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Norfolk Blogger: The Sun shows video of US planes attacking UK troops - Are America really our ally of choice ?

There are a lot of very good reasons to question the value for the U.K. of having such a close relationship with the United States, but with all due respect to Nich Starling I am not sure that the matter of this video is one of them.

The U.S., particularly the military, have become very sensitive, if you pardon the turn of phrase, to the declassification of information in the wake of 9/11. In fact, so paranoid have the military and intelligence services become, that they have secretly reclassified 55,000 pages of documents that have been accessible in archives and in the public domain in other forms for years, in an effort to keep them from even the American people.

In Congress too, particularly in the Senate, there remains an streak that while not quite isolationist, certainly views with suspicion the supply of any arms or military technology to any foreign government - Britain included - partly because of concerns about information and/or technology leaking out; (this is one the resons why the fiction of Britain's 'independent nuclear deterrent is so proposterous: it is wholly dependent on American co-operation to make the thing work). This leak from within the MoD will not have helped to assuage such concerns.

Nich asserts that there is nothing on the tape that would pose a security risk: probably true, but then again we don't know whether that is wholly true because the upper left area of the video display has been edited to obscure what was originally underneath it. But what is important to remember is that unlike this country, which largely sees itself as a country in someone else's war, America sees itself as a country at war. Things weren't so different when Britain was at war. Go on ask your gran - "Dangerous talk costs lives!" "The walls have ears!"

Certainly the United States has dragged its feet over this whole affair, and IMHO there appears to be a legal case to answer given the catalogue of six failures to accord with the rules of engagement, and certainly the U.S. military must be embarrassed over this whole incident. But let's not get carried away about this, or forget that the British government was hardly falling over itself to secure prosecutions, convictions or even full sentences of soldiers who killed in Northern Ireland under questionable circumstances.

There are good reasons to have a critical reappraisal of "the special relationship", but this incident is small beer from the administration of Mr. "Yo Blair" Bush.