema screens.

iain said...

I don't know why you refer to yourself as humble because you strike me as very vain.

Your blog is dull, and your attempts to 'edge it up' with swearing fail.

Do some witty comeback now - which I'll never read because I won't be back.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Iain,

"Do some witty comeback now - which I'll never read because I won't be back."

Good.

(I'm afraid that that is not very witty, but the idea that I might end up giving fuckwits like you any kind of pleasure causes me physical pain.)

DK

WV: troli

neil craig said...

But would the place have been utter shit in 10 years time if we had not gone in. I suppose we might still have been enforcing sanctions in which case it probably would. More likely is that that either Saddam would have been overthrown & we would be being nice to the new "patriotic strong man" or that we would have accepted the succession of his son, as in Syria.

For the $3 trillion it cost we could build space elevators, L5 settlements, solar power satellites, colonies in the asteroid belt & sending robot probes to Alpha Centauri.