[Reader-list] SAS soldier talks about training Afghan soldiers

Boud Roukema boud_roukema at camk.edu.pl
Thu Sep 27 20:46:53 IST 2001

On Wed, 26 Sep 2001, Menso Heus wrote:
> > > > > SAS soldier speaks up on training the Afghans: apparently these guys 
> > > > ...
> > > > > The lucky ones died instantly. The unlucky ones were chopped to 
> > > > > pieces in the aftermath. In the Hindu Kush, don't expect to 
> > > > > appeal to the Geneva convention."


> The way you compare doesn't seem to be correct to me. I doubt if you
> have read the entire article, most of the people who did and whom I've
> discussed this with took the line in the exact same way.

It's true I didn't read the full article - my apologies. My comments
were based on what you quoted.

> you know it I'm suddenly pro-war, anti-humanrights and many more things
> which I am not. 

Well, now I know you're not any of that, so let's see if we can
understand each other.

OK, the full article to me seems anti-war (showing how ineffective a
war against Afghanistan would be), and the question of the Geneva
conventions is a secondary point, not the main point of your original
post. Am I following you better this time?

Given that we got into a "secondary" point, it seems to me it is
still worth trying to understand our different arguments.

My guess is that there are two main viewpoints here:

(1) A war, at least in this case (USA vs Afghan), is absurd.  So, to
put pressure on the USA to follow the Geneva conventions and other
international human rights law is a diversion from trying to stop the
war totally.

(2) For tactical reasons, e.g. due to historical belief in the need
for war and to the propaganda barrage in the USA, independently of
trying to put pressure on the USA not to start a war, it is an
efficient action to insist that the USA go through the Security
Council, follow the Geneva conventions, etc. Hence, it is not a good
idea to suggest that the Geneva conventions can be ignored.

I think you were trying to argue for (1). Is this right?

My point is (2). I certainly agree that we should do all we can to
stop the war starting at all, but I also feel that (2) is important.

No matter how big the anti-war movement gets, and how quickly it
becomes big, chances are we might still get a real hot war. In which
case we don't want the USA saying that "collateral damage" is OK.

Working in the long term, even conservative organisations like Amnesty
International can use stuff like the Geneva conventions to publicly
state that NATO has carried out war crimes:


Humbly hoping to be acquitted of pocockism, ;-)


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