Saturday, March 15, 2008

Feeling cheated after the fact

Over here in Australia we are currently being treaded to excerpts from The Commission – The Uncensored History Of The 9/11 Investigation (by Philip Shenon). I know I’m not the only one who questioned the motives of the Bush administration post 9/11, but I also know those of us who were vocal were constantly slammed as stupid and naïve.

Given my current favourite saying – “Never argue with idiots, they drag you down to their level then win on experience”, we probably were stupid and naïve… The fact still remains that the Western World has just endured one of the most intellectually corrupt periods of history.

Certainly there have been worse periods of history, my concern is that given the scale of communications available over the past decade the majority simply chose not to be informed. Even without the benefit of Shenon’s expose there has been reason for serious doubt from the very first rumblings.

I still support attempts to subdue the tribal war lord activities in Afghanistan; the region which should have been the primary target for al-Qaeda from the beginning and a remaining outpost of feudalism. Whatever Iraq presented was the result of foolish Western policy in the past. Afghanistan has historically been the untamed region.

But Afghanistan didn’t have oil reserves and so didn’t present as the ultimate Viagra to Cheney and his coterie. Iraq, historically, is Iraq because of lies and deception from the power nations. Okay, they might not have turned out much differently left to their own, but that is something we can never know.

Sadly what we do know is that intervention was predicated on the wrong issues for the wrong reasons. What we know is that the Bush administration and their Western allies at the time were willing to lie for personal and political gain. What upsets me is how many of us knew that from the start and were effectively ignored.

No glory in vindication

There is no glory in vindication. To be truthful, this isn’t even vindication here, just one more level of damning evidence. But however it is styled it doesn’t bring back the lives of the thousands sacrificed to the egos and greed of actively promoted and executed this obscene ‘war on terror’.

Still, Australia’s top military claim to have learned some powerful lessons in the post 9/11 period, the face of conflict has changed. One, John Caligari a brigadier in the Australian Army and commander of the 3rd Brigade, the army's most readily deployable has been critical of US troops and the basic approach to conflict such as Iraq.

Caligari took a swipe at the inability of US troops to be proactive, even to the degree of winding down the windows in their troop carriers. He argues that the modern soldier needs to be able to think about the wider ramifications, not simply apply robotic defensive/offensive reaction.

Using East Timor as a model he is critical of the way that intervention was run, and it is a criticism he makes of deployments today, including in Iraq. His complaint: that too much responsibility is placed on the Defence Force to perform tasks outside its expertise of providing security.

He provides a startling example of soldiers in Iraq. Despite having no experience running water systems, they found themselves working in the Iraqi water board. How did they do it? They jumped on the internet, of course. The Chicago water board, the soldiers discovered, has a very informative website. These blokes are just learning everything they can".

Vindication doesn’t cut the mustard, but recognition of better ways of dealing with these situations is very exciting to me. Even in my personal life I can’t see the value of thug Vs thug. The alternative isn’t all that easy, but I doubt is really all that more difficult, unless patience is difficult.

Yes, you are right, new class to reinforce every Monday morning… and I still feel cheated.


abi said...

We in the US don't learn our lessons very well. One of the things this corrupt Cheney/Bush administration has done is to roll back lessons from the past, like from Vietnam, Watergate, and abuses in intelligence operations, such as domestic spying.

Just the other day, Bush signed an "executive order" that pretty much eviscerated the Intelligence Oversight Board that the democrats forced Prez Ford to sign into law 30 years ago.

Cart said...

Abi, is the truth getting through over there now? It seems to be ‘Oh yeah, we knew that…” here.
As for ignoring history, you might fine this article interesting, if off topic…
Blinkers off for the other side of story