Raw, devastating realities that expose the truth about Basra: Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk writes about the images of war – and double standards in the West. With regard to Basra and its apparent fall:

It is also proof that Basra – reportedly “captured” and “secured” by British troops last week – is indeed under the control of Saddam Hussein’s forces. Despite claims by British officers that some form of uprising has broken out in Basra, cars and buses continue to move through the streets while Iraqis queue patiently for gas bottles as they are unloaded from a government truck.

He also refers to the killing of two British soldiers, from an unedited tape seen in Baghdad.

The two Britons, still in uniform, are lying on a roadway, arms and legs apart, one of them apparently hit in the head, the other shot in the chest and abdomen.

Another sequence from the same tape shows crowds of Basra civilians and armed men in civilian clothes, kicking the soldiers’ British Army Jeep and dancing on top of the vehicle. Other men can be seen kicking the overturned Ministry of Defence trailer, which the Jeep was towing when it was presumably ambushed.

Also to be observed on the unedited tape – which was driven up to Baghdad on the open road from Basra – is a British pilotless drone photo-reconnaissance aircraft, its red and blue roundels visible on one wing, shot down and lying overturned on a roadway. Marked “ARMY” in capital letters, it carries the code sign ZJ300 on its tail and is attached to a large cylindrical pod which probably contains the plane’s camera.

And with regard to casualties,

Other harrowing scenes show the partially decapitated body of a little girl, her red scarf still wound round her neck. Another small girl was lying on a stretcher with her brain and left ear missing. Another dead child had its feet blown away. There was no indication whether American or British ordnance had killed these children. The tapes give no indication of Iraqi military casualties.