Do the ends justify the means?

This is a fascinating exploration of that age-old question, specifically regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  One of my favorite qualities of Noam Chomsky has always been his unwillingness to reduce his ideas to fit into modern American attention spans.  This conversation could never air on an American news program, at least any program that isn’t hosted by Bill Moyers, but well worth the entire hour.

“Australian-born David Kilcullen was the senior advisor to US General David Petraeus during his time in Iraq, advising on counterinsurgency. The implementation of his strategies are now regarded as a major turning point in the war.

Here, in a fascinating discussion with human rights lawyer Julian Burnside at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, he talks about the ethics and tactics of contemporary warfare.

David Kilcullen is a consultant to the US State Department on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. He is the author of numerous publications including The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One and Twenty-Eight Articles, a how to guide for junior commanders involved in counterinsurgency.

Julian Burnside is a human rights barrister and refugee advocate. He is the author of numerous publications and books including On Privilege and Watching Brief: Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice.”


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