Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Where does betrayal begin?

Managed to get a bit of relief today. Was paid for last month's Asiamedic retainer and I managed to pay down some of the bills I ran up. Really have not liked the delays in payment but now that the money is coming in, its time to settle accounts and keep moving on and work on the big jobs that will put me into the profit zone next year.

It's been quite an interesting week in International affairs. The British have reduced their presence in Basra and two of Britain's top soldiers have actually come out and condemned the US handling of the war in Iraq. One of them, General Sir Mike Jackson described US policy as "Intellectually Bankrupt." Thank goodness someone has the courage to speak honestly. Sir Mike is a genuine solider, he lead the troops into Bosnia in the late 90s. He is a former member of the Paras - a man who has seen action and knows what he's talking about when it comes to war.

Perhaps I'm prejudiced in favour of the British Armed Forces especially when it comes to comparisons with their American counterparts. I went to a school where the armed forces where highly respected and many of my friends had fathers who are high ranking British officers. I grew up reading biographies of British Generals like General Sir Peter de la Billere, British Commander during the first Gulf War.

British officers or at least those I knew and read were all professionals. Men who are tough and yet compassionate. Perhaps its because they lacked the resources of their American counterparts but the British Armed forces tend to be better at enlisting the help of the locals and winning 'hearts and minds.' Just study the Malayan Campaign...the SAS were sent in to do good for the locals and this helped win local support against the Communist. Compare that to the American campaign in Vietnam and what do you think of.....Napalm.

I know I sound cheap here, comparing American servicemen in an unfair light to other soldiers. American soldiers have given their lives for millions of people to throughout the world. However, the US military has often ended up doing badly in situations where it should not have been.

I believe that this has been caused by political leadership or the lack of it. In recent years, the British have not been betrayed by their political leaders. Say what you like of Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands War but she had respect for the brass. She gave them an objective and let them get on with it. When they needed resources and political support, the government supported them. Even in the current situation in Iraq, the British political leadership has shown respect for its military. Before Sir Mike, CGS, General Sir Richard Datton spoke critically about the Iraq War to the media. Blair Babble tried to spin his comments but didn't try to reprimand him for speaking up for his troops and he remains in office.

Compare that situation in the USA. Rumsfeld refused to listen to his Generals - he even made a point of public ally humiliating them. As a result, the USA, as the senior partner in the occupation of Iraq has continued to have a lack of necessary troops in Iraq and American troops have been caught in the worst of situations - see Abu Gharib. At best, the American leadership has indulged in shows of grand showmanship but shown little sensitivity to the local population. - The difference was already clear in Gulf War One - Schwarzkopf could barely speak English - Sir Peter speaks Arabic - a qualification that one would imagine would be essential when dealing in the Arab world.

It's funny, every time you read comments from the extreme right in the USA, they keep going on about how the media is exaggerating how bad the situation is in Iraq and anyone who suggests that the US mission in Iraq is anything short of a holy God-Given Crusade is an anti-Semitic racist leftie.

But I wonder why these people are always quick to talk about other people as being the traitors. It should be easy to realise who are bigger traitors between those who are now calling for a troop withdrawal and those who sent the troops into a strategically pointless war based on lies.

Why isn't anyone calling Bush a traitor? Here is a man who allowed an incompetent to overrule the qualified experts and then allowed proceeded to lie and fabricate evidence to delude the American people into justifying a war that had no obvious strategic value for American interest. At best, this is incompetence. At worst……this is treachery – sending troops to die in a conflict with no purpose.

It’s become something of a Hollywood Drama to see Generals and military people are power-mad threats to democratic freedoms. The truth is rather more complicated. Generals, who have earned their stars, tend to understand the horrors of war and as a result, they are the last people to send their troops into a combat situation for the sake of it. The culture of the military having no say in the operations the political leadership ask them to get involved in has gone a bit too far.

Surely, every General should be morally obliged to protect their troops and have the right to speak out in public whenever the politicians try and send troops into wars based on lies and deception. Every General should have the right to speak out in public whenever a Defence Secretary insist on running a military campaign against all advice of the military experts.

Let’s stop the betrayal of the soldiers by the political leadership!

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