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    18 October 2004

    Churchill on Mesopotamia in 1920

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    From BS:

    "It is an extraordinary thing that the British civil administration should have succeeded in such a short time in alienating the whole country to such an extent that the Arabs have laid aside the blood fueds that they have nursed for centuries and that the Suni (sic) and Shiah (sic) tribes are working together. We have even been advised locally that the best way to get our supplies up the river would be to fly the Turkish flag, which would be respected by the tribesmen."

    "We have not got a single friend in the press on the subject, and there is no point of which they make more effective use to injure the government. Week after week and month after month for a long time we shall have a continuance of this miserable, wasteful, sporadic, warfare marked from time to time certainly by minor disasters and cuttings off of troops and agents, and very possibly attended by some very grave occurence."

    "Meanwhile, the military expense of this year along will probably amount to something like fifty millions, thus by this capital expenditure knocking all the bloom off any commercial possibilities which may have existed."

    -Winston Churchill in 1920 (from Christopher Catherwood's "Churchill's Folly")

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