When is a truck bomber not a truck bomber?

Do you get a bad feeling when you see a Tesco lorry pulling up to make a delivery at your house? Do you get an over-riding sense of foreboding every time you overtake a truck on the M1 motorway? Does being in the same layby as a Heavy Goods Vehicle license holder make you nervous?


That's probably because you think truckers are trying to make an honest living. Perhaps you've seen them driving with caution, stopping at pedestrian crossings. May be you even saw one making a delivery. You might even have come to the conclusion that they are no more or less law abiding than you or I.

But you'd be wrong. Because the newspaper reports from Iraq keep reminding us that Iraqi truckers are sectarian suicide bombers.

But does this ring true?

What does history tell us about truckers and sectarian violence?

Did Irish truckers, for example, take to blowing up their trailers during the sectarian troubles in Northern Ireland?

I don't think so.

Do you think Iraqi truckers are so different?

These people ARE indeed desperate - desperate for work, desperate for security, desperate for water and electricity - but surely not desperate to leave their families without a father.

"Call me", says the new boss. "Take this mobile phone. Ring me when you get there. God's speed".

And so the new recruit takes the phone, climbs in the cab and drives a ready-loaded truck away.

Little does he know the mobile phone is a remote control which will trigger high explosives loaded under or behind him.

And, due to the almost complete lack of independent reporting from Iraq, we'll never know who came up with the idea.

But, what of the facts as we know them?

We do know that James Steele is the US advisor on counterinsurgency in Iraq. His CV includes leading a special forces mission in El Salvador where he and others acted as trainers and advisors to the military junta. Over 10 years of civil war, the regime's armed forces and death squads murdered and tortured thousands of civilians, collectively punishing villagers suspected of sympathising with the 'rebels'. They also enjoyed $7 billion in military aid from the US.

Is the much hyped 'sectarian' violence in Iraq being similarly stoked and orchestrated. Muqtada al Sadr seems to think so...

But all I can recommend is that we ourselves ask the difficult questions that our own media refuses to ask.

'Divide and Rule' has been a successful strategy of conquerors as far back as the Romans.

Wouldn't it be surprising if the coalition weren't using this strategy in Iraq today?

And wouldn't the tactic of bombing holy Shrines, dividing up Baghdad with walls, and sending truck bombs into public places be the kind of things which could easily create distance between communities, or provoke anger, outrage and mistrust? Is this not also a form of collective punishment?

So, when IS a truck bomber not a truck bomber?

You decide.

Ends | 10 Aug 2007 | The Leg

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