In Praise of the SAS
Details emerged on incident involving the British SAS in Basra in which they were imprisoned by the Basra police. According to the London Sunday Telegraph.
It is understood that the Special Air Service had been ordered to carry out surveillance operations against several members of the Iraqi police, who were believed to be responsible for torturing prisoners at the notorious Jamiyat prison in Basra.Military sources said that the operation was ordered by senior officers after the body of an Iraqi, who had been arrested by the police for smuggling and gun-running, was found on the outskirts of the city in April. An examination of his body had revealed that an electric drill had been used to penetrate his skull, hands and legs.
When the story came out innitially, I was not sure how a Iraqi police force could have captured the best special force soldiers of Great Britain. The well-trained and well-equiped commadoes could have easily outfought the police and escaped. According to the article:
To try to avoid a shoot-out with the police, the SAS soldiers decided to surrender and each pulled out handkerchief-sized Union flags and began shouting, "British forces, British forces".
It is clear that the soliders acted honorably and care deeply about the unneccessary loss of lives - since if there was a firefight, the loss of lives would likely be Iraqi polices and not the British soldiers. Their mission was honorable because the British was concerned about misconduct by the Iraqi polices in their area of operation that may have violated human right. And their action throughout the crisis was measured and responsible. Who among us would willingly surrender to people we suspect of practicing torture, knowing we could easily outfight them?
It was the correct action by their commander to carry out the rescue mission. And they should be praised for the execution of the mission without any loss of lives - British or Iraqi.