MY first reaction to the awful photographs published in the Daily Mirror on Saturday of alleged abuses to Iraqi prisoners was that British troops should be brought home at once.
The military can say that in all barrels there are always some rotten apples but this is no excuse. The same thing was sad about English soccer hooligans in the 1980s but it still tarnished the image of all Englishmen under the age of 25 abroad. Sunday's Spanish newspapers were full of the allegations. Since then I have read many accounts with some London newspapers suggesting that the photographs were in fact false and had been fabricated. But the damage has been done. The behaviour of British troops in Iraq cannot be questioned. The coalition invaded or liberated Iraq claiming that there would be no more torture. I was initially prepared to accept, despite my grave doubts over the legality of the war, that the Iraqi people would be better off after Saddam Hussein. In now appears that even the behaviour of British troops is coming under scrutiny. I sincerely hope that the photographs were fabricated because it tarnishes the image of the British armed services, an organisation which I have always respected. I have many doubts but I hope I am proved wrong. The war in Iraq has been a complete disaster and it seems to get worse by the day. Unfortunately, Britain's image in the region and across the world is being tarnished. There is going to come a time in the not too distant future when the British public says enough is enough. I am not talking about the anti-war lobby, I am talking about the majority which sided with the government when the war appeared to be imminent. After seeing these photographs and the daily death toll I am starting to believe that perhaps Britain should follow Spain's example.
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