Friday, November 19, 2004

Mad Mitch

Tonight (Friday) BBC2 has a documentary on Aden, Yemen and the, erm, 'robust' approach of the British army. 'Mad Mitch, ... , later went on to become a Conservative MP, I recall.

Having watched the program, one or two things are striking. Reporters didn't ponce about in helmets and so on in those days, for one thing.

The methods used by the Argyll and Sutherlands under the command of Colin Mitchell were effective in re-establishing control in Crater City, but they made the Americans in  Iraq look as if they are wearing kid gloves : beating of people in custody, hints of murder even.

But the mainstream media were not too interested in pursuing such stories. Mitchell was largely a hero for British opinion - for his defiance of more hesitant superiors and political masters. After the death of 22 British soldiers, betrayed by local police, there was not much sympathy for the Arabs.

He said that if you decide to use soldiers - because other methods have failed - you must use them as soldiers and not as policemen. This pre-echoes Condi Rice, writing in Foreign Affairs  in 1999 / 2000.
The president must remember that the military is a special instrument. It is lethal, and it is meant to be. It is not a civilian police force.
So, perhaps Mitchell was a prototype neo-conservative, with a Straussian concern for the breakdown of the moral order in the West, wondering how many varieties of LSD people back home were on, as the country became a 3rd, 4th, 5th, however many-th, rate power.

One of the political masters was Denis Healey. He, like someone from the NLF, one of the terrorist / insurgent organisations, made the predictable comparison with Iraq.

Next week : Zionist terrorism in British-controlled Palestine.

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