Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Brutal?" yes, but a cynical edit...

I really should be asleep. It's a working day tomorrow, but I'm still wide awake. The Buddhist in me is telling me I'll be reincarnated as an owl.

Interesting developments tonight regarding the footage (albeit two-year old) of British soldiers beating Iraqi youths. Click here if you haven't heard about it.

For a start I'm immediately suspicious of anyone's motive to wait over two years to blow the whistle. Secondly, by the fact the footage was 'exclusively' obtained by the unashamedly tabloid News of The World, renowned for paying large sums for stories and a paper that still considers breasts a major ongoing news item.

Anyway the NOTW's original 'exclusive' footage shows British Soldiers steaming out of their barracks, attacking Iraqi youths and dragging them back into their base for punishment beatings, disturbingly egged on by other soldiers. This footage has now been broadcast throughout the Arab world and will further tarnish British force's previously 'fair and balanced' image, putting them at an even greater risk of attack from insurgents in the future.

However, complete footage broadcast on the BBC this evening shows the same base being attacked by mortar fire and an angry mob wielding pipebombs and all sorts of other projectiles. Only after this initial attack does the battalion rush out to confront them. In retrospect, the NOTW footage is a very deliberate edit.

I am inclined to agree with Colonel Tim Collins comments (former British Commander in Iraq) earlier this week who remarked that many in the Arab world upon seeing this footage would feel disappointment rather than immeditate outrage on viewing this footage. After all, this is something the would expect of some elements of their own Police and Military. He also suggested:

"What other Army in the world would go into a riot situation armed only with shields and batons? Other armies called upon to police such a situation would have responded with nothing less than lethal force."

This does not however excuse the despicable acts of a few servicemen in severly assaulting these rioters upon capture, this does critically set the incident in context, something the Tabloid gutter-press has once again utterly disregarded in persuit of an exclusive.

Sadly Britain at once possesses the best, and worst, examples of the world's media.

Anyway, now that I've got that off my chest hopefully I can get some sleep.

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