100th British Soldier Killed in Iraq

Tonight's news bulletins have focused heavily on the 100th British soldier killed in Iraq, concentrating chiefly on the impact these deaths have had on their families.

Without wishing to sound churlish, shouldn't this be called collateral damage? I don't just mean the usual US military use of the term - i.e. when a missile fired at an enemy bunker misses and hits a classroom full of kids. One hundred dead soldiers means a hundred grieving families - widows, fatherless children, childless parents etc - and also a great loss to society

The late Johnny Cash sang a powerful song about the real collateral damage of conflict, entitled The Battle, the lyrics of which are:

I think, sir, the battle is over, and the young soldier laid down his gun,
I'm tired of running for cover, I'm certain the battle is done,
For see over there where we fought them, ,it's quite for they've all gone away,
All's left is the dead and the dying, the blue lying 'long side the grey.

So you think the battle is over and you even lay down your gun,
You carelessly rise from your cover, for you think the battle is done?
Then boy hit the dirt, listen to me, for I'm still the one in command,
Get flat on the ground here beside me and lay your ear hard to the sand.

Can you hear the deafening rumble, can you feel the trembling ground?
It's not just the horses and wagons that make such a deafening sound.
For every shot fired had an echo,.and every man killed wanted life,
There lies your friend Jim McKenny,,can you take the news to his wife?

No, son, the battle's not over. The battle has only begun,
The rest of the battle will cover the part that has blackened the sun,
The fight yet to come's not with cannons, nor will the fight be hand to hand,No one will regroup the forces,,no charge will a General command.

The battle will rage in the bosom of mother and sweetheart and wife,
Brothers and sisters and daughters will grieve for the rest of their lives,
Now go ahead and rise from your cover,be thankful that God let you live
And go fight the rest of the battle for those who gave all they could give.

I see, sir, the battle's not over; the battle has only begun,
The rest of the battle will cover the part that has darkened the sun,
For though there's no sound from the cannon and though there's no smoke in the sky,
I'm dropping the gun and the sabre and ready for battle am I.

The BBC could have done us all proud and reported on the 100,000 Iraqis killed since the allied invasion and the impact on their families. One hundred thousand Iraqis dead - thousands of different skills lost, a million years of experience wiped out.
Fuck all you war-mongering, blood-drenched, jingoistic politicians; you and the

No comments: