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  • Writer's pictureGeorge M James


What went wrong in Afghanistan? A lot.

The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, apologised by way of a telephone call on 18 November 2020 to the Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani, for “misconduct by some Australian troops in Afghanistan.”

Ghani’s Twitter account reported: “In this telephone call, the Prime Minister of Australia expressed his deepest sorrow over the misconduct by some Australian troops in Afghanistan and assured the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan of the investigations and to ensuring justice.”

General Angus Campbell, Australian Defence Forces Chief: “To the people of Afghanistan, on behalf of the Australian Defence Force, I sincerely and unreservedly apologize for any wrongdoing by Australian soldiers. The unlawful killing of civilians and prisoners is never acceptable. It’s my duty, and that of my fellow chiefs, to set things right.”

So, what happened in the elite Special Forces Unit? A full report will come out the next few days, we hope, but it seems that they were murdering civilians. The following is inside the report: “Junior soldiers were required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner in order to achieve the soldier’s first kill, referring to an initiation practice known as ‘blooding.’ Typically, the patrol commander would take a person under control and the junior member would then be directed to kill the person under control. ‘Throwdowns’ would be placed with the body and a ‘cover story’ was created for the purposes of operational reporting and to deflect scrutiny... The SAS commanders were like "demigods" to junior officers, which is why they remained silent about their actions…”

And so it goes on and on. The murders, it is entirely wrong to call them “killings” were on prisoners that were either captured or surrendered. Not one instance took place during “the heat of battle.” Nevertheless, Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Paul Brereton (who led the investigation) absolved senior officers. The report” found no evidence that high-ranking officials had knowledge of the unlawful killings.”

There are several issues here which must be highlighted.

1. I read reports that said that the Australian soldiers felt inferior to their US and UK counterparts and wanted to “prove” something. If true, that is concerning and totally unnecessary. Any member of the SAS, UK, Australia, New Zealand, has no reason to feel inferior to anyone. They are as good as any of the other premier Special Forces Units in the world. I must wonder how that feeling came into being and why not immediately dismissed. Man for man they are better quality than the low standards US mob.

2. The crimes, dozens of them but probably hundreds, let us call the murders and abuse what they are and stop softening them with nice words, were conducted over a period of time and on many different instances. Again, as reported, not in the heat of battle but as a sick initiation type ceremony. This means a total command failure under all ranks. Someone should have stood up and said “no.” There is no excuse for war crimes, and I will never accept any. It causes more terrorism and put the honest ones in an exceedingly difficult position as I describe in GMJ 46, VOICES – War Crimes USA, regarding the rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi together with the murder of her mom, dad and six-year-old sister which took place on March 12, 2006, at Al-Mahmudiyah, Iraq. Innocent members of the same unit were then kidnapped and tortured to death by the enemy in revenge. I also said in that book that what is applicable to the US war machine is equally applicable to NATO Units and those assisting them. It makes for dreadful reading, shameful, in fact.

3. When the Afghanistan story broke, the Australian Police stormed ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). They confiscated computers and tried to intimidate journalists. That is only supposed to happen in despotic countries, not Australia. Yet it did. An ominous act that should be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

4. The alleged leaker of the “Afghan Files,” David McBride, was arrested separately and prosecuted. The trial is not finished yet. McBride was a major in the Australian Army, a lawyer, who first tried to go through the chain of command without any success. If that does not show a cover-up at the “absolved” senior ranks, then nothing does. Whistleblowers ought to be protected but seldom are in real life. He faces life in prison.

5. What is most concerning to me are the comments made by observers online who seem to think that “things happen in war” and “who cares” and “this is a witch hunt on innocent soldiers” etc. STOP making stupid excuses. There is no justification for what was done and not stamped out immediately. You either have discipline or you don’t. If you fail to control your men, you are a failure as an officer or commander. Those found guilty must be punished accordingly and examples made. What you cannot afford in any military is a cult of coverups as in the US one where the same pattern is always followed: Denial, lying, blaming everyone else combined with a lack of discipline. In fact, the problem can be summarised in one word, “arrogance” because of the culture of getting away with war crimes.

6. When I wrote GMJ 48, VOICES – War Crimes USA, I did so because I found out that one-third of US servicewomen will be raped or sexually abused by their own, their own male comrades. Dozens were murdered by their own, the crimes mostly covered up by senior officers. Yes, it is that book, read it for yourself. You can also read GMJ 34, Code Name Alphabet 32, where I looked at Allied war crimes in World War Two. It happened much more than what you think.

I would say that for me and other honourable men it is impossible not to feel utter contempt towards the perpetrators. They will get no sympathy from me either. Indeed, what they did is disgraceful behaviour and against every rule of war as well as the warrior code.

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* All 51 GMJ books deal with modern military subjects like espionage, counterterrorism, military strategy, military history, and exposing mainstream media lies/propaganda. The GMJ books are a delight for lovers of military history with content to be found outside the schoolbook approved histories. What is revealed in the GMJ books are shocking to the uninitiated. Prepare to find out the true state of affairs that no mainstream outlet will publish. If you wish to read about Covert and Special Forces Operations in sub-Saharan Africa, the new battleground where the radicals are to be found, the GMJ Books are the place to start. You will learn about covert operations, Special Forces techniques, and military history not known outside the select few.

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