In politics, truth is often a pesky intruder. Combine this truth with the need for justice and what may be best described as the ‘right thing to do’ and the truth becomes potent.
The Coalition of the willing and two of its high profile supporters are facing the truth and it will not be pleasant. As the result of two former members of the military speaking out, we see former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and our own PM John HoWARd steadily loosing credibility, and one (I would push for both) may even be charged with war crimes.
Former US Army Brigadier General- Janis Karpinski is ready to testify against former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, if a suit filed by civil rights groups in Germany over Abu Ghraib, and to a lesser degree Guantanamo Bay, led to a full investigation.
The former Brigadier General alleges that Rumsfeld was responsible for authorising specific techniques of torture. These included making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation, playing music at full volume and having to sit in uncomfortable positions. Given Janice’s testimony, Rumsfeld may face charges of breaking the Geneva Convention.The Geneva Convention says prisoners of war should suffer
“no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion” to secure information. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”
Wolfgang Kaleck in a translation says:
“Janice Karpinski is practically our star witness because she’s the highest military officer ready to provide her insights to us and to the prosecuting office which will be ready to hear from her. Janice Karpinski was ready to provide testimony in the US and the court martial process against her soldiers but nobody wanted to question her.”
Former SAS Major Peter Tinley has spoken out against the Australian government and its role in the war in Iraq. He maintains that,
“The notion that pre-emption is a legitimate strategy in the face of such unconvincing intelligence [the existence of WMD’s] is a betrayal of the Australian way.”
The former SAS Major has said he was now speaking out having expected people ‘far more capable and more senior than me’ to have expressed serious reservations about Australia’s involvement in Iraq.
It seems that Professor Robert O’Neill is one such ‘capable and senior person.’ He says:
“The United States Army is not good at counter-insurgency. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s not capable of learning on the job, it’s learnt a lot in the past three years, and I’ve taught some of the people who have made big advances there. They were my graduate students at Oxford early in the 90s. But, the culture of the United States Army as a whole is not about moving very delicately, understanding the cultures of the country that you’re in. It’s about firepower and controlling the situation. Destruction is a very big part of it. It was in Vietnam. And for a counter-insurgency operation, that’s terribly counter-productive.”
Image from here