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Britain Tried First. Iraq Was No Picnic Then

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dArKeR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 04:58 PM
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Britain Tried First. Iraq Was No Picnic Then
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 communiqus 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."
Sound familiar?

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.

It has not been going well, especially in Sunni-controlled central Iraq. Rather than being hailed as liberators, the American troops face "a classical guerrilla-type campaign" there that is increasingly organized, their new regional commander, Gen. John P. Abizaid, said last week.
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deneb Donating Member (88 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-21-03 01:43 AM
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1. Great article. Was also in NYT 'Week in Review'
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