Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hearts and minds?

The MoD is anxious for us to know that personnel from No 3 Squadron RAF Regiment have recently put the finishing touches to a £33,500 meeting house and mosque in the vicinity of Basra airbase, financed by the British taxpayer.

As well as hosting tribal meetings and acting as a venue for the education of village children, it will for the first time provide the local Imam with a central place of worship capable of serving the needs of a 10,000-strong community.

The meeting house was opened by Group Captain Tom Cross, who described the project as "a crucial part of the process of winning hearts and minds in the area around Basra Air Station", and as such, "a key part of our force protection effort."

British taxpayers are no doubt delighted with the RAF's dedication. However, with British consulate staff having to be evacuated from Basra Palace because of the mortar attacks, some might think that, in the manner of LBJ, a little bit of "grabbing by the balls" might be a tad more appropriate.


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