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21 April 2008
Why was the battle for Basra such a disaster?
The recent fight to take Basra was an "unmitigated disaster at every level", according to the British commanders who watched the disaster unfold. So why is the British trained puppet army so crap?

The answer is rather simple - they fight for money and the militias and guerrillas fight for ideologies. The latter almost always trumps the former.

Let's think about this in a British context. You go to work to earn money. As I said recently, it is neither your place, problem nor profits that are at stake. You collect your wages on Fridays and then become a free man until Monday morning swings around again. If the employer wants to change something, then the bugger had better have a fucking big stick to enforce his will. Otherwise you will just ignore the odious little maggot.

Why do you think that the Iraqis are any different from us? They join the army for the pay packet, just like we go to work for the same reason, but they are as indifferent or hostile to their employers as we are to ours.

The militias, by way of contrast, are fighting for reasons of tribe, nation or religion. A soldier who only signed up for the money isn't going to go into battle against men who share his basic set of ideological values.

This is why thousands of puppet troops deserted rather than go into action. By deserting in that way they ensured that none of them will suffer a court-martial, and all of them will continue to draw their wages. Imperialism will come up with a face-saver along the lines of more training is needed, and nobody will face up to the simple truth that the Iraqi army is little more than a form of outdoor relief for the unemployed of that benighted land.

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