Tag Archives: Afghanistan
Paul Kelly talks to General Jim Moylan about his recently released book detailing his time as chief of operations to the US commander of the multinational force in Iraq, George Casey, which included planning the second battle for Fallujah in November 2004 and the successful general election the following January.
THE most highly placed Australian to serve in Iraq has offered a lethal critique of the Australian way of war in its diplomatic, strategic and military dimensions, challenging the orthodoxy of the Howard and Rudd governments.
Putting it bluntly, (General) Molan, who retired a fortnight ago, says Australia is not prepared “to fight a war involving sustained combat”. As a professional, he is embarrassed. The conclusion from his book is that Australia has been too successful in winning political dividends from extremely limited military commitments. Sooner or later, he believes, our luck will expire.
As an ex professional, I am also embarrassed, as are many of my Army mates, but it takes a General to state the case to have people listen.
The benefits we gain from being a part of the coalition against terrorism is tangible – we gain access to intelligence that helps us secure our citizens; we gain security from the very fact that the terrorist are being confronted in their homelands and thus have difficulty attacking ours and yet this is largely achieved by the efforts and casualties of the Yanks, Canadians and Brits.
Thanks to Howard and his military rebuild we have the capability to deploy a larger force – maybe a Battle Group, and pick up the responsibility of a province in Afghanistan but I don’t absolve Howard from this criticism. I am on record as saying he achieved a lot of recognition for little commitment and whereas it’s true our special forces guys from the West and 4RAR have done us proud, special forces don’t win wars by themselves.
Cue the Royal Australian Regiment, battalions of highly trained, well equipped and motivated young Aussies whose role is clear and unambiguous…to seek out and close with the enemy, to kill or capture him, to seize and hold ground and to repel attack, by day or night, regardless of season, weather or terrain.
It is the battalions of Infantry and Marines from the US, Britain and Canada that are doing the hard yards, who are taking the casualties and who will eventually decide the outcome of war and if we intend to take a seat at the final conference when we have beaten the bastards then we need to recommit.
Patrick Walters also quotes the General in an article headed “A nation at war, but kept clear of combat”
“We in Australia luxuriate in what I describe as wars of choice within wars; we choose the wars we will fight in, we choose the timing of our participation, we choose the geographical areas of our participation (and so control the level of likely combat), we choose the kind of operations we will conduct and we choose when we come home,” he says. As Molan tells Inquirer, Americans do not have that luxury in Iraq or Afghanistan. Australia may not have that luxury in the years ahead.
Chances of that happening under Rudd, Smith and Fitzgibbon – nil, zip, nada, no chance and Buckleys but one lives in hope that we might just do something other than seek seats on committees, demand NATO commit more troops and pontificate about how high we value our defence relationship with the Yanks and yet still refuse to commit sufficient ground troops to make a difference.
AUSTRALIAN troops are believed to have been involved in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan, resulting in casualties including the death of a soldier.
The Australian Defence Force will hold a media briefing at 7.30am (AEST) today to provide details on the incident believed to involve casualties from a Taliban attack.
An Australian special forces commando has been killed and four others have been wounded in a firefight with Taliban militants near the Australian base in the southern Oruzgan Province.
Twenty-seven-year-old Lance Corporal Jason Marks was killed last night (Afghan time) during an attack on a Taliban position 25 kilometres south of the Australian base at Tarin Kowt.
Lance Corporal Marks was a father of two who was born in Broken Hill in the far west of New South Wales and was raised in Yeppoon in Queensland.
The report continues;
Defence Force head Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston said Lance Corporal Marks was part of a Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) platoon which was leading a company-level “deliberate assault” at the time of the firefight.
He said they were attacked while they were out in the open and preparing for their own assault on the Taliban.
Likely translation. The guys were involved in a Company Attack and were caught moving to or from the FUP
As the ALP always termed Afghanistan as the Good War to distinguish it from Iraq,which, for some unfathomable reason (to me anyway) they classify as the Bad War, one could expect them to support and maybe even raise our troop levels. But I’m starting to think that is an unsafe expectation.
Joel Fitzgibbon, our new Defence Minister is busy making demands of NATO that on the face of it will be unmet. Australia isn’t a member of NATO, it only has observer status and whereas the article quotes Fitzgibbon being a tough guy it’s is all about public consumption in Australia.
Look how smart we are and look how stupid the Libs were. We are telling NATO how to run things while John Howard just sent the troops in to do the job. I can just see all the NATO nations and HQ Senior staff rushing to do Australia’s bidding. Listen to the brilliance of new guys Rudd and Fitzgibbon….they have the answers we have been looking for…it’s OK, the war is won
I’m also a bit concerned that it foretells the ALP reducing our commitment but time will tell.
For those interested I have included a list of contributors and relevant strengths as at 6 Feb 08
United States – 15,000
United Kingdom – 7,800
Germany – 3,200
Italy – 2,800
Canada – 2500
Netherlands – 1,650
France – 1,515
Poland – 1,100
Australia – 1,070
Denmark – 780
Spain – 740
Turkey – 675
Romania – 535
Norway – 495
Bulgaria – 420
Belgium – 370
Sweden – 345
Lithuania – 260
Hungary – 230
Croatia – 190
Portugal – 160
Greece – 150
Albania – 140
Czech Republic – 135
Eastonia – 135
Republic of Macedonia – 130
New Zealand – 115
Finland – 105
and Austria, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iceland, Ireland, Jordan, Luxemburg, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland with less than 100 troops
I note at Larvatus Prodeo that their understanding of the War on Terror is all about legal interpretations of obscure points of law. The war to them is being fought in the courts but the innocents being killed and the military and Intelligence organizations trying to stop these deaths are fighting in a different theatre. Every time a terrorist is caught these lawyers cue up in their thousands to do their best to defeat the efforts of those doing the actual fighting.
It’s as if they are defending Jihad Jacks right to change the world through force.
From The Age
In an interview, Thomas said he did not like al-Qaeda’s methods but said he trained with them for jihad (holy war) and “to make America change its ways”. This could be done only by force, Thomas had said.
He said he had been at close quarters with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and had been told that bin Laden wanted an Australian to work for him in Australia locating military installations. Thomas said he had been told to return to Australia to work and create a cover.
He said he had heard of a plan to bring down a jet with the Pakistani president on board and a plan to break a detainee out of Guantanamo Bay. He had been given $US3500 and an air ticket home to Australia.
Thomas had falsified his passport to make it appear he had not been in Pakistan before the attacks of September 11, 2001, Ms Morrish said. He had been arrested trying to leave Pakistan in January 2003 with a falsified passport.
I don’t see the problem. If he admits to the above then lock him up.
But the lawyers want him free claiming evidence;
…. was allegedly based almost entirely on evidence extracted under torture in a lawless Pakistani military prison without the presence of a lawyer.
Torture has been so devalued over the period of the waging of this war that every interview in CSI Miami and/or New York could be classified as ‘evidence extracted under torture’ let alone the antics of the police in old shows like Homicide.
As I understand it, the quote from The Age wasn’t extracted under ‘torture’ in Pakistan by some S&M Specialist; it is a record of interviews conducted by Australian agents.
Defence say Jihad wasn’t acting voluntarily;
Jihad Jack’s senior counsel,Lex Lasry, QC, said an interview conducted while Thomas was held in custody in Pakistan in March 2003 should not have been allowed into his Supreme Court trial.
He said Thomas was not acting voluntarily when he gave the interview and he had no access to a lawyer, in breach of the Commonwealth Crimes Act.
Commonwealth DPP says he was;
Wendy Abraham, QC, for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, said Australian Federal Police agents tried to get a lawyer for Thomas but were thwarted by Pakistani authorities. She told the Court of Appeal that police informed Thomas he had a right to a lawyer but one could not be provided. He was given a choice about whether to take part, Ms Abraham said.
He agreed to the interview …he admitted his involvement with al-Qaeda.
Good enough for me.