Saturday, September 13, 2008

Horrors of war our leaders never have to confront

Bush and Blair have not had to soil their thoughts with images of wickedness that make the gorge rise

By Robert Fisk

"....."The rats, with red eyes, march delicately along the trench," Giono writes of the creatures with whom he shared the war. "All life had disappeared down there except for that of the rats and the lice ... The rats were coming to sniff the bodies ... They chose the young men without beards on the cheeks ... rolled up into a ball and began to eat the flesh between the nose and the mouth up to the edge of the lips ... from time to time they would wash their whiskers to stay clean. Then the eyes, they took them out with their claws, licked the eyelids, and would then bite into the eye as if it was a small egg ..."

My father saw these horrors on the Somme. They all did. Of course, Messrs Bush and Blair did not have to soil their thoughts with such images. Our boys shipping off to war – Mrs Thatcher happily endured the Gallipoli-like departures from Portsmouth – is enough for our leaders. But could it be, perhaps, that we – the people – know more about horror than our masters? Our history suggests this is true."

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