The Iraqi employees of the British Army story has continued to roll on, with some amount of mainstream media attention (particularly in the Times) and the first wave of responses from MPs. Any CT readers with a UK MP who didn’t write to their MPs last week, you still have time to do so, but potentially not very much time. For one thing, the British Army is withdrawing from Basra town, meaning that it is going to be much more difficult for the employees to be protected. For another, the government (an uncharitable man would say “the New Labour spin machine”) is trying to suggest that the problem can be solved by giving visas only to the 91 individuals who had been employed as translators by the British Army. This is clearly inadequate – the way Des Browne is quoted, it doesn’t even sound as if protection is being extended to families – and I’d be grateful if our readers could mention this.
By the way, the last comments thread on this subject was a bit of a disgrace. Can I make it very clear that anyone using the word “harki” is going to get themselves banned immediately and without appeal. The very idea that people who read this blog might think that the massacres in 1960s Algeria represent a model for an anti-imperialist struggle frankly gives me the creeps. I will charitably assume that the term was used out of ignorance by people who’d only heard it in the context of Zinedine Zidane, for the time being, but any evidence to the contrary and you are banned my son (the commenters in question know who they are). Ditto “quislings”, “collaborators” and any other terms which say or imply that the massacre of civilians by self-styled “resistance” movements isn’t mass murder or isn’t a war crime (as Conor Foley notes in the comments to this trainwreck, there is a decent case for saying that, along the lines of the Rwandan radio trials, advocating a war crime is a war crime itself).