Iraqi resistance ‘not bad people’ says head of British Army

[Saturday]

Yes, it’s General Sir Richard Dannatt, again. This time he’s calling on us to support the armed forces like the Americans, but admitting – unlike his American counterparts – that the Iraqi Resistance is primarily nationalist, motivated by human needs and not extremist ideology.

Dannatt’s speech is completely mistaken. Leaving aside his description of the UK as a nation – it is a multinational state, and one that is slowly coming apart, partly as a result of recent conflicts – he implies that the majority of people actually want the armed forces to be fighting wars of conquest for big business in the Middle East. He makes it sound as if we begged them to go in the first place, and are now indifferent to the predicament of returning service personnel.

Of course, we are not indifferent, and we do care – proof of this is the majority of people who want the troops to be brought home.

If you want to show your support for the troops, why not take to the streets?

On 8 October MPs return from their long summer break. No such luck for the 5,000 British soldiers stuck in Iraq as part of the catastrophic occupation.

British troops have been withdrawn from their last base in Basra City. The Basra Palace base has been the target for continuous attack over the last months. Downing Street has tried to spin the withdrawal as ‘part of the process of handing over power to the Iraqi government’. In fact this is an ignominious defeat for both the army and their political masters.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq has been one of the great crimes of recent times. The remnants of the British forces in Iraq are now hunkered down at Basra airport where they have no real political or military role except to provide target practice for the Iraqi insurgent groups and to give George Bush political cover.

What is essential now is that the troops are brought home as a matter of urgency and are no longer part of the continuing American occupation of that country.

The Stop the War Coalition says it is time MPs got the message. On 8 October we want them to hear it from thousands of people as they return to the Commons.

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