Former military = loose cannons

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.”

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3 Responses to “Former military = loose cannons”

  1. Graham Bell Says:

    Janis Karpinski would be well advised to avoid lunching in any sushi bars, at least without a scintillometer wafted over any food and drink that comes her way….. at least until the scoundrel is convicted and safely behind bars.

    There are probably quite a few Gold Star Mothers in the United States who would fight over who gets to throw the switch and fry Rumsfeld.

    Howard is a different matter – unlike the matter of David Hicks, there are laws in Australia that could be applied to his conduct.

    I did not expect any of the Nodding Donkeys who pass for senior military officers to speak out about the misuse of the Australian Defence Force. It would take moral courage to do so – and that’s in short supply around their way.

    b.t.w. Thanks for putting up the old orders on prisoners. At least, Australian Diggers stuck to them.

  2. Suki Says:

    Australians by and large are not litigious. While I maintain that HoWARd deserves to go to the Hague for Australia’s complicity in Abu Ghraib, it is unlikely to happen.

    Australians may however, with their pencils, in November, say to this government ‘fuck off.’

    Can I have both?
    Can I have HoWARd charged and voted out?

  3. Graham Bell Says:

    Yes. You can have both. Mr Howard out of office and, together with his fellow culprits, having to face justice ….. But not just yet.

    Before that can happen, we will have to go through the pantomine of a federal election postponed temporarily [as in “Next year in Jerusalem” perhaps?] until the imminent security threat [possibly real, probably imaginary and definitely manufactured] is over.

    And then of course there in the painful matter of purging the ADF of all the dishonourable senior officers whose loyalty to the Commonwealth of Australia is questionable but whose loyalty to one political clique is beyond doubt.

    I’m not sure how far I can go on your blog in criticising the Roll-Over-Rover judiciary without bringing a Contempt Of Court charge down on your head – but the retirement in disgrace of those who chose political crawling over doing their duty would be nice.

    Be patient Suki. You may yet live long enough to see justice done and the nation saved.

    The Labor Party was smart in attracting Major Tinley – as was The Greens in getting former Intelligence Analyst Andrew Willkie to join them.

    What a contrast with the wimpish ex-officers who have been recycled through the Liberals/Nationals. Never forget that it was Brigadier Thomson who was Fraser’s Minister for Science and Technology when the chemical agents scandal broke [Agent Orange and all that]. Still, the Liberals did manage to attract a few lively candidates, like Captain Michael Darby and Major Steve Pratt, to their colours at one time or another.

    Robert O’Neill is a little too sweeping in his statement about the US Army [and presumably the US Marine Corps too].

    For example, the tremendous successes of the US Army Special Forces in the early days of the Viet-Nam War came about because they were trained to be aware of the culture of their operating environment.

    Trouble is, they were too successful – and the fierce resentment of “chair-borne” Pentagon officers and Pentomic time-servers at the rapid promotion of all these G-d m-f smart-ass Special Forces lieutenants and captains was their undoing. The Viet-Nam War was not lost by public misperceptions of the Tet Offensive, it was lost long before that in the corridors of the Pentagon and in the White House.

    From what I have seen in the news, there are still some Americans troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who are aware of the culturals influences in their operating environment but they are overwhelmed by the arcade-gamers, petty bullies-and-vandals and other assorted undead worshippers of their Crazy Emperor George II The Inept.

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