Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blowback, old school

In strategic terms, the term Blowback has gained currency of late. Blowback is, essentially, a long term negative repercussion for a short term covert Intelligence powered strategic manuever.

A classic blowback is the US involvement in the Afghanistan war. Arming the Afghanis with high tech surface to air shoulder launched missiles helped hasten the end of the Soviet occupation when said missiles took out helicopter gunships and, in some cases, fighter bombers. When you rely on helis to get your ground pounders to the position, and some nasty peasant armed with a one million dollar rocket launcher is lurking in the hills, it makes occupation that much more difficult.

In addition to arming up the Afghanis, the yanks also gave the Pakistani army, and their intel service, buckets of cash for running interference against the Sovs.

All well and good. But, as demonstrated aptly in Charlie Wilson's war, when the Russians left, the yank's interest in the region left as well. All these inspired types that had been abetted, trained, feted and fed then had time on their hands, and in an interest in the 'what next for Afghanistan'. They had a fight amongst themselves and, thanks in part to continued support from wealthy Islamic countries, the fundies in Afghanistan won. Bin Laden got sanctuary then ... September 11.

That's the blowback.

Another blowback, which interestingly enough Obama actually referred to in a mea-culpa sense when speaking in the region earlier this year, was the overthrow of the Iranian government in (I think, without cheating and looking in wiki) '53 This lead to the Shah of Iran's regime. This not exactly democratic regime, with a Secret Police that rivaled the Stasi in its penetration of society with informants, eventually rubbed the populace up the the wrong way and ... viva la revolution, in came the clerics.

More delicious blowback.

Now in the defence of Five in the UK, bankrolling an Italian journalist / editor willing to promote a 'war, what is it good for - everything! Pass me the pizza' during World War One when Italy, then fighting with the UK and French etc, was wavering in its commitment to the fight, was a likely considered a no brainer at the time. Even when said journo offered to get some pipe hitting war vets to get medieval on the pacifists' arses.

Unfortunately the portly pensmith turned out to be one (1) Benito Mussolini, who adapted his arming up the lads for lefty smash into his black shirt movement and its embrace of synchronized stiff legged marching / saluting, and dictatorial governance. Basically, fascism as an achievable political outcome.

Blowback. The funny thing is, it happens so many times.

You know as in ... 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'

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