Friday, October 23, 2009

Afghanistan, will we ever learn?

Another young Australian has died, this time in his home country on a training mission in preparation for a stint in Afghanistan. When will the Australian government wake up to the fact that this or any other sacrifice of Australian lives is in vain and not worth it.

The Australian army brass is defending the indefensible. Using live ammunition in a night time exercise would have to be considered as being devoid of good sense or judgment. Why didn’t they use “live” rubber bullets, they would have made the same bang or gunfire noises as lead bullets and would not have caused a fatality.

How could the army make such a ridiculous statement that “live ammunition exercises were a ‘very essential’ part of training, which saved lives during operations in the field?” Well, it certainly didn’t save the life of this soldier, but rubber bullets possibly would have.

Night exercises with live ammunition would be tantamount to two swordsmen having a “live” fencing exercise with sharp swords in a dark room. No matter how much praise the Army bestows now on this soldier, to justify live ammunition exercises, it will not be of any benefit to him or his family.

Many nations are now embroiled in the Afghanistan war, what is, in my opinion, futile, costly in lives and money and is not winnable. Eight years have gone by with over 100 000 troops deployed with superior fire power, yet they have not been able to make any progress against the Taliban. Even the British commander Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith warns that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won.

Fighting the Taliban reminds me of the Second World War Yugoslavian insurgents or “the partisans” as they were called, fighting the German occupation forces and wreaking havoc and heavy casualties for the Germans for which they had no answer. They ambushed and disappeared into the rugged terrain they knew well, but the German army didn’t. This is exactly what the western nations are facing in Afghanistan and they have no answer for it either.

The war in Afghanistan is like the war on drugs: we can fight it endlessly, but it cannot be won.

Anybody who has watched the ABC’s Four Corners program “Afghanistan, on the Dollar Trail” on the 19.10.09 would have been utterly disgusted to see the corruption on a grand scale. I cannot understand why we and other countries keep pouring money into this country where it will disappear without a trace. The Millions of dollars Australia is spending in Afghanistan has to be borrowed money because the nest egg put aside by the Howard government for a rainy day has gone. This money will have to be paid back and will be a millstone around the neck of generations of Australians.

It is amazing that the Australian government can find money to support this futile war, yet there is no money, for hospitals, schools and infrastructure etc in Australia, it just does not make sense.

In 1979, the Soviet Union sent military forces to install a pro-Soviet government in Kabul. At its peak in the country, the Red Army numbered some 140,000. But, after ten years of inconclusive fighting, 15,000 dead, and tens of thousands more wounded, the battered Soviets mounted a humiliating retreat. We have now been there for eight years and one can only wonder how long before the involved governments see the folly and the futility of the Afghan engagement and do what the Russians did or what we did in Vietnam. The Question begs; will we ever learn? - Werner

1 comment:

Martin from Townsville said...

And so say all of us. I totally agree with your sentiment in regards to the war in Afghanistan it is a total waste of lives, money. I find your blog very interesting, keep up the good work.