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Monday, March 24, 2003
It's hampered time

Yesterday, I watched Tommy Franks's news conference. It is always instructive to try to summarise these people's characteristics as their presentation progresses. For example, Jack Straw will henceforth be known to me as a man who would never willingly use one word when ten would do.

Franks, surrounded by a collection of coalition brass (one a Dane, for heaven's sake) mostly in very fetching shorty pyjamas, sounded as though, as well as fighting for his country, he wanted to soporiphy [© Josh] for it. Perhaps he needed another bore to one of his Distinguished Service Medals or yet another Purple Heart. Personally, I think he could have done with just one purple heart, but of a different sort.*

When I had aroused myself, I noticed that he was asked a question about the infamous raising of the Stars & Stripes (over Omm Qasr, was it?). I think he excused it on grounds that amounted to "youthful high spirits". This raises a very important point: why the hell hadn't the troops been given explicit instructions about "no triumphalism"? That they had not (or if they had, chosen to ignore it) indicates that the matter probably hadn't been considered beforehand.

Contrast this with the "St Crispians' Day speech" of Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins:
We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
You can read more of his speech here.

[ * Purple heart (mostly British usage) = amphetamine pill.]

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