Brigadier Tom Beckett writes from Iraq

Christ theres some ignorant comments expressed after that piece at the bottom...Guardian readers eh?
There are some others there too. Be aware, the site isn't really dominated by Guardian readers. All and sundry chuck their five pence worth in there, that's what it's about. And for balance and perspective on this, maybe some of you should too. Looks like there will be a lot of comments.
Fortunately the overwhelming majority of people who support our Armed Services don't read or contribute to the Guardian. It's only purpose as far as I am concerned is to let us know just how the enemy withing really think. I read it in the same way we used to study the writings of Marx and Lenin during the Cold War.

Which of the comments belonged to Ashie and Sven do we think?

A good article by Brig Beckett - what on earth possessed MOD Media Ops to put it in the Guardian where it would get vilified.
Brad, minty is right - the vast amount of comments on Guardian Unlimited (and many of the other Nationals' sites) are submitted by people who do not subscribe to the particular paper, hearing about the article through links being passed on to specific audiences.

The comments posted already contain the usual "baby-killer" type stuff, I would hazard by commentators that have never been anywhere near the Middle East, let alone Iraq.

The "Invasion versus Liberation" viewpoint also results in commentators polarised due to the US and UK Government's postitions and actions. The "how do you see this as any type of liberation" view could I guess in many ways have been addressed more robustly at the time.

As Minty will confirm (for those that don't know Minty was out on TELIC) the restrictions on what can be published is as far as imagery is concerned very limiting. In Basra itself, during the first weeks of April 2003, the overall feeling from the Iraqi people in Southern Iraq, was one of being liberated from Saddam's regime.

Of course, being a mainly Shia population this wasn't exactly a big surprise, and I suspect that the regional / religous perspectives of the local population in Southern Iraq is lost completely on the polarised commentators, who prefer to look at the "big" picture.

Personally, I interviewed and met many locals during TELIC who described the most loathsome tortures and detainments that they and their family members had endured under Saddam (right up until the invasion) and they were ecstatic that he was no longer in power. At the same time the "WMD to Regime Change" dynamic being executed at a strategic level has left the British Forces open to those, who should aspire to ball not player - the ball in this case being the UK Administration that ordered BRITFOR to war under Tony Blair.

Liked the neoimperialist comment though - truly one from somebody whom knowledge of TELIC was gained through the pages of a restricted media.

And finally, thanks to Minty for a series of well researched and informative articles this week - good effort Minty. :)

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