Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Resolving Middle East Conflict

Nearly five years into a war that might drag on for decades, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Iraq and declared, "If you look back on those five years, it has been a difficult, challenging but nonetheless successful endeavor." SeattlePI

The US will complete its mission in Iraq to ensure the country does not become a base for attacks on Americans, Vice-President Dick Cheney has said. BBC

It would be needless to suggest that Cheney is wrong, at least by the standards of much of the world. By his own standards, those of the Bush Admin, the job won’t be finished until they get their hands on Iraqi oil.

Other countries involved in both Iraq and Afghanistan have quite a different view of these conflicts. Without the priority of pillaging oil reserves or spreading fear and loathing these conflicts aren’t wars at all, but reconstruction efforts. Even the ‘War on Terror’ has taken on a new reality.

John Caligari is a brigadier in the Australian Army and commander of the 3rd Brigade based in Townsville. The brigade is the army's most readily deployable. A quarter of his 4000 troops are on deployment in East Timor or the Middle East.

From a great depth of experience Caligari is critical of the mindset of some other national military leaders. Of the Americans in Iraq, he says: "They're in armoured vehicles where they don't open the windows. They don't talk to the people; they don't care about the people."

As for the French, whom he worked with in Somalia, he is even harsher. "The French are rigid, very disciplined colonial masters. They believe the only way of treating the Africans was harshly because that's how you got anything from them; that's how you kept them under control," he says. Model of a modern digger

The fact is, Caligari makes sense. He believes the complex post-September 11 war fighting environment necessitates the development of soldiers who can think for themselves, rather than soldiers who are robots.

"… you get better soldiers if you spend more time on education and less on training," he says. "Training is characterised by what to think. Education is characterised by how to think."

He talks about a phenomena called ‘mission creep’ and provides a startling example of Australian 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.

The bottom line is conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan might well have been inevitable, but not to rape the countries resources, rather to support the many in those countries who want basic human rights.

It is about attitude and the attitude America took into these conflicts was bound to be lose/lose for everyone. The sooner the US move out and leave it to countries with the attitude, and troops with the education the sooner the world will start moving in the right direction again.

I guess that’s my next US visa request down the toilet…


enigma4ever said...

hmmmm, and people ask if I look good in Orange....great post about Hell..thank you ;-)

D.K. Raed said...

We will move out of iraq, sooner or later, in one way or another. I'm afraid what we are leaving behind is not going to be salvageable by any nation.

Great use of "fear and loathing"! We (not you, us) sure do spread it wherever we go. Sometimes I think U.S. really stands for "Unlimited Shamelessness".

D.K. Raed said...

ps, I look terrible in orange! Just another reason why I won't be working at Home Depot (even though I love to tell people what aisle has nuts and screws).

Cart said...

“I'm afraid what we are leaving behind is not going to be salvageable by any nation.” D.K. The problem is that you all believe the hype. The US is not, certainly not any longer, the grand saviour. Bush and Cheney et al have revealed that the most powerful nation on earth is a sham.
The US not only should pull out of conflict zones now, doing so would enhance rather than harm nation building. The US is the only country still using the term WAR for what is reconstruction. But again, the US hasn’t secured the Iraqi oil franchise yet.
Forget the guilt and just push for the US to get out of there!!!

I suspect you could do a little better than Home Depot ;) Building materials and home wares do tend to have some interesting word uses.

Cart said...

enigma, I doubt either of you would look all that fetching in shapeless orange.

D.K. Raed said...

Guess you're saying, we should get over ourselves? LOL, point taken! We do love our hype & will continue to believe it even after the world has seen through the con (sigh).

You're right we do still call it a WAR -- because our soldiers are still dying. We aren't providing reconstruction, just a bunch of private US contractors working for "cost plus". Many ways to inflate costs. A famous one involved an iraq school district's need for airconditioning. FFWD a few months and a few million dollars later & the US contractor forked over a few bucks to a local iraqi contractor to deliver portable oscillating fans! That's your US reconstruction for 'ya.

Cart said...

"Guess you're saying, we should get over ourselves?" I never said that!!!
Well, you should get over yourselves.
You all know the emperor is stark bollocky naked! You know the whole system is corrupt from the top.
That's why we are pumping for Obama and supporting Rudd here. Fresh winds and a different approach.
It really does matter that we all start looking at the evidence based reality rather than the spin.