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Why did Churchill gas the Kurds? [MERGED]

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    Why did Churchill gas the Kurds? [MERGED]

    To beat them into submission, and accept a dictatorial colonial rule. That is a fact. A historical fact that George Bush hastened to mention when he held up Churchill as an example in his lone crusade against Iraq.



    http://www.iraqwar.org/chemical.htm



    In 1917, following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the British occupied Iraq and established a colonial government. The Arab and Kurdish people of Iraq resisted the British occupation, and by 1920 this had developed into a full scale national revolt, which cost the British dearly. As the Iraqi resistance gained strength, the British resorted to increasingly repressive measures, including the use of posion gas.

    Winston Churchill, as colonial secretary, was sensitive to the cost of policing the Empire; and was in consequence keen to exploit the potential of modern technology. This strategy had particular relevance to operations in Iraq. On 19 February, 1920, before the start of the Arab uprising, Churchill (then Secretary for War and Air) wrote to Sir Hugh Trenchard, the pioneer of air warfare. Would it be possible for Trenchard to take control of Iraq? This would entail *the provision of some kind of asphyxiating bombs calculated to cause disablement of some kind but not death...for use in preliminary operations against turbulent tribes.*

    Churchill was in no doubt that gas could be profitably employed against the Kurds and Iraqis (as well as against other peoples in the Empire): *I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.* Henry Wilson shared Churchills enthusiasm for gas as an instrument of colonial control but the British cabinet was reluctant to sanction the use of a weapon that had caused such misery and revulsion in the First World War. Churchill himself was keen to argue that gas, fired from ground-based guns or dropped from aircraft, would cause *only discomfort or illness, but not death* to dissident tribespeople; but his optimistic view of the effects of gas were mistaken. It was likely that the suggested gas would permanently damage eyesight and *kill children and sickly persons, more especially as the people against whom we intend to use it have no medical knowledge with which to supply antidotes.*

    Churchill remained unimpressed by such considerations, arguing that the use of gas, a *scientific expedient,* should not be prevented *by the prejudices of those who do not think clearly*. In the event, gas was used against the Iraqi rebels with excellent moral effect* though gas shells were not dropped from aircraft because of practical difficulties

    Today in 1993 there are still Iraqis and Kurds who remember being bombed and machine-gunned by the RAF in the 1920s. A Kurd from the Korak mountains commented, seventy years after the event: *They were bombing here in the Kaniya Khoran...Sometimes they raided three times a day.* Wing Commander Lewis, then of 30 Squadron (RAF), Iraq, recalls how quite often *one would get a signal that a certain Kurdish village would have to be bombed...*, the RAF pilots being ordered to bomb any Kurd who looked hostile. In the same vein, Squadron-Leader Kendal of 30 Squadron recalls that if the tribespeople were doing something they ought not be doing then you shot them.*

    Similarly, Wing-Commander Gale, also of 30 Squadron: *If the Kurds hadn't learned by our example to behave themselves in a civilised way then we had to spank their bottoms. This was done by bombs and guns.

    Wing-Commander Sir Arthur Harris (later Bomber Harris, head of wartime Bomber Command) was happy to emphasise that *The Arab and Kurd now know what real bombing means in casualties and damage. Within forty-five minutes a full-size village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured.* It was an easy matter to bomb and machine-gun the tribespeople, because they had no means of defence or retalitation. Iraq and Kurdistan were also useful laboratories for new weapons; devices specifically developed by the Air Ministry for use against tribal villages. The ministry drew up a list of possible weapons, some of them the forerunners of napalm and air-to-ground missiles:

    Phosphorus bombs, war rockets, metal crowsfeet [to maim livestock] man-killing shrapnel, liquid fire, delay-action bombs. Many of these weapons were first used in Kurdistan.

    #2
    All the rules are followed, i dont see a problem, unless the colonial masters deem otherwise. Bush is following up on his mentors views. Churchil was a racist. He refered to Gandhi as that dirty begger and that Vietnam did not deserve independence. The Iraqi people will suffer and the US will get what it wants.
    You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by CM:
      All the rules are followed, i dont see a problem, unless the colonial masters deem otherwise. Bush is following up on his mentors views. Churchil was a racist. He refered to Gandhi as that dirty begger and that Vietnam did not deserve independence. The Iraqi people will suffer and the US will get what it wants.

      Exactly. Now I would like to know why George W Bush left out this very important detail of history when he held up Churchill as an example to others to follow?

      This man (Churchill) advocated the gassing of the Kurds long before Saddam came on the scene, and in fact the Brits carried out much of what Churchill advocated. No wonder they are the only ally the Americans have in this war mongering.

      Comment


        #4
        My post was deleted, earlier. It went something like ...and the west thought itself the civilized society. However, do not think Bush admires Churchill for his support of gassing "unruly tribesmen". I believe that both Blair and Bush are more decent than Churchill at that stage in his life. I do think that the British made more use of the greater opportunities during their colonial holdings period to inflict a more crushing blow to the natives. The US merely stuck it to the Indians and the blacks, more or less. I do believe the US has manipulated Saddam entirely, even to this very day. His gassing during the Iran war was military necessity, although I abhor gas and chemicals. I am not a real big fan of bullets and gins either, but... Saddam had to repel huamn wave attacks made by an numerically greater force. The Kurdish attack was made against Iranians and locals in the North who had bases in the Kurdish village areas. This was when Iraqi military strngth was in the South, fighting the main Iranian threat. The US has systematically tried to use and at the same time destroy both Iraq and Iran. Where did Kuwait get the slant drilling technology? Kuwait actually invaded Iraq, economically during the Iran/Iraq war, before the slant drill deal. Then again, Saddam is no boyscout!

        Comment


          #5
          You guys look at it from a singular perspective. Churchill did stand up against the greatest evil at that time. He might have been a boor, a racist pig, could have single handidly caused the famine of bengal in the 1940's but at the end of the day the greatest evil at that time was Fascism and US has always aligned its policy with the concept of cosying up to the lesser evil. Be it churchill, Stalin, Saddam. whatever...it has worled to date and will continue to work because it is inherently the most closely akin to humanism. "My enemy's enemy is my friend" We can cry about it, we can be horase with cries of duplicity and opporunitism and hypocrisy . But the reality is that US is correct and most toehr nations who have followed that logic are the same. One antion in the near term comes to mind. Pakistan!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by TOMASSO:
            My post was deleted, earlier. It went something like ...and the west thought itself the civilized society. However, do not think Bush admires Churchill for his support of gassing "unruly tribesmen".
            Maybe so Tom. But the fact remains that Bush has touted Churchill as a role model to emulate in taking on "Saddam - the man who gassed his own people" as Bush as co have put it. How many American's were aware of the fact that Churchill himself was a leading advocate/champion of gassing the Iraqi people? That fact can simply not be ignored, because it exposes the complete fallacy, hypocrisy and blatant hypocrisy of Bush's analogy.

            How can you use the example of one advocate of gassing the Iraqi people to justify your stance against another one who gassed those people? I wonder if Bush himself was aware of such historical facts (about Churchill) when he made such speeches?

            Comment


              #7
              How much would Bush admit to in regards to Iraq at all? I mean the whole truth. Israel always trumps other states.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by TOMASSO:
                How much would Bush admit to in regards to Iraq at all? I mean the whole truth. Israel always trumps other states.
                So true. But I astonished that he did not know that he was using the example of one advocate of gassing the Iraqi's to justify his argument against another.

                Comment


                  #9
                  The flag of imperialism, colonialism and world-wide military supremacy has been successfully passed across the the Atlantic and UK is now glowing under the the new banner.
                  I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Churchill was a racist and he advocated what the KKK does today. But does that mean we forget just because he fought hitler. Then we can say Hitler was a good man. He rebuilt the country from scratch in 10 years to destory the world. That is one hell of an accomplishment. We should just define him as a good man.

                    Calling for the extermination of a people is genocide. Something Hitler put in practice and churchil said he would like. I wonder which will bush do?
                    You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by CM:
                      Churchill was a racist and he advocated what the KKK does today. But does that mean we forget just because he fought hitler.
                      No certainly not. Just as we must not forget that it was the likes of Churchill (and Roosevelt) who entertained the likes Stalin, the biggest mass murderer in history. Lets not forget that Stalin murdered some 50 million - more than twice the number as Hitler. Then they signed over hald of Europe to this man.

                      But back to the gassing of the Kurds. I am still waiting to see how many Americans were aware of thr fact that Churchill advocated gassing the Kurds, long before Saddam appeared on the scene. To me it seems not even Bush was aware (or deliberatley ignorant of the fact) when he touted Churchill as a role model in his fight with Iraq?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        >>Churchill was in no doubt that gas could be profitably employed against the Kurds and Iraqis... "I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes."<<

                        Passing strange. And here i always thought that the gassing of Kurds and Iraqis was something that only the big bad Sad-damn did ? Wonder if Bush is aware that his role model in the campaign against Iraq, is one who was "strongly in favour" of using poison gas, and actually implemented that policy. Perhaps, Bush should substitute his Churchillian political mentor - possibly, to someone who didn't utilize human beings as guinea pigs in a chemical experiment.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I think he ignored it. After all which US president has not ordered the killing of innocents. They will into iraq, kill innocents and get their oil. As for Stalin and Marcos, just like the US and Saddam they were all friends until they out lived their usefulness.
                          You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Let's assume he ignored it. So close to election time, shouldn't he be more worried that it will leak out that Churchill is the one who advocated this policy against Iraqi Kurds?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Nadia_H:
                              Let's assume he ignored it. So close to election time, shouldn't he be more worried that it will leak out that Churchill is the one who advocated this policy against Iraqi Kurds?
                              Well Iraq is just as bad as Iran and the way things are going, the american people would like to see him dead. So it doesnt matter. Plus the aim is saddam and that is what Bush is gonna focus on. Oh yeah oil as well. The US wants oil, they will kill anybody to get it. Welcome to the immoral aspect of the 21st century
                              You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

                              Comment

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