Britain tried first
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jul 20 06:33:12 MDT 2003
NY Times, July 19, 2003
Britain Tried First. Iraq Was No Picnic Then.
By JOHN KIFNER
The public, the distinguished military analyst wrote from Baghdad, had been
led "into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor."
"They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information," he
said. "The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things
have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody
and inefficient than the public knows."
He added: "We are today not far from a disaster."
That was T. E. Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia writing in The Sunday Times
of London on Aug. 22, 1920, about the British occupation of what was then
called Mesopotamia. And he knew. For it was Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence and
the intrepid British adventuress Gertrude Bell who, more than anyone else,
were responsible for the creation of what was to become Iraq. A fine mess
they made of it, too.
During the First World War, Lawrence had been present at the birth of
modern Arab nationalism and fought alongside its guerrillas to victory
against the Ottoman Empire, only to see the same guerrilla tactics turned
against the British in a rebellion in Iraq.
It is perhaps instructive to look back on that earlier effort by the
leading Western power to remake the Middle East as the American occupation
of Iraq appears increasingly beset.
Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org
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