"Of deep concern"

Bravo the British army for storming a Basra police station and rescuing two soldiers. That wasn’t highly irresponsible or anything.

Maybe they should have been handed over to coalition authorities – but then, that’s surely a decision that lies in the hands of the perfectly legal authorities in Iraq. The way the British army reacted, you’d almost imagine that they thought they were running the country.

As far as the Iraqi authorities were concerned, the two soldiers were being legally held for killing two Iraqi soldiers. No doubt the actual facts of the case needed to be questioned, but were their lives in imminent danger? From the legal authorities in Iraq who are, more or less, working with the coalition?

Whatever the facts, if two of our soldiers were being held by the authorities in a country we took seriously – say, America, or…well, America – whether or not their lives were in danger, it’s a fairly safe bet that the British army wouldn’t have gone bursting in to rescue them.

By sticking two fingers up and showing that they don’t take Iraq’s new government seriously after all, the British army have bolstered the position of the Iraqis who don’t take it seriously either.

Oh, well – we’ve pretty much gone and caused a civil war in Iraq as it is, might as well speed up the process.

Although Colonel Tim Collins has put the whole thing into perspective by describing the Basra unrest as like “a busy night in Belfast”.

Hmmm – tactful.

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