Revelations that just don’t shock

Via: Morning Star.

Top brass allegations that the Wikileaks materials shown to the Guardian, New York Times and Der Spiegel pose a threat to British troops’ safety in Afghanistan should be taken with a large bag of salt.

Do these military commanders imagine that the evidence comes as a huge surprise to the Afghan people?

Do they think that Afghans have been unaware of misdirected “precision bombs,” of wedding parties being wiped out as Taliban gatherings, of civilian buses, lorries and cars being riddled with bullets by jittery troops or of Nato assassination units causing a high level of “collateral damage?”

Is it plausible that Afghan opponents of the US occupation know nothing of the sophisticated, shoulder-mounted surface-to-air rockets deployed by Taliban forces against coalition helicopters?

The Afghan people are well aware of the ongoing slaughter and, even though civilian deaths have been caused by both Nato and Taliban actions, they blame the invaders for the conflict and for their losses.

While up-to-date casualty figures for each national contingent of Washington’s coalition of the complicit are readily available, we shall probably never know the true extent of Afghan civilian deaths.

Afghans are as expendable as Iraqis, for, as US General Tommy Franks noted when asked about the civilian death toll as a result of the 2002 invasion “We don’t do body counts.”

The point about inadequate news and deliberate disinformation fed to the media by Nato military spokespeople is that their role is not to mislead Afghans – whether civilians or military resistance – but to bamboozle domestic audiences.

The intention is to keep the public in the dark to prevent a rising demand to bring British forces back without delay.

Despite the escalating level of troop losses, the military commanders and, more particularly, the venal politicians who offered our armed forces as mercenaries to the Pentagon are intent on selling the public a mishmash of mawkish sunshine stories and downright lies.

“Our boys” are giving their lives, we are told, to make the lives of Afghans better, to promote democracy and honest government and to help Afghan girls to go to school.

Such lies might make military families feel better about the fate of their sons and daughters in Afghanistan, but they bear no relationship to reality.

The troops themselves know that these fairy tales are a cruel deception and, among themselves, they constantly question why they are there.

Pro-war apologists claim that the Taliban are sustaining heavy human losses and are in disarray, but the evidence shows indisputably that the Taliban are at their strongest point since the 2001 invasion.

Deployment of improvised explosive devices has not only reached an unprecedented level – 3,420 attacks in 2009 – but has spread throughout the country.

If the aims of the 2001 invasion were to defeat the Taliban and build something approaching a democracy, where women’s rights are respected and rampant corruption is ended, then the invasion has been an abject failure.

This is even more so with a view to making the streets of Britain safer, when even former MI5 director general Eliza Manningham-Buller recognised that the Iraq invasion had radicalised some young British Muslims, increasing the risk of terrorism in Britain.

The Wikileaks revelations indicate that we cannot rely on the Establishment to tell us the truth and that we should raise the demand to bring all our armed forces home now.

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