The 1st Battalion Light Infantry (from where it is thought the soldiers came) was under huge pressure. According to the The Sun 14 of its troops were injured when riots broke out the previous day. Not only stones, but molotov cocktails had been thrown. We all saw the TV footage where a gang of 150 youths recently almost killed two soldiers when they trapped them in their armoured vehicle and set it on fire. In Basra last August stone throwing youths lured a British soldier to his death at the hands of Sadr’s “Mahdi army”.
Many troops from other countries would have immediately let loose with their semi-automatics in that situation. Do you think the Americans would turn the other cheek? Do you think any army in the Middle East would have been restrained?
What are Indy readers demanding? That the youths should have been arrested, thrown into prison and tried under Iraqi law. Would that have been a better punishment? For most, given a choice, a few cracked ribs would be preferable.
Do Indy readers really think the mob should just go unpunished?