Monday, July 12, 2004

The battles of Amara

Sunday Times report

Almost all the news concerning the British sector in Iraq has involved the area around Amara in one way or another, but it's been hard to pull together. The Sunday Times (Sunderer, perhaps?) has done a good job though, with this story on the Princess of Wales' Royal Regt in the area. Apparently in 3 months they were involved in some 300 contacts, culminating in the famous bayonet charge at checkpoint Danny Boy.

Impressive though the story is, and confirming how silly it would be to cut the real army for the sake of whizzy gadgets (eh, Plastic Gangster) this is not a good news story. Good news from Iraq would be boring - order, calm, quiet. The progress of a counter-insurgency campaign is marked not by battles but by the lack of them - the Americans' fallacy in Vietnam. That, a year after "the war" was over, a single battalion in the supposedly "quiet Shia south" was involved in 300 combat incidents and had to call on heavy tanks, Tornado and AC130 aircraft, before finally going in with the bayonet, is a marker of how badly things are wrong in Iraq.

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