Winston Churchill Called Iraq “Ungrateful Volcano”

I believe this is the letter from Winston Churchill to David Lloyd George that Rep. Obey read on the floor of the Congress today. Churchill wrote this in 1922 advising Lloyd George to get Britain out of Iraq. I like these last three paragraphs:

I think we should now put definitely, not only to Feisal but to the Constituent Assembly, the position that unless they beg us to stay and to stay on our own terms in regard to efficient control, we shall actually evacuate before the close of the financial year. I would put this issue in the most brutal way, and if they are not prepared to urge us to stay and to co-operate in every manner I would actually clear out. That at any rate would be a solution. Whether we should clear out of the country altogether or hold on to a portion of the Basra vilayet is a minor issue requiring a special study.

It is quite possible, however, that face to face with this ultimatum the King, and still more the Constituent Assembly, will implore us to remain. If they do, shall we not be obliged to remain? If we remain, shall we not be answerable for defending their frontier? How are we to do this if the Turk comes in? We have no force whatever that can resist any serious inroad. The War Office, of course, have played for safety throughout and are ready to say ‘I told you so’ at the first misfortune.

Surveying all the above, I think I must ask you for definite guidance at this stage as to what you wish and what you are prepared to do. The victories of the Turks will increase our difficulties throughout the Mohammedan world. At present we are paying eight millions a year for the privilege of living on an ungrateful volcano out of which we are in no circumstances to get anything worth having.

This is especially delicious considering Sir Winston has become the patron saint of hawks.

2 thoughts on “Winston Churchill Called Iraq “Ungrateful Volcano”

  1. So, we go all the way to Iraq, ignoring the lessons of history.

    It seems to me, that of the two “leaders”, Bush and Saddam, that the wrong one died.

    It would have been far better to let Saddam live, as tied down as he was with domestic problems then let some moron like Bush run around creating hate and discontent.

  2. What’s with the expectation of gratitude? I think I recall hearing a similar sentiment expressed by warmongering Neocons about Iraq also. Isn’t goodness its own reward?

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