Sunday, June 4, 2006

Lawrence knew...

I am a big fan of T.E. Lawrence AKA "Lawrence of Arabia". The Guardian describes how he foresaw today's Iraq mess during WWI.

As British troops went in to Iraq in March 2003, the Iraqi information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, provided some unexpected entertainment at a time of great uncertainty. But some of his claims do not seem so risible now, one of them being: "We have drawn them into a quagmire and they will never get out of it."

Quagmire is the word. Unable to halt the country's descent into a sectarian civil war, and yet reluctant to admit failure and leave a vacuum by withdrawing, we are faced with a terrible dilemma in Iraq today. The situation would be familiar to TE Lawrence, who described in 1920 how clumsy involvement in Iraq had left Britain "in a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour".

A good Sunday read in a foreign language - English.

Lawrence was a great man who did great things and then got screwed by his government. We are the lucky recipients of the aftermath of said screwing due to this administration's complete ignorance of, and disregard for, history.

Just as an afterthought, Lawrence was killed whilst riding his latest Brough-Superior, one of the finest motorcycles of its day. If you want to find a really rare one, try to find one he wasn't killed on! It even turned up in an episode of 'Lovejoy'.

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