WE are living in very dangerous and sorry times. What is happening in Iraq is a nightmare. But there are two issues I would like to tackle in this space. While all my sympathy and sorrow goes out to the family of kidnap victim Ken Bigley he is the sort of man who knew the risks of working in Iraq. The Foreign Office website has a warning which advises people not to go to Iraq because of the on-going war. Those that do go to Iraq get paid heavily for taking risks, in other words they receive danger money because it is quite obviously a dangerous place and if you do go there you accept the risks. In this case I am talking about civilians and this state of affairs does not extend to the ordinary squaddie who is sent to Iraq for Queen and Country because he or she has accepted the King's or in this case the Queen's shilling. It is not very politically correct to say so but soldiers are trained to take out their enemy. Months of basic training is spent on perfecting their use of a rifle and a bayonet and understanding tactics. This state of affairs hasn't changed in centuries. This is a basic fact. You accept the Queen's shilling. If you join the armed services you might get a decent education, you may be taught a trade but there is also a possibility that you will be sent to one of the world's trouble-spots. Thankfully, these days in Britain there is no such thing as a conscript army and people who join the army are doing so because they want to. There will always be equipment failure I am afraid to say, but thankfully British generals appear to be better prepared. The last time the British army fought in Iraq they were slaughtered on the outskirts of Baghdad by the Turks simply because their general wanted the media spotlight and had disobeyed his orders. Curiously enough the expedition started at Basra. While not wanting to get into the legality or illegality of the war in the Iraq, as far as I am concerned there shouldn't be such a thing as a legal war, I believe that all those who are in Iraq understand why they are there. They have either been ordered to go or accept the risks of going there. As I say we are living in dangerous times.
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