|Madness. Image by Webdiary artist Martin Davies. www.daviesart.com|
OK, I’m convinced. Despite the fact that our troops are fighting this mad, bad war, Australians must protest for all they’re worth to bring our troops home and extricate Australia from this American imperial crusade before it’s too late.
Adele Horin’s article in Saturday’s Herald made a compelling case for continuing, intensive protests to keep the Coalition honest in their conduct of this war.
But there’s a broader issue. Australia is at grave risk. This should never have been our war. We would have been obliged to participate if the UN sanctioned this war for the sake of our alliance with the US, but without that we should have done a Canada and stayed out of it. Australia is an innocent abroad in the Middle East. Unlike Britain, we have never been a colonial power. Unlike the US, we have never propped up evil regimes like Saddam’s. We must get out, as soon as possible.
It’s clear we’ve been lied to by Bush and by Howard, both about this war’s purpose, and its risks. The blind arrogance of Bush and his mates is beyond belief. Bush is in the process of uniting Arab peoples around the world by turning Saddam, of all people, into a martyr for Islam. And the war on terrorism? What chance help from Indonesia, Pakistan and the rest now that their peoples are on the march.
I realised Bush was mad when his army chiefs starting calling suicide bombers and guerilla fighters “terrorists”. For God sake, it’s their country, and they’re facing overwhelming force! The US is INVADING Iraq, to take it over – their bodies are in some cases the only effective weapon they’ve got.
It’s so obvious that what Bush is doing will case an arms race, not reduce it. No country can hope to beat the Yanks off with conventional weapons – they’ve got air, sea and land completely covered. The only recourse is chemical, biological and nuclear weapons (the Yanks used them in Vietnam, and have not ruled out using them in this war). It’s all there is that can deter a rampaging rogue superpower which has trashed international law and international institutions to get its own way.
(Margo, April 1: Several readers have pointed out that my turn of phrase is loose here, to say the least. I did not mean to allege that the Americans used nuclear weapons in Vietnam. My apologies. They used chemical weapons in Vietnam – Agent Orange. The Americans have denied reports from embedded journalists that they are using napalm in this war. The Americans have consistently refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in Iraq – the latest example was at the press conference of Bush and Blair post war summit. The Americans used depleted uranium in the first Gulf War, and have not ruled out using it in this one. The Americans are also investigating developing small nuclear weapons for use in war.)
And as I’ve said before, if Australia is attacked, it’s no longer terrorism. We have invaded Iraq. Iraq, or its new allies, have every right to attack back. Again, they haven’t got the weapons and systems to launch a conventional attack, so why wouldn’t they use unconventional methods? Because they would kill civilians? We’re doing that right now in Iraq.
There is no comfort at all in knowing that Bush, Blair and Howard knew exactly what risks they were taking and have no excuses. The top level intelligence leaks, the warnings from former top defence brass, the foreign affairs warnings, all were to no avail. What role did Australia play in this misconceived plan of attack? Why did Howard ignore his intelligence advice that this war would increase, not reduce, the risk of terrorism? Why did he deny that the threat to world stability posed by this conflict was far worse than Saddam – head of a third world, internationally isolated, obsessively monitored regime?
In Tony Blair: The whole world’s in his hands I published a Jane’s Defence Weekly analysis of March 5 of the disquiet in the British and American intelligence community about what was going on. An extract:
While Bush administration officials deride opposition to a war against Iraq as the usual “peacenik” reflex, Jane Defence Weekly sources say that dissenting views are now also coming from those who have traditionally supported military action.
…The fundamental questions of why now, and why Iraq, have not been adequately answered, intelligence, military and legislative sources in Washington told JDW. Sources said that the Bush administration’s changing arguments for military action appear to confirm that none of them is sufficient to justify the use of military force.
One congressional source said that the arguments in favour of a war increasingly seem to be a “smokescreen” to hide the real reasons the administration is set on war.
Indeed, both the US and UK intelligence information supposedly justifying a war with Iraq raise serious questions. “[Chief of the UN weapons inspectors Hans] Blix’s criticism pokes holes in [US Secretary of State Colin] Powell’s intelligence,” said Joseph Cirincione, a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “And the UK’s intelligence dossier was shown to be a complete fraud.”
A US military source said that Bush and his inner circle seem to be suffering from what is known in the Department of Defence as incestuous amplification. This is a condition in warfare where one only listens to those who are already in lock-step agreement, reinforcing set beliefs and creating a situation ripe for miscalculation. An illustration of this was Bush’s address to the American Enterprise Institute – a right-wing think tank in Washington – last Wednesday on why military action was required.
Today John Bennett sent me “Once more into the swap” by The Toronto Sun’s contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis, which includes this chilling summary of the bloindness of the madmen in America:
The immediate uprisings against Great Satan Saddam, the quick, almost effortless “liberation” of Iraq, and the joyous reception by grateful Iraqis promised by the neo-conservatives who misled America into this increasingly ugly war have been exposed as a farrago of lies or distortions.
…The CIA and many American generals warned for months that: a) there might be no mass uprisings against Saddam’s regime; b) over-extended U.S. communications would be vulnerable; c) the invasion force lacked sufficient ground troops to conquer Iraq; d) Turkey’s refusal to admit the U.S. 4th Mechanized Division would wrong-foot the campaign.
In his eagerness for war, President George Bush ignored these warnings. So did the civilian neo-con war hawks running his administration, few of whom, save Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had ever served in their nation’s armed forces.
We’ve been lied to. Howard has lied to us – witness his dismissal of ONA defector Andrew Wilke, who warned that this war had nothing whatsoever to do with WMDs and would increase the risk of terrorism, not reduce it.
Howard has already proved himself a failure as a war time leader. Instead of trying to pull the country together, he has played his standard wedge politics game – thus further enraging the opponents of war. WebdiaristChris Munson sums up his latest disgusting trick:
“I notice that John Howard is using his saddening tactic of drawing a false conclusion, and then presenting lots of awesome facts to defend it. Last week it was something like: “I would like to say to those pacifists who declare that the war should have been over by now ….. should take a reality check and be aware that …”
Well, just like the other great lies of John Howard, I know of no-one who has ever said that. This is the same tactic as “if you are against the war you are against our troops” and “If you believe in giving Saddam and the weapons inspectors more time, then you are participating in the destruction of ANZUS, NATO, the UN and bringing forward the end of the universe”.
This tactic is sickening, but it was seemingly successful in the kids overboard and Tampa. So much so that in Canberra only one solitary liberal voice uttered words of concern about our participating in the US/UK/Aust “Axis of 3” That solitary politician said simply that he had concerns about it.
This does not bode well for Australia, for our future Prime Minister was silent, as were the other 40 or more liberal politicians who must also have had concerns. In the face of deputy sheriff John, they all were silent!
Where is Paul Keating now – we need him!
The reality is the opposite, of course. As a Webdiarist wrote recently, it is the pacifists in this debate who were the realists, not the warmongers. It is the American madmen who promised a quick war. Former Webdiarist Tim Dunlop is tracking the lies, and the new spin, on his wonderful weblog The road to surfdom. He writes:
There is a big conservative campaign going at the moment to rewrite history and pretend that they, the officials who launched this war, have told us from the beginning that it would take a long time. The fact is, it is the antiwar types who have warned that this might drag on, not hawks like Howard. The notion of sacrifice and difficulty has been notably absent from most of the President’s public script-reading.
The fact is the pro-war commentary, from the blogs through to the Whitehouse, was filled with endless reassurances that this would be a quick, clean war, in and out like a flash, with the Iraqi people falling at our feet. To pretend now that this is something they warned us about all along is patent nonsense; or if you prefer, par-for-the-course lying. Where they have dealt with the scenario that it mightn’t be that quick and easy, they have played it down, mentioned it as an afterthought, and always preceded it with the rosier, “most likely” option.
Listen to Dick Cheney a mere few weeks ago:
MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.
Now, if we get into a significant battle in Baghdad, I think it would be under circumstances in which the security forces around Saddam Hussein, the special Republican Guard, and the special security organization, several thousand strong, that in effect are the close-in defenders of the regime, they might, in fact, try to put up such a struggle. I think the regular army will not. My guess is even significant elements of the Republican Guard are likely as well to want to avoid conflict with the U.S. forces, and are likely to step aside.
Now, I can’t say with certainty that there will be no battle for Baghdad. We have to be prepared for that possibility. But, again, I don’t want to convey to the American people the idea that this is a cost-free operation. Nobody can say that. I do think there’s no doubt about the outcome. There’s no question about who is going to prevail if there is military action. And there’s no question but what it is going to be cheaper and less costly to do it now than it will be to wait a year or two years or three years until he’s developed even more deadly weapons, perhaps nuclear weapons. And the consequences then of having to deal with him would be far more costly than will be the circumstances today. Delay does not help.
Even at the launch of the war, there was not much attention payed to length and difficulty and again, it was played down. Bush said:
“Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures and we will accept no outcome but victory.”
The tone and emphasis now has shifted considerably, as Howard’s “reality check” comment shows. In fact, Howard’s comments directly contradict the President’s as Howard is claiming the moral highground by pointing out the fact that they are using “half-measures” to lessen civilian casualties.
The really stupid thing is that, by almost any standards, this war is going quite quickly and is relatively casualty free. It is still appalling, and the humanitarian disaster is probably in the not-too-distant future, but so far things could certainly have been worse.
As with everything else about this war, the official hawks and their spruikers in the public sphere have oversold and misled creating false expectations. And if you want to to prepare yourself for the next build-up and backdown, you need look no further than the promise that the US will get out of Iraq very quickly. Cheney again, same interview:
MR. RUSSERT: The army’s top general said that we would have to have several hundred thousand troops there for several years in order to maintain stability.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I disagree. We need, obviously, a large force and weve deployed a large force. To prevail, from a military standpoint, to achieve our objectives, we will need a significant presence there until such time as we can turn things over to the Iraqis themselves. But to suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don’t think is accurate. I think that’s an overstatement.
How long before “we” are asked to take another “reality check”?
Labor has betrayed Australia by failing to force Howard to account for his proposed actions before he went to war. It is still betraying Australia by not holding him to account for what he’s done. Crean has failed, utterly. A decent ALP would get rid of him and agree on a successor to take over immediately. The ALP has been cowed by Howard’s political ascendancy. This must stop now.
With the world at “tipping point”, some strands have begun to develop in your emails. There’s the state of the war on the ground, the global strategic earthquake, the propaganda war, the politics of the war in Australia, and the protest movement. From now on I’ll publish Webdiaries on each of these strands, like I did after the Tampa.
Tonight, lots of recommendations, and contributions from Esselle Nattom, Peter Ryan, Paul Walter, Oscar J and David Palmer.
Tim Gillin in Sydney: Your recent discussion on globalisation and the war (America’s war a threat to globalisation) may have its parallel in the “family feud” between two brothers, none other than the pro-war left winger Christopher Hitchens and anti-war right winger Peter Hitchens. Peter outlines his feelings about the Iraq war at spectator and femail. Chris outlines his views at opendemocracy and slate. Peter of course had his last public dust up with Chris over the Abolition of Britain. What’s the core of their disagreement? Peter believes in good institutions. Chris believes in good ideas. Peter has the best ideas.
Earl Mardle in Sydney: Go here for a closer look at the company we keep in GWII: A Coalition of Weakness. It begins:
As U.S. officials look for political cover after losing the drive for a second UN Security Council resolution, the recently renamed “Coalition to Disarm Iraq” is the Bush administration’s only opportunity to salvage a semblance of international legitimacy for war. A closer look at the countries involved reveals that claims to multilateral action in the name of democracy are grossly exaggerated. In reality, the U.S. is isolated internationally, and a few of the countries signing on to “liberate” Iraq have human rights records that rival Saddam Hussein’s.
For what when wrong in getting Turkey onside, Scott Burchill recommends Diplomatic Missteps With Turkey Prove Costly in the Washington Post.
Clem Colman: “The amount of information out there to absorb is simply staggering. One very interesting one (like you need another URL right?) is whatreallyhappened which is mainly a list of links to mainstream media stories where the editors read something between the lines.
Aslam Javed: Please visit aljazeerah for a perspective on the suicide bomber who killed four American soldiers.
Tony Kevin recommends former UK Cabinet Minister Robin Cook’s piece in the Sunday Mirror demanding Britain bring its troops home. “It is 100% relevant to the present situation of our Australian servicemen and women in Iraq – except that we have not yet taken service casualties as the UK forces have. Things are soon going to get very much much worse in Iraq. The seige of Baghdad is set within days to become a major humanitarian disaster. Australia – regardless of our own rules of engagement – will share complicity for the coming great crimes against humanity that will undoubtedly be carried out by the invasion coalition of which we are a part. How are we going to get our Australian Defence Forces (and our nation) out of this tragic and shameful mess that John Howard has unnecessarily embroiled us all in? Is there any way the opposition majority in the Senate could trigger an election on this issue, as a national emergency? The time for creative political thinking is now.” See Bring our lads home: Let’s send Rumsfeld and his hawks to war instead. It begins:
This was meant to be a quick, easy war. Shortly before I resigned a Cabinet colleague told me not to worry about the political fall-out. The war would be finished long before polling day for the May local elections.
I just hope those who expected a quick victory are proved right. I have already had my fill of this bloody and unnecessary war. I want our troops home and I want them home before more of them are killed.
…We were told Saddam’s troops would surrender. A few days before the war Vice-President Dick Cheney predicted that the Republican Guard would lay down their weapons. We were told that the local population would welcome their invaders as liberators. Paul Wolfowitz, No.2 at the Pentagon, promised that our tanks would be greeted “with an explosion of joy and relief”.
… Having marched us up this cul-de-sac, Donald Rumsfeld has now come up with a new tactic. Instead of going into Baghdad we should sit down outside it until Saddam surrenders. There is no more brutal form of warfare than a siege. People go hungry. The water and power to provide the sinews of a city snap. Children die.
… Washington got it wrong over the ease with which the war could be won. Washington could be just as wrong about the difficulty of running Iraq when the fighting stops. Already there are real differences between Britain and America over how to run post-war Iraq.
The dispute over the management of the port of Umm Qasr is a good example. British officers sensibly took the view that the best and the most popular solution would be to find local Iraqis who knew how to do it. Instead the US have appointed an American company to take over the Iraqi asset. And guess what? Stevedore Services of America who got the contract have a chairman known for his donations to the Republican Party.
The argument between Blair and Bush over whether the UN will be in charge of the reconstruction of Iraq is about more than international legitimacy. It is about whether the Iraqi people can have confidence that their country is being run for the benefit of themselves or for the benefit of the US.
Ron Stodden in Melbourne reckons it’s about time Webdiary mentioned the Euro-$US theory on the reason for the war. See Ailing dollar strikes at euro in Iraq war, by Geoffrey Heard. An extract:
There are many things driving President Bush and his administration to invade Iraq, unseat Saddam Hussein and take over the country. But the biggest one is hidden and very, very simple. It is about the currency used to trade oil and consequently, who will dominate the world economically, in the foreseeable future – the USA or the European Union.
Iraq is a European Union beachhead in that confrontation. America had a monopoly on the oil trade, with the US dollar being the fiat currency, but Iraq broke ranks in 1999, started to trade oil in the EU’s euros, and profited. If America invades Iraq and takes over, it will hurl the EU and its euro back into the sea and make America’s position as the dominant economic power in the world all but impregnable.
It is the biggest grab for world power in modern times.
America’s allies in the invasion, Britain and Australia, are betting America will win and that they will get some trickle-down benefits for jumping on to the US bandwagon.
France and Germany are the spearhead of the European force — Russia would like to go European but possibly can still be bought off.
Presumably, China would like to see the Europeans build a share of international trade currency ownership at this point while it continues to grow its international trading presence to the point where it, too, can share the leadership rewards.
Peter Nusa: “Hi Margo. I follow your web diary every day.Thought you or your other readers might be interested in this BBC report, Up close with Naji Sabri, where “Mark Doyle describes his hotel lobby encounters with Iraq’s foreign minister and hopes he is not killed”.
Amiel Rosario: “Hey there! Remember me? I was a regular back in the Tampa days. Anyway, I’m pro this War – for many reasons – but I write to share with you some links. Are you into International Affairs, check out crisisweb. Keep an eye on some freebie articles/news stories from some of the best schools in the world like the Kennedy School of Government; the Woodrow Wilson School and the Fletcher School. And if you haven’t already subscribed, do so now with Australia’s wonderful new publication The Diplomat. Also see foreignpolicy. The current issue has some interesting articles like ‘An Unnecessary War’, “Think Again: Attacking Iraq’ as well as a debate between Richard Perle and Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Also see The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Iraq War site, and in particular “Contested Case: Do the Facts Justify the Case for War in Iraq? which suggests that there is a lack of evidence and thus that the entire war is suspect. See also ‘Impact of War on Iraq’ from Eldis. Whatever you do, don’t read CNN!!
Esselle Hattom (Australian Representative) Iraqi Prospect Organisation, (an organisation that seeks the implementaion of a secular and proportional democracy in Iraq.
To begin, I was born in Baghdad in 1972. I have many vivid memories of the childhood I spent in Iraq: my grandmother making bread for us in her backyard Tannur on Friday mornings whilst my uncles go to the markets and bring us Kahee, puff pastry inundated in liquid caramel and thick cream; the bombing of Baghdad in 1981 by over 100 Iranian jets and how that, at the age of 8, made me understand how deep fear can run in the human soul; the constant chatter about world politics while I lay my head on my mother’s lap. Most of all, however, I remember the smell of Iraqs mud. It is the only smell I have experienced that I can describe as history running its voluminous pages into the olfactory sense.
I try very hard to imagine the smell every now and then but it is seeping away. I often wonder about the fusion of events in Iraqs history, the most ancient history, the sine qua non of civilisations, that must have bled into that single scent. Was it the smell of a decomposed timber from one of Sergon the Akkadian’s chariot wheels which he used to conquer Sumeria? Was it Gilgamesh’s lion skin melted into dust by time and brought grain by grain by the feet of Sinbad’s sailors as they came to Baghdad with riches and tall stories from the east? Was it the remnants of a tablet from Ashurbanipal’s library that explained how time is measured or how a certain illness is cured or how the deities fought to protect man from Namtar’s bag of diseases unleashed against Ishtar or the birth of mathematics, accounting, astronomy, irrigation, literature, laws, government, writing, or education?
Recollecting the aroma makes me think about the 6,000 years of wars and I wonder how much blood must be in the mud given the incalculable armies that have hemorrhaged their way into obscurity upon it. I am quite certain that the soldiers throughout Iraqs history fought for mere land and prosperity and I am sure that their leaders often invented outrageous reasons for why the enemy was bad and why the enemy must die. The richness of the mud’s fragrance dissuades me from believing that their lies broke anything of substance in the Iraqi spirit.
The Arabs are big on history. I have often felt that they emphasised their own past glories far too much and at the expense of the present, which is dismal, and the future, which may still be so. But having immersed my intellectual nose into my own colossal past, as an Iraqi, it seems to me that the very strength of Iraq’s incomparable history is what runs like fire ants through the veins of its people. There is a strength, a will, a resilience, that emanates from the depths of the Iraqi soul where it confronts fear and subdues it.
The people of Iraq shall prevail and the scent of mud that shall greet me once again when I am back in Baghdad once the tyrant is torn to pieces with the teeth of those he oppressed for decades, shall smell all the richer, from the years we have been apart and with the tears with which I will wet it.
Maybe this war is the beginning of a people’s world government (Denial virus alert: It’s alarming) or, as one guest on Philip Adam’s Late Night Live suggested, a world government without people. The later would, initially, seem more likely. Governments so far have heeded only the not so distant voices of of the corporate world rather than the ‘economic units’, the potential consumer. The consumer as an opportunity for wealth production will more or less maintain itself given the right conditions. The opportunity for being strategically placed to capture (invade) and expand that consumer base happens infrequently.
The conditions for such expansion are a world stage upon which leading actors (spin doctors, politicians etc) employ the instrument of language as an opportunity to represent and construct a particular type of reality. Iraq is such a stage and is constituted replete with an ‘evil other’, a mass of ‘undifferentiated ignorant others’ and those fearful of those ‘others’. The economy of the language to date proves meaningful. I feel I am ‘Waiting For Godot’.
Paul Walter in Adelaide
Good to see you are last allowing the big secret re “denial’ out of the bag ( Denial virus alert: It’s alarming)
As some one who had to live through all this sort of denial nonsense during the Vietnam effort, as a young bloke growing up, I can’t express how disappointed I am to be watching this particular replay. What else can you expect? These people (the Yanks, Howard and the like, read about “War between Civilisations” rather than, say, Edward Said and his calls for an attempt to understand the position of “The Other”. Vietnam all over again.
It might not prove as expensive these time around, but it sure reveals how well the hardy underlying pathology is despite all the events of the last several decades.And given the damage Vietnam did, that ought to be REALLY worrying.
Thanks for the Webdairy – lots of interesting reading and views about the war. I’ll state up front that I’m opposed to it, but I just wanted to raise a couple of things from Webdiary contributions in Australia’s war.
1) From Bill O’Mara: “I do not consider myself a racist but suggest part of our problem is that we have allowed people from the Middle East to live in Australia. Multiculturalism is okay when we all have similar values…but we don’t.”
Ahh Bill, you may not consider yourself a racist but your words betray your real beliefs. Sorry mate, I just can’t see any other way that “I’m not a racist but we shouldnt let people from the middle east live in Australia” can be construed. You may also be off the mark on your understanding of Multiculturalism too. I think the idea is to have a blend of cultures/values… so that we aren’t all the same. I think that’s the Multi part of it. Loved the use of the “Un – Australian” term though. Many of us would have thought that becoming an aggressor in a war
of questionable (at best!) motives was Un Australian too. (NB – UnAustralian is one of John Howards favourite tag lines, along with “Mateship” and “Fair Dinkum”.. I love them too… fantastic stuff!)
2) from K Pham: “My stance on the war is of support. What must be done should be done now. If some people believe so strongly in it, most notably Tony Blair, then there must be enough reason for it… There will always be militants, fundamentalists and terrorists who believe strongly enough that our way of life is wrong and are willing to tear it down through violence and anarchy.”
So basically, what you are saying is that you are support the war because if some people, especially Tony Blair, believe strongly in it, there must be enough reason for it to happen (oh yes, lets use violence!) and then go on to say that militants, fundamentalists and terrorists also believe strongly in their cause (ie our demise, using violence). So using your logic, I guess there is reason enough for their activities as well, simply on the premise that they believe strongly in it. Sorry, I think that you’ll have to do better than someone believing strongly in something to justify it being “right”. I do agree that we would all like a swift end to the hostilities and as few casualties as possible though.
David Palmer in Adelaide
Do you recall the email I sent you about 2 weeks ago re the intelligence view of the length of the war? Why is everyone so surprised that it isn’t “two weeks” – once the Turks stopped the northern front it should have been obvious to anyone that there was no chance of this happening. Furthermore, anyone who knows the history of bombing campaigns in the 20th century knows that bombing urban areas only strengthens resolve – Vietnam being perhaps the best example. The one exception is the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – where everything and everyone within the epicentre were destroyed – plus Japan had wanted to surrender a few weeks before anyway.
As for Ehud Barak’s prediction of “9 weeks” – yes in terms of the immediate war against Saddam, but no in terms of occupation. This war will basically continue until the US is forced to leave. I have no doubt that a new leadership will emerge advocating independence – probably anti-Saddam, but definitely anti-US and anti-British.
Why is it that commentators forget that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and controlled all cities initially – only to be defeated within a decade? And we have British soldiers already saying that the situation reminds them of Northern Ireland. It is amazing that the US military does not comprehend this – as if they haven’t read any history. Comments from these people are virtual quotes from US propaganda during the Vietnam War – “progress”, “light at the end of the tunnel”, and so on.
One prediction that I really hope never happens. If the US decides to bomb the North Korean nuclear weapons facility, it is most likely that the North Koreans will launch a massive attack into the south in retaliation with their army of one million men. The US military believed that had such an attack occurred in 1993 that within a month some 200,000 people would be killed including thousands of US servicemen. This time I think there is no question that the Chinese will immediately attack Taiwan and occupy it – and there will be nothing the US can do short of launching a nuclear war against China. We can expect Northeast Asia’s economy to collapse – and the US to be unable to cope with the situation militarily. Ironically, there will be no threat to Australia (except from nuclear fallout), given that we are in the Southern hemisphere – and really not perceived as “the enemy” by North Korea (despite the rhetoric). Don’t forget – Australia and North Korea have diplomatic relations – unlike either the US or Japan.
Those who support the current invasion of Iraq by the US should consider that North Korea is next on the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld agenda. The consequences are not even worth considering. John Howard has no idea of the possible outcome of his current position, nor has he really thought about the possibility of this eternal “war on terrorism” reaching this level, which it may.
Our one hope is that Bush will be soundly defeated in 2002, given that the US economy will soon go into deep recession, and the Howard too will be gone (along with his government).
We really have no choice – we must become completely independent of the United States militarily – including an end to the ANZUS Treaty, an end to US bases in Australia, and return of Australian troops, ships, and planes to this region. I will be advocating this policy change in forums this weekend: Saturday at Adelaide University (teaching sponsored by Student Association and Resistance); and Sunday at a forum including other academics sponsored by the Democrats.