Going gets tough, un gets out

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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 03:45 pm

Many dead in chaotic East Timor, where Australian forces are seeking to halt the bloodshed. Their aid hasn’t come quickly enough for some:

Among the crowd near the American compound, one man complained there were not enough Australian troops on the streets.

“Where are the Australians?” asked the man, who identified himself only as Constantine. “They promised to save us.”

Maybe we should colonise the place. In fact, Australian troops will be at their peak number shortly:

Vice chief of the defence force Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie said the full forces of 1300 troops would be in place by early tomorrow morning.

They’ll be joined by New Zealand troops, finally deployed following days of Clarkish dithering:

The soldiers have been on stand-by to go for more than a week, but were only given notice of the trip last night.

Forces from Malaysia and Portugal are also soon to arrive. As for the United Nations …

The UN is planning to evacuate the majority of its 300 to 400 staff in East Timor, possibly from today.

Posted by Tim B. on 05/27/2006 at 01:49 AM
    1. About colonising the place, we sort of said the same thing: see here if interested http://weekbyweek7.blogspot.com/2006/05/arc-of-instability-east-timor-others.html#links

      Posted by WeekByWeek on 2006 05 27 at 01:58 AM • permalink


    1. More imperialist aggression by the neo-con ‘world police’.
      Support the resistance! bring the troops home!
      No blood for bananas!

      Posted by Islam/cancer-Chuck Norris/answer on 2006 05 27 at 02:12 AM • permalink


    1. There’s a rather famous bumper sticker that reads “Don’t Mess With Texas”.  If I drove around East Timor, I could well imagine seeing many cars carrying a bumper sticker that reads “Don’t Mess with Australia”.  Australian solidiers will bring this instablity to an end but quick.

      (just as an aside, what if instead a person were to see a bumper sticker that read “Don’t Mess with New Zealand”, would the typical reaction be one of giggling?)

      Posted by wronwright on 2006 05 27 at 02:41 AM • permalink


    1. It’s like being hen-pecked.  Here and there in Indonesia.  Here and there all over Africa.  Turkey.  Philipines.  Wherever there are Muslims.  I think I see a pattern forming.

      Posted by saltydog on 2006 05 27 at 03:19 AM • permalink


    1. wronwright

      (just as an aside, what if instead a person were to see a bumper sticker that read “Don’t Mess with New Zealand”, would the typical reaction be one of giggling?)
      That depends on how much of your income comes from sheep in suspender belts and stockings…

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2006 05 27 at 03:21 AM • permalink


    1. One of the most fascinating accounts of the UN’s involvement in East Timor is by… I forget. Australian girl, lilac cover, lots of fluff, generally crappy book but great accidental insights into East Timor’s early days as a real country. Overpaid, largely innefectual UN staffers contributed nothing to the country and seemed to care little about the spread of HIV by its own members. Also, their policy of country quotas on staff (I think she had difficulty getting a job as an Australian but wouldn’t have as a Ukranian citizen – country of her parents’ birth, but don’t quote me on that) seems to lead to hiring massively incompetant and uneducated people simply because they happen to come from the third or emerging world.

      Hopefully we’ll stick around for a while this time. Long enough to bypass the UN’s involvement altogether.

      Posted by erin_j on 2006 05 27 at 03:37 AM • permalink


    1. When the going gets tough, the tough UN gets going too – in the other direction. UN Code Yellow – run away.

      Posted by EliotNess on 2006 05 27 at 03:58 AM • permalink


    1. “Colonise East Timor?”, I was saying that before it was cool.

      Posted by Daniel San on 2006 05 27 at 04:08 AM • permalink


    1. Why can’t they just be more like West Timor?

      Posted by Texas Bob on 2006 05 27 at 05:54 AM • permalink


    1. “Why can’t they just be more like West Timor?”

      Isnt that kinda like sayin… why cant Texas be more like California?

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 05 27 at 06:09 AM • permalink


    1. “Why can’t they just be more like West Timor?”

      Don’t you mean South Timor!

      Posted by WeekByWeek on 2006 05 27 at 06:21 AM • permalink


    1. UN should change it’s colour to yellow. Stripe.

      I was disgusted when I heard the news, however, after seeing what they get up to whilst carrying out their heroic work (post tsunami shenanigans – ensuring that they are in clover whilst in the devastated area), I wasn’t surprised.

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 27 at 06:28 AM • permalink


    1. Perhaps someone can explain why Australia should have gotten involved in East Timor in the first place. It’s been a disaster diplomatically and economically from the outset.

      Granted, the Indonesians brutalised the locals following Portugal’s hasty and ill-timed retreat; and murdering the Channel 7 crew wasn’t a smart move.

      But, on the other hand, there was a nasty Communist insurgency running as well.  The ‘reformed’ Communists are now running the place—and making a pig’s breakfast of it.

      Wouldn’t it have been better to leave Indonesia in charge but smarten up their act? MarkL – any views?

      Posted by walterplinge on 2006 05 27 at 06:46 AM • permalink


    1. Good on ya’ OZ, but then you’re damn good folks (if you could only leave Cindy off in the back country to be eaten by dingos, peajesus, you’d rule the world…lol)…and New Zealand (finally).

      UN….The negative prefix UN– attaches chiefly to adjectives (unable, unclean, unequal, unripe, unsafe) and participles used as adjectives (unfeeling, unflinching, unfinished, unsaid), and less frequently to nouns (unbelief, unconcern, unrest). Sometimes the noun form of an adjective with the UN– prefix has the prefix in–, as in inability, inequality, injustice, and instability.

      So you see it is NOT a world body, it is just an UN.

      With the quake in Indonesia are affected?

      Posted by El Cid on 2006 05 27 at 07:45 AM • permalink


    1. #13,

      Well, we could leave them alone, but then some two-bit coral reef masquerading as a country might decide to ‘lease’ a naval base to the Chi-coms for a billion yams (or whatever the local currency is).

      That would change the regional outlook pretty quick.

      Better to be the good guys and have some influence. Plus no-one in their right mind would want to annex these places. Better to settle them down and kick start their economies so the locals don’t come here and join the dole queies.

      Posted by 2BarRiff on 2006 05 27 at 08:07 AM • permalink


    1. “This is a communal dispute that’s escalated because of the overall situation,” one UN official said as he rushed to brief an Australian Army patrol.

      Damn those Overall Situations!  I blame Oshkosh B’gosh.

      Posted by debo.v2 on 2006 05 27 at 09:01 AM • permalink


    1. And what of New Zeland’s ordinary response? http://weekbyweek7.blogspot.com/2006/05/east-timor-new-zealands-gutless.html#links

      Posted by WeekByWeek on 2006 05 27 at 09:28 AM • permalink


    1. Tim, you think you could have gone with a different glib headline considering Australian staff were evacuated before the UN’s were ?

      Posted by Tank on 2006 05 27 at 09:33 AM • permalink


    1. Helen come lately…

      Posted by crash on 2006 05 27 at 09:35 AM • permalink


    1. At least NZ is not actively trying to tie the hands of their troops.  From the NZ Herald, it appears that those soldiers will be under ROE that include “shoot to kill”.  The article wasn’t certain, and I’m hoping that happens.  Anything else would be really stupid.

      But it’s much more stupid that East Timor did not learn from their last shooting problem.  I’m not surprised at the lack of a learning curve, I’m just pointing out the obvious.

      An O/T question for those of you “down under”….that article referred to a soldier’s “partner”, who is clearly female as well as a mother.  Does the NZ Herald lean so far left that they can’t bring themselves to use the word “wife” or even “spouse”?  Or is this just standard NZspeak?

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 05 27 at 09:50 AM • permalink


    1. Re #18, Tank, the UN has a history of pulling out of areas entirely, even from places where they actively sought influence (such as Iraq, after the UN HQ was hit by a car bomb).

      And note that Australia pulled their civilians out while bringing their military in.  The UN is still debating the matter.

      There’s quite a difference there.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 05 27 at 09:55 AM • permalink


    1. The UN is planning to evacuate the majority of its 300 to 400 staff in East Timor, possibly from today.

      At least the children and goats will be safe….

      Posted by Barbara Skolaut on 2006 05 27 at 10:50 AM • permalink


    1. “This is a communal dispute that’s escalated because of the overall situation,”

      Wasn’t that the final line of the corrupt politician in Ibsen’s ‘The League of Youth?’

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 05 27 at 12:41 PM • permalink


    1. 20… JeffS… It saddens me to say that is indeed NZ speak these days..personally I don’t encounter anyone that talks that kind of mush but open a newspaper here and that sort of rubbish creeps into the very fingers you use to read with…

      Posted by Isumbras on 2006 05 27 at 12:53 PM • permalink


    1. From the NZ Herald, it appears that those soldiers will be under ROE that include “shoot to kill”.

      Unfortunately, to prevent Australian aggression…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 05 27 at 01:05 PM • permalink


    1. 22

      At least the children and goats will be safe….

      Good thing somebody’s got their priorities straight!

      Posted by Stoop Davy Dave on 2006 05 27 at 02:56 PM • permalink


    1. The UN is planning to evacuate the majority of its 300 to 400 staff in East Timor, possibly from today.

      Finally some good news from East Timor, one is tempted to say.

      Posted by PW on 2006 05 27 at 03:01 PM • permalink


    1. Thanks, Isumbras…….I thought that was the case.  Sheesh!

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 05 27 at 03:48 PM • permalink


    1. As I understand it the problem is between the people of West East Timor and the people of East East Timor, I can see the only solution is partition and have two nice new independent countries, then if the North West East Timorese or the South East West Timorese start any bother give them their own countries too.

      No wonder the Indonesians are laughing, well not the ones around Jogjakarta, but the rest of ‘em are.

      Posted by Harry Flashman on 2006 05 27 at 11:21 PM • permalink


    1. I think it’s those silly blue helmets. Completely undermines the esprit de corps.

      Posted by paco on 2006 05 28 at 12:02 AM • permalink


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