15 April 2021
Australian troops are to leave Afghanistan, now that Biden has taken the Americans out. The fact that we had no strategic interest there, and that we were merely there to please the US merely shows how pathetic our efforts to please the US are.
We go into foreign wars in the hope that if we are ever attacked the US will defend us as they did in the Second World War. Let us look at some realities. The British had promised to defend us in WW2, but when we were attacked they sent two battleships that were promptly sunk and they wanted to keep our troops in North Africa and assured us that if we were captured they would come and recapture us when they had (hopefully) won in Europe.
The US came to help Australia as they could not let the Japanese take us over and they were already at war with them. The US visited Jakarka just before Indonesia invaded East Timor, so it must be concluded that they were happy to let that little country go. If in future the US has a global war problem, they will act on their immediate strategic interests which may or may not mean helping us. Being a bit player in historic wars in Vietnam or the Middle East will not be top of mind.
So we are giving our troops absurd tasks where they go overseas and see their mates killed for no real purpose. Note that the Australian commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, John Cantwell wrote ‘Exit Wounds- One Australian’s War on Terror’ and developed PTSD from what he said was an unwinnable war in Afghanistan in 2012.
We go into wars for no godo reason without so much as a a Parliamentary debate- the Cabinet just decides. We buy American arms wily-nilly to spend the 2% of our budget that the US demands in order to help their arms industry and balance of payments, picking up lemon fighter planes and overpriced and probably obsolete submarines. We let the US station its force in Darwin. We cooperate with the Israelis in weapons development and we sell arms to practically anyone, including Myanmar and the Saudis in Yemen. The arms industry is giving hugely to the Australian War Memorial but want more modern displays. It seems that the object is not to remember the fallen and that they fought for peace, but rather to have a Temple of Militarism where our youth can have their warrior fantasies.
There are some Peace groups that have achieved good things. Australians for War Powers Reform want Parliament to decide before we are committed to wars, and other groups are active’ IPAN, the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network, MAPW, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, and IPPNW, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
But a lot more action is needed if we are to stop this military folly.