Anorak News | This Is War

This Is War

by | 1st, February 2006

‘WHATEVER the rights and wrongs of the war in Iraq, the news that the 100th British soldier has died over there is grim.

Rather than solely focusing on this latest victim – Gordon Pritchard – the Independent does what it does well and produces a front page designed to shock.

There on the paper’s blackened cover are the names of the 100 who have given their lives for the cause. In the centre of the names, each written in sombre grey, the paper delivers its small headline in vivid white: “The 100TH BRITISH SOLDIER DIES IN IRAQ”.

This says it all. The news is delivered – 100 British soldiers are dead – but the individuals are the stories.

One page on, and the Indy shows mugshots of the dead, aside from seven for which it has no picture available. Looking at the faces evokes a feeling that somehow these victims draw comfort from each other’s deaths. They begin to look like a group. The names alone says so much more than the pictures ever can.

Over in the Times, the paper recognises the life of Corporal Pritchard of the Scots Dragoon Guards.

It would be all too easy to grow not a little mawkish, angry even, at the death of a 31-year-old father of three, “blown up in an ambush on the streets he helped to liberate”.

But the Times speaks to those who knew Pritchard best, resisting any urge to allow the usual nodding heads to speak for the dead – the Indy lines up the likes of Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, Andrew Burgin of the Stop the War Coalition and that star of light entertainment George Galloway.

The Times hears Pritchard’s mother and father call their son “the epitome of a modern, professional soldier.” They go on: “He was a well-trained, well-motivated soldier serving in a regiment that he was extremely proud of, as did his father and elder brother. He was a loving son, and a very proud family man, and he will be deeply missed by us all.”

That’s it. No histrionics, No comment on the bigger picture. No demand for our boys and girls to come home. Just the story of a professional soldier killed in the line of duty.

That he should have been killed is tragic, but how much worse things are when the names of the dead are hijacked for political expediency…’

Posted: 1st, February 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink