Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New Iraq revelations - with a little help from our friends!

(King of Spin: Social work in army gear)

The British prime minister Tony Blair was told that Iraq was a "mess" in the aftermath of the declaration of victory in the war in 2003, the Guardian writes. In a report John Sawer, Blair's special envoy writes:

"A big part of the problem is the US Third Infantry Division. They fought a magnificent war and now just want to go home. Unlike more mobile US units they are sticking to their heavy vehicles and are not inclined to learn new techniques. Our Paras company at the embassy witnessed a US tank respond to (harmless) Kalashnikov fire into the air from a block of residential flats by firing three tank rounds into the building. Stories are numerous of US troops sitting on tanks parked in front of public buildings while looters go about their business behind them. Every civilian who approaches a US checkpoint is treated as a potential suicide bomber. Frankly, the 3rd Inf Div need to go home".

This presents the problem of the Iraq war in a nutshell. It is embarrassing information for the Danish government and the parliamentary majority in the Danish Folketinget that decided to commit Denmark to this war in March 2003, thus reversing decades of Danish foreign policy.

The quote shows that the Americans came with the intent of fighting a war, not of winning a peace. This has plagued Iraq ever since. The happy welfare Danes thought they could turn the war into another DANIDA (the office for development assistance in the Danish foreign ministry) project. The 500 Danish soldiers have primarily worked with rebuilding the country, and they have been stationed in the comparatively peaceful Basra region. The prolonged and vehement reactions to the cartoons issue shows these presumptions to be completely wrong. In spite of the Orwellian newspeak of "project-based" warfare, Denmark is identified as a war participant in the Arab eye and in the whole Middle Eastern perspective at large.

For the Danish population it shows yet another war lie: In the Danish government they must have known what invasion and war the "American way" looked like. Too bad people were not told. Otherwise opposition to the war might have been stiffer. Many people wonder why the u-turn in Danish foreign policy in 2001 was accepted so comparatively easily. Either the Danes are cynical and indifferent, or they are victims of vicious spin. In this case the spin is telling the population we're sending "social workers", not soldiers, to the Middle East to help them in the way we Danes are so good at!!

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