Saturday, December 12, 2009

Head-Shaking Stuff 2

This post should be read in conjunction with my 13/9/09 post Head-Shaking Stuff:

"Ten new Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will debut in Afghanistan in the coming weeks, after the Israel Aerospace Industries made the first delivery of the Heron UAV to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on Thursday. Under the $91-million lease, the RAAF will receive 10 Heron UAVs, mission payloads, Automatic Ground control Stations as well as spare parts. Canadian company MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates (MDA) already provides maintenance for the Canadian Air Force - which operates Herons in Afghanistan - and will support the RAAF mission as well... The first UAV was delivered to the RAAF during a ceremony at the Ein Shemer landing strip in the North attended by the Canadian military attache, Col. Geordie Elms, the Australian military attache, Col. Wayne Fleming, and representatives from the ministry of Defense, MDA and Israel Aerospace Industries. The RAAF chose the Heron from among a number of competitors after it successfully completed a series of tests of its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Under the deal, the Heron will begin operations in early 2010 for one year, with an option for an additional two years. The RAAF expects the Heron to significantly increase its operational capabilities in the war in Afghanistan. The Heron is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV that can remain airborne for over 30 hours with a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet and carry a payload of 250 kg." (10 Israeli UAVs headed for Afghanistan, Yakov Katz, The Jerusalem Post, 10/12/09)


Anonymous said...

these sorts of purchases from israel are sure to continue even if it were recognised that iisrael is an apartheid state. the military establishment is always the last to cave in to moral concerns when the are new toys to be had.

incidentally, for an example of the war-mongering mentality at the top of the ADF, see general cosgrove's comments in his 1st boyer lecture on 'wars of choice': "It's no good invoking about some and not others that we were acting as a 'good international citizen' under the banner of the UN. I am very sure that every government committing men and women to the list I just recited would be loudly proclaiming that we were acting as good international citizens. Simply 'polishing our apple' with the Security Council or the General Assembly wouldn't quite seem to justify the cost or the risk. The UN is a great and vital organisation but it is not our ally and it takes no responsibility for the lives of our men and women. Good international citizenry is very much in the eye and the self regard of Australians. We appreciate the accolades of the world community but it is a lesser factor in our motivation to leave our shores with military purpose." and his contortions to justify the vietnam war: "Communist North Vietnam was sponsoring and very heavily supporting the insurgent movement in South Vietnam. All the post colonial states of Indochina were fragile and vulnerable. The Soviet Union was strongly supporting North Vietnam thus guaranteeing that any conflict in Vietnam would have a Cold War ideological tinge. There were echoes of our earlier deployment to the far edges of our region for the Korean War when China supported the communist North Korea. But in Vietnam there were major differences: The fig-leaf of UN approval was absent; South Vietnam was less vehement and cohesive in its opposition to the insurgency and to the North than was the case between South and North Korea; Europe was either detached or opposed to the war in Vietnam and this estrangement of world opinion helped erode the allies' will to stick with the fight." he goes on to acknowledge vietnam was not ideal in hindsight - but not because of the extermination of millions, who were of course not even mentioned; rather, because it was not successful [aside: he blames the south vietmanese who "were never sufficiently mobilised or empowered or motivated to resist the insurgents...or the invading Northern troops".]

the trivialising of the UN, and thus by extension its human rights charters and its rules of just war, and his willingness to justify mass extermination give a nice insight into the mentality of the people who would buy weapons from an openly proud UN-flouter and human rights abuser like israel.

MERC said...

You're absolutely right - we should always keep the big picture in mind here, in this case the mindset of the top brass. As US General Smedley Butler confessed decades ago: "I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism." [See my 4/10/09 post Operation Get Goldstone on Cosgrove's mate Molan]

And didn't WW 1 poet Siegfried Sassoon memorably sum up the tribe in The General?

'Good-morning; good-morning!' the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
'He's a cheery old card', grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
But he did for them both with his plan of attack.