Thursday, April 6, 2017

SHIT HAPPENS IN WAR

and all those who pontificate at length about civilian causalities from the comfort of the sidelines knowing nowt about the realities of insurgent conflict and combined force night operations and then go to bed to sleep between clean sheets after having quaffed a couple of chardonnays have my contempt.

Shit happens in war.   War is shitty.   Clive Hume won a well deserved VC for his actions on Crete in WW2.   But there is a dark side to the story.   In the counter attack on Galatas shots were fired at members of Hume's platoon by a German who fed into a house.   Hume and another soldier set off in pursuit of him.   They went into the house but could see nothing ... then they noticed a trapdoor in the floor open slightly.   They assumed the German was in the cellar.   The soldier pulled the trapdoor open and Hume threw two grenades down it.    It was full of women and children.   Many were killed and injured.   I repeat ... shit happens in war.   War is shitty.    But is anyone going to argue with me that Hume did that deliberately?

The International Criminal Court reports that there have been over 1,600 civilian casualties in Afghanistan caused by military action but that there was no evidence to show that any of these were deliberate.    I'll go with that.    In my experience soldiers are professional.   They know the rules and abide by them.   The notion that the casualties alleged by Hager and Stephenson were extra-judicial revenge killings by the SAS gone rogue is shock/horror journalism at its worst designed to sell books.



14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hagar has really jumped the shark for sure now. Dirty Politics had a cursory appeal in that it was amusing to see Cameron Slater and his socially awkward "chum" from the Hawkes Bay being so deluded as to believe that they were top notch political machiavellians.

Anonymous said...

Veteran...that is your spin on it. At no time has it been claimed that it was a revenge attack or the killing of civilians was deliberate.

It was an overwhelming response to very dodgy evidence. It is this evidence and the intelligence used that needs to see the light of day in order to hold people accountable and learn lessons that will otherwise be lost and repeated as in fact this event was repetition of the SAS attack on the transport compound where they were used to settle old commercial scores.

The book contains details the 21 deaths: their name and family connections, and injuries, as well as details of precisely where they were when they were wounded or killed. These names have been officially confirmed by the district governor and by numerous other sources; they were all civilians. Each name on the list has a human story: the recently graduated school teacher home on holiday who was killed behind his parents’ house; the three-year-old girl killed by exploding munitions as her mother was trying to carry her to safety; the farmer who lay without medical assistance for nine hours, with a piece of shrapnel lodged in his body, before he died. Yet the authorities cannot name the six insurgents supposedly killed.

To deny that it was monstrous fuck up based on emotion rather than hard intelligence flies in the face of the evidence and to compare the battle for Crete and one man's actions in the heat of battle with this event just does not hold water.


Lord Egbut

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

"At no time has it been claimed that it was a revenge attack or the killing of civilians was deliberate."

Really?

Legbut's at it again.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11822724

'SAS revenge raid killed six Afghan civilians, claims new Nicky Hager book'

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... you're 13,000k removed from the action. Talk-back radio was alive with people happy to believe the worst and never mind the story suddenly developed holes. On this blog one of my colleagues even suggested NZ could find itself taken to the ICC for war crimes. For myself I see no evidence that this was a deliberately planned revenge attack by soldiers gone rogue targeting civilians. Rather, my simple thesis is that shit happens in war and it goes with the territory.

Some choose to believe the worst. Clearly I take a different view.

Anonymous said...

Troll Adolf......you are the first one to slag off the Herald. It was the Herald that added "revenge" and an unnamed source. Veteran.....It was deliberate planned attack based on the dubious intelligence that the perpetrators of the attack on on NZ troops 50k away were lurking in the compound. Nor is there any suggestion that the troopers were rogue, they were just following orders...this is just made up stuff to paint the journalists as loopy loops.

If you are going to quote at least quote from the book and not half arsed newspaper headlines that are prone to sensationalise.

Lord Egbut

The Realist said...

What about Minqar Qaim?

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... then you and I are on the same page. It was an operation based on perhaps dubious intelligence that went wrong. If we investigated publicly every military operation that went wrong those carrying out the investigations would be in permanent session. I repeat, war is shit and shit happens. When you commit the military to operations you do so in that knowledge.

That is not to say war crimes shouldn't be investigated. Of course they should. But on the evidence presented so far this was not a war crime or anything near that.

The underlying thesis of the book was as I said and the authors were quite happy to let the media and the public run wild with that ... why, it helped sales. It's fascinating to me the refusal of the whistleblower so called to step 4th .... you can be forgiven for wondering why. As for the civilian casualties claimed and blood money and ambulance chasing lawyers are also part of the equation.

Realist ... war is replete with many examples.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Fool Legbut

Aaaaaaaah. So you didn't mean "At no time has it been claimed that it was a revenge attack or the killing of civilians was deliberate."

Jobson Growth said...

"and all those who pontificate at length about civilian causalities from the comfort of the sidelines knowing nowt about the realities of insurgent conflict and combined force night operations and then go to bed to sleep between clean sheets after having quaffed a couple of chardonnays have my contempt."

Veteran, apart from the chardonay bit ....

I accept that you are/were a professional warrior and so will always take the side of those in the trade.

However, there was no war in Afghanistan until Bush's orchestrated litany of lies began one. Every civilian death was deliberate, as a result of the deliberate action of Bush and Co to invade a nation that posed no threat to any of the invaders.

You have also fallen for the Bush/Cheney propaganda of labeling those defending their homes, their families, the village and their country from foreign invaders as "insurgents" rather than their true position as defenders and patriots.

We saw the same in Iraq where Bush's insane hatred of Saddam Hussein (that man tried to kill my mommy) caused the destruction of the civil infrastructure of a whole nation, its fracturing along ethnic and religious lines, and directly led to the creation of ISIS.

Now, I am just a civilian, maybe you with your military knowledge/connections can show me the error of my thinking and provide a compelling national interest of New Zealand to be involved in a grubby invasion of an independent, sovereign nation that posed no existential threat to NZ.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Yes you are just a civilian and everything you write shows the error in your thinking.

The Veteran said...

Jobson Growth ... don't need to. That is a decision of the duly elected government.
However I do note the SAS were first deployed into Afghanistan in 2001 at the direction of the then Labour Government in Operations Concord, Concord 11 and Concord 111.

My support for the military over Hager and his still unsubstantiated allegations is simply that his shock horror revelations are part and parcel of war. I'll say again. war is shitty and shit happens. I see no evidence at all this was a rogue operation where civilians were deliberately targeted and where there were extra-judical killings of civilians. If that were the the case I'd support an inquiry ... but at this stage there is absolutely no evidence to support that contention.

It is legitimate to blame successive governments for getting us into Afghanistan if you want to but it is not legitimate to take your anger out on those who simply did their duty in very difficult circumstances. That is simply a repeat of what happened in the Vietnam conflict. Wasn't right then ... isn't right now.

Anonymous said...

Veteran....I must admit that when you get an idea firmly fixed in your head you do not deviate. Bit between teeth you charge on regardless, bags of smoke and up the guts eh.

For the last time.......the book claims the civilians were collateral damage from a botched and hurried operation that was signed off way up the chain of command without investigating the intelligence.

It was not the botching it was the subsequent coverup and denial that stinks and I am offended that these dirt poor people who were machine gunned in the middle of one dark night are painted as greedy liars and only after blood money. I take it all NZ personnel involved were insured or had some sort of monetary compensation available in case of death or injury...well the villagers have no such backstop so we owe them and should not be churlish when it comes to compensation.

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Well done Egbut ... you at least have moved away from the war crimes bit. If the Afgahni government were to front and say we believe there were civilian casualties resulting from the conduct of this operation and that it is appropriate that compensation is payable then we should respect that. That for me is the start point ... their country, their government, their call.

There are any number of issues in play here. I don't think we can act unilaterally.

Noel said...

Had a good chuckle when the Defence spokesperson said he had seen the video and you can to if you are sufficiently vetted.

Why didn't he just say "I've seen the video but its classified and you can't."