Saddam Hussein’s sons died fighting the US army. Their father seemed happy to be found alive.
When the Israeli army battered down the walls to his compound, Arafat foretold his martyrdom and hid under a table until it was safe to come out.
George Bush evaded military service, then evaded his evasion of military service, then thirty years later landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier in military drag to announce the finish of a war that had only just started.
None of the rest of the Bush/Blair/Aznar/ Berlusconi regimes have been near military service, yet they feel qualified to lead wars in which they will never fight.
In Iraq, following the example of Saddam Hussein, Al Sadr announces he is ready to die then engages in semi-secret negotiations to get his arse out of the sling. He claims he is hoping to save the lives of Najaf’s civilians. He showed no such sensitivity to the plight of Fallujah’s civilians when they were being indiscriminately killed by US soldiers. In fact, the US killing of civilians was rather good publicity for him.
Only when death came near him did civilians become an issue.
I have seen photos of dead children, of babies killed by the Americans calling Al Sadr’s military bluff. I don’t suppose those images will deter either Bush or Sadr and yet they were killed by both; as were both the Iraqi and foreign victims of the war.
The alert reader (Hi!) will have noticed that the end of the above rant about cowardly leaders is incoherent. I let the piece stand as eloquent testimony to the combined effects of an excess of moral outrage, a tiring day job, lack of sleep and a litre of cheap Australian wine.
It might be a cautionary tale, but sod it, pass the bottle …