Monday, February 05, 2007

RAF in Iraq in the 1920's

The Guardian reports that the American forces in Iraq are concerned that Iraqi insurgents (who would be called 'freedom fighters' in any other scenario) have acquired anti-aircraft missiles. This development is deemed newsworthy enough to make the lead story in the International section of the one of Britain's leading papers. Now considering that the US and Britain have been dropping bunker busters (a "final solution type weapon" in the words of one American GI), cluster bombs, cruise missiles and lord knows what else on the Iraqis for the last four-and-a-half years as well as strafing them with machine gun and rocket fire from helicopter gunships it is quite incredible that it has taken them this long to get hold of something to hit back with.

Reading about such stuff always make me think of discussing the first Gulf War with my Step-Grandfather, Sid, who of course corrected anyone calling the 1991 conflict the "first Gulf War" because he'd been fighting with the RAF in Iraq in the 1920's. Sid's memories of his time in what was then called Mesopotamia were almost wistful and happy and incredibly lucid for a man in his 90's. He used to correct the newsreaders pronunciation of Iraqi towns and villages. He told me how his mission was to sit in the back of his By-Plane and shoot at Kurds in the mountains.
So in fact, it's taken the Iraqis about 80 years to get fed up with having people drop things on them from the sky. Now that's what The (so-called left-leaning) Guardian should be writing about.

This story in the same paper put a smile on my face:
A diplomatic gaffe marred the inauguration of a China-financed stadium in Grenada when a band performed Taiwan's national anthem.
Chinese ambassador Qian Hongshan and scores of Chinese workers who built the new £20m Queen's Park stadium as a gift from Beijing were visibly uncomfortable as Taiwan's anthem echoed inside the 20,000-seat venue on Saturday.
Describing it as a blunder, Grenada's prime minister, Keith Mitchell, pledged an investigation into how the Royal Grenada Police Band could have prepared the anthem of Taiwan instead of China.

I only hope that rather than being an innocent mistake it was a politically motivated act of subversion.

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