History overlooked at our peril | AspenTimes.com

History overlooked at our peril

I have been reading a little Mideast history about the British war with Iraq in the 1920s and have learned a few things that would have helped President Bush had he known them before starting his invasion of Iraq.

Shortly after the end of WWI, the British tried their hand at nation-building in the Middle East. The desire to provide a poor unenlightened country with the advantages of a British form of government and the need to acquire a reliable source of oil were reason enough to start a war of conquest. Below is an excerpt from an article in the London Times dated August 22, 1920, written by T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) who was working as a correspondent for the paper.

He wrote from Baghdad, “The public and the distinguished military analysts have 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. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, and incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows … we are today not far from disaster.”

For several years, Iraqi guerrillas resisted strongly, forcing the British to undertake a bombing campaign, using conventional bombs and mustard gas (the same stuff Saddam is accused of using) to wipe out entire villages. The campaign eventually succeeded enough for them to establish a British-type government and monarchy. Within a year, the government was overthrown and the king murdered, and they were back at it again. This whole sad story ended with the start of WWII when the Turks entered the war on the side of the Germans and ran the British out of the country.

It is obvious that Bush is either too stubborn or too stupid to learn from the mistakes of others and that he believes in the divine right of old men to send young men to their deaths while wrapping himself in a flag.

D. R. C. Brown

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