The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, October 18, 2010

Robert Gates on USA's love for its allies.

Wikileaks is leaking again. Apparently, they are expected to upload 500,000 documents on the Iraq War. Why 500,000? That was the same number of pager messages uploaded for the 9/11 attack. It must be a good number in the world of leaks.

Anyway, whatever you might think of what Wikileaks is doing, whether you consider it good or bad, well-intentioned, or otherwise, I would like to draw your attention to something which, to my mind, is more informative than all of the Wikileaks put together. It is the words of Robert Gates, U.S. Defense Secretary.

Robert Gates, in a letter of August 16th, is quoted as saying, regarding the identification of Afghan collaborators, who might then be hunted down by the Taliban:

"Gates said disclosing the names of cooperating Afghans, who could become targets for the Taliban, could cause "significant harm or damage to national security interests of the United States." "

Hmm. I, personally, found those words rather shocking, for how the USA apparently views those who choose to ally themselves to them. It seems that the deaths of untold Afghans, who just happpened to have helped the USA, is harmful to the USA. Well, excuse me for speaking up at this point: but what about the tortured, dead Afghans and their bereaved families? Do they not count?

Primarily, the hunting down by the Taliban, of Afghan collaborators is NOT an issue of harm to US is a tragedy for those families who thought that they could do some good by helping the US. The fact that the US loses "useful" people in the tribes of Afghanistan should be the last thing on Gates' seemingly rather limited mind - or is that "rather limited heart".

A nation that thinks purely in terms of its own interests- as Robert Gates is doing on behalf of his nation - is not a nation that is doing good in the world. It is a nation that is serving itself and itself alone. If I were an Afghan tribesman and I had come to understand that my death would mean nothing more than "harm to US national security interests", I would not, in any way, cooperate with anyone who represented the US, in any endeavour whatsoever. For I would understand this: the US would be doing nothing more than using me and my people to serve its own ends, without any real care for us at all.

Now, I wonder how widely that comment of Robert Gates has been reported? Has it reached the Afghan tribesmen - or the Iraqi equivalent? If so, I would expect a rapid withdrawal of cooperation in those territories, with the US. That unwitting comment, in the true sense of lacking wits, of Robert Gates is, in my view, far more damaging to the US, than all of the Wikileaks put together. The most damaging aspect about it is that it is the truth. The US, as Robert Gates makes clear, sees its allies solely in terms of how useful they are to the US. It does not see them as real human beings, living real lives, with hopes, fears and aspirations, with families and loved ones. It sees them as "assets", to be deployed for its own ends, to aid its "national security interests".

There is a coldness in Robert Gates' world that makes me wonder what he really understands about life. In the values he expresses, there is no mark of humanity, no mark of concern for his fellow man - just an interest in an abstract idea: "national security interests". He has taken a tragic possibility - the hunting down and inevitable torture to death of those who helped the US in Afghanistan - and turned it into the emotional equivalent of a number. He has emptied it of life, of feeling, of tragedy and made it into something mechanical: the harm to national security interests.

It makes me shudder, a little, that a man with so little apparent, displayed humanity, is in charge of America's military, in a bureaucratic sense. If he cares so little for the lives and wellbeing of his allies, does he care as little for the men under his charge?

I don't know about you, but in a role in which life and death decisions are made, I would want a very human, human being in charge - not a robot. Robots make decisions that do not count the costs in terms of human lives and human suffering - so robots make decisions that lead directly to the loss of human lives and the infliction of human suffering.

It seems ironic to me that Robert Gates, should have a name that reminds me of Bill Gates, whose lifework is entirely robotic, in character. It seems as if the US Defense Secretary was given a name to imply his character.

It doesn't really matter what the Wikileaks contain - for nothing could be more harmful to the image of the US, than the truth that Robert Gates has spoken. Those who help the US are, in his view, and implicitly in the view of his nation, or its leaders, anyway, nothing more than instruments of national security. Now, do you want to be considered an instrument of national security...or a human being filled with life, love and hope? Would you work with someone who thought of you as an instrument of national security, and who would, not only not mourn your death, in the line of helping him, but who think purely in terms of the harm HE had suffered by your death?

I wouldn't. Nor, I imagine, would anyone else who learns just what Robert Gates thinks of them.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to: also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.Y

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 2:42 PM 


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