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Friday, February 19, 2010


On Sunday 14 February 2010, 2 days after the launch of an allied assault against the Taliban held town of Marjah in Helmand province, Afghanistan, it was reported that a rogue NATO rocket had killed twelve Afghan civilians. General Stanley McChrystal, the NATO commander expressed his profound regrets at the deaths and added that avoiding civilian deaths had been ‘a cornerstone of the war strategy’. Some confusion then set in and it wasn’t immediately clear if one rocket had been fired or two. Meanwhile, as a result of the ‘tragedy’ the weapon used was withdrawn from use.

If there is one thing the US and their allies have become adept at sine 9/11 it is turning a negative into a positive when it comes to propaganda.

Since Sunday the allies have clearly been thinking about the very negative impact that the news of the killing of Afghan civilians would have on both public opinion at home and on the people that they are pretending to ‘liberate’. As a result, by yesterday, 17 February 2010, the one rocket that had somehow strayed off some 300 meters from its intended target, morphed into two rockets that were deliberately launched at the target it hit which the allies now say contained Taliban fighters and that the civilians killed were being used as human shields. Oddly, however, no Taliban fighters were found among the dead. Now the allies are using the ‘Taliban are using human shields’ theme as an excuse to explain their inability to progress in their onslaught against the few Taliban fighters left in Marjah. Of course, accusing the Taliban of using civilians as human shields kills three birds with one stone; it provides a vindication for the deaths of twelve civilians by putting the blame on those the allies are attacking, it provides an explanation for the slow progress of a major assault by 15000 highly trained and well armed soldiers against a handful of ill-equipped and poorly trained guerrilla fighters, and it demeans the fighters painting them as evil cowards hiding behind civilians. (Does all this sound familiar to you yet?)

Guerrilla fighters don’t have barracks to stay in, they have no use for open battlefields, in many cases the local civilians are also the guerrilla fighters and where they are killed is very often their home. Guerrilla fighting is a form of warfare that relies on being able to count on the local community’s help for food and shelter. The Western allies are trying to paint a picture where soldiers should be on a battlefield fighting each other that and that those that do not are cowards. We’ve seen this in every guerrilla war that the West, particularly the US, have been in. Most recent, of course, has been the wars launched against the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip.

The reality is; there is no evidence that Taliban fighters deliberately use civilians as human shields. Those that are making the accusations are merely covering for their own mistakes and the fact that have no right to be on dirt that doesn’t belong to them in the first place.


Anonymous said...

The misinformation tactic of blaming the 'taliban' for everything that is wrong or bad over there is believed by no-one except the propagandists these days.

They don't seem to have grasped the fact that repeated use of this approach, actually creates scepticism in the public abroad from which they assume the worst which actually adds to the public cynicism.
In effect, the cycle has now progressed beyond the feckless, but the propagandists are still trapped in 'idle' while the public think beyond it as having seen through the lies and thus have proceeded past all this in '2nd gear'. ( I drive a MG (passionately) so excuse the driving analogue).
Judging from the world press, this latest campaign is a big ho-hum and characterised by derisory laughter as we wait the final of Doctor Who on Sunday night, which is more imprtant to most.

Nylon Shirt

Damian Lataan said...

G'day NS. I'm reminded of the old joke that's preceeded by 'How many (insert object of derision here) does it take to change a light bulb?' Answer? If this whole fiasco didn't actually cost anyone their life, I could provide a goodly number of comical answers.

I've had a few MG's over the years. In fact, my first car was an old MG Magnette Mk III saloon which I part owned with a fellow student. It cost us the princely sum of 17 pounds in 1966.

Wish I had it now!!

traducteur said...

There was a lot of excited advance publicity about the great offensive in Helmand province, but for the past few days the mainstream media have been strangely silent about it. Bogged down, is it?

traducteur said...

There has been another air strike on civilians this morning. Twenty-seven dead, according to media accounts, including women and children. The murdering swines.

Anonymous said...

Yes Trad my friend, I too saw this report.
Some 27 people killed by a plane.

I fear the real 'strategy' is to kill whomever they like and cleanse their minds by pretending that the victims are 'insurgents' or terrorists, which to them makes it all right.

From what I hear (via an Army mate here), the yanks know that they've lost this war too and are lashing out petulantly as they just can't win and every day it continues hammers home that fact.
Also, according to my Army mate (a friend for many years), the yank soldiers are drug addled and can't function properly.
Alcoholism, illegal drug use and thats in combination to the 'authorised' drugs the yanks give to theri soldiers such as 'go' and 'slow' pills to wind them up before action and then to reverse the effects later.

Now all these drugs are being passed onto the Aussie soldiers as well and accroding to my mate, most of the Aussie diggers are drug addled and alcohol addicted as well.

Revealingly, the Army brass here does admit that alcoholism is a real problem in the Army here and over in Afghanistan, but I doubt they'll reveal the truth about the drug use, which has a bad stigma if the public were to hear of this.

This reminds me of the Vietnam experience where most of the time, the soldiers over there didn't know what they were doing and whether they 'were Arthur or Martha', as the expression goes.

I also suggest as well that the U.S military is now falling apart and that the chain of command is breaking down such that elements within are ignoring orders and doing as they will in contravention of the official 'hearts and minds' strategy.
Hence mad pilots off their heads, seeing a group of civilians and bombing them out of paranoia and frustration, ignoring rules of engagement.

There have been too many 'accidents' over the years now for this latest one to be wished away.
The public here and globally don't believe in it anymore and even governments are pulling out or refusing to do as the yanks tell them too.
Australia may even be just doing the tokenism bit, just to get the yanks off our backs as privately they too know we've lost and this this folly will fail.
Nylon Shirt