Guest Blog by Plaid Hightown.
Let us be honest- the battle to win the “hearts and minds” in Iraq and Afghanistan has been lost. Indeed, it could be argued that the “hearts and minds” of the UK population was never secured for these wars either. This has been further highlighted by recent revelations in the inquiry to the death of Baha Mousa whilst in the custody of the British army. The general picture is that his death was as a consequence of dodgy practices (banned by Ted Heath in the 1970’s) during his detention and interrogation. More worryingly are Adam Ingram’s (Armed Forces minister at the time) comments made to the inquiry inferring that he misled Parliament about the extent of his awareness of the situation. His defence was that he cannot be expected to recall everything, which I strongly agree with, but surely a minister in his position can recall reports received of a detainee dying whilst hooded for prolonged periods- not something I suspect one forgets in a hurry except for reasons of convenience. We are assured that such hoodings only took place during transit so I can only assume that traffic jams are horrendous in Iraq for Mousa to be hooded for 23 hours and 40 minutes- hey, let’s call it a whole day. During the terms of the last government there were many reports of the adoption of West Wing style administration, it appears that the approach to Iraq adopted the tactics of Jack Bauer and 24!