Sunday newspaper The News of the World has continued its reputation for sensational scoops by publishing details of a video it has apparently received from a whistleblower. I often criticise this newspaper for indulging in bottom of the barrel journalism, but credit where credit is due - this time their revelations, if ultimately proved to be true, will have been an immense public service.
I feel revulsion and horror that some of our military can have given themselves over to behave in this barbaric fashion; I am under no illusion that soldiers sometimes behave in ways which might charitably be described as 'rough and ready', as in the recent case of nude and brutal hazing of new arrivals within their ranks, but this latest kind of savagery is of a completely different order. I always wondered if the American behaviour at Abu Ghraib would ever be echoed by we British - now we know! I supported the war, and am perfectly well aware that things may be done in war situations that would not be acceptable in civilian life. I am not going to be hypocritical - I am glad that our military has always done such a good job defending this country, but if we say we are hoping to leave Iraq a better and more democratic place than when we arrived then it seems to me that military misbehaviour by our own troops at this kind of serious level is not going to aid that process, quite apart from the moral delinquency which it betrays.