Tag Archives: Iraq

Alexander Downer on Iraq

The Left have been celebrating the 10th anniversary with a litany of what went wrong. Me, I’m more positive and haven’t really changed my opinion since I posted on the subject nearly ten years ago

A democracy in the middle of the shit-hole that is the Middle East would give birth to hope and all the Mullahs and Kings and Princes would be feeling uneasy

More here

Today in the Age Alexander Downer, Foreign Affairs minister when adults were playing the game has a piece in The Age

We played a worthy role in Saddam’s demise

Let me be blunt: I think we were right to play our own small part in the destruction of the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a far from perfect operation, mistakes were made and the sectarian violence that followed was appalling. But there are three reasons why the Iraqis, the Middle East and the world are better off for the demise of the Saddam regime.

The first is simple humanity.  Sadam is dead!  That’s a very big plus for the world and particularly Iraqis

Secondly, there is the issue of chemical and biological weapons.  He had ‘em, he used ‘em and now he can’t nor can any other aspiring despot

Downer continues;

But if the threshold question is, should we have played a part in getting rid of Saddam a decade ago, my answer is an unequivocal yes.

I’m glad we did. We played a small part in evicting the world’s most brutal dictator who made President Assad of Syria look moderate. We played a tiny part in starting to change theologies of the Middle East from dictatorship to democracy. And we helped spare the region and the world from a dictator who aspired to dominate the Arab world and threaten Israel.

That was the thing about the Howard government: we stood for something. And one of the things we stood for was freedom.

As different from the Gillard government who stand for themselves and the less than 20% of the population who are unionists.

US withdraws from Iraq

Six years ago, talking about Iraq, I wrote;

a democracy in the middle of the shit-hole that is the Middle East would give birth to hope and all the Mullahs and Kings and Princes would be feeling uneasy

Since the Arab Spring bloomed I’ve been waiting for someone to put it all together and give George Bush some credit for the changes, all to no avail.

Until today that is.

Today’s The Australian editorial opines;

Clearly, the Arab Spring has been triggered, at least in part, because people of the Middle East and North Africa have seen Arabs proudly casting ballots in Iraq and taking control of their own destiny.

For all his mistakes in the post-invasion phase, it was former president Bush’s foresight and courage in implementing the surge in 2007 that saved the Iraq venture, turning a conflagration of defeat and sectarian terrorism into a solid basis for a secure and democratic future.

And this to close;

So while the end belongs to Mr Obama, the success belongs to Mr Bush

The Left would have to agree, wouldn’t they?

Kovko’s last chapter

AFTER eight weeks of hearings, at a cost of more than $1 million, that have exposed the most painful and private secrets of Private Jake Kovco’s life, the inquest into his death yesterday vindicated the 2006 military inquiry verdict that he died while”skylarking”.

The military inquest sorted out all the problems associated with Kovco’s repatriation to Australia and the ADF have put in place measures to ensure it performs better should a similar incidence happen again. Although there would not have been any experience base left after more than thirty years without fatalities the ADF should have foreseen and been prepared for the obvious.

In all my time in the army I never came across an original problem. Somewhere in the files there was always a paper or SOP laying down procedure and no doubt with over 500 bodies repatriated from Vietnam a similar answer would have existed.

The lessons learned, or rather relearned, have already been turned into procedure so all this latest inquest has done is to bring into the open things that should’ve been left unsaid. The widow does not need to have her husbands imperfections underlined and nor does the nation need to know he was somewhat cavalier with weapons.

Lots of soldiers die in a war zone and not all of them from enemy action and often enough, in our long military history, soldiers have died by their own hand; either deliberately or accidentally. Drawn out public inquests, seemingly hunting down witches, prove little once second parties have been eliminated.

Mrs Kovko needs to get on with her life remembering the best of her husband and forgetting the painful and private secrets raised as people sought a darker side to what already was a tragedy.

We need to let the poor man rest in peace and to let his wife and kids live on in peace.

Woman angered by silence on the Iraq War

From getup.org;

As this election looks more and more a case of “Don’t mention the war“, two brave young Australian women, both victims of the war on terror, have united to put peace back on the political agenda.

Whereas I have sympathy for both of them, they are fighting an uphill battle as news from the war gets better each day. Even the ALP are silent on the matter and the only people who want to raise a noise are the Getup mob.

The media have just gone quiet about Iraq, haven’t they? Well with their idea about Iraq being, only bad news is good news, we can see why.

The BBCare getting the message and The Observer, a long-time opponent to anything George Bush suggested heads an article -Packed classes hint at peace in battered Iraq in this piece

I wonder if it ever occurred to the girls to blame the terrorists for their troubles? Nah can’t bash Howard with that.

As usual, getup.org is off the pace but I guess they serve some kind of purpose – I just can’t think what it might be.

Majors now running Defence Policy

Well it’s all settled then. We have the Shadow minister for defence saying defence policy should be dictated by a Major. I guess smaller incursions than Iraq, say Fiji, could be stage managed by the Sergeant’s Mess on that basis.

Peter Tinley has been reported in Saturday’s press as saying Iraq is a moral blunder and to lend more weight to his opinion the article identifies him as a ex SAS Major and war hero – both sound qualifications for a considered opinion however I just can’t get it out of my mind that there is some political overture involved.

Peter has retired from the Military and has set up a sandstone business in Fremantle, Australis Pavestone and Blue Gum Leadership, a .leadership Consultancy He is moving into the corporate world and lectures and submits articles to various institutions in West Australia including the Curtin Business School and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority.

Nothing wrong with any of that and front page Weekend Australia isnt going to hurt his aspirations. Good or bad, publicity is publicity.

I may be old fashioned but I’m of the opinion that ex officers should not go public about finer points of intelligence planning and if they critisize the government of the day they should do so quoting their political aspirations rather than their military qualifications. I might add that a Major doesn’t really have much sway in war zones and I’ve generally found they are too close to the action to have objective opinions about the war overall albeit very in-tune with their immediate responsibility.

But that’s just the opinion of an ex major and would hardly rate against opinions of editors with a mission to increase circulation.

Peter’s not quiet so angry in this Army News article that announces his being made a Member of the Order of Australia for his role in the planning and coordination of the Op Falconer. Happy to accept awards from the same people who he now says ‘cynically used the ADF and duped the public’ – maybe he has a double standard issue.

“It was a cynical use of the Australian Defence Force by the Government,” the ex-SAS operations officer told The Weekend Australian yesterday.

“This war duped the Australian Defence Force and the Australian people in terms of thinking it was in some way legitimate.

Old friend and retired Army Officer, Karl Hartman nails the issue with his letter in todays Australian.

I BELIEVE it is worthwhile asking the chief of the defence force how many SAS majors he has on his staff giving him strategic advice. The answer would be “not many”. You would think that after 25 years, Tinley would have learnt to keep his mouth shut.

Oh, and the term ‘Hero’, at least within miltary circles, is not normally used when discussing recipients of the Order of Australia. These awards are made for exemplorary service and hard and dilgent work in planning or management; not actions in the face of the enemy. Maybe the journalist based the use of Hero on this paragraph

Part of his command was 1 SAS Squadron, which was awarded a US Meritorious Unit citation for its “sustained gallantry”, contributing to a comprehensive success for coalition forces in Iraq.

Part of his command was 1 SAS Sqn‘ says he wasn’t the OC of 1 Sqn and as Majors only command at Squadron level, and considering what else was reported, then he was a part of the Special Forces planning staff and had no command function as such.

I have not pursued any insider information and thus don’t know exactly waht Peter’s appointment was in Iraq but in reading the article the terms ‘Hero‘ and ‘Part of his command was 1 SAS Sqn’ are misleading.

Still, half the front page of the Weekend Australian is good publicity.

Change course, Bush urged from all sides

US President George W.Bush left Washington yesterday bound for the Asian economic summit in Vietnam with advice from left, right and centre ringing in his ears to change course, not only in Iraq but on foreign policy in general.

Good Idea. Start with securing the borders of Iraq and then attacking the terrorists lines of supply and if that means destroying the factories from whence they obtain their explosives for IEDs then so be it.

In whatever country they are located.

The anti-war terrorist appeasement brigade have achieved one of their aims. They can now draw parrallels between Vietnam and Iraq with some degree of truth after the mid-term US elections. In ’72 and ’74 when the South Vietnamese needed support the then Democrat majority denied them hope allowing the Communist North to re-arm courtesy of the USSR and subsequently invade South Vietnam.

The assassinations, reducation camps and communists policies resulting in poverty and terror for the remaining millions who couldn’t flee is now history. I would just hope we don’t repeat history just because we have forgotten the past or never understood it in the first place.

Scientists and magic numbers

Tim Lambert is a computer scientist at the University of New South Wales and a standout example of why we don’t let academics with math majors run real life situations. He has invested a considerable amount of time defending the latest Lancet Democrat Party campaign advert that points to 650,000 deaths in Iraq.

Using such cutting post titles as Flypaper for the ennumerates and Stupid beyond belief he attacks all and sundry with mathmatical wizardry pointing out the methodolgy is well proven. What he doesn’t do is prove that the figures are anywhere near believable.

As there are too many lawyers fighting battles in court to save the souls of terrorist with clever legal procedures against a backdrop of slaughtered civilian victims then likewise there are now too many scientist quoting theory that has little to do with real life.

When I went to war, as different than when I read about it or studied the mathmatical formulae pertaining to same; my battalion lost 30 killed and 220 wounded giving a 7.33:1 ratio of deaths to wounded. Our sister battalion lost 50 to 281 resulting in a ratio of 5.6:1. Current stats from Iraq are running at 8:1, slightly higher, but all this low level maths suggests the Iraq hospitals have had 5.2 million wounded to deal with. The 650,000 also suggests that there has been 500 killed per day for every day of the war.

Sorry, I just don’t believe it. As Lambert argues, the methodology is proven but the extrapolation says what might be and it clearly isn’t.

It is worth reading the comments at Deltoid. It may help the casual reader to understand the politics behind the anti Bush theorists. Theories abound in a common sense vacuum.

Air raid kills al-Qaeda’s Zarqawi

It would appear the butcher of Baghdad has been killed by the US. The Jordanian-born militant, who is believed to have personally beheaded several Western hostages including Ken Bigley, a Liverpool engineer, was the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq after swearing allegiance to Osama bin Laden in 2004. He had a $25 million bounty on his head.

This report from News.com

THE al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a US air attack near Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said today.

“Today, al-Zarqawi was eliminated,” Mr Maliki told a news conference. His statement drew loud applause in the hall where he made the announcement.

ABC news reported that US helicopters hit a house near Baquba, 65km north of Baghdad, at sunset yesterday.

“Zarqawi was apparently injured at first … The Americans found him. They handed him over to the Iraqis and he later died of his injuries,” ABC said.

The BBC has an obituary and mentions Zarquawi was a rival of Bin Laden.

Both men rose to prominence as “Afghan Arabs” – leading foreign fighters in the “jihad” against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

It was a far cry from Zarqawi’s youth as a petty criminal in Jordan, remembered by those who knew him as a simple, quick-tempered and barely literate gangster.

Another nail in al-Qaeda‘s coffin.

A letter from Iraq

From the Wall Street Journal, AKA The Opinion Journal
Letter From Iraq
Here’s an email we received from a U.S. military officer who asks us to withhold his name:

I am currently stationed here in Iraq and have been here for the past 11 months; I am an adviser to the Iraqis and meet them on a daily basis. I have been in many locations in the country and am involved on a daily basis together with the Iraqis fighting the insurgency.

The media manipulation by the insurgents is brilliant and extremely effective. The press has become a puppet for the insurgents; the insurgents know exactly what they are doing with these “massacres” (quoted here because the investigation has not been completed, nor have any charges been filed) and the political nightmare they will cause the current administration. Bodies are produced for film, and there is zero fact-checking by the media–the media eat up this “news” like there is no tomorrow. A couple of hundred bucks paid by the insurgents to a few guys/ladies in the town where this “massacre” occurred to make up some bad news and pine for the BBC’s or CBS’s or whoever’s cameras is a nice month’s salary for many and money well spent by the insurgency.

All the Arabs (Sunni and Shia), Kurds and Chaldeans I have come to know well here will tell you that Arabs are emotional people who tend to exaggerate. A lot. Experience has shown that “50 insurgents hiding out in XX location” is five, at most 10. “Three hundred dead” at the morgue is at most 40. “A huge cache with WMD” is 45-50 weapons. It is a cultural norm and is accepted over here as a norm. It is reported in the West as fact. With no fact-checking.

When we convoy, all in the town/village know when and where there is a bomb/IED/VBIED that is targeting coalition forces. This is not so true in Baghdad, but in the outlying towns all know. What is the culpability for those people in the village/town? Would the Marines be guilty in the U.S. under the same circumstances?

I do not know whether or not the Marines are guilty. A Marine’s job is to “close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver,” and I can guarantee its effectiveness. But the insurgents have the ear of the press. Hopefully the politics will be put aside for the investigation and the facts will be told, whatever they may be.

We live in hope but I’m sure the media can be relied upon to take a negative view prior to the release of the report on the investigation.

A picture speaks a thousand lies

Coonass in Texas has caught the London Times out in a blatant case of anti -anything US.

I was shocked that there were photos of victims killed by marines,bound and blindfolded, these guys must be guilty I thought and there must be more photographic evidence. With a heavy heart I searched google images for ‘haditha’, expecting to find the entire massacre photo’d from every angle.

Instead I found the same photo in this article in newsweek, with the caption: “Insurgents in Haditha executed 19 Shiite fishermen and National Guardsmen in a sports stadium”

I think this goes beyond a slant,this is slander. The times posted a photo that shows “haditha victims” in a story about marines killing people in haditha, when they know they stole the photo from an earlier story about insurgents killing shiites in Haditha.

I don’t know what really happened to the marines in Haditha, but I tend to believe their version more than the other side’s version and I’m willing to wait for the court martial for the facts to come out before passing judgement.

Michelle Malkin picks up on the story and suggests readers might like to write to the Times Editor pointing out their feelings on the matter. Michelle herself wrote to him and in an interchange of accusations and excuses said;

If you are left with the impression that the dead bodies on the ground were massacred by our Marines, that is exactly what the Times intends.This is an accurate statement. If the Times did not intend for readers to associate the photograph with the Nov. 19 Haditha incident, why did your newspaper use the photo?

I hope the paper provides a full explanation for exactly how it came to characterize and caption an April 2005 AP photo of fishermen murdered by insurgents as “victims of al-Haditha” of the “Massacre Marines blinded by hate” on Nov. 19, 2005.

The Times has withdrawn the photo associated with the article but the article is still slanted very much against the marines as I have mentioned previously all is not as it seems.

If the investigation finds against the Marines then they should feel the full force of the law but keep in mind the only information we have at this stage is from the Media and a clever wordsmith can turn any story into a disaster. There are currently thousands of journalists around the world hoping like hell that the Marines are guilty…more gist for the anti-US mill and as always, they will write up the incident day after day for months in the absence of any proof and by the time the investigation report is released it won’t matter what it says.

The world will have readily accepted their guilt.

Whatever readers may think I’m not an apologist for the US. I don’t feel I have to be as unlike most of my readers, and most probably all of the media, I have worked with the Americans on a soldier-to-soldier basis and know them more than most. Like all large forces they will always have rogues amongst them but no society can absorb this continual media scrutiny with jourmalists sitting on the shoulders of every soldier like vultures waiting for a mistake.

The bar has been set as ‘perfect’ only with no allowances made for the horrors of battle or human reactions to being fired on or holding a friend while he dies.

No mistakes, not ever. Unless an editor deliberately places a photo in an article to create a false impression of savagery.

No emotions, not ever. Unless you hate the Americans so much that you ignore all positives to highlight one negative in a widespread and difficult war.