Organising mass violence and Australia laps it up

Australian academic and writer Scott Burchill is one of the more astute commentators in the country.

His latest missive is spot-on (see below). Why do we allow generals and men in uniform to keep on telling us that wars are noble and important?

Jim Molan (ex-Australian military) is regularly in blogs and in the papers these days recommending an escalation of troops for Afghanistan. Most recently here, but also earlier here. If Molan’s preferences were to be implemented, we need two new battalions and would have to re-introduce conscription.

However, in a former role in Iraq he was chief of operations during the second attack on Falluja in November 2004. In his memoirs, Jim Molan, Running the War in Iraq (HarperCollins, Sydney 2008), he boasts about his role in targeting insurgents in the city, and for countering media propaganda about the attack on the hospital (which he skirts over very quickly) – pp.164-255. Molan professes his adherence to international law at all times and dismisses criticism of military operations in Falluja as media bias. He is remarkably brief about the attack on Falluja General Hospital and the voluntary evacuation of civilians from the city prior to the November attack. Questions raised in the following reports from the time are largely ignored and unanswered. Some involve accusations of war crimes:

Richard A. Oppel Jr, ‘Early Target of Offensive Is A Hospital’, New York Times, 8 November, 2004
Omar Khan, ‘Covering Fallujah’, ZNet, 14 November, 2004
FAIR (Fair & Accuracy In Reporting), ‘New York Times Rewrites Fallujah History’, 16 November, 2004
Ali Fadhil, ‘City of Ghosts’, Guardian, 11 January, 2005
Michel Bole-Richard, ‘Fallujah Residents Testify to the Destruction of Their City’, Le Monde, 7 February, 2005
Jackie Spinner, ‘A Return to Fallujah to See What Remains’, Washington Post, 14 February, 2005

Haven’t read this one yet, but the author was embedded during the second Falluja attack: Dexter Filkins, The Forever War (Vintage, New York 2008). He received a Pulitzer for it, not that that means anything (Thomas Friedman gets them all the time).

I wonder if Molan feels any responsibility for this (evidence of birth defects in Falluja)? My bet is that he will blame this one on the insurgents too.

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