Posts tagged ‘military’

April 18, 2012

Australian Troops Out Of Afghanistan… one day

Prime Minister Gillard yesterday outlined plans to bring Australian forces home from Afghanistan early, in an address to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Australian personnel were previously expected to withdraw at the end of 2014, on a NATO timetable, but PM Gillard’s announcement says plans are for Australians return by the end of 2013.

This is a war with a purpose, this is a war with an end. We have a strategy, a mission and a timeframe for achieving it, PM Gillard said. Then proceeded to make her address where she did not state what that purpose was, or whether the war can ever end, but, there is a timeframe.

Afghanistan is known as destroyer of empires or graveyard of empires, and perhaps not enough thought was put into it, in the first instance, by John Howard when he sent other people’s children off to die in the name of bolstering our standing in the eyes of the USA, or in the eyes of his good friend George Bush.

But regimes change, and it is time to bring the troops home. Why are we waiting?

The price paid has been high, 33 Australians killed, however, as ABC Asia said Ms Gillard said she did not share the view that they had died in vain.

Prime Minister Gillard described the deaths of these military personnel as a sacrifice.

I believe in engaging in Afghanistan our mission has been clear, our purposes has been clear, our sacrifice has been great … But the families of the men we have lost are able to say to themselves in a time of shocking grief and desperation that their loved ones were out there doing something clearly in Australia’s national interest. the Prime Minister said.

However, it appears that withdrawal doesn’t mean complete withdrawal. According to Fairfax, some special forces may remain and some training of Afghan forces will continue.

Continuing to stay in a war that can never be won, does not honour those lives already sacrificed. It is not our sacrifice. It is the lives of the men who were taken in the name of national interest. Surely there are more worthy things to die for than so-called national interest. I thought we were liberating Afghanistan, or freeing them from the Taliban, or protecting the women and girls, or perhaps making the world safe for democracy.

National interest – isn’t that why the country has diplomats?

However, this was a war Australia got itself into, some believe, to stroke John Howards… er, his ego, when ever GW Bush praised him. And finally, an Australian Prime Minister has the strength to say that no more lives will be taken for a pointless war.

So, what does Tony Abbott say?
Before PM Gillard made her address, Tony said that he wanted the Australian military home once their job was completed. Abbott who was a member of the Howard Government that committed Australians to participate in this foolish war, really should not pass judgement on other politicians who inherited the mess that is Afghanistan. I have not reason to think that it shouldn’t be possible to finish the job sooner rather than later, Tony Abbott said.

Although, 10 years later, does anyone even know what that job was?

And in other news, about 150 high schools girls in Afghanistan were poisoned after drinking water which had been contaminated. Blame for the incident was placed on conservative radicals who oppose the education of women and girls
Girls have only begun returning to school in 2001, when the Taliban, who had banned educating girls, was overthrown.

As our leaders tell us, our job in Afghanistan is done.

Sources: Australian PM outlines plan for Afghanistan exit

April 5, 2012

Art – A Nation Approaching Spiritual Doom (M.L. King)

text of image: A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

image created by @redglitterx
use of quote in no way suggests that King would have in any way endorsd the contents of this post or this blog

April 4, 2012

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