The Lessons of Empire

As Bush considers colonizing Iraq, he ought to look at the last attempt

The photograph below of a fierce-looking group of men cradling antique machine guns comes from an old album in my home. It dates from about 1930, and its caption reads, "Sheik Mahmoud of Kurdistan. Surrendered to Political Officer Victor Holt VC accompanied by FO M.O." "Sheik Mahmoud" was Mahmoud Barzanji, chieftain of a famous Kurdish clan, who led a series of revolts against British rule in Iraq after World War I. "FO M.O." was Royal Air Force Flight Officer Max Oxford, my late father-in-law.

Max had splendid adventures in the service of the British Empire everywhere from central Africa to...

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