Over-paid, Over-sexed, and Over Here – 200 Marines Land In Darwin, and we foot the bill

That was a slogan, made popular in Britain during World War II, but gained some local flavour when the US Military decided intervene in the Pacific and resulted in many US military personnel based in Australia or getting R&R here.

And as of last night the first detachment of US Marines arrived in Australia for training, (or perhaps to gain the US a military presence in a strategic location to Asia) in Darwin for next six months. The first 200 marines touched down in what will eventually build up to 2,500.

Sounds expensive? Not for the US, as we are the ones paying for (some of) it

Australia will provide a range of support with costs shared under existing legal, financial and logistical arrangements
Source: here

So, where is the benefit for Australia? What exactly do we get for all this?

[it] supports Australia’s long-held strategic interests in supporting US engagement in our region in a manner – and – could also provide new opportunities for Australian and US engagement with our partners in the region
Source: here

In other words, we get to be even bigger poodles than we were previously, and as for engaging with our neighbours, nothing says I care like increasing the military presence of the US Military in our country.

However, analysts in China and elsewhere say they fear that the moves could backfire, risking a cold war-style standoff with China. (Jackie Calmes).

What happens if a Marine goes troppo, or runs over a local in a military vehicle, or assaults a child? Will they be whisked back the US to avoid prosecution? In fact, could they even face prosecution in this country for crimes they commit while here?

When they say it will only be six months, we must remember, these are USA six-months, and bear little relation to the same calendar the rest of humanity use – much like the second Iraq war which was supposed to last only six-months and become 10-years.

There is always the inevitable mission creep, where there is an expansion of a project beyond its original goals. Once the system is in place, it would be so easy to extend the six-months, to another six-months, then another six-months. And before you can whistle Yankee Doodle Dandy, the Marines are here permanently and numbers heading towards 3000, 4000 and more.

What about unmanned drones, or nuclear weapons, or biological or chemical weapons, or cluster-bombs? Weapons that are banned in Australia, will the Marines be allowed to import them and use them? US officials say No, but how reliable is the word of an organisation that told us there were Weapons Of Mass Destruction in Iraq

As Peter Garrett sang all those years ago: US Forces give the nod, it’s a set back for your country

digital mischief by @redglitterx
based on image from Over-paid, over-sexed and over-here: US Marines in wartime Melbourne 1943


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