‘War is a Bummer’

May 15, 2011

Juxtaposition a bit, and, bingo:

The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information.
The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows.
It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure.
We are to-day not far from a disaster.
— “A Report on Mesopotamia,” by T.E. Lawrence, UK’s The Sunday Times,
22 August 1920

Nod off some, and, 91 years later, the same arrogant-incompetence arrives full-tilt again in Britain, but what’s to be done, or who now cares?
And one wonders: what’s T.E talking about — any ordinary care?

Time and history seem at first-glance, contemporary characters, but time covers all three periods — yesterday, today, and tomorrow — while history is yesterday only, or five minutes ago only.
And time is oddly, and most-ironically strange, especially as one ages (but that’s another completely different story, one’s personal history).
Supposedly, there’s what’s called, historic recurrence, or the better-known adage, “history repeats itself,” or maybe sometimes referenced as déjà vu, or whatever, but in reality via ordinary life, these events are really just circumstances, not pre-planned, at least in the normal sense.
The drama surrounding Osama bin Laden’s death only magnifies how history and deeply-nefarious plans can couple together to form the horror of the now-normal-modern life.
One wonders about Sweet Tony Blair and Cowboy George Jr. — neither one understands the past.

Last Thursday, from UK’s the Guardian:

A top military intelligence official has said the discredited dossier on Iraq’s weapons programme was drawn up “to make the case for war,” flatly contradicting persistent claims to the contrary by the Blair government, and in particular by Alastair Campbell, the former prime minister’s chief spin doctor.
In hitherto secret evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Major General Michael Laurie said:
“We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care.”
His evidence is devastating, as it is the first time such a senior intelligence officer has directly contradicted the then government’s claims about the dossier –– and, perhaps more significantly, what Tony Blair and Campbell said when it was released seven months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Laurie said he recalled that the chief of defence intelligence, Air Marshal Sir Joe French, was “frequently inquiring whether we were missing something” and was under pressure.
“We could find no evidence of planes, missiles or equipment that related to WMD [weapons of mass destruction], generally concluding that they must have been dismantled, buried or taken abroad.
There has probably never been a greater detailed scrutiny of every piece of ground in any country.”

Toward the end of the Guardian piece (also a vindication for the BBC for its “sexed up” allegations on the weapons dossier in 2003), a snap at history:

However, a newly declassified document reveals that Sir Kevin Tebbit, then a top official at the Ministry of Defence, warned the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, in January 2003 that the US would “feel betrayed by their partner of choice” if Britain did not go along with the invasion.
Despite its concerns, MI6 told ministers before the invasion that toppling Saddam Hussein “remains a prize because it could give new security to oil supplies.”

Due to modern circumstance, history has tighten its blow-hole nowadays to such a fine degree, repetition is unavoidable, along with ages-old horror.
The invasion of Iraq is most-likely the worst, single event in US history — or at extreme-minimum, the “greatest strategic disaster in United States history,” — and a new analysis on the Iraqi war suggests that actual, violent deaths of Iraq civilians is likely to be close to 400,000 at a minimum.
Thus, the last paragraph from T.E’s dusty-old Mesopotamia report:

We say we are in Mesopotamia to develop it for the benefit of the world.
All experts say that the labour supply is the ruling factor in its development.
How far will the killing of ten thousand villagers and townspeople this summer hinder the production of wheat, cotton, and oil?
How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?

Unlike Mesopotamia, however, Afghanistan has no oil, or any real resource to be lusted after and invaded — the October 2001 foray onto Afghan soil was only a prelude to Iraq disguised as revenge from a non-cow cowboy: “Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.”
Yet, less than eight months later, those responsible for the cowardly acts are not that important, and do not indicate the scope of the mission.
Yeah, Iraqi oil.

So Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden was pushed aside.
And now, near 10 years later, what a freakin’ mess — intelligence, both of the military type and that which is in a human’s brain, are much lacking in Afghanistan.
This absence of intell, according to a recent report, has contributed to the death of thousands of Afghan civilians: The case study points to the worrying lack of scepticism NATO brings to investigations of civilian casualties and its frequent detachment from its immediate surroundings.
NATO, apparently, just don’t give a shit.

Them boys should listen to the Russians, who under the old brand name, ‘the Soviets,’ had a taste of Afghan nonsense.
The Russkies lost 15,000 GIs there in their decade-long war there, and in an annual veterans’ convention just outside of Moscow this past week, Frants Klintsevich, head of Russia’s Union of Afghan Veterans and also a deputy in the Russian parliament, had some telling words for the US-led force.
Klintsevich said he understands the desire to try to tame Afghanistan, but that “the problem of radical Islam will not be solved there, its violence cannot be solved. It is simply unsolvable.”
And this from the same article: Russian veterans are so tightly tied to the catastrophic conflict, they refer to themselves as “Afghans.”
Will NATO troops feel the same — not.

Once again, the truth is NOT out there — the Brits continue.
Last week, General Sir David Richards, the chief of the UK defence staff, along with two other top-level commanders, told a governmental defense committee that serious intelligence failures led British troops into a “hornets’ nest” in Afghanistan.
According to the Guardian:

“It was very clear the British were going to get involved in a very difficult situation,” Richards, then Nato’s commander in Kabul, told the cross-party committee of MPs.
He said: “War is a bummer. Politics and the enemy have a vote.”
Richards, who had asked Britain and other countries to send more troops to southern Afghanistan, warned: “It is impossible just to chuck troops at the problem, because of the great duty of care.”

There’s a lot of ‘care‘ out there, huh?
Ordinary or not.
And who in his right mind wouldn’t believe that indeed ‘war is a bummer’ and is a nightmare for those who have to go through it?
In 2003, the mega-bummer president:

“There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there.
My answer is bring them on,” Bush said.
“We’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.”

When George Jr. blubbered that remark 186 Americans had lost their lives in Iraq, and since then more than 4,500 US GIs have been killed and nearly 50,000 wounded — bummer.
And although George Jr. later said he regretted that little cowboy phrase: “kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong message to people….I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know…. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted.”

George W. Bush and the word, ‘sophisticated,’ do not belong together.
And when it is, that’s a real-real-bad bummer.

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