Howard's WarAs the smallest deputy sheriff of the south pacific I have girded my loins and strapped on my guns and looked for a suitable target, having discounted Kibirati and Russia I have decided to kill Iraqis.
Shit no, that's what my 'leader' has decided that we should do, I would and will kill no one.
The inexorable logic is that the Iraq leader is a despot who does unspeakable things to his citizens and therefore regime change is the appropriate reaction of civilized and civilising leaders everywhere. Of course this logic holds if and only if despots everywhere should tremble at the fate waiting Saddam and his minions. But should despots everywhere have something to fear. Is North Korea next, what about Somalia where America has unfinished business. What about the mad (Mugabee) the bad (Mahtir) or the just plain hard to like.
Fancy that, leaders of the Willing that so loved the Iraqis that they was prepared to slaughter them to save them, it seems that the moral alchemy is to be argued on strict Utilitarian lines. Kill ten now and save twenty later and we have ourselves a bargain. A little coalition dead, a lot of Iraqi dead and liberation and that last magic word makes it all right. If the boot was on the other foot and Australia was being 'liberated' I might prefer life under a despot than dead but 'free'.
Well hail that brother John. All hail the rule of ends justifying the means, all hail that despots are overthrown and people saved even if the victory has the slight smell of the acrid smoke of the corpses of collateral damage.
So why stop at Saddam, there are a world of despots and a planet of people to be slaughtered in the Australian way. Why stop with the non threat of Iraq. Those Austrian's are mighty suspect, lets get a regiment or two in there and slaughter a few civilians, bugger the rule of law, lets wipe our arse on the flag of the United Nations. Screw those terrorists, lets show them what unbridled hate filled criminals can really do with a few good men and a well trained army.
On second thoughts, the small man with the big eye brows doesn't speak for me. The world trembles on the brink of war, a war that may depose the leader of Iraq and in the process destroy the United Nations. Who's side should we be on. The world, the flock of doves, or the hard beaks of the vultures of war. Where should Australian's take their stand. With the smallest and the weakest as defined by that pathetic Canberra killer John Winston Howard or with the containment regime and dissamarment policies as evidenced by the UN and Hans Blix.
Now is the time for moral choices and my leader is making the immoral ones.
Thursday 20th MarchJohn Howard is everywhere on the media addressing the nation. Explains that he got us in a hole and now can't pull out so Australia is going to war against another country for no reason that he can articulate. Apparently the Iraqis are a major trading partner and have never attacked Australia directly or indirectly but having committed to the American folly Johnnie hasn't the balls to say no. Result we are at war.
Friday 21st MarchWill we or won't we is giving way to when will we. And then suddenly we are off trying to decapitate the Iraqi regime. So I guess John Howard is fair game now. Apparently military doctrine is that Saddam is a legitimate target, but 'our' leaders would only be targeted by terrorists. Still I suppose that if you could have eliminated Hitler then you should have? But where will this doctrine end. Simon Crean says he would pull our troops out but then he is in the loverly position of not having to do it. Finally at least labor is standing for something.
Saturday 22nd MarchThe media are full of the sound and fury of war but signify nothing to paraphrase Shakespeare. Clearly the media management is working as apart from lots of grainy night footage and intense speculation there is no real news.
The coalition starts its much heralded Shock and Awe campaign. Bagdad trembles as every 'precision' munition in the arsenal is directed at targets. Some 'precision munitions' miss Iraqi all together and hit Iran. Woops.
John Howard opens his mock and bore campaign against Simon Crean. Apparently labor is something or other but I got so bored I had to surf to another channel.
Its all war all channels but no real news.
Initial reports are that divisions of soldiers have given up and Iragis only deep water port is taken. Basari is about to fall.
Sunday 23rd MarchThe news services are getting bored with war and start to return to normal programs.
It seems that there are only 1000 of 2000 prisoners depending on who is commenting and talk of divisional surrender is quietly slipping from the front page.
The coalition is taking losses from friendly fire, planes and helicopters collide, and drop from the sky and columns of amour move through gritty landscapes.
Towns fall and then they don't. Pockets remain to be mopped up, then the pockets develop into battles and then back to in coalition control. Clearly information is not being managed as well as might be expected from the masters of spin.
If reports are to be believed then the coalition is 160 kilometers from Bagdad, 200 ks or right there right now. Meanwhile Iraqi soldiers fight on and refuse to give up. The media management slips a little and journos get to see actual killing. Then the 'terrorists' kill journos.
War by other means takes off and Australia thrashes the Indian's at the Cricket World Cup final. Hooray for our side, our little Johnny Prime Minister and well known cricket tragic must be beside himself.
Monday 24th MarchThe decapitation attack that has been the subject of much speculation is resolved. Saddam is alive and apparently well. The Iraqi's clearly don't have the same script as the generals and are putting up resistance at every point and not just surrendering, fading away, etc etc..
Everyone is saying that it could be a long war, I think that might be code fro body bags going west.
27th MarchIn Tolkeins world the corrupted mage Surman lauches his mutatnt soliders on the world identifed by the white hand of Saurman.
Today protester greated John Howard with the placard containing the bloody hand of the leader who sends his troops to battle in an illegal and imoral war. And indeeed in parlimnet the bloody leader was asked of his brutal forces murderous progress. 1oo dead soliders and an unknown dead number of Iraqis apprently 500 soliders and 100 civilians. Dont agree with the numbers then pick you own. But who is to know in a war of disinformation and In Tolkein's world the corrupted mage Surman launches his mutant soldiers on the world identified by the white hand of Saurman.
Today protester greeted John Howard with the placard containing the bloody hand of the leader who sends his troops to battle in an illegal and immoral war. And indeed in parliament the bloody leader was asked of his brutal forces murderous progress. 100 dead soldiers and an unknown dead number of Iraqis, apparently 500 soldiers and 100 civilians. Don't agree with the numbers then pick you own. But who is to know in a war of disinformation and spin. Still JWH says all the ordinary soldiers are conscripts and want to leave the military. So by rights then and by the PM's own logic they are coerced civilian conscripts. Does this make them therefore outside the civilian categories and we we shouldn't count them as dead soldiers but dead civilains.
Mean time the Americans are bogged down in a miasma of death, the fog of war and the brutality of a gulf sandstorm. If terror and exhaustion have quelled the Americans advance and they appear to have it might be the Iraqi version if shock and Awe
Far from it it is the time of the smart weapons it seems that simple weapons and clever tactics are slowing the American advance and turning a 2 week war into something much longer. I am picking that the war will take months and not weeks. A long war means lots of dead which will be hard for the spin misters to make palatable. Predictably then they will claim atrocities and 'possible weapons of mass destruction' to distract while the brutal business of state murder goes on. Actually those tactics have already been taken for a run trouble is that no smoking gun has been found.
1 AprilSome people have suggested that I am anti Howard. This is far from the truth, I admire John Howard as a clever politician and one who I think has done some fantastic things, for example the Gun Legislation and Australia's response to Timor.
I reject the concept that I am a one eyed ideologue, but I am no supporter of the current war.
The war is in my opinion not framed within the legal auspices of the UN, there is no supporting resolutions that the wars instigators can prosecute the war on. I think this is an Illegal War.
There are several ways around this problem. The first is to suggest that the UN has failed and is irrelevant to the problem presented by Iraq. This is to suggest that if the UN is irrelevant it therefore has no jurisdiction and therefore the legality of the war or otherwise is moot.
Of course once you go down that road then you are dismantling the UN and the fledgling set of world law. Once this rejection is made it is hard to see how the actions in Iraqi can be justified except on moral grounds. As an aside when you are at this point in your reasoning, charges of rogue sates are more than a little misleading.
A second possibility to get around the legality issue is to argue that one of the previous resolutions of the UN gives the imprimatur of the UN to the unilateral action of the US, UK and Australia. This argument seems a little desperate. Surely if there had been a ready made resolution available the US and UK would not have spent weeks of maneuvering to get a new resolution, after all what would be the point.
Therefore we are back to moral grounds to validate Bush and his henchmen's actions. A case can be made on utilitarian grounds, along the lines of Saddam's regime was an aggressor (true look at Kuwait) and is developing and intending to use Weapons of Mass destruction. This argument fails because the inspection process backed with some armed threat was working, slowly but definitely it was working. To argue that a slow but peaceful process is inferior to the brutality of war must fail on any utilitarian balance.
A further argument can be put that Saddam and his regime are so corrupt and so evil that war is justified. It is clear that Saddam's rule has been brutal and bloody. He has waged war as a proxy of the US and sometimes not, he has brutalized his people. All true but look at other countries that were similar, South Africa for one springs to mind. Long term world pressure eventually brought a peaceful resolution to South Africa. Albeit with a minor civil war thrown into the mix.
But even if one were to reject examples of South Africa and look at other regimes that had been toppled by the armed might of the west Serbia, Afganistan for one, and say well that was a good result. The principal established must be followed. Who is next on the shopping list. Around the world there are many countries that are brutal and bloody North Korea, Burma, Zimbawae, Serria Leone, Somalia, Uganda, Nigeria, Israel, Syria, Libiya, the list goes on and on.
Is Australia to declare war on each of these in turn liberating them from their brutality.
Even if one were to articulate the world cop argument and that all these repressive regimes were to be dealt with militantly it doesn't make the case that this action is justified in the Iraqi case. We must establish intention to brutalize in the future. Past performance is no guide, otherwise we would suggest that Australia still practices Cultural Genocide, it doesn't but it did, America slavery and so on. Such a justification in the case of Iraqi is just not forthcoming.
I like a lot of people don't think any of these reasons stack up. I think that America has other motives and that Iraqi is a good place to start effect things from. First pressuring the Suadi's and then the Ayotollahs, there are other regimes in the area that could all be persuaded with dollars or the gun to see things through the eyes of Pax Americana, and then of course there is the Oil and bushes oil buddies waiting in the wings to sweep up the fruits of war.
This is not a legal war and it is certainly not a moral war, so Australia ask yourselves what are we doing in the middle of war. A war that is not legal a war that is not moral
The fall of Bagdad : AKA Mutually assured lossBagdad may fall. The coalition, in that wonderful phrase may have attrited the Republican guards. Code. Means boombed them to death. And now we pause beyond the red line ready for death or glory. Of course the Iraqi's loose. They never could beat a billion dollar war machine with an oil hungry president and a hell bent public slavering to avenge a slight.
But will the kevlar clad soldiers win the long game.
I am reminded of John Westfield who during my school days beat me bloody on many ocasions. Why to win my respect, or at least fear. Bullies are like that, you never quite know their motivation, you do understand the fear
Today would I cross the road to piss on him if he waws on fire, hell no.
Americans need to underestand, no amount of beatings will make them loved. A nasty brutal killer goverment whose exercise of raw power is more often evil than not. Want examples? The carpet bombing of Laos, Israel, Chile, Grenada, Cambodia, the catelogue of brutal and bloody state sponsered murder that the American goverment and the American people have been involved in in the 25 years are comprehensive. .
So having imposed freedom American style. Dragged off those that don't suit the Americans to ex judical improisoment centres like Juantanmo Bay, or the moving of others to 3rd party torture centers like Jordan or Parkistan. Well once the Iraqi population has expereinced such manyfold American freedoms, then how long to Intifadi and the death of liberators. Then we are on the slipery slope, the conversion of free Iraqi's to terrorists and ultimatly coaltion loss.
How long till the Americans leave ah la Vietnam. The last helicopter leaving from the roof of the American embassy.
Lets all hope that the wars coda is swift, and that the peace is long.
War and PeaceSo its over, the US toppled the statue and we saw the the bodyless head in the square, we saw the head being dragged and despised. We watched the looting, the sacking of the engine of state and the destruction of museums.
Suddenly it was obvious that 63 tonnes of Abrams battle tank couldn't solve all of the problems in Iraq and now the west generally and the Americans specifically had the bigger problem.
War won now to win the peace.
Make no mistake, this is one of the defining moments of the new century and one that possibly or probably will make the history of the world for the next twenty years or so. How the US behaves as the colonial ruler of Iraq will define how the world looks now and in the immediate future.
If the US does well and turns Iraq back into a civil society, uses the wealth of Iraq AKA OIL for the benefit of the Iraq's then gradually the world and even curmudgeonly critics like me will swing to the view that the price was a good though painful price.
And if the US does bad and sucks Iraq dry or extends into a forever war Syria, Lebanon, Saudi, Israel, OK the last is a sick joke, then we will have a different more dangerous and brutal world.
It is an interesting question can a moral action result from an immoral act. War is clearly immoral and this war more so than most being both illegal and immoral. But if the ultimate outcome is good, then does the end justify the means? Of course this presupposes that the outcome will be good. The US is aiming iteslf down a line at home and abroad that has both flavors of totalitarianism and the worst of the puritan. The sunset clause of the USA PATRIOT act are set aside and it becomes forever war.
Secret trails. Ex Judicial killing. Prisoners held without trail or access to the legal system. Prisoners of war held outside the Geneva convention or US law. All of these things are happening and happening now.
Contract torture conveniently carried out by third party security outfits allow the US to keep its hands but not its heart clean.
All of this sounds more like the regime that was overthrown, not the one doing the overthrowing but sadly it just ain't so. All those violations of basic human rights are things the US is doing now. I hope for the future but my hope is desperate and based on the assumption that past performance does not predict future gains.
June, Peace 60 days outLittle Johnny our lying Prime Minister. He lied about the Children overboard, why it was politically advantageous, he was able with his lieutenants of fear Costello, Reith, Ruddock and Abott to raise the specter of the yellow tide revisited. This time it was the other godless horde refuges. He created the ghastly religion of the pacific solution locking people up in th hell hole of Nauru, a disused guano mine, PNG and the rest. Trouble is all of the "ILLEGALS" were mostly found to be genuine refugees.
Lately of course he has committed us to a war against Iraq where gleefully we were part of killing Iraqis. No problem there, Iraqi was clearly a problem. Trouble is, seems like there are no weapons of mass destruction WMD to be found. That was the PMs reason for slaughter. For committing the troops, for ex judicial killing PM style. Well of course not exactly ex judicial, after all the parliament voted for it but then lying Johnny lied to the parliament.
Now he would claim that this is not true but it seems the spooks of the west were leaned on to give the answer their political masters wanted to hear. Our spooks were no exception and by all accounts tailored their intelligence output to meet the mood of the moment. In the US they are investigating, did Rummy and his mates make it up, lean on, threaten, or just plain lie. In Britain its the same in Tony Blairs government. But Johnny the master of falsehood has no such plans. He want a commission like a cow wants three legs.
So the government leaned on the spooks, and the spooks gave them material that the government used to justify a war and there has been not a shred of evidence to back up why we went to war. There is no reason that Australian soldiers went and killed Iraqis.
Parliament was lied to, the Australian people were lied to and Johnny at best has blood on his hands and at worst is responsible of the illegal killing of Iraqis. By the way illegal killing has a common name, its murder.
Weasel WordsI went to se a movie today, but that is not the reason that i write, or rather it is tangential to it. Before the movie were the usual round of trailers and teasers each preceded by the legally required warning from the Office of Film and Literature Classification. A lovely Orwellian name for the censor. The censor qualification has the tag line “Informing your choices” on their web site www.oflc.gov.au they expand this tag line to “Informing your choices by classifying films, computer games and publications for the Australian Community.
What weasel worded bullshit. The board does not as it did in the past make cuts to films. Or so it claims. Of course it doesn’t it leaves this to the studios to do so that they can achieve a particular classification. And anyway that’s a mute point because it still bans films, the traditional role of the censor.
This is just an example of our government’s fascination with the truth and how we are to perceive it. We “inform”, not we a re prevented from seeing a film. Being prevented from seeing a film is a form of information I grant you but its drawing a long bow to say that film banning is real information.
And on it goes. It has been a year now since the Coalition invaded Iraq and made it to Baghdad. A year since one of Sadam’s statues was tumbled, in that televisual friendly event. A year in which we had, rather than total capitulation and the throwing of flowers and hosannas at the invaders a long fought war of resistance. First the resistance was characterized as the “rump of the Iraqi elite” but as the elite was rounded up one by one and the media related with glee how this card or that card in the Deck of Iraq had been captured up the message changed to Al Queda terrorists that were flooding into the country, then to Shiites the previous elite who were behind it all and on and on.
The country did not become more peaceful, Bush declared it was all over and famously landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier. But it wasn’t over, it isn’t over and the Iraqis want the Americans to leave. The Iraqi resistance movement, named an Insurgency by the military in a clever redefinition of the language fought back, and the Americans and their Coalition partners continued killing.
Up to last week before the Americans started on their latest blood bath there had been between 8865 and 10715 civilian casualties. As reported by www.iraqbodycount.net At the same time there had been exactly 757 Coalition casualties as reported by lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx. The Americans are so arrogant that they don’t count the dead of the country they are “liberating”.
Now this week outraged at the desecration of bodies killed by the Iraqis the Americans in their wroth and their fury have attacked Falluja killing soldier and civilian alike as this Reuters report www.reuters.co.uk suggests.
An assessment by five international non-governmental organizations on Friday said 470 people had been killed in Falluja. Of 1,200 injured, it said 243 were women and 200 children. The groups said their estimate may be conservative
470 people had been killed in Falluja. Of 1,200 injured, it said 243 were women and 200 children.In the tricky language of the military these are either Terrorists or Insurgents. Not ever Iraqis who just want their country for themselves. Anyone it seems who defies the might of the worlds only imperial superpower must be labeled in such a way that killing them is acceptable and by extension any ‘Collateral Damage’ the murder of civilians for example is deemed acceptable.
The Iraqi puppet government has been heard to complain that attacking Felluja is punishing the whole town for the actions of some. It reminds me of being at school where the whole class was kept in because no-one would dob on who had committed some minor transgression. I complained that my teacher, a noted bore on his exploits during WWII must have learned this from the Germans as this was exactly how partisans were treated with local towns being punished for the acts of Partisan fighters. After the teachers blood had boiled over and he was screaming at the class. I called him a Nazi to his face. A face that looked exactly like the faces of the Generals I saw on my Tellie tonight explaining not with boiling rage of a small minded provincial school teacher but with the icy calm of professional killers that they would indeed punish the whole town for the acts of some.
The Americans it seems are at a loss to explain this latest country wide flare up. After all, all they have done is topple a mad dictator. The Iraqis of course remember that but they also remember the 10 years of sanctions the daily bombing of military targets for that same period, the war and its ghastly aftermath, the internment without trail, the midnight raids. Children being crushed by tanks, unarmed protestors being shot at.
If I was remembering all that I too would be a nationalist. I too would be fighting the impossible. I would be the tiny David, puny Kalashnikov in hand standing up to the mighty Goliath in his Abrams tank, his Apache gunship.