« Honouring the troops - not the mission | Main | Unanswered questions »

June 27, 2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

north face denali

Very useful article for me, there is more information I have is very important. Thank you! I'm glad you could get out of it to share with us.

supra shoes for cheap

With the increasingly powerful tween market, conglomos like Disney farm the "talent" young, groom them in the preferred image, load em up with tons of $$$ and set them out to keep America's kids as dumb as stumps one stupid song at a time, one nauseating feature film at a time. Today, stardom is not earned. Stars aren't even born anymore; they are manufactured.
Other market watchers are less sanguine. Employment worries have been the gut reaction to the lackluster demand for new homes. Construction will certainly suffer if fewer nsadfew homes are being built, so goes the extrapolative train of thought.flopping back and forth at least a dozen times. I drove my family crazy; taking them from store to store, price comparisons and chatting with the store clerks.

Ad

‘We cannot on the one hand talk about the success or failure of a mission and at the same time point out that there never was such a mission.’

I’ve no doubt that self-interest is one of the main drivers behind the continuation of this war. I don’t agree that it is mutually exclusive between saying this on the one hand and criticising the stated aims and objectives (both in their overall lack of good sense and in highlighting the true consequences) on the other. Both are correct.

This article shows how the NATO strategy is failing and is damaging, but also includes a description of how it is fundamentally about self interest.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LG03Df02.html

‘And so it goes round and round, this ill-oiled war machine, generating ever-more incentives for almost everyone involved - except ordinary Afghans - to keep on keeping on. There's a little something for quite a few: government officials in the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan, for-profit contractors, defense intellectuals, generals, spies, soldiers behind the lines, international aid workers and their Afghan employees, diplomats, members of the Afghan National Army and the police and the Taliban and their various pals and the whole array of camp followers that service warfare everywhere.’

HuwOS

"From my perspective it isn't a case of accusing Aghans of being 'morally incapable' I see it more as pointing out that the moral high ground the proponents assume they have is delusive. As are their plans and expectations."

As I said, if it's what it takes for us to leave them alone then perhaps we should hold our noses and go along with it.

On the other hand, going along with their story, that bringing democracy, stability and human rights to Afghanistan was and is their goal absolves the perpetrators of their crime.

We cannot on the one hand talk about the success or failure of a mission and at the same time point out that there never was such a mission.
It was a cover story, an idea put out there to prevent the real questions from being asked, such as why not negotiate with the Taliban if you really want Bin Laden so much. They certainly seemed more open to negotiation on that than any other issue ever raised with them, they even made an offer to hand him over to an acceptable 3rd party country.

When we play along with the story, then we accept the story and other people see that story being accepted and the story gains even more credibility.
And if we accept the story, then it does simply become a matter of whether we were well intentioned but did not fully understand the difficulties of achieving our goals or well intentioned and while the goals are difficult we will continue until they are achieved.
Either way, we become noble, all of us, including the perpetrators of the horror inflicted on the people of Afghanistan and the corollary applies, the Afghans are lessened, they are uncivilised, barbarians, not worthy of our efforts, they are after all, corrupt, venal and to top it all they're paedophiles too.


Ad

'The Taliban were unpleasant and vicious but compared to the warlords were working to some kind of rules and after a number of years of fighting were about to bring Afghanistan back into the position of being one united country.'

I agree with you. In many areas people dread the corruption and abuse of the army, police and the warlords more than the Taliban, and with good reason.

'So when we accuse the Afghans' of being morally incapable of supporting what we never had any intention of setting up, even less the capability of providing, we are not being honest and we are not being fair.'

From my perspective it isn't a case of accusing Aghans of being 'morally incapable' I see it more as pointing out that the moral high ground the proponents assume they have is delusive. As are their plans and expectations.

HuwOS

"That may well be true. However, Paul is right to say that the proponents are deluded insofar as their plans revolve around such dysfunctional and in many areas (with very good reason) deeply unpopular entities." - Ad

It is true to say that plans that we are encouraged to believe, for example the idea that Afghanistan can be a western style democracy with a high value placed on equal rights and individual freedoms, would indeed seem impossible to believe with the players that there actually are.

But then, do we believe that what we are encouraged to believe is the truth.
We were after all encouraged to believe that there was no choice but to invade Afghanistan and that Iraq not only had WMD but could utilise them within 45 minutes.

No one with even the tiniest amount of knowledge about the state of Afghanistan in 2001 could have thought that the choice in Afghanistan would be between the Taliban or western style democracy.
The choice then was clearly between warlords and the Taliban.
Given that between those two groups that pretty much anyone in the west would strongly dislike, even people in the west could realise that one of them was better than the other.
The Taliban were unpleasant and vicious but compared to the warlords were working to some kind of rules and after a number of years of fighting were about to bring Afghanistan back into the position of being one united country.
Which is generally acknowledged as being the first step necessary in the creation of a stable state, and an essential foundation for any successful state.
We ploughed in, and handed it back to the warlords with a veneer of democratic process. That was when the West really wanted/needed to leave but the problem with not having captured arch nemesis number one meant they couldn't and so the pretence to care about the rights of Afghan women and girls and the creation of a stable western style state had to continue while popular insurrection made it impossible for us to pretend that either we or the warlords had control.
Bin Laden probably did more damage to the West by not being scooped up, than he is accused of doing on the 11th of September 2001.

So when we accuse the Afghans' of being morally incapable of supporting what we never had any intention of setting up, even less the capability of providing, we are not being honest and we are not being fair.

If that's what it takes for us to stop torturing that country then I suppose we should hold our noses and go along with it, but these reasons have been bandied about now for more than two years and we still won't leave the poor sods alone.


Ad

'Some confusion there Ad.

It was me who said
"The vast majority of the public could not care less, if this were not the case, the tories and labour would both have been utterly devastated in any election held since 2001."

and DG has been nothing but consistent in disagreeing with that.'

Ah yes, apologies Huw and DG.

'The groundwork has been clearly laid for defeat in that the blame is being placed squarely on the shoulders of the Afghans themselves, even from people like Paul.'

We could help them win but they won't step up to the plate, are drug addicts, are corrupt, are perverts or whatever the current most popular accusation is to throw against the people we attacked and provide a reason for not achieving the things we pretended we would and wanted to achieve when we didn't want our public to oppose our invasion.'

That may well be true. However, Paul is right to say that the proponents are deluded insofar as their plans revolve around such dysfunctional and in many areas (with very good reason) deeply unpopular entities.

HuwOS

Some confusion there Ad.

It was me who said
"The vast majority of the public could not care less, if this were not the case, the tories and labour would both have been utterly devastated in any election held since 2001."

and DG has been nothing but consistent in disagreeing with that.

Other than that, I agree with you.
The issue for governments now is not to keep their public onside about this being a good war but pure PR about capability.

The groundwork has been clearly laid for defeat in that the blame is being placed squarely on the shoulders of the Afghans themselves, even from people like Paul.

We could help them win but they won't step up to the plate, are drug addicts, are corrupt, are perverts or whatever the current most popular accusation is to throw against the people we attacked and provide a reason for not achieving the things we pretended we would and wanted to achieve when we didn't want our public to oppose our invasion.

Ad

'The reason Labour and the Conservatives continued to be voted in after Iraq was that, just like Afghanistan, people were convinced by the reasoning that since we were there anyway, we had a responsibility to stay until the situation was stable.

You might not agree with the assessment, but it doesn't strike me as the viewpoint of a nation that doesn't give a toss.'

DG, you said earlier:

'The vast majority of the public could not care less, if this were not the case, the tories and labour would both have been utterly devastated in any election held since 2001.'

Which is it then? Besides which the opinion polls contradict what you are saying. Some people might agree with that argument but the majority do not.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8348942.stm

And NATO is not exactly ‘staying until things are stable’ is it? It is fighting a war.

'If people don't give a toss about Afghans, why's General Petraeus making a BFD about preventing civilian casualties today, despite military concerns that the rules are hindering operational effectiveness and putting soldier's lives at risk?'

I don't accept that he has made a 'BFD' about civilian casualties at all. He has said that he wants to place greater emphasis on protecting the troops. He describes "a moral imperative to bring all force to bear when our troops are in a tough position". That means using airstrikes and artillery. Which means more civilian casualties.

HuwOS

You can say that DG.
But I am a big believer in the concept that peoples actions and reactions tell you what they really care about.

The Catholic church for example, in relation to child abuse, spoke a good game, but even as they talked about fully investigating and keeping children out of harms way, were still actively moving abusive priests around parishes and around the world.

The general public reaction to clerical abuse of children never owns the state's own responsibilities in these cases, particularly in Ireland where the church there fulfilled a lot of functions the state itself couldn't fund at the time.

The very idea, as has been argued about Iraq and Afghanistan that wrongdoers must continue on the road they started to see it through to the end being any excuse is simply laughable.

To put it simply the group of men who broke into your fictional house and killed one or two of your fictional children, while one of them rapes your fictional wife, do not get to say that they will stay until they have trained your older children to keep order and when the violence you keep attempting against them reduces to manageable levels.

It would be a very odd world indeed if anyone found that acceptable and yet that is what apparently the caring people of Britain and indeed most of the western world heard and accepted as being only reasonable.

DG

OK then Huw. If people don't give a toss about Afghans, why's General Petraeus making a BFD about preventing civilian casualties today, despite military concerns that the rules are hindering operational effectiveness and putting soldier's lives at risk?

The reason Labour and the Conservatives continued to be voted in after Iraq was that, just like Afghanistan, people were convinced by the reasoning that since we were there anyway, we had a responsibility to stay until the situation was stable. No matter how angry we may be that we'd gone in to begin with, sticking to the plan was considered less disasterous than retreating in an unplanned fashion, leaving the country in chaos.

You might not agree with the assessment, but it doesn't strike me as the viewpoint of a nation that doesn't give a toss.

HuwOS

The short version is
that I disagreed.

HuwOS

Hmm, I guess it didn't post,
so all I can say is that I wrote an absolutely brilliant reply to DG that was deeply intellectual and displaying a mastery of logic and english beyond anything you have ever seen.

Actually it was very long and possibly that is why it is not there and the world is probably better off that it is not.

HuwOS

And yes, I am aware of the irony.

D.G.

I think that what they've actually said is "I remain to be convinced that this is such a bloody and pointless, immoral and unjustifiable occupation that I should vote for an unknown candidate from a fringe party with many views I don't agree with."

And I understand that this won't be comfortable for you to hear, but I truly believe that attitudes like yours are hindering the anti-war movement. Campaigners such as yourself will continue to have have trouble getting people to support the cause while they use negative motivators such as labelling non-supporters apathetic, stupid, etc. Especially while the pro-war camp are using positive motivators - they're using terms like patriotic, brave, and talk about respect for the sacrifices being made. It makes a huge difference.

If you really want to change people's views, get out there and

1/ Tell people *what* you want them to do

2/ Tell them *why* they should do it (the benefits to them, the country and most importantly, the Afghan people - because contrary to your belief, I think people *do* give a toss, that's one of the reasons the pro-war camp are wining the argument by emphasising progress made in women's rights and education etc) and then

3/ make them feel good about doing it.

I have a lot of respect for your compassion and integrity Huw, so I hope you take my comments in the constructive spirit they're intended.

HuwOS

A little unfair?
I hold DG that if the one issue involves the deaths of hundreds and thousands of people as a direct result of our actions, not to mention, maimings, injuries and displacement then it is anything but unfair to place the blame squarely in their court.
What other issues balance such criminality?
What are the general public saying - Well "this parliamentary candidate" may support a bloody and pointless, immoral and unjustifiable occupation that leads to the deaths of many and misery for all but they have good transport policies, and they promise to reform pensions, so on balance he, she or it is the one for me!

Please.
The British public have spoken and what they have said is, they don't give a toss.

DG

I think it's a little unfair to blame public apathy. Public opinion demonstrably has little impact on foreign policy and you can't expect people to cast the only vote they have in four/five years based on one area alone; especially when the policies of the three major parties are indistinguishable.

No power means no responsibility.
(At least, it DID until some double-thinking minion of darkness invented the Principal of Employee Empowerment and didn't bother overmuch about the Practice)

HuwOS

"Public Opinion will explode"

Pure wishful thinking Paul, public opinion is more likely to explode over who wins big brother than over the continued activities in Afghanistan.

The vast majority of the public could not care less, if this were not the case, the tories and labour would both have been utterly devastated in any election held since 2001

Keep up the fight Paul, but don't expect much in the way of support from the general public.

Paul Flynn

Public Opinion will explode when the two biggest lies are revealed. The Taliban represents no terrorist threat. Karzai, his Army and Police cannot build a stable state.

HuwOS

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jun/27/stanley-mcchrystal-rolling-stone-interview-comment

Peter Preston
On the dearth in coverage of the Afghan war/occupation.

"One terrible quote encapsulates terrible truth."

"Well, said the news vice-president at CBS frankly: "I think the biggest factor in how much less we've had on the air really has more to do with Lara's pregnancy than it does with anything else.""

Paul Flynn

'nary a mumur'? Not so. There was a thunderous murmuring from the Public Administration Committee. I know of no previous accusation that any previous Government employed their own vanity photographers.

Kay Tie

The synthetic outrage is palpable.

Your government pioneered media stunts at vast public expense, spending millions, yet nary a murmur from you. The best thing you can bring to the table is your hitherto silence: Swallow your hypocrisy and wait until you find a genuine problem that your government didn't create.

The comments to this entry are closed.