Friday, June 24, 2005

"We're trying to save their lives, but they're not helping us by getting in our way."

Max Hastings (Guardian, 24 June) was impressed by a film called A Company of Soldiers, which follows a unit of the US 8th Cavalry fighting in Iraq:

There was a powerful which a bored and jumpy soldier impulsively put a bullet into a dog. Its owner emerged from his house, bent over his pet's corpse for a moment, then walked away, throwing up his hands in impotent misery. Whatever commanded that man's loyalty six months ago, who can doubt which side he is on today.

Hastings is not hopeful:

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former British senior representative in Iraq, thinks it somewhere between difficult and impossible to remedy US policy failures in the immediate aftermath of the war. He is probably right. Bush is still many months off being ready to quit and leave the country to resolve its own fate. But this is coming to seem the likeliest outcome. The most notable irony of a comparison between Indochina and Iraq is that American defeat in 1975 brought about Vietnamese unification, while American failure in Iraq will almost certainly precipitate that country's fragmentation.

Hasting column contrasts with Paul Krugman's 24 June New York Times column The War President (here) , which is more pessimistic and angry - and, for all its incision, arguably too narrow because it takes so little account of non-US perspectives.

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