The UK Military’s Secrecy Problem (Consortium News)
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Richard Norton-Taylor says a new book illustrates how the military establishment tries to censor, bully and threaten publishers and journalists.
By Richard Norton-Taylor
Two of the most disgraceful episodes in Britain’s long history of military incompetence concern the way soldiers were sent, first to Iraq, and then to Afghanistan, ill prepared and inadequately equipped, with fatal consequences that could have been easily avoided.
What has received far less attention is the way senior military figures failed to tell truth to power. More shameful is that they have never been made properly accountable for serious misjudgments and abuses on the battlefield.
This emerges clearly and relentlessly in The Changing of the Guard, The British Army since 9/11, a blistering account of what went wrong, and why. Britain had shared more than a hundred years of turbulent and violent relations with Iraq and Afghanistan. But the military establishment seemed wilfully ignorant of this bloody history.
Pressure placed on its author, Simon Akam (pictured above), to rewrite passages of his book, is testament to the extreme sensitivity in military circles and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to rigorous criticism and unwillingness to accept independent investigation — especially from an author who was recently invited to give a talk to the Joint Services Staff College at Shrivenham in Wiltshire and to West Point, the U.S. Military Academy.
If this is happening in the United Kingdom, it is happening here in the United States. We do know the Pentagon spends a lot of money in Hollywood to keep a big public relations program alive and well. And guess what, Congress is all for it. So it goes.
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April 2, 2021 at 8:26 AM #414465
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