All opposition, all the time

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

Both Alan Ramsey and Mike Carlton are unhappy that additional Australian troops will be sent to Iraq. Curiously, however, neither mentions exactly why they are being sent, or what they will be doing. Mike? Alan? Schools and roads and water for people in Iraq! Schools and roads and water for people in Iraq!

The Age’s Tony Parkinson has a message for his Sydney Morning Herald friends:

What event, what change of circumstances, what new facts, might persuade the anti-war movement in Australia to think again about the nature of the epic struggle under way across the Middle East?

As far back as August 2003, I thought the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad might shake some of the misconceptions about the sort of people, the sort of ideology, driving the violent insurgency in Iraq. Sadly, I was wrong.

What about using ambulances for suicide missions? Beheadings and hostage-taking? Terrorist attacks on school buses? Did these not suggest a need to confront a poisonous ideology emanating from the heartlands of the Middle East? No, no and no again.

What about the passage of UN resolution 1546, which from June last year gave the coalition operations in Iraq unquestioned international legitimacy and obliged member states to do all in their power to aid the country’s post-Saddam reconstruction? Stubborn silence.

What, then, of the sight only a month ago of 8.5 million Iraqis voting in free elections? Did the symbolism of those purple fingers count for nothing among opponents of the war?

There had to come a time, surely, when the scales would fall from their eyes. There had to come a moment when they stopped chanting the mantra long enough to start listening to the authentic voices of liberation emerging in the Arab world.

Or so I thought. But no.

Instead we have anti-liberation fanatics like Margo Kingston writing that “the resistance is not only comprised of terrorists; it includes fighters attacking the occupying power” and “the Iraq project is dead”. She actually seeks excuses for Saddam Hussein: “I remember watching the weapons inspectors destroying missiles handed over by Saddam because they breached the length of travel limit in an extremely minor way. That seemed like the desperate act of a man desperate to avoid an invasion.”

Poor Saddam, forced to give up his missiles because of some teensy rules infringement. It’s so unfair.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/26/2005 at 01:14 AM
    1. There’s a permanent population connecting dots in that way.  This is to the good : if ever dots actually need to be connected in that way, these people will sound the alarm for us, like canaries in a coal mine.

      You do have to check dead canaries for bullets; if you find a bullet wound, you simply replace the canary, that’s all.  Canaries are dot-connectors.  Change the batteries once in a while and you’ve got a good alarm system.

      Posted by rhhardin on 02/26 at 02:08 AM • permalink


    1. There’s a nice editorial in today’s Weekend Australian on how the craziness of the Howard-haters has made them irrelevant:

      Critics give Howard a blast from the past

      Posted by ArtVandelay on 02/26 at 03:10 AM • permalink


    1. The Australian editorial writer blew it when he got to the bit about Vietnam. Contrary to widespread mythology the war was won on the ground but was lost at home. It was lost at home, in the US and Australia, through a combination of stupidity on the part of the governments and the moral irresponsibility of the communists and fellow travellers who thought it was ok to establish a communist regime in South Vietnam (plus other useful idiots like myself who were not prepared to draw the necessary distinction between totalitarianism in the north and authoritarianism in the south of Vietnam).

      The stupidity of the Governments consisted of using conscription which destroyed the moral credibility of the war effort – conscription to fight for freedom in a foreign land! (Give us a break).
      So the parallel with Vietnam is not really a bad one, and it is a parallel that supports the effort we are making in Iraq rather than undermining it.

      Posted by Rafe on 02/26 at 03:47 AM • permalink


    1. Starting to wonder if Margo has a soft spot for Saddam…..? the mind boggles

      Posted by rog2 on 02/26 at 04:20 AM • permalink


    1. The Australian Army in Vietnam was largely professional rather than conscript. The guys in VietCong 5 Division found this out to their chagrin at Long Tan, where a conservative estimate put VC dead at 245 (quoted also in Presidential Unit Citation for Delta Company, 6 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment) with possibly as many again wounded.
      As for Saddam “desperate to avoid an invasion” – well, he is one hell of a poker player, but he is not in the least interested in anyone’s welfare. He decided to bluff to the end and take down the whole country rather than give up and leave.
      He was not desperate to avoid anything except perhaps appearing less tough than he made out for all those years.
      To save face and play his weak hand to the end he was prepared to see his country ripped apart just as the infirm and insane Hitler was prepared to adopt a scorched earth policy and send little boys and old men into battle when troop numbers ran down.
      It is, or so it seems, the Arab disease. A bomb has been reported in Tel Aviv; another attempt to undermine peace efforts.
      Tony Parkinson speaks sensibly – how come he is writing in the Age?

      Posted by blogstrop on 02/26 at 06:14 AM • permalink


    1. Its a weird world indeed, suddenly Margo has posted something reasoneable, must be the moon.

      Posted by rog2 on 02/26 at 07:29 AM • permalink


    1. A very good piece by Tony Parkinson .

      I seem to recall that the two main objections the ALP had to Australia’s initial military involvement centered on the lack of an express UN mandate and the belief that it diverted attention from Terrorism in the Asia/Pacific Region.

      Personally, I didn’t think that either argument amounted to much substance but least at that stage, their position was consistant. Now they are opposing a troop deployment to support an important regional partner under express UN mandate. I suppose there is just no pleasing them.

      Margo, Carlton et al are just anti-American ideologues who would rather see an anti-US dictatorship than a functioning liberal democracy in Iraq. They are predictable, but the inconsistent and opportunistic position(s) of the ALP is more worrying, particularly as Beazley is supposed to represent the moderate, pro-alliance wing of the party.

      Posted by Adam B on 02/26 at 07:38 AM • permalink


    1. Even the Greens have changed their tune. Check the result of their current poll. It seems that the howler monkeys are rabid invasionaists after all.

      Posted by CB on 02/26 at 08:45 AM • permalink


    1. Man, I remember a commie teacher when I was at high school who was “teaching” “history” about the Vietnam war. He was uncertain on minor details such as the year that saw the end of Australia’s involvment and the year that is generally regarded as the end of the war. Despite being a poor student and an idiot teenager I filled in the gaps for him.

      I’m sure he knew a lot about communism though!

      Another time a teacher called me a “capitalist”. I was 14 at the time.

      Posted by Drunk Fade on 02/26 at 09:14 AM • permalink


    1. Parkinson has been consistently fair and measured on this issue. Credit to Fairfax where it’s due. They get their fair share of brickbats but who does the inestimable Miranda Devine write for?

      Re Rafe’s comment – Vietnam in an accurate analogy in some ways, even if only in prospect. If the Coalition fails in Iraq, it will be for the same reason the war was lost in Vietnam: erosion of public support for a just cause as a result of biased, hysterical and alarmist media coverage, and a subsequent backdown by the governments afraid of the electoral backlash.

      Somehow though I don’t see it happening this time, the ravings from margolia notwithstanding.

      Posted by robf on 02/26 at 09:19 AM • permalink


    1. “What event, what change of circumstances, what new facts, might persuade the anti-war movement in Australia to think again about the nature of the epic struggle under way across the Middle East?”

      For the ideologues and the hard core Lefties, no event or fact will change their minds. Ideology and belief are important, facts are not.

      Posted by CJosephson on 02/26 at 11:05 AM • permalink


    1. You have to understand, the Mullahs could pop a nuke in Melbourne, and Margo would sing the same song… in fact, she would (and probably in her private moments does) view it as a justification…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 02/26 at 12:31 PM • permalink


    1. The big difference between Vietnam and Iraq is public sentiment – both US and Aust have had elections post invasion which have given an increased support to the incumbent.

      Vietnam was “lost” because a visible “majority” of the public were on the Communists side (militarily the US had won).  This time there are no protestors abusing returning troops from Iraq; they are regarded with pride and respect.

      The war was a PR disaster for the US – if it had been better managed the US would have won soon after Tet (at least) and Vietnam would be a different country today.

      Posted by rog2 on 02/26 at 05:12 PM • permalink


    1. Margo: “the resistance is not only comprised of terrorists; .  .  .  .”

      Isn’t “comprise” a transitive verb?  Thus, “the resistance not only comprises terrorists . . .”; or “the resistance is not only composed of terrorists . . .”.

      Posted by Bruce Lagasse on 02/26 at 07:17 PM • permalink


    1. This technology is amazing.  My ID disappears and 5 minutes later I have a new one.  I may even have a new persona – whatever the fuck a persona is

      Posted by Jack from Montreal on 02/26 at 10:10 PM • permalink


    1. Sorry rog2 – I have just returned to Canada after 12 months in Vietnam.

      VN is a wonderful country – I would rather live there than in Canada, Oz or the US.  It is a largely free society, with few restrictions on freedom of speech.  It is a socially conservative society in which women are respected as equals.

      At the Saturday night mass at the catholic church near my apartment, the congregation spilled out into the street.  Traffic was rerouted and all reacted wih patience and good humour.

      This situation is a tribute to the population.  The people are open, honest, friendly and funny.

      In my student days in the 60s, I was obsessively against the VN war (called the American war by the Vietnamese).  Now I think that the country would have been worse off without the war.

      Chuc mai manh

      Posted by Jack from Montreal on 02/26 at 10:23 PM • permalink


    1. “Schools and roads and water for people in Iraq!”

      The problem is, I have a feeling that Carlton and Ramsey are physically unable to read that as anything other than “Blood and oil and plastic turkeys for Halliburton!”, no matter how long they were to look at it.

      Posted by PW on 02/26 at 10:50 PM • permalink


    1. OT, Tim – Iowahawk today puts your asshole hero HST into perspective.

      I don’t do links and, anyway, everyone here knows how to find Mr Hawk

      Posted by jlc on 02/26 at 11:13 PM • permalink


    1. Why am I not surprised that someone from Canada thinks he’s found paradise in Vietnam? By the way, Mr From Montreal, I don’t know what ID you claim “disappeared,” but if you were one of the trolls whose ID I deleted, I am sure that you will eventually display behavior that will get your current ID deleted as well.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 02/27 at 03:19 AM • permalink


    1. I think Mike Carlton’s brain must have been affected by his recent out-of-body experience.

      Posted by Arnie on 02/27 at 05:36 AM • permalink


    1. May I presume then that “Jack from Canada” will soon be changing his citizenship?  He must be a part of the huge influx of immigrants to Vietnam that we’re always reading about.  Same as Cuba.  People literally risking death on leaky boats to get in, so I hear from Canadian sources.  And North Korea.  Don’t get me started.  They’re dying to get into NK.  Literally. They throw themselves on the barbed wire surrounding the country and take a chance on being machine-gunned to prevent them from sharing in the bounty of the People’s Republic and Dear Leader.

      Posted by JorgXMcKie on 02/27 at 03:58 PM • permalink


    1. Andrea – I’m jlchydro and strange things are happening because I’m in the process of setting up a home wireless network.

      jack from Montreal/jlchydro

      Posted by Jack from Montreal on 02/27 at 07:57 PM • permalink


    1. BTW Jorg – there has been no mass migration from VN for more than 15 years. Canada is more socialist and more toleran of terrorist scum than VN

      Posted by Jack from Montreal on 02/27 at 08:08 PM • permalink


    1. jack from Montreal/jlchydro:

      Well okay then. Don’t be so mysterious next time! I’ve already had to ban a few trolls who thought it was cute to re-sub under other names so they could keep up with their hijinks.

      Re: Vietnam—I have heard that life in Vietnam is presently not that bad, but still it’s a communist country. You may think life is great there, but keep in mind you aren’t a citizen; you can leave any time things get… difficult.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 02/27 at 11:20 PM • permalink


    1. Life in Communist Vietnam is good … until you piss off a Communist official.

      Concentration camps in your paradise?

      Posted by Sheriff on 02/28 at 04:17 AM • permalink


    1. Echoing Bruce above:

      Being a Texan I have no clue who Margo Kingston is.  But I suspect she graduated from a U.S. high school, whence many alleged writers emerge belching phrases like “is not only comprised of.”

      Posted by Rittenhouse on 02/28 at 11:52 AM • permalink


    1. Can anyone help me out here?  I know we’re in Iraq (latest version) to support democracy, and that the Colossus of Kiribilli waxes lyrical about elections and purple digits – but I don’t understand why we didn’t wait to consult with the elected government in Iraq, instead of the appointed ex CIA agent Allawi.

      Pretty funny way to support democracy

      Posted by Bryla on 03/01 at 06:25 AM • permalink


  1. Oh yeah, bad grammer.  We should bring back capital punishment for split infinitives.  The first to go can be that Shakespeare bastard.

    Posted by Bryla on 03/01 at 06:26 AM • permalink