Sunday, March 02, 2003[posted by jaed at 10:09 AM]
Just like summer camp:
The Telegraph reports that the people who went to Iraq to protect Saddam Hussein ("we'll work with children! We'll stand in front of orphanages and hospitals and other things the evil Americans want to bomb!") are beginning to wake up to the actual situation they've placed themselves in:
Nine of the 11 British shields on the pioneering wave of red double-deckers left this weekend. At the Andalus hotel five kilometres away, Dr Abdul Hashimi, the official overseeing their mission in Iraq, had issued the shocked group with an ultimatum: deploy to the "strategic sites" hand-picked by the government or leave immediately.Not all of them, however:
Bruce, a 24-year-old Canadian wearing a T-shirt saying "I don't want to die", was one of a group of tanned young men who were drafted into protect a grain store. Initially, he, like others, had concerns about the sites, which included an oil refinery, a water purification plant and electricity stations. He was won over when the Iraqis provided televisions, VCRs, telephones and a Play Station.Oh for Christ's sake.
"Dr Hashimi has explained that we help the population more by staying in the 'strategic sites'," he explained.
Look. I remember the Iraqi government making an announcement months ago that anyone who showed up to volunteer their services as a "human shield" would be placed at strategic targets: army bases, bridges, weapons depots. Even if these people don't care about the Iraqis' well-being - which is fairly clear to me; if they cared more about that than about maintaining the emanations of their own spiritual goodness and purity, they'd find some way to help Iraqis that didn't involve keeping their torturer in power indefinitely - you'd think they'd have some inkling that standing around military installations in a war zone isn't a healthy thing to do.
But now look at them. They're leaving... because it's suddenly dawned on them that they might get killed. (Is there an exemption in the Geneva provisions on war crimes for stupidity?)