Thursday, 23 March 2017

Armchair General

Hager the Horrible Strikes Again . . . 

And Embarrasses Himself

We have this chap in NZ who is a left-wing conspiracy-theorist who sees all kinds of plans and stratagems issuing forth from corrupt plutocrats to hold the world in their thrall.  Nicky Hager is an embarrassment to himself in many ways.  But, then again, there are those who regard him as St Nickolas, convinced that were he to attempt it, he would walk on water, No Worries. Each to his bias, we suppose.

The media love him because they adore headlines and notoriety generates them faster than anything else.  Sensation will trump hard news every time. Here is the first breathless account from a NZ Herald sensationalist, presenting Hager's account of a fight in Afghanistan conduced by the NZ SAS.

Just days after the death of Tim O'Donnell, the first Kiwi to lose his life in Afghanistan, the hunt for the killers began. Our military would have it that it ended successfully with nine Taleban insurgents killed.  Hit & Run, a new book from Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson, has it otherwise - they say six civilians were killed, 15 were injured and that the killers got clean away.

According to their version of events, the raid known as Operation Burnham was wrong from the intelligence phase right through to the execution, which happened in the remote and wild mountains of Afghanistan.  Two large Chinook helicopters carrying up to 70 SAS and the Afghan cohort they mentored lifted out of Kabul and into the dark, dropping the troops around two villages designated as targets.  Snipers took up positions - some dropped by an accompanying Blackhawk helicopter - as Apache gunships roamed nearby.
Here is a retort from an army vet:
Written from the sidelines by an acknowledged left wing conspiracy theorist whose experience of war and all its shitty consequences is clearly  limited to guesstimates of what might have occurred and all with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight ... and the dumb MSM fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Bad things happen in combat, especially in insurgent combat, where it is virtually impossible to differentiate between combatant soldiers and civilians where civilians are used either wittingly or unwittingly as human shields and propaganda tools.    They all wear the same 'non uniform'.   The International Committee of the Red Cross has published an analysis of the ramifications of this here.   To say that the situation is confusing is an understatement.

The fog of war is real.   Seldom will you have the benefit of 100% reliable complete information.  You go with what you've got and civilians, especially in insurgent warfare, get caught up in it with their 'hurt' sometimes exacerbated by the lure of 'blood money' on offer by a western military trying to atone for genuine mistakes.

What I do find as incredible the accusation that the operation in question was 'authorised' by the PM.
You commit troops to combat.   You sign-off on the rules of engagement (perhaps).  But you leave the conduct of operations in the hands of your military professionals.   If the government was advised of an intending operation then it would only be as a matter of courtesy ... but then Hager clearly prefers the conspiracy theory route.    Fits.

My analysis ... this book will flop because it deserves to.  
We will see.   We recall Winston Churchill's aphorism: a lie travels halfway around the world before truth can get up and put its pants on.

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