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Latin - hypocrisis and Greek hupokrisis: both meaning play acting or pretence. WP
It is Remembrance Sunday here in Britain. The shorter ceremonies took place on the eleventh day. Poppy and empire are garnered in Whitehall, by the Cenotaph and a stone's throw from the seat of power at 10 Downing Street. David Dimbleby has inherited the gravitas and fluency which march impeccably through the screen of BBC 1. The Portland stone of the Cenotaph is shining in the sun and it is framed by plane trees that are still in green leaf. This stone of the Jurassic period is reaching across 450 million years to these men and women, one of whom has his finger on the instrument which can blast us back in time, and beyond those deep seams of limestone and clay. The massed bands in their immaculate grey and the bearskins play 'Flowers of the Forest', 'Nimrod' by Elgar and 'When I am laid in earth' by Edward Purcell. The emphasis is on the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the two world wars, those who were bereaved and those who returned disabled. After the Last Post, the wreaths are laid starting with the Queen. Her uniformed relations follow, and then the actor Blair. He is followed by Howard, the leader of HM's opposition who supported his political colleague in his treacherous plans for war on that country they had disarmed and laid waste already. Post Paisley, comes Straw. He is clutching a wreath which has flowers in it from every part of the Commonwealth. How good it is to think that those folk who have felt the stamp of these boots and the flash of those bayonets, should show their dying gratitude. And how apt that he should be the bearer; the latest thespian to sell that little country down the Jordan we gained mandate over in 1922.
ImageThere are vignettes from the war graves of France, headstones stretching far, with British children being educated to remember and Frenchmen recording their debt to allies. One of the nine British veterans of WW1 is seen saying ' war is a waste, when will people ever learn' but he is not laying his wreath after the Queen. He has never forgotten his dying comrades. A debonair artist and survivor from the long hell of a Japanese POW camp shows the beautiful pictures he concealed from his captors. He recalls how he talked to an emaciated maths lecturer until he breathed no more. They buried their friends, covering them with simple rice sacks. Dimbleby speaks of the new Battle of Britain memorial by the Thames, a battle for national survival in which one in five pilots perished. 'A father I never knew'. And Churchill 'Never was so much owed by so many to so few'. Churchill's words in Iraq in 1925 were not recalled, and the word Iraq did not emerge.

Remembering pleasurable things is, well, a pleasure. Remembering personal and national sacrifice in a war of defence, as so many of us do for WW11, is right and proper but only if there is analysis and lesson. At the end of the broadcast, Dimbleby spoke of the children who were being called upon to remember with their elders. But he said 'as war breeds endless war, how can we forget?' The latter would of course be served, and lessons drawn, if the people were fully informed about the machinations that lead to war eg on Iraq, existing international law and the atrocities being committed by their own nations. In spite of gigawatts of transmission power and record weights of newsprint, there is great ignorance of the war on Iraq within the British population. Many perceive Blair as a liar and can rightly guess that he pulled pretexts out of thin air to justify it? But searing fury is not widely shown.

Growing numbers are reading the truth over the web, but they will remain a minority. They could show their kinsfolk these quotations.

'We were out of sand bags. We didn't have enough sand bags to protect our holes from small arms fire and things like that. Conveniently, there was a flour truck driver riding a truck down the highway that was full of canvas flour bags. And sand bags are made out of canvas, so this was perfect for sand bags. We were ordered to open fire on this man - just say, a working family man, and to use his flour bags as sand bags. A lot of guys in my platoon opened fire and the man was killed. And the individuals who didn't open fire on this man were ordered to remove his body from the truck and throw it off in a ditch on the side of the road and throw some dirt on top of it.

Dr.Hassan said: 'They arrested me in my house in front of my family, covered my eyes, and tied my hands to the back on October 5, 2005 in the morning, during the last attack on Haditha (360 kilometers west of Baghdad). They occupied the hospital for 8 days and made it their office. The first day they beat me on my eyes, nose, back, hands, legs... (?out of action)

Shake 'n' bake re. Fallujah
Every day since they started firing rounds into the city, other Marines have stopped by the mortar pit to take a turn dropping mortars into the tube and firing at some unseen target. ( HE and white phosphorus) Like tourists at some macabre carnival, some bring cameras and have other troops snap photos of their combat shot. Even the battalion surgeon fired a few Saturday, just for sport.

Everyone wants to "get some," the troops explain, some joking that Fallujah is like a live-fire range.

Did Blair foresee the misery and catastrophe ahead when he was tucking into ribeye steak in Crawford in April 2002. As narrow eyes met even narrower eyes, was any of the terrible pain of future loss and wound to be felt as the bloody juices ran? Unlikely. The host and commander in chief is a known hypocrite having shirked the draft to Nam and having since received messages from his God which Christ would shun. And we know Blair is a hypocrite; the evidence appears daily. Just after his 90 days internment bill was mauled by MPs, he appeared on C4 News to speak of the great risk of 'Mass Casualty Terrorism'. Amariyah was furthest from his mind, and so was Fallujah, or the train bombed in Serbia.

Actors are for acting. Any principle displayed and sentiment shown are make-up thick. Real remembrance is for us, the foot soldiers. The tommies were said to be 'lions led by donkeys'. Oh would that our leaders were donkeys. The whole shebang is much worse than this. The gang which pulled the strings in this worst of wars, the Wolfowitzs, Perles, Edelmans, Feiths, Boltons etc etc are neither donkeys nor actors. They are psychopaths; they have an abnormal response to the suffering or loss in others. Will our populations learn first, and remember later?

David Halpin FRCS is a retired trauma and orthopaedic surgeon. He is not an absolute pacifist. He does believe in his motto 'Do your best to heal and not to harm.'

Footnote. Immediately after this Remembrance Sunday broadcast, there was a trailer for 7/7 – the Day the Bombs Came, with Blair's image first. Pure coincidence? Of course.