Both Trump and Netanyahu want to secure their rule by attacking liberal, democratic forces. But in order to do so, they need two things: a wall and the promise of eternal war.
Whether the rationale is the need to wage a war on terror involving 76 countries or renewed preparations for a struggle against peer competitors Russia and China (as Defense Secretary James Mattis suggested recently while introducing America’s new National Defense Strategy), the U.S. military is engaged globally. A network of 800 military bases spread across 172 countries helps enable its wars and interventions. By the count of the Pentagon, at the end of the last fiscal year about 291,000 personnel (including reserves and Department of Defense civilians) were deployed in 183 countries worldwide, which is the functional definition of a military uncontained. Lady Liberty may temporarily close when the U.S. government grinds to a halt, but the country’s foreign military commitments, especially its wars, just keep humming along.
TeleSur | – – The official said the deal will be good for the U.S. economy. The United States is …
Civilians trying to flee the besieged Isis-held enclave in west Mosul are being shot dead by Isis and Iraqi army snipers as they try to cross the Tigris River, says an eyewitness trapped inside the city with his family. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Jasim, a 33-year old Iraqi Sunni living in west Mosul near the 5th Bridge, said: “I want to rescue my mother and take her to the eastern part, but it is dangerous. Three people were killed in our neighbourhood trying to cross the river to the eastern side. They were shot dead by the snipers.”
President Donald Trump’s proposal to gut funding for public broadcasting in his new budget released Thursday would mostly harm residents of small rural towns, many of who are Republican voters, according to public TV and radio executives.The 2018 budget plan from the White House would eliminate all federal subsidies for the
Donald Trump’s statement that the US should have taken Iraq’s oil after invading their country in 2003 is a worry on a number of fronts.
Malcolm Turnbull has shown, albeit reluctantly, that he will take on his predecessor publicly, if he must.
The Western media loves conflict – the bloodier the better – and will never let the truth get in the way of a good war. More searing truthtelling from John Pilger.
Source: The West’s bloodthirsty media
The Haaretz correspondent for the occupied territories and author of “Drinking the Sea at Gaza” has angered Israeli and Palestinian leadership with her uncompromising honesty. – 2016/06/27
This was supposed to be the supreme model of Humanitarian Intervention. One of its few benefits is it now provides a pretext for another new war.
There were more airstrikes against ISIS this July 4 weekend. Most politicians agree that ‘war is the answer.’ But here’s an argument that peacebuilding is the only realistic way to defeat ISIS.
There is a quiet war occurring under our very noses. Some of us are aware, but many of us are not. When it comes to whistleblowers, the people in question are rarely thanked for their contribution to our society.
Source: The War on Whistleblowers
A powerful confession by US soldier Mike Prysner on his experience fighting in Iraq. “Our real enemies are not those living in a distant land whose names or policies we don’t understand; The real enemy is a system that wages war when it’s profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it’s profitable, the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it’s profitable, the Banks who take away our homes when it’s profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us.” – Mike Prysner
Fox Cable News announced its pick for the 10 Republican presidential candidates it will allow in its Thursday debate. These are candidates who are getting at least 3% support in a basket of opinion polls, including one commissioned by Fox itself. CNN will follow a similar procedure for the debate it will televise in September.
Now that we know the roster of the big ten, I thought we should review them on one key issue, of how likely they are to drag us into another war. And what is amazing is that sending US troops back into the Middle East and going to war there is virtually a plank in the GOP platform. After the disaster in Iraq, they are actually running on war and against diplomacy for the most part!
I think this saber rattling in part has to do with the advent of truly big money in US politics and the end of campaign finance limitations. Since the Republican Party is in general the representative of the 50% of the economy dominated by big corporations, and since arms manufacturers are among those big companies, the GOP has become increasingly the party of war and belligerence. If you actually drop those bombs, you have to order more, which is good for some businesses. In fact, one candidate who did not make the cut and is a notorious warmonger, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), is apparently mainly backed by military-industrial complex money. It is no surprise that he is perhaps the most aggressive candidate in his statements on foreign policy, though he has a lot of competition.
Here is how they stand on this key issue of war and peace, life and death:
Donald Trump (with a polling average of 23.4 percent):
“America’s primary goal with Iran must be to destroy its nuclear ambitions. Let me put them as plainly as I know how: Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped–by any and all means necessary. Period. We cannot allow this radical regime to acquire a nuclear weapon that they will either use or hand off to terrorists. Better now than later!”
I take “by any means necessary” to be enthusiasm for war on Iran, since their civilian nuclear enrichment program cannot be shut down by any other means.
Trump has also urged a US bombing campaign against Iraqi oil refineries as a way of defeating Daesh (ISIL, ISIS). Since Iraq will need those refineries to rebuild after Daesh is defeated, bombing them wouldn’t be optimal. But there you have it.
former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (12.0 percent):
- , wants to send more US troops to embed with the Iraqi army in Iraq.
So, two wars?
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (10.2 percent),
- “that not only would he undo any deal with Iran on his first day as president; he would do so even if our European allies wanted the deal to continue.”
So, brinkmanship and unilateral action.
Mr. Walker also said in February that that if he could take on union protesters of Wisconsin, he can take on ISIL. He seems to confuse exercizing first amendment rights with being a target.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (6.6 percent):
- Huckabee characterized the Iran deal as marching the Jews to the Nazi ovens. I presume that means he would risk war with Iran.
In an interview on Fox, “Huckabee was quick to return to those comparisons, saying, “I don’t want to standby and watch it happen again. I do not want to stand by and see Jews get targeted, because if they come after them they will eventually come after all of us. We’ve seen this before.”
Mediaite also notes, “Huckabee proposed a “third option” that involves taking the Russians, Iranians and Saudi Arabians “out of the energy business” but making the U.S. energy independent.” Short of going to war on them, it is hard for me to imagine how he would do that.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (5.8 percent):
- Rejects the
- . He said: “If you’re gonna have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war,” he said. “Other than that, we have to win. Our life depends on it.”
He also says that the Iran deal endangers all Americans and that he would reduce personnel cutbacks in the US military.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (5.4 percent):
- will “lead to war” and cause the death of “millions of Americans” by undoing the sanctions regime on Iran.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (5.4 percent):
- with Iran is an option.”
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (4.8 percent):
- toward Iran and now says the country is too dangerous for that policy to succeed.
But the bigger and more powerful Soviet Union was contained. And is the alternative war?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (3.4 percent):
- Says President Obama, having drawn a red line on Syria,
- “finished the job.”
War in Syria, then.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (3.2 percent).
- Would not immediate rip up Obama’s Iran deal.
But would send US troops to fight ISIL.
So, war on ISIL, then.
Source: Abbott’s Road to Damascus
The Abbott Government wants to restrict any intake of Syrian refugees to minorities which are largely Christian.
the 8 countries that sent the most weapons to Syria since 2011 only accepted 2 percent of the refugees Germany has taken in.
Tony Abbott has more to lose from the Canning by-election outcome than Bill Shorten, but both men have stooped to either whipping up foreigner-anxiety or appeasing xenophobia in order to maximise their party’s vote.
ISIL can be defeated
ISIL is not ISLAM
ISIL will be punished
|ISIL is not the only group using the media as a weapon of war, with one anti-ISIL TV station also gaining ground in Iraq.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports from northern Iraq.
I happened to be in London the day the British prime minister, David Cameron, recalled the House of Commons to request its support for British air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq. I went to listen to the debate, and although I missed the big beasts I caught the three-minute speeches of some of the backbenchers. One after the other, members got up and told the House why they would be supporting the government’s motion or, in some cases, voting against it.
A Conservative who had been a member in 2003 reflected ruefully on the naivety with which he had supported the invasion of Iraq that year. He had thought that once Saddam Hussein was removed liberal democracy would flourish, as if it were the natural state of a people. A Labour woman, a Muslim, spoke of the danger Islamic State posed to Muslims in the Middle East and the travesty of its carnage in the name of Islam. A Labour man who had voted against the invasion in 2003 was voting against the air strikes. Some members focused on strategic issues and international security, others on the domestic context; some focused on the present complexities of the Middle East, others on the historical paths that had led to the current situation.
All the speeches I heard were reasoned, articulate, disciplined, well informed and civil. There was no name-calling, no blaming for the mistakes of the past, no loony claims, and no dog-whistling about Muslims and immigrants. And there were members in the House to listen to them. The contrast with our jeering, sneering question time and the nearly empty chamber when a backbencher speaks was unsettling. Here were members of the political class seriously debating a complex and threatening international situation without trying to score political points. Their names and how they voted were recorded for all to see. There were not many opposed to the strikes, only 43 to 524 in favour, but they were from both sides of the House and from all parties, as party discipline for backbenchers is more relaxed in Britain than in Australia.
By tradition, foreign policy in Westminster parliamentary systems has been an executive prerogative, a hangover from the days when kings and queens wielded the power that prime ministers and cabinets have inherited. There has been no requirement that parliament be consulted about the gravest decision a government can take: when it should declare war and risk the lives of the members of its armed forces.
In Britain this is changing. The executive prerogative over foreign policy remains, in theory, but ever since Tony Blair allowed the House of Commons to debate Britain’s participation in the Coalition of the Willing against Iraq in 2003, a convention has emerged that the government will seek the consent of the House before it commits to the use of armed force. In Canada, too, Prime Minister Stephen Harper put before parliament a motion to authorise air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq.
Not so here. Tony Abbott announced cabinet’s authorisation of air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq at a short press conference. His announcement was followed by very brief statements from the defence minister, David Johnston, and the air chief marshal, Mark Binskin. Simple arguments supported the decision: Islamic State has declared war on the world and is a threat to Australia; Iraq needs our help; we will be part of a US-led coalition; it is essentially a humanitarian mission; it is in Australia’s national interest. Abbott warned us that the task was difficult, dangerous and could last a long time, while Johnston and Binskin reassured us that our armed forces were skilled and ready. That was it: a top-down decision defended with general arguments and with no reference to Australia’s previous engagements in the region and their less-than-optimal outcomes. Abbott also told us that he had briefed and consulted the Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, who supported cabinet’s decision.
The House of Commons spent a full day in thoughtful and nuanced debate; these three spoke for just six minutes before taking questions. There was little space for a national conversation, no recognition even that one might be possible. Our parliamentary representatives had no need to acquaint themselves with the political and strategic complexities of the contemporary Middle East, to reflect on the outcomes of past interventions in the region, to weigh possible effects on domestic cohesion against obligations to our allies. In short, our parliamentarians were not required to think hard about and face up to the responsibility for the decision.
This absence barely registered, although the Greens leader Christine Milne and the independent MP Andrew Wilkie did move unsuccessfully to have parliament debate the commitment. Greg Sheridan wrote in the Australian that “Tony Abbott has conducted a textbook mobilisation of political support, institutional evaluation and executive decision-making in the way he has gone about mounting the operation,” as if there were no other way it could have been done. In New Zealand, which at the time of writing was yet to make a decision about joining the international effort, there were calls for the government to take the decision to parliament.
How are we to explain this absence of debate?
One explanation is that many Australians are not very interested in international events and are quite happy to leave them up to the government. Nor do they have much interest in how the rest of the world sees the country. For them, politics is essentially a domestic matter of warring tribes, self-interest and occasional mild entertainment.
That there is no call for it to take responsibility in decisions of war might also be a sign of how far federal parliament has fallen in public esteem; we don’t trust its members to behave well and not to play politics. A recent survey by Newspoll for Griffith University’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy found that the federal government was the least trusted level of government.
In the same week that Abbott made his announcement, there was a completely unnecessary fracas about the non-existent threat of burqas at Parliament House. The causes of this are obscure. Was it a justified security concern, a paranoid overreaction, or a dog whistle gone wrong? Comments by Niki Savva suggest it may well have been a botched attempt by Abbott’s office to repair his relations with the backbench, and if she’s right it shows a worrying insularity.
Given how badly the government and the parliament handled this non-issue, perhaps it is just as well that the parliament did not get a chance to debate Australia’s decision to engage in air strikes against Islamic State. It is unlikely that Australian parliamentarians could have conducted themselves with the bipartisan civility of their British counterparts, or without at least one of them causing gross offence to Muslim and Middle Eastern Australians and so exacerbating an already very challenging situation.
And then there is the difficulty of criticising a government wrapping itself in the flag. One might be thought un-Australian, a deserter from Abbott’s Team Australia. Like John Howard when he took Australia into the Coalition of the Willing, Abbott appeals to nationalism, but compared with Howard’s his nationalism is curiously thin and lacking in content. As prime minister, Howard made innumerable orations about what it meant to be Australian: Australia Day and Anzac Day addresses, speeches to community organisations, and remarks at state occasions like the celebrations to mark the centenary of Federation in 2001. He praised Australians for their belief in the fair go, their practical mateship and ordinary decency, their unpretentiousness and informality, and their tolerance. This view of Australian virtues has a long history, though previously it had been Labor mates rather than Liberal patriots who had praised “the fair go”. Howard worked hard to give his nationalism experiential content beyond the simple black and white, Them and Us divisions to which it is so dangerously prone. He did not always succeed. His early rejection of multiculturalism and his refusal to condemn Pauline Hanson were bad beginnings, but his nationalism had a core as well as a border.
What is the core of Abbott’s Team Australia, the shared values and historical experiences that he wants the phrase to evoke? It’s hard to know. And Abbott can’t really talk about the fair go, when his government’s first budget is generally perceived as unfair. Team Australia seems like little more than an advertising slogan, a “captain’s pick” with no historical resonance and little content to stabilise it. Thus it can easily seem to be just about Them and Us, with Muslim Australians the Them, especially if they wear strange clothing.
Australia is prepared to risk the lives of Defence personnel by sending them to face danger and uncertainty in the Middle East, where the motivation is essentially border protection rather than compassion. Aside from any deaths or injuries, many members of the Defence forces will return to Australia from the Middle East suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and place a strain on mental health services for decades to come.
Australia – already one of the richest nations on earth financially – even richer. But when asked to reach out to people in need in other parts of the world, the Government is prepared to impose extra layers of red tape.Other nations and non government organisations apply Australia’s ‘open for business’ mindset to humanitarian emergencies. For example the Jesuit Refugee Service emphasises flexibility and rapid response in the way that it responds to international emergencies. President Obama has acted quick to dispatch 3000 military personnel to West Africa. They will train as many as 500 health care workers a week, erect 17 heath care facilities in Liberia of 100 beds each, and much more. For its part, Australia is putting red tape in place to stop skilled individual volunteers who are willing and able to travel to West Africa.
EXCLUSIVE: Australia’s 200 Special Forces are stalled in the United Arab Emirates, awaiting legal clearance to kick off their mission assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in repelling the Islamic State.
The Special Forces, under the leadership of 2nd Commando Regiment, arrived in the UAE a month ago, fully equipped for their “advise and assist” role, but Iraq is sending mixed signals on whether it wants the Australians in Iraq.
The new Iraqi government of Haider al-Abadi has expressed reluctance about allowing foreign troops onto Iraqi soil — even though small groups of combat specialists, including US, German and British, have made their way to the front line
The RT news channel has reported Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari as saying yesterday: “We are absolutely against foreign military bases and the presence of foreign military forces. Yes, we did ask for help, but it concerned air cover.
“The question of sending troops in was discussed several times and we were very frank and stated clearly that we are completely against the deployment of foreign troops on our territory, as it can cause justifiable fears and concerns among the Iraqi population.”
Further complicating matters, Prime Minister al-Abadi is yet to appoint a permanent Defence Minister as Iraq transitions to its new government.
The six Australian F/A-18F Super Hornets flying combat missions over Iraq operate under an agreement separate to the planned SoFA. It was negotiated between Baghdad and Coalition countries and gives them diplomatic clearance to fly over Iraq and conduct strikes.
No word had come through on the Special Force deployment as of yesterday.
The Iraqi Foreign Minister’s strong language appears to throw doubts as to whether it would accept as many as 200 Australians, who are fully primed to show their Iraqi colleagues that they are staunch and committed allies in combat.
The US, British and German specialists — who are also assisting the Kurds out of Irbil, in northern Iraq — have taken the chance and gone in without SOFAS.
In theory, Australia could send in the Special Forces today, but if — for example — they accidentally shot an Iraqi policeman, they could be arrested and jailed. Australia is not prepared to take that risk.
It may still be the case that they will go, and possibly at a moment’s notice if the deed is signed.
Behind the scenes, that resistance will be most forcefully applied by the Shia regime of Iran, which wields strong political influence in the Iraqi capital, which is also Shia and appears increasingly to be looking to its neighbour — a former enemy — for an Islamic solution to the ISIL scourge.
The current war against ISIS cannot be won with air strikes. I would go further and say it cannot even be won with a large ground force either. The reason is simple. You cannot fight an idea with guns or bombs. Guns and bombs may blow people away but the idea remains. And no matter how many people you blow away, others will come to take their place. That is the power of an idea. You can only fight an idea with a better idea. And thus far, no one in the west has been able to do that, if indeed it can be done.
One would have thought that the billions of dollars spent in just the last 25 years trying to restore some degree of peace and stability in the Middle East would have been enough to demonstrate the futility of waging wars. But no, it hasn’t. If it were not for the strategic interests of the region (i.e. Oil), the rest of the world would not have the will or desire to intervene.
And to think that Australia’s efforts in sending a couple of planes to drop a few bombs on an uncertain target will make a difference is just ridiculous. We, along with a multinational coalition, spent eight years routing out ‘evil’ and replacing it with supposedly highly trained ‘good’ for what result? The ‘good’ we left in place has disintegrated. Hugh White makes it clear that if we do it all again, this time for longer and with larger numbers, such a strategy will achieve no more than the last great effort. It might bring some form of political stability to the region for a short time, but it won’t bring a lasting peace.
It certainly doesn’t address the idea that motivates the ‘enemy’. The raw truth is, we do not know how to identify the ‘enemy’. Is it ISIS, is it Islam? Is it Israel? Is it far away Christians believing that this potent mixture of cultures and religions can ever be at peace? Even in a world without gods, there would still be conflicts but nothing as complex as this.
We should commend President Obama for at least holding back and not being sucked into sending another ground force to try and resolve this mess. But for how long can he hold back? The Hawks in the Pentagon are busting for another fight. The American people, by and large, are not. They’ve had enough. So have we, in Australia. Western interference in the Middle East has brought the conflict to our own backyards in ways no one ever dreamed of 50 or 100 years ago. We are reaping what we have sown.
I don’t think Tony Abbott has the mental maturity to realise this, and I fear that before long, he will commit us to increase our pathetic contribution to something that will make things worse.
Tony Abbott praises Labor on Iraq, distancing himself from Joe Hockey
The prime minister,Tony Abbott, has praised Labor’s support for military intervention in Iraq, distancing himself from his treasurer, Joe Hockey, who questioned the value of bipartisanship on the issue when the opposition would not pass the budget.
As Australia carried out its first air strike on an Islamic State target in Iraq, Hockey demanded that the federal opposition pass the budget in order to allow the government to meet the costs of the conflict, expected to run to hundreds of millions.
But during a morning radio interview, and at a press conference later on Thursday, Abbott declined to endorse Hockey’s remarks, pointing instead to co-operation between the major parties on the Middle East conflict to date.
Labor however moved to capitalise on Hockey’s untidy intervention. The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, said the prime minister should “correct his treasurer”.
“Joe Hockey probably thought he was being clever, creating this political issue. Well it’s not,” Shorten said in Melbourne. “Every time Joe Hockey opens his mouth now he says something silly.”
“Australians will see through this political game. Under no circumstances should our intervention in Iraq be used as a source to justify hurting Australian people through this unfair budget – and the cuts and raised taxes which flow from it.”
Shorten went to a matter of policy contention within the Coalition: declaring that if the government needed additional resources to fund Australia’s military operations, it should dump the prime minister’s signature paid parental leave scheme.
Coalition MPs have continued to speak out against the generous scheme – arguing the money would better be directed elsewhere.
“Why don’t they actually go after the multinationals they’ve gone soft on?” Shorten said “There are plenty of measures that this government could do if it really is the crisis that Joe Hockey says it is.”
Hockey had told reporters in Washington that the costs associated with Australia’s military intervention were another reason Labor should “immediately pass the remaining measures in the budget”.
“Everything comes at a cost and if Bill Shorten truly is honest about his commitment to deliver bipartisan support in relation to our defence efforts in the Middle East he’ll provide bipartisan support to pay for it,” he said.
Earlier in the week, the finance minister, Mathias Cormann, declined to rule out raising taxes to pay for the conflict, but the prime minister stepped in on Tuesday to do so.
Abbott, speaking on Fairfax Radio on Thursday, would not link passing the budget and paying for the Iraq contribution, despite being given several opportunities to do so by his host, Neil Mitchell.
Abbott said Shorten had been a “patriot” on Iraq, and had been concerned to address the threats posed by Islamic State.
On the subject of the budget, the prime minister said it remained incumbent on Labor to suggest alternative savings or revenue measures to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability if the opposition did not like the government’s approach. Abbott also accused Labor of playing politics on unpopular measures such as the GP co-payment.
At a media event later in the day, Abbott said: “What is important is that the opposition continues to support our mission in Iraq and the Middle East.”
“Obviously there’s a lot of things that the government and the opposition disagree [about] but when it comes to national security it’s good that we stand shoulder to shoulder together.”
The forgotten war but they are still there
They are booing the man
When is a war not a war? When is a war really a war?
The answer to those questions is strictly in the hands of whoever is in charge of a country at a particular time.
Tony Abbott badly needed a war, or something like it, when his Government was being shredded a few weeks ago — firstly because he lied to the population about everything his government intended to do. He lied before the election and he lied again after the election when he said he didn’t lie.
The angry backlash had begun to look serious for his Government.
The murderers who appeared out of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham gave Abbott his real opportunity.
War! War! War!
Now U.S. President Barack Obama has decided that
“… we will not get dragged into another ground war.”
More recently, Obama has decided that American troops still in Iraq, should be part of a routine policy which America has been following in Somalia and Yemen aimed at securing “national security” and to “protect of our people” — meaning the workers of U.S. oil magnates.
For Tony Abbott, it’s a war. For the U.S. it is not a war.
In Australia, we have a news media today that reeks of sheer bullshit, making headlines of nothing, scaring the pants off many in the population, arguing endlessly about what women should be allowed to wear or not to wear. Inside our population, we undoubtedly have a number of people who have come to Australia and received citizenship but there will always be some who will abuse the freedoms that Australia offers them.
Tony Abbott and his favourite dinner companion Rupert Murdoch are playing a game with the Australian people, while at the same time our police and security forces are doing all that is reasonably necessary to keep us safe. At the same time, we need to be concerned that the opposition side of our parliament must be convinced that Abbott is doing the nation no good.
There are plenty of people in Australia now who are well aware that the country is being taken for a ride for outrageous political chicanery and it needs to be stopped.
I would love to know the subject of the dinner conversations of Abbott and Murdoch. Particularly Murdoch, whose obsolete views on practically everything I learned years ago.
Australia has been propagandized.
At the same time, however, Hayden said that a much-publicized White House policy that President Obama announced last year barring U.S. drone strikes unless there is a “near certainty” there will be no civilian casualties — “the highest standard we can meet,” he said at the time — does not cover the current U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
The “near certainty” standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time,” Hayden said in an email. “That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”
The Obama administration has been roundly criticized for pursuing an air campaign that cannot possibly destroy the Islamic State. If that is a strategy with limited efficacy, what is the moral argument for continuing to employ it when civilian casualties result? It is one thing when a strategy is well-designed to achieve a specific military objective but quite another when it is not. Obama now is being severely criticized by Isreael. However does anybody even consider that they are all wrong? ISIS hasn’t launched any attacks on American targets (yet), but just the mere potential apparently allows Obama to jettison the same standard he applied to Israel while our ally was under direct and continuous attacks that qualify as war crimes in any sense of the word — from an Islamist terror network not dissimilar at all to ISIS.
The decision not to put a force of ground troops to push ISIS off its ground guarantees that we will create collateral damage like this for months and years to come. If the mission is to “degrade and destroy ISIS” while they remain embedded in these cities and towns, there is no other possible outcome than massive civilian casualties. ISIS will not withdraw under air attack to the desert where they can get bombed and strafed into oblivion, after all, and without ground forces, we won’t have the means to hold any ground we might liberate anyway. Nor will we have the specific intelligence needed to avoid mistakes that happen in any war.
Remember this name Tony Abbott you voted for him I didn’t. He will kill not some “devil cult” but he will kill a lot of families like yours and mine.
“ISIL will claim that our involvement in this international effort is the reason they are targeting us, but these people do not attack us for what we do, but for who we are and how we live.”
Despite this narrative’s denial of the truth, the harsh reality is Australia has caused the threat to itself by striding clumsily with guns blazing and meddling in Middle Eastern affairs — something that began with military action in Afghanistan in 2001.
Last Monday, in a call for action against it enemies, ISIS urged its members to kill civilians and soldiers of the nations aligned against it, naming Australia.
They did this not because Australia is a liberal democratic country, but rather because Australia has allowed itself to become embroiled in Middle East politics and line up as an ally and soldier on the battlefield with the United States.
Why then would the PM come out and claim differently?
The prime minister is playing a political game, attempting to frame the threat to Australia in a way that absolves Australia as the cause of the threats itself.
Government needed to own the intervention and breakage it made, respectively, in 2001 and 2003 to show good faith with voters and to reduce the vicious Islamophobia we are now, unfortunately, seeing spread like wildfire through the community.
Tony Abbott is desperate to go to war, but what are the costs Veteran Australian diplomat Bruce Haigh says
The so called Islamic State is a marauding force of Sunni adherents with an ambitious and opportunistic agenda. It seeks to fill the political and military vacuum brought about by the first American invasion of Iraq. Acquiring power behind the shield of religion is its modus operandi.
Commonsense and compassion dictates that the rampaging rebels must be halted and contained. They must be stopped from beheading western hostages, abducting and raping women and executing prisoners of war. But who is it that should stop them?
This is not Australia’s fight.Australia is not threatened in the way Iraq and neighbouring states might feel threatened.This is a fight for a broad coalition of Arab states. In the absence of this why should Australia step up?
Abbott is approaching military involvement as a religious crusade. He has said that anyone fighting for the rebels is against God and religion. The Attorney General, George Brandis, appears to be on the same hymn sheet, describing the “mission” as humanitarian with military elements. They describe the rebels as evil.The original Crusaders saw their missions as an act of love, righting the wrongs of Islamic occupation of the Holy Lands.
As with American entry to the war in Vietnam, this current undertaking is bereft of strategic thinking and planning. There is a forward rush based on emotional footage and commentary.Abbott and his followers are banging an urgent military tattoo, in order to drown out dissent and numb clear thought.
The slogan of the time was that it was better to fight Communism in Vietnam than at home. Abbott’s better to fight the Jihadists in Iraq than Australia eerily echoes the propaganda from that earlier ill-judged and failed war. 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam, 521 died and 3,000 were injured.
Nothing was achieved.
America fatally misread the political and social dynamics of Vietnam.Yet here is Abbott, a latter day lap dog, swallowing every grim U.S. ‘intelligent report’ on IS and Iraq, not factoring in the earlier failure of U.S. policy, which has led to the present imbroglio.
How exactly does Abbott believe the U.S. confrontation of IS will proceed to a more successful outcome than Vietnam, the first and second Iraq wars and Afghanistan?
We have gone to war with the IS in conjunction with the Iraqi military in order to support the government of Iraq, but what if the government in Iraq collapses and/or the untrained and uncommitted Iraqi military fades into the desert? Will the ‘Coalition’ continue the war? Will they take over the instruments of the failed Iraqi state?If Vietnam is any guide, the answer is yes — and with predictable and catastrophic results.What if IS should have further success, gaining more ground and assets and, in the process, look and behave more like a functioning state to the point that a number ‒ perhaps a majority of Arab countries ‒ give recognition and trade with the new entity or state.What if they turn against the ‘Coalition’ on the basis that it comprises interfering infidels?
What if the Taliban in Afghanistan use the ruggedness and remoteness of the country to train IS and other fighters?
As the war drags on, or perhaps before even that situation is reached, will the Abbott government introduce a war levy (tax) and re-introduce selective conscription, for what is likely to become an unpopular war? To top off Abbott’s silly and alarming sabre rattling, we have heard little from the immature government he leads regarding the far greater threat to the world posed by the Ebola plague.
Bruce Haigh is a political commentator, conscript and retired diplomat, who served in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Isis: the international community has responded just as the jihadists wanted
It is irrelevant what terminology the Australian government chooses to use to defend its involvement in a new war because the declared enemy, Isis, has already set the terms
While it might suit us to imagine this fight in binary terms, a struggle of good versus evil, there is an important point that must not be ignored. This war is pulling together an uncomfortable conglomeration of natural allies and natural enemies on one side and pitting them against an equally messy conglomeration of allies on the other. Within this international coalition there is not even a clear set of values underpinning the agenda and perhaps, more worryingly, there is no clear objective.
Some members of this coalition will be satisfied with diminishing the operational capabilities of Isis. Others will want to see Isis destroyed completely, whatever that means. No convincing argument has yet been made about how bombing specific targets in northern Iraq and Syria will help to destroy an ideology which has spread, cancer-like, radicalising limited but troubling numbers of disaffected young Muslim men and women around the world, including in western Sydney.
Complicating this scenario even further will be the outlying objectives of some members of the international coalition. The Sunni governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE have long wanted to see off the Alawite dominated regime of Bashar al-Assad, with its allegiances to Shia Iran and Shia Hezbollah, in Lebanon. Speaking on Sunday, Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad put it mildly when he described that approach as “a very dangerous game”
As this drags on, there’s every chance the line will become blurred between radical Sunni Muslim targets and other targets in Iraq and Syria. If, for example Sunni tribes in the north-west of Iraq are not brought back into the fold by a more inclusive national government in Baghdad, how then does the coalition distinguish between them and the radicals? The risk is that what we, in Australia, might see as a clear battle-line between Isis and the rest of the civilized world will be understood in a vastly more nuanced fashion in the Middle East. In truth, this war has a multitude of battle-lines and whilst Australia might be clear about where it stands, it will not always be immediately clear where our partners stand.
The Australian government may have deemed that there is simply no other choice than to commit to this. And they would not be alone in concluding that. But if we are going into battle, we should firstly know if this is in fact “a war”, which side we are on and what precisely it is that we are fighting for.