Tuesday 16th of July 2024

Don't. Mention. The. War. ()

If you're only paying half-hearted attention, you'd get the impression that we've all 'moved on' from Iraq, right? Sure, the recent Australian hostage fears and uncertainties have reminded us of the terrible dangers still being faced daily there by our contribution, but when was the last time you saw some serious media coverage of the 'big picture'? And especially a cold, hard examination of what the awful future might hold? Exactly. There's a good reason why, too.

Read what a bunch of retired senior US military heads are saying. Note this paragraph:

General Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. 'I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic.'

Stalingrad destroyed Germany as a world power forever.

Far from not talking about 'zee var' beyond electorally 'safe' mutual-platitudes until after our democratic choice-ballot (as the Yanks seem intent on doing, too), both our potential future PMs need to be giving us a good long look, as a key part of their campaigns, at what they really think lies ahead for ANZUS re: Iraq, and how they each plan to handle it. Australia as a nation is just as responsible as George W. Bush's team for whatever worst-case geo-strategic disaster may be looming for our ANZUS partner in the ME (and maybe then Israel, too) - and for loudly and aggressively forwarding Washington our ideas on avoiding it, welcome or not. I don't support Latham's pull-out 'policy' (even though I think it's been grossly over-simplified by the PM and, predictably, the Murdochians). But I support John Howard's approach from day one - 'minimal ANZUS contribution (military and diplomatic/advice) but maximum ANZUS credit' - even less.

This is not about 'politics', anymore. We Citizens need to demand that our leaders look clearly at what is truly developing in Iraq. If we are really allies of the US Citizenry, we also need to demand our leaders be honest with their leaders, about what they must do to 'get the US out of it' with her global position 'intact', while also giving Iraq and the UN the maximum chance to salvage the bloody mess they've made. Intentionally or not it's only going to get worse for Iraqis while the US remains intent on 'helping' them via more of the same.

And a few more years of 'more of the same' could easily destroy their superpower status forever. It's George W. Bush (and the last dying vestiges of the Cold War/CIA 'bludgeon the world to freedom' mentality) that I want to see the back of, not US global leadership completely.