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Oct 19, 2010

Afghanistan: respecting expertise, seeking knowledge

The problem with war coverage is just this: we are given a simplistic view of a complex situation, writes journalism student Andrew Riddle, a former soldier in the Australian Regular Army

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The problem with war coverage is just this: we are given a simplistic view of a complex situation.

Consider, for example, counterinsurgency. Most people have probably heard the term. They might even have an idea that it’s about “winning the hearts and minds of the people”. If they’ve chosen to actively pursue the subject, they might know about “Shape, Clear, Hold and Build” — but few will reach even this level of knowledge. This is perfectly excusable; not everyone needs to be an expert on tactics or strategy — but those who are writing about Afghanistan, particularly those strongly advocating positions, surely do.

Far too many people, including interested generalists, have no idea exactly what the plan is in Afghanistan. It’s out there, for everyone to read. Blogs such as the Long War Journal ably describe it. The principles of counterinsurgency, applied in Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan today, have long been in the public domain. David Kilcullen’s The Accidental Guerrilla is probably in your local library, and his more down-and-dirty summation, Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency, is just an internet search away. Even the US military’s official counterinsurgency manual is on WikiLeaks. Yet many commentators remain startlingly ignorant.

All too frequently, commentary seems to lean on a kind of dinner-party consensus — “everyone knows” we “can’t win in Afghanistan”, whatever happens “the country will still be a brutal, bloody mess”. An accretion of headlines has become a narrative of pseudo-knowledge, which in turn has become received fact — and now, far too often, we are told by people who have never been to Afghanistan, who would never consider going, and who don’t trust anyone who’s been, that the war is a doomed, bloody waste.

Part of the problem is that military expertise is simply not accepted as real expertise. Current and former military personnel are treated as biased and unreliable. Consider Senator Bob Brown’s admission on The 7:30 Report last night to having never sought a Defence briefing on Afghanistan to confirm his strongly held position; similarly, an academic recently told me that Lateline was irresponsible for interviewing David Kilcullen on Afghanistan, because his position makes him biased. To some, the only time soldiers can be telling the truth is when they’re criticising the war or their superiors.

There’s a reason for this — the toxic legacy of the neoconservative adventure in Iraq lays heavily on Afghanistan. We remember how Colin Powell allowed himself to be browbeaten into lying to the UN, and how retired generals were paid by the Pentagon to lie to CNN. Yet a big part of the Iraq equation was the ignorantly supportive position adopted by the media, which should not be corrected with the adoption of an ignorantly critical one. If we’re going to look for real knowledge of an objective reality, surely we should look to those who have studied it and lived it — if a little more sceptically than we might have in 2003.

Waving away all military knowledge as an irrelevancy has real consequences. Consider the kerfuffle Shadow Minister for Defence David Johnston created when he demanded tanks, additional mortars and more air support be deployed to Afghanistan, based on an angry email from a 6 RAR soldier.

Johnston’s ridiculous sallies ignored two important lessons of Afghanistan. The first is that the overwhelming fire support available to the NATO forces should not be used where it would result in civilian casualties, because doing so only fuels insurgency. The second lesson I will quote from David Kilcullen — “Driving around in an armored convoy, day-tripping like a tourist in hell, degrades situational awareness, makes you a target, and is ultimately more dangerous”.

A mainstream media with access to real military expertise would have laughed off Johnston’s demagoguery as contemptuously as Prime Minister Gillard did. Instead it was treated seriously, and real lessons, bought with real lives, were ignored in the media frenzy.

Counterinsurgency doctrine is not revealed wisdom. There are real criticisms to make and concerns to address. For example, its degree of responsibility for the bloody Sunni-on-Shi’a ethnic cleansing in Iraq needs more examination, as do its roots in the ethnic divide-and-conquer strategies of the former colonial powers; the cost-benefit equation of the war should also be considered, although I would argue the human rights case overrides that. But without real, deep knowledge, these questions cannot be addressed. War coverage is worth getting right.

Andrew Riddle is a journalism student at the University of Wollongong, a former soldier in the Australian Regular Army, and is now in the Army Reserve.

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32 comments

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32 thoughts on “Afghanistan: respecting expertise, seeking knowledge

  1. jorge

    Thanks Andrew, I have to admit I too have been espousing opinions based on my incomplete understanding of what is going on in Afghanistan.

    With the accessibility of emails and news now 24-7, it would certainly help to keep in mind that experts do base their opinions on expertise. And unfortunately sometimes those with the loudest voices are non-experts…

    If correct, it is interesting to note that Bob Brown has never sought a Defence briefing on Afghanistan…makes you wonder on what information (one-sided, perhaps?) he will base his comments in Parliament’s debate on the matter…

    http://currentglobalperceptions.blogspot.com/

  2. Mark Heydon

    I think it is interesting that this article talks about winning the hearts and minds of Afghanis. I wonder how this will be achieved when they cannot even win the hearts and minds of their own side.

  3. ronin8317

    It may also help if you study history. The phrase “Winning Hearts and Minds” is used to describe the disastrous counter insurgency campaign during the Vietnam War. In journalism, it’s a euphemism for ‘quagmire’.

    History has not been kind to the Afghan people. The ‘Crossroad of civilisation’ has been invaded by pretty much everyone. The country is a conglomeration of many ethnic tribes with no common language and a weak sense of national identity. The US should have break the country up via an orchestrated ethnic cleansing campaign. The Pashtun tribes should be encouraged to form ‘Pashtunistan’ by merging Southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, then watch the firework as Pakistan plunge into a civil war involving nuclear weapons. With counter insurgency, you want the Afghans to kill each another.

  4. Phil Kyson

    Thanks Andrew, a good article.
    The problem we have is with “War coverage is worth getting right” as you say, is that the right’s Australian media coverage is seldom near the truth. I think what your saying is that if we got the truth instead of partisan spin we wouldn’t have gone in the first place. Is it the case of the one eyed leading the blindfolded into war?

  5. Henry_1000

    A lot of the pro war cheerleaders don’t want anything other than a simplistic view of a complex situation. They’re view of
    Afghanistan is “Kill the terrorists!” They’re not interested in understanding complex tribal cultures that go back centuries, the role of Saudi Arabia in financing terrorism, the role of Pakistan or the current corrupt mess that is masquerading as a legitimate government out of Kabul. They like to keep their understanding nice and simple.

    The other factor is the patience of the general public in the toleration of political wars. We want our wars the way we like our takeaway food. Quick and simple with a minimum of fuss. Once things start to get messy, bogged down and protracted we then start to complain that we’ve been there too long and we ought to withdraw. Never mind the reasons for entering into it in the first instance or the number of innocent people who die. During the Vietnam and Iraq invasions the majority of public opinion turned only when it dragged on and casualties started to climb.

    The other reason for the lack of knowledge is the nature of political war itself. The only reason it is tolerated at all is because the only people who making any sacrifice and are affected by it are those serving and their immediate families. For everyone else life goes on as per normal. Unlike WWII there is no conscription, no rationing of food, petrol, clothing and virtually everything else. Everyone had to do their part because at the time we had little choice. The threat was very real unlike the bogus threats our current crop of politicians drag out regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. How can you blame the majority for a lack of knowledge when there is no reason to seek that knowledge?

  6. Fran Barlow

    It’s time for Australian troops to leave. Let them pack their kits and stop making things worse.

    No rational person starts something they aren;t confident they have the resources to finish satisfactorily. When they do, they expect to lose unless they get lucky. In 9 long years, we’ve been given no basis for believing in luck.

    The war is over. ISAF lost. All that is left to be decided is what kind of mess will be left behind as a result of the invasion and what will the body count on all sides be.

    Downer now admits that the war aims were achieved in 2002. Seven years later we are talking about four more years.

    If it weren’t so serious, one could laugh. And to think, the opposition wants a CBA on the NBN. Now that is funny.

  7. mr hump

    I think that biased and unreliable are two excellent descriptions of the military.
    What else would one expect?
    Its like the old quote of war being too important to be left to generals.
    The military opinion always seems to ignore our great allie pakistan which will always stab us in the back.
    Lets just leave the afghans to it.
    If we were so concerned about womens rights then lets invade saidu arabia instead and steal their oil.
    Two birds with one stone,eh.

  8. nicolino

    Time and again the same old tired excuse of keeping terrorism at bay by staying the distance is trotted out. I would think that terrorism has already left Afghanistan and is fomenting evil deeds as we talk. Bit late to be talking about confining the terrorists isn’t it? Stop insulting our intelligence.
    May be if the Palestine question could be sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction -and cows may very well fly-we may take away their cause celebre.

  9. Sir Lunchalot

    Gillard should be sacked in disgrace over allowing Defence to charge the members of 1 Commando.

    She has backflipped and lied to us all about the carbox tax.

    Announced detention centres WITHOUT community consultation.

    he is a dangerous person, and we need a new election.

  10. Sean

    This would make a good article in The Oz — critical of various opponents, mildly critical of strategy within a narrow band of debate but not questioning why the alliance is even there in the first place. This is how the debate has been shaped in the US by the MSM also — you can discuss whether there are too many or too few troops, is the right technology being deployed, play Washington personalities off against each other as a spectacle, but never question the overarching discourse of why the whole thing was even started.

    Afghanistan seems to be a centrepiece in a continuation of The Great Game with a geo-strategic goal of keeping an eye on the nuclear power Pakistan on one side, and projecting power over other middle eastern states in a pincer with Israel via Iraq. Make a corridor for Anglo-friendly pipelines for Caspian Sea resources as hydrocarbon resources dwindle around the world, which would otherwise be snapped up by China, Russia and India. Bolster the erosion of the USD as the default petrocurrency which automatically and artificially strengthened it in the past beyond its merit. Create work for US energy infrastructure firms in extracting hydrocarbon resources.

    The terrorists were never really in Afghanistan to begin with, and the 9/11 case seems highly confected — possibly a false flag operation, not even considering the obvious fact that the wrong countries were scapegoated. There were clearly a number of agendas in looking at Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, it’s not entirely clear yet what they all are in the neocon mind.

    The US and Oz and the UK etc have never been worried about fomenting Islam and shariah law and misogyny and huuman rights and industrialisation and enlightenment of the masses etc when dealing with these countries in the past as long as they were getting the resources they wanted. If there were no resources in the area, they would care not one whit at all.

  11. freecountry

    So Andrew, what is the view in the mess hall on how the campaign is going and what it needs?

  12. beachcomber

    No-one can win a war in Afghanistan. The region has been politically unstable throughout history. It is a largely barren land populated by poor, poorly educated and heavily exploited people. Most people cannot read or write. Much of the economy is based on heroin production. People live in fear of drug lords, criminals, wars with immediate neighbouring countries, and now war with the West. Guns will not solve the problem. They perpetuate the problem. Only feeding and educating the people will empower the people and stop the wars. But that does not make the multinational warmongers rich. We have no place in this war.

  13. Sean

    I wouldn’t feel quite so paternalistic, beachcomber — the saying goes that it’s not wise to pull the Afghani lion’s tail and wake it — ref The Great Game, which saw Britain suffer its worst military defeat and massacre under the incompetent Lord Elphinstone at the hands of Afghanis in 1842, the Russian experience in the 1980s, and now the US experience.

  14. smiley

    Crikey is doing well when it delivers articles like this.

  15. Sean

    Julia Gillard has just announced that she doesn’t feel like leaving Afghanistan for another decade. Clearly no withdrawal plans for some time for the Anglo forces, despite noises about leaving soon, so there’s obviously something there they want to obtain for geo-strategic reasons — while we continue to debate small military details about how many men, tanks and helicopters we really need to get ‘something’ done.

    Clearly the false discourses and lies are going to continue for year after year — just as the US were supposed to repair Germany after WWII and leave, but remained for 50 years.

    There was a very good article in The Australian on the weekend on Afghanistan in fact, having just denigrated that newspaper above, which points out ‘they’re fighting us because we’re fighting them’ — while not being hugely nationalistic, Afghanis are extremely territorial. How would any red-blooded, fiercely parochial, and traditionally heavily armed group react if they were invaded by an occupying miltary force? Further, Al-Qa’ida, that shadowy group that almost doesn’t exist, abandoned any presence in Afghanistan long ago. That really doesn’t give you a casus belli any more, or any reason to be there at all — except perhaps as a staging point for a military land base to project power over the region, or to act as the ‘pipeline police’ for lines coming out of the Caspian Sea reserves, or to gain access to the massive lithium reserves there for electric car batteries in the near future to maintain our personal transportation way of life (and the assays were done decades ago under the Russians, it’s no sudden surprise the minerals were there — remember the arguments that ‘there’s not oil or gas in Afghanistan, so that can’t be why we’re there, no ginoble intentions on our part’) or ???

    The thing is, the Anglo govts have got this every which way — Afghanistan is a pre-democratic, pre-nation state that has had borders drawn around it by the UN adn western powers that is composed of a bunch of different tribes speaking different languages — somewhat similar to Australia before European invasion, or a host of other areas on the planet. Nothing wrong with that. However, the West can insist that the lines drawn around the country by Western powers mean that the area defined by the West ‘must’ have a stable recognisable government, and they must remain there until such a govt is formed — that the area is just intrinsically unstable, they need to form a parliament and have democratic elections and so on — just as pseudo-democratic as our own — when this is pretty alien to their existing social structures and pattern of settlement. So the Anglos get to stay there until this is achieved, which may be never. Convenient, isn’t it?

  16. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    Just this once I have to disagree with Fran Barlow about something; I don’t think it’s ‘time to leave’, and that’s not because I’ve ever relished our going into Afghanistan as Uncle Sam’s puppy, but because now that we are there we have to weigh up whether leaving or staying will produce the greatest good.

    And it’s a very hard question to answer.

    But by all the information I’ve read, most Afghans do not want the Taliban back, there is rising levels of security in some areas, and even though the Karzai government is racked with corruption, the alternative is infinitely worse. There are no longer state sanctioned public executions, flogging of women, hand removal and other mutilations, and women are not being whipped in the streets for just walking alone or being unveiled. There’s a revival of Afghan culture and music that was violently suppressed under the Taliban.

    We leave now, and all of the vicious fascism of the Taliban returns, and no doubt there will still be civil war there for decades. Leaving, in other words, will solve nothing.

    Staying on the other hand, presents a possibility of supporting this nascent revival, and development of democratic institutions as witnessed by the comparatively large turnouts of voters under the most dire conditions.

    I’m not blind to the risks, the contradictions, and the difficulties, but the ‘leave now’ option is just a complete abnegation of our responsibility to millions who have very little and will have very much less if we leave them to their fate.

  17. Sean

    yeah, OK, Christopher, but why not do that in 50 other similar countries around the world? Because it would be seen a violation of their sovereign rights under international law. Remember this was a unilateral invasion by the US who had to confect a ‘Coalition of the Willing’ for legitimacy and violate UN security resolutions to achieve an invasion and ‘regime change’. It’s been hard enough to confect a case for just 2 extremely resource-rich countries, and we’re fighting a losing battle against the locals — the only way to get your hands on the resources without a never-ending insurgency is to annihilate the locals completely, then your motives are plain — this is how it used to be done in the good ol’ days. But I could name a dozen much worse governments around the world about which nothing is being done. And nor can it be done under international law.

    ‘Democracy’ has never been a factor, it’s completely naive to think it would be, and shows a marked lack of understanding of the nature of social organisation of different societies and cultures on this planet. Further, I don’t see the UN constructed to define ‘democracy’ and make it a conditio sine qua non of every declared country in the world without which you will be invaded and your regime toppled — where is that written in the UN charter?

  18. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    Sean, I did say I was never supportive of our tagging along with the US in the first place, and I wasn’t. Was I pretty sure it would lead us to this current mess…yes, I was.

    But, and I think you missed this caveat, we ARE there now, and so any decision we make will have big impacts one way or the other.

    On balance, in my opinion, we’ll do more good by staying as we work out an exit. A hasty exit would be catastrophic for the millions of people who keep asking us to stay. (If you doubt that, look up the best and most extensive surveys that have been done in Afghanistan).

    Your grand imperial conspiracy theory may make it easy for you justify your choices, but frankly, I find them fanciful.

  19. Elan

    So? Do you support the current invasion or are you against it?

    That part is not clear Andrew Riddle.

    If you ever get down to Adelaide I’d like a chat with you.

    I am Pashtun on my mothers side.
    Third generation military (rtd) on my fathers.

    There has never been a conflict between the two.

    And folks: it is Afghan; not Afghani.

    (Why the hell doesn’t the West stay out of Afghanistan? Look how many topics on Crikey alone about…. Afghanistan! I doubt ANY Afghan ever wanted this global microscope on them. The ‘UBL’ excuse for invasion has long since gone by the way).

    (………..and I’ve already said what will occur if we leave. I’m not going to repeat it again….and again..and

  20. Sean

    OK Christopher, if the ‘imperial strategy’ for the middle east and its resources is fanciful, why not invade North Korea, Burma, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the DRC, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and China, just to name a few, which all fall under your banner and definition of despotic or non-democratic governments (and the Bush adminstration’s definition) of countries ripe for regime change. Why cherry-pick just 2 resource-rich countries with rather small populations in the middle of an area full of further resources if it is such a noble cause? You seem to be conveniently conflating the purpose of ‘rooting out terrorism’ with ‘nobly civilising the savages now that we’re here’, which is an age-old set of justifications in the time of empires and colonisation, by the way — by your own mouth. A conflation that the current administrations would no doubt also love to run with now you’ve suggested it.

  21. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    Firstly Sean, Afghanistan is not ‘resource rich’ by oil state standards, nothing like it. A trillion dollar load of minerals at current market prices, even assuming the infrastructure could be safely built would return a few hundred billion in profits. Everything would need to be built to get them to market, and right now that prospect seems a very long way off. (You can’t drive safely just twenty minutes out of Kabul on the US paved highway). So you’re claiming the US is spending billions a months to occupy a country, that might, maybe, in the far distant future, just possibly return some of what they are spending now?

    This idea has no historical evidence ie the reasons for invading Afghanistan were clearly knee jerk reactions to 9/11. That the USA is clearly trying to extricate itself would seem to make your argument look rather inconsistent too, to say the least.

    Iraq has proven one thing at least: the USA will derive no benefit whatsoever from Iraq’s oil, and it was a war of colossal expence that they went into for totally spurious reasons. Getting Iraq’s oil was certainly not one of them.

    But don’t the facts get in your way Sean, you don’t seem to actually need any.

  22. Sean

    What ‘facts’ are you talking about, Chris? I don’t see any in your writing.

  23. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    In 2009 the Asia Foundation did a big survey of Afghans. Just a couple of key findings:

    In 2009, Afghans give a more positive assessment of their economic situation than in previous years, although this prosperity is not evenly shared. Considerably more urban respondents (63%) than rural residents (52%) say they are more prosperous today than they were under the Taliban.

    The proportion of respondents who say that democracy is the best form of government available continues to fall, from 84 percent in 2006 to 78 percent in 2009. However, since 2008 there has been no change in the level of satisfaction with the way democracy is working in Afghanistan (68%).

    Stated support for gender equality remains high, including equal educational opportunities (87%) and women’s right to vote (83%). The proportion who say that women should be allowed to work outside the home has decreased marginally each year from 71 percent in 2006 to its lowest level in 2009 (67%).

    2009 saw a dramatic rise in mobile telephone ownership compared to previous years. This has meant that for the first time the majority of respondents (52%) now have access to this technology.

    …it is, as one would expect, a very mixed picture, but it would all go to sh!t in a bucket if we just pulled out.

    Staying is tough for us, but leaving would be VERY much tougher for them.

  24. Sean

    hmm, sure, everyone in Afghanistan is an atomised individual just like in industrialised countries with absolutely no tribal allegiance, living in 3 bedroom self-contained housing nowhere near their relatives… they prefer to remain armed with automatic weapons, so maybe that’s like the US!

    What happens with voting in Pakistan is that people vote for the most affluent and influential member of the local ruling house in in their area who is standing — such as the Bhutto family, for instance. The candidate may not even have much political interest or anything to say. So you are really ‘voting’ for a continuation of the status quo, and for the local tribal ‘big man’. Is this really a democracy?

  25. Sean

    I see the Asia Foundation is a CIA-funded entity started in California originally designed to prevent the spread of Communism in Asia. It still attracts funding primarily from the CIA. So what is their ‘big survey’ worth? Do we trust ANY of their stats or methodologies? Way to go with the supporting references, Chris. Let’s just make the CIA the ruler of the world now, guarantee them and the US perpetual hegemony and get it over with, eh?

  26. andrew.riddle36

    Elan, I would actually like to talk to you – I’ve always felt that the voices of Afghans are far too scarce in the Australian debate. My Twitter is AndrewRiddle36.

  27. andrew.riddle36

    Freecountry, I must say I’ve rarely heard a serving soldier express the view that the Afghan mission was doomed, hopeless, not worth fighting, or any of the other things we so often hear about Afghanistan.

  28. Fran Barlow

    Christopher Dunne said:

    [I don’t think it’s ‘time to leave’, and that’s not because I’ve ever relished our going into Afghanistan as Uncle Sam’s puppy, but because now that we are there we have to weigh up whether leaving or staying will produce the greatest good.]

    Oh I agree with the basic question, but the fact of the matter is that there is simply no basis for thinking that remaining there will produce a commensurate good — quite the reverse as even the aid agencies are now attesting, the sooner the troops leave, the better.

    [by all the information I’ve read, most Afghans do not want the Taliban back]

    One may well guess that this is so, but we have no basis for it. And even if we did suppose it were so, the Taliban is coming back, otherwise they’d not be negotiating with the Karzai regime. Karzai simply can’t leave Kabul and tour the country. The negotiations are a cover for the west to withdraw without losing too much face.

    If we were serious about helping Afghans, assuming that is actually the right term for the cluster of distinct communities occupying the territory, we’d participate in a humanitarian resettlement program for all who want to leave and contribute generously. Far cheaper per person served and far more likely to speed the area on the road to something like civilised life

  29. Fran Barlow

    I should add one further thing Christopher. You cite the barbarity of the Taliban as a reason for staying. Now clearly, there are no respecters of civilised life. On the other hand it is not hard to find parts of the world where barnarity is even more intense — the Eastern Congo for example where apparently women and children huddling in camps face industrial scale rape.

    Is it clear that the troops in Uruzgan are doing more good than troops in a place where there would be no resistance and where women and children could be protected directly?

    It’s hard to credit.

  30. Purkaeus

    I’m not a fan of the body of this article, but the comments are great. Well done, Mr Riddle, for provoking some interesting and detailed discussion.

  31. Elan

    …………..Andrew I like to think that I have enough intelligence to participate in these discussions.
    I have said before and I’ll say it again;-give me a Control Tower; a Squadron of Fighters, Radar, and I will settle down comfortably…

    …..I don’t know how to ….er, ‘do’ Twitter…er, how to…er, Twit?

    Twitter is what the birds do in the early morning.

    Facebook is how I hold it before I start to read it.

    I’ll send an email to Crikey……
    ______________________________

    “You cite the barbarity of the Taliban as a reason for staying. Now clearly, there are no respecters of civilised life. On the other hand it is not hard to find parts of the world where barbarity is even more intense — the Eastern Congo for example where apparently women and children huddling in camps face industrial scale rape.” (Fran Barlow)

    BINGO!!

    That might seem to be a trite word to use, but Fran’s comment is a bullseye.

    WHY did we invade Afganistan?
    WHY are we still there?
    HOW can we justify the destruction; the ‘collateral damage’ when we ignore vile inhuman abuse in other regions?

    We did it to support a superpower in its desire for revenge. Nothing more; nothing less.

    This ‘coalition of the destructive’ is now in a face saving mode. A face saving mode, that continues the destruction because…well, it’s there now, and it can’t just pull out can it?

    What an utterly odious rationale! And that IS the rationale;- though it cannot be acknowledged as such.

    Afghanistan will continue its tribal battles, as it always has done. Its people will die.
    The only difference now is that ITS people die, and OUR people die.

    Oh yes,-and a corrupt Government, that is wantonly aided by the West, will fairly instantly fall.

    Ironically the West attempts to quell the fires of the Tali’s by throwing kerosene at the problem,-then that same West gets uppity when Afghan’s flee to THEIR country for sanctuary.

    And all this goes on in global ‘plain sight’.

    There is no honour in these actions;-no excuse of finding UBL, left. It has all gone. We continue on, simply to safe face, as occurred with Vietnam.

    And for no other reason.

    The dust of excuse; of rationale, has cleared. All we are left with is the clarity of justification of the unjustifiable.

    Those of you who have supported/support the continuance of this travesty should feel some shame.

    But of course, you don’t.

  32. AR

    There may be some reason for seeking a briefing from Defense if there were a reason for deployment. We should never have set foot in Afghanistan, should leave tomorrow, if not sooner and therefore why give a flying fig what Defense thinks unless the intention is to remain part of the Coalition of the Killing?

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