So Rumsfeld and Haynes and Feith and their minions are gone (although we're never quite sure where), and that was supposed to be a good thing, yes? Cooler heads prevailed. The real generals, the ones who know there are reasons that a good officer never lies to himself or his political bosses about an actual military situation, even when the political bosses are ordering him to lie -- those guys got their balance back, yes?
Very early this morning I read in the Guardian the news that the U.S. military had decided this weekend to review its conclusions about the air strike in Afghanistan last month that locals claimed had killed ninety civilians, many of them women and children. And I read why the U.S. has decided to do that: "it emerged that film recorded on mobile phones showed rows of bodies of children and babies in a makeshift morgue." (Don't you just love the passive voice?)
And then, via Siun at firedoglake, I read this report from the Times of London, with the following bit of gobsmacking news about the U.S. military's original lies about the strike:
... US commanders and Pentagon officials have said repeatedly that seven civilians died alongside 35 Taleban militants during a legitimate combat operation, the target of which was a meeting of Taleban leaders.
The US military said that its findings were corroborated by an independent journalist embedded with the US force. He was named as the Fox News correspondent Oliver North, who came to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair, when he was an army colonel.
Bloody hell! Who are these people -- the Undead?
And what are responsible officers in the U.S. armed forces doing relying for anything on the word of a proven liar like Oliver North?
The first horror of this story is the escalating carnage that the U.S. "surge" in Afghanistan, of which Canadian forces are now a part, is wreaking on an increasingly outraged civilian population, as documented in the Human Rights Watch reports cited by both the Guardian and the Times.
The second is the criminal stupidity that is going to remind many of us of the self-destructive conduct of the U.S. military elite during the Viet Nam war. An honorable officer never -- never -- allows political pressure to force him to lie -- to himself or to anyone else -- about actual military realities on the ground, and there's a reason for that. Do that long enough, give in to the politicization of a combat situation, and sooner or later you are going to get your own troops killed.
I was about ten years old when my dad, a captain in the Canadian army during the Second World War, taught me that. An officer's first duty is to his troops, and an officer does not lie, because lies put his troops in danger.
That is what the U.S. military are doing in Afghanistan, endangering the Afghans, their own troops, and ours. Our soldiers are now under their command. Sooner or later, they are going to get their own guys killed and they're going to get our guys killed. They have no honour, and we are fools to collaborate with them.