Obscene, bizarre, and shameful

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Last updated on June 15th, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Melbourne Age cartoonist Michael Leunig pays tribute to Australia’s war dead:

In the grisly light of the fact that Australian soldiers so recently took part in the invasion of Iraq, which involved the killing of more than 100,000 civilians, and lost not one soldier in the process, it feels somehow obscene, bizarre and shameful to be commemorating, yet again, Australia’s part in the invasion of Turkey in 1915. More than ever it feels to me that soldiers have been honoured more than enough and civilian victims have been honoured far too little. In the commemoration of war, as in war itself, civilians don’t ultimately matter. The failure to prioritise the remembrance of civilian victims is a reinforcement of the military right to abuse or obliterate them with impunity in times of war.

Leunig called for us to pray for Osama but wants us to shun our soldiers. Note also that “100,000 dead civilians” is now established fact, requiring no qualifying terms such as “estimate” or “claim”.

Where the Prime Minister sees courage, decency and goodness in professional soldiers – all those “best and finest” qualities – I cannot help but also see the possibility of perversity, emotional sickness and a latent murderous impulse. The innocent question won’t go away: “What sort of person volunteers to devote their life to the skills of destruction and the business of hunting, trapping and slaughtering humans?”

These sort of people, I guess. Just look at all that emotional sickness!

As for the men who refused the way of violence, there appears to be little cultural recognition or consciousness of those who rejected jingoism and the call to homicide, but who served their country well for an entire lifetime in creative, constructive and unglorified ways that are immeasurable.

Leunig has spent his entire life drawing idiots, and now he wants a medal.

Like so many other groups and other types, it is possible that they have been cold-shouldered out of the official, heroic version of the national story. Yet their lives and their efforts may have contributed more to what is valuable in the Australian identity than we care to contemplate, and the legacy of Gallipoli and war may have much to do with what is dysfunctional, tragic and ugly in our society.

War is to blame for the Melbourne Age?

Soldiers can quickly tire of patriotism and piety in the globalised world. Many become mercenaries now and sell their souls to the highest bidder as hit-men; which may tell us something about what it takes to be a soldier. Iraq is crawling with these lapsed “best and finest” people.

That the Age would run this just one day after the murder of Australian contractor Chris Ahmelman in Iraq is staggering. No prayers for him, eh, Michael?

UPDATE. Reader Harry Buttle in comments:

Leunig has the right to say what he pleases. My service and the service of hundreds of thousands of others over the years guaranteed this.

One could perhaps ask what it is that this pretentious arse known as Leunig has ever done to improve or protect the lives of others and in what way he ever suffered to do so. But perhaps that would be unkind.

The true shame belongs to the Age for publishing it.

They will not get another cent from me as long as I live.

Good call. Send letters here.

UPDATE II. This is more like it:

BANGOR, Maine — Tired and bleary-eyed, Marines of the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, based at Twentynine Palms, Calif., were finally back on U.S. soil after seven months on the front lines in Iraq.

But they were still many miles and hours from their families and the homecoming they longed for. Their officers told them they would be on the ground for 60 to 90 minutes while their chartered plane was refueled.

So they disembarked and began walking through the airport terminal corridor to a small waiting room.

That’s when they heard the applause.

Read the whole thing, then click over to the Maine Troop Greeters.

UPDATE III. Rafe Champion writes:

The Champion name was in the news this week with the burial of Lieutenant Christopher Champion along with three other diggers whose bodies turned up decades after their deaths in France during the last German offensive in WWI.

According to a newspaper report the Lieutenant was mentioned in dispatches for coolness and leadership throughout a day spent holding a strategic position against the German advance. He was killed at seven in the evening of 19 April 1918. He was aged 25.

Fred Thornett alerted me to these developments last week because no next of kin had been located. His hunch was correct. The father of Christopher, the Reverend Arthur Champion of The Rectory, Bungendore, was a brother of my grandfather Alfred.

The Rev Champion was head of Launceston Grammar (where Christopher was born), then he moved to the Kings School and then on to a country parish near Canberra (the oral history of our family did not record where). The Rev Champion and his wife lost a second son in the war; Geoffrey Savante Champion was killed in France in 1916, aged 21.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/23/2005 at 03:26 AM
    1. The benefits to the millions of surviving civilians are forgotten in the dismal preoccupation with the soldiers and their particular havoc.
      Wars are not fought because we want to be bastards, they are fought because there are bastards to be dealt with.
      Cartoonists as a breed (or at least as employed by many of our newspapers) are expert in the cheap shot.
      They must be cheap in character, is the only conclusion.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 04 23 at 04:43 AM • permalink


    1. Where do you start with such a presumptious fuckwit?

      Soldiers can quickly tire of patriotism and piety in the globalised world. Many become mercenaries now and sell their souls to the highest bidder as hit-men; which may tell us something about what it takes to be a soldier. Iraq is crawling with these lapsed “best and finest” people. No doubt many of those innocent young ADF people in uniform, photographed with the leering, beer-juggling Prime Minister, may in time see the light, take to his private enterprise ideas and move on to the big bucks – to hell with the medals and to hell with the cosy car parks of Gallipoli. At the end of the day, as Socrates said: “All wars are fought for money.”


      Posted by rog2 on 2005 04 23 at 04:46 AM • permalink


    1. There’s a quote about that.

      We Sleep Safe In Our Beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those that would do us harm.
      —Author: George Orwell

      Though I think in Michael Leunig’s case, their readiness might be sorely tested.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 2005 04 23 at 04:54 AM • permalink


    1. I proudly bought my last ever Age some months back. Hit them where it hurts and refuse to buy it. Their circulation is in trouble already I believe.

      Posted by Astonished on 2005 04 23 at 04:57 AM • permalink


    1. I cannot believe that they published this tripe either. The idiot draws childish cartoons of guys riding ducks and pissing on themselves. He now thinks this gives him the right to piss on soldiers?

      Such a sweeping assumption – many ex-soldiers become hitmen and this tarnishes the rest of them? I suppose he also reckons that a cartoonist would have brought down Hitler as well? No need to worry with that dreadful war business old chap. Unbelievable.

      Posted by rbresca on 2005 04 23 at 05:05 AM • permalink


    1. Tim, I think your headline sums up my feeling to the article penned by Leunig.  I once enjoyed his quirky cartoons many eons ago, but his cartoonery with political comment has taken a turn down the toilet and through the S bend.

      I think Leunig must be completely naive, living in a fantasy land that his cartoons portray.  And insensitive.  My great-grandfather fought at Gallipoli and died on the Somme at Pozieres.  I was a soldier too and I would’ve fought for the country in conflict if required.  We don’t live in a utopia where wars don’t happen, wars have happened before, they are happening now and will happen in the future.

      I’ll leave the dissecting of Leunig’s argument up to others more eloquent than me.  But I doubt many of you will because refuting such drivel is a waste of fucking time.  Just like reading Leunig’s article.

      Leunig is just one of the many reasons I canceled my SMH subscription.

      Posted by Stevo on 2005 04 23 at 05:14 AM • permalink


    1. My uncle was captured by the Japanese in Java early in 1942. He spent the next three years working on the Burma-Siam Railway and in coal mines in Japan itself.

      He never spoke about his experiences but I remember once seeing a horrific-looking scar on his leg that my father said was from a bayonet.

      My uncle is a quiet fellow who never parades his opinions.

      Posted by Inurbanus on 2005 04 23 at 05:17 AM • permalink


    1. We’re sorry, Mike, you put yourself in harm’s way everyday with drawing your witty cartoons out of love. RSI, lack of exercise, poor hygiene, all these hardships you face with no thanks from the masses.

      Worst of all, the ever looming threat that you’ll spill ink on your favorite shirt. How you manage to keep it all together under the strain, you’re braver then I.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 2005 04 23 at 05:38 AM • permalink


    1. Leunig has the right to say what he pleases. my service and the service of hundreds of thousands of others over the years guaranteed this.

      One could perhaps ask what it is that this pretentious arse known as Leunig has ever done to improve or protect the lives of others and in what way he ever suffered to do so. but perhaps that would be unkind.

      The true shame belongs to the Age for publishing it.

      They will not get another cent from me as long as I live.

      Posted by Harry Buttle on 2005 04 23 at 05:40 AM • permalink


    1. Is there a bigger girlie-mahn in the southern hemisphere? Leunig himself is emotionally unwell, as we all know. Poor clueless bastard.

      Posted by C.L. on 2005 04 23 at 05:43 AM • permalink


    1. It’s a common confusion.  He’s got wrong why soldiers are honored.  It’s not for dying, it’s for being called and going.

      In its general form, it’s at the heart of morality – being called, and going.

      It’s honored in soldiers because people recognize it in themselves.

      So, in particular, there’s no reason to honor civilians killed; and again it’s not soldiers killed, but soldiers going, that produces the honoring.

      Honoring war dead is a little misguided; you honor all the soldiers.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2005 04 23 at 06:02 AM • permalink


    1. Dictionary meaning:
      Leunig: see tosser, wanker, lefty prick without a clue

      Posted by MadMike1 on 2005 04 23 at 06:56 AM • permalink


    1. What a filthy, littlecreature he is, and how can anyone with the slightest shred of an education miss the mark so widely. I mean he obviously believes ANZAC day to be a celebration of violence. Anyone with enough synapses to form a neuron knows it is a remembrance of loss.

      What a mouthbreather. I wonder what planet he lives on?


      Posted by MarkL on 2005 04 23 at 07:36 AM • permalink


    1. Education: not what it used to be.
      ‘It also seems that the only way to really succeed within the
      university industry is to pander to the prejudices of the academic
      staff; anything that differs with the anti-Semitic orthodoxy results
      in rather harsh marking. When I first went to university, I came with
      the naive belief that study at such an institution was about the
      pursuit of knowledge and truth; it is about lies, propaganda and the
      worst sort of prejudice.


      Unfortunately, there is an unholy alliance between the arts, media, universities, and left politics. In order to get an education, you have to run this obstacle course.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 04 23 at 08:10 AM • permalink


    1. Indeed, I don’t think anyone looks at Gallipoli and says “great, lets do it again”.

      As someone who was semi-recently in our primary and secordary education centers, you can add them to the unholy alliance. Drove me mad.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 2005 04 23 at 08:25 AM • permalink


    1. Leunig forgets that it is from the sacrifices of those brave few that we remember, that he has the freedom to write whatever he wants in his cartoons. He needs to remember a few things himself.

      Posted by Nic on 2005 04 23 at 08:30 AM • permalink


    1. How about all the Australian citizens who died in Bali and Jakarta? Is there no reason to avenge their deaths? Sing Kumbaya and hug a terrorist! Humbug.

      Posted by Abu Qa’Qa on 2005 04 23 at 08:49 AM • permalink


    1. Nic, there was no freedom being protected at Gallipoli.  Professor Robin Prior, of the Australian Defence Force Academy has recently published his findings that 8,700 Aussies were slaughtered at Gallipoli to no good purpose.  He says the whole exercise was a fiasco that didn’t shorten the war by one day.

      The ANZACS themselves told us on their return that the war was a stupid waste of lives.  They were sent and abused by lying politicians who stayed safely at home pontificating about the national interest.

      I’ll be commemmorating ANZAC day on Monday – by distributing the words and works of the ANZACS themselves, not the self serving drivel being put forward by Howard’s Huns.

      Posted by Hector on 2005 04 23 at 09:12 AM • permalink


    1. From the dead:

      “All is buried, and churned up again, and buried again.  The sad part is that no one can see an end to this.  If we live tonight we have to go through tomorrow night and next week and next month.  Poor wounded devils you meet on the stretchers are laughing with glee.  One cannot blame them.  They are getting out of this.

      We are lousy, stinking, ragged, unshaven, sleepless.  I have a dead man’s helmet, another dead man’s gas protector, a dead man’s bayonet.  My tunic is rotten with other men’s blood, and partly spattered with a comrade’s brains�?.
      (Lieutenant J.A.Raws, Journalist from Melbourne, 33 years old, killed a few days after writing this.)

      “My dear little Ern, this’ll be about the last letter you get from me now as one doesn’t know the hour his number is called, and Fritz has a bad habit of trying to put a man’s lights out.  My word Ern the part I don’t like is when a chap has to sling his cobber into a hole and say farewell to him.  It’s a hard thing to see your mates, who have had all the good times with you, drop dead a few feet from you, and you never know when a shell or bullet is going to cut through you.

      But on and on you have to go.  Half mad, half dead, yelling, shouting through a hell on earth, trying to pick the best track through a shell torn and battered ground with mud in places up to one’s knees, and deeper, bullets passing and whistling overhead…then Fritz waits with 18 inches of cold steel.

      Take good care of your parents, and never give them any trouble.  I regret all the trouble I gave my Mother.  Well Ern, time is scarce and I have a duty to do and I must say farewell.  By the time you get this I may well be knocked rotten.  I remain your loving uncle, Harry.�?
      (Private H. Wells, Farmer from Lucknow, 18 years old).

      Posted by Hector on 2005 04 23 at 09:16 AM • permalink


    1. Hector,

      what of Prussian/ German expansion in Europe? I assume that they just wanted a holiday. No one is saying that war is good or that Gallipoli was a success, however those young people who went to fight there went to do so out of a sense of adventure, to preserve freedoms and to ensure that the world did not slide into totalitarianism.

      Leunig needs to remember that the freedoms that he takes as being ‘givens’ today,are result of the deaths of young people in a whole range of senseless battles.

      Posted by Nic on 2005 04 23 at 09:42 AM • permalink


    1. Hector just registered today. However, his IP address,, is near that of someone whose IP ( I not only banned, but whose trolling was so egregious that I deleted him from the list. He’s so far been polite right now, but he’s on notice that if his “compassionate, on the soldiers’ side” efforts turn to smearing and attacks, he’s out of here.

      By the way, I don’t see anyone here claiming that Gallipoli itself was a wonderful victorious battle to celebrate. They are celebrating the heroism of the soldiers, who may indeed be capable of heroism even in the face of a losing or useless battle. There’s an underlying thread to a lot of antiwar commentary that I’ve noticed: the idea that a battle that is lost or turns out to have not been over something as strategically important as first thought is somehow worthless and that that worthlessness reflects back on the soldiers who fought in it. That’s a kind of callous and even barbaric notion to have, but a lot of so-called “pro-peace” people do seem to be at base more callous and barbaric than us warmongering murder junkies.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 04 23 at 09:50 AM • permalink


    1. Awesome post, Andrea.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2005 04 23 at 09:58 AM • permalink


    1. It seems to me, however, that human rights have historically been considerably established by those who were not soldiers….

      Well of course governance in a framework of rights, freedom, property, and law are (generally) established by civilians.  But this framework endures only by virtue of being protected and, when necessary, enforced by the dedication of the men and women in our armed forces.  (aebrain beat me to the Orwell quotation.)

      …which then leads to a yearning for an Australia that would honour and remember the most horrible and sad truth of all: the civilian victims of war.

      By all means, let us remember the civilian victims of war.  Let us remember those civilian victims of the barbarism, megalomania and self-serving tyranny of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Milosevic, the Talaban, Saddam Hussein.  Let us remember the civilians killed by ridiculous but deadly posturing by Idi Amin, General Galtieri, Arafat.  Let us remember the victims in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, Somerset County, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Bali…. And while we are remembering these casualties of evil, let us be grateful that even in our sadness for such great loss we have our soldiers, our sailors, our marines, and our air force who, by their readiness to serve and to sacrifice, make it possible for us to not utterly despair.

      The late life testimonies of veterans tell us that the horror and sorrow of war is not confined to the battlefields but can unfold in one’s mind over a lifetime….

      This is all the more reason to honour our veterans.  Their service in support of our freedom – their gift to us – does not end when they return home.  That some of our veterans now sincerely believe the price they paid was too high or the fact that some of the battles they fought were ill-conceived or seem unjustified is a sad truth, but does not in least lessen my gratitude for their service.

      More than ever it feels to me that soldiers have been honoured more than enough…. 


      No.  We cannot ever honour them enough.

      Posted by debo.v2 on 2005 04 23 at 10:00 AM • permalink


    1. Nic however those young people who went to fight there went to do so out of a sense of adventure, to preserve freedoms and to ensure that the world did not slide into totalitarianism

      “Oh they did want to go you see.  It was the money.  They were getting such a pay…you only got a few pound a week in those days, and when they got this money they all wanted it.  They didn’t know what war was like.  They’d never been to war.�?
      Annie Sturzaker, from Australians at War

      “I talked to the Turks.  One of them pointed to the graves and said ‘That’s politics’.  Then he pointed to the dead bodies ‘That’s diplomacy’ he said.  God pity all of us poor soldiers�?
      (Captain A. Herbert, British officer, 34 years old).

      I suspect the motives of the soldiers were a lot more honest than those of the pollies who sent them.

      WW1 didn’t resolve anything, but set us up for WW2.  By the end of WW2 we had strategic bombing and nuclear weapons, and we waged war aginst entire populations.  We’ve been effectively at war ever since.

      Let’s make ANZAC Day about the ANZACS.  Those who promote war for cheap political gains ought be held accountable.  When John Howard parks in the VIP carpark tomorrow morning, he’ll be standing on the bones of those he pretends to “honour”

      Posted by Hector on 2005 04 23 at 10:20 AM • permalink


    1. Well said, Andrea.


      Gallipoli was a battle that ended in defeat, but that’s not the fault of the soldiers who served in the ANZAC, nor did they die to be a political tool.  Don’t demean the soldiers that fought at Gallipoli, or fought and died at Gallipoli by turning ANZAC Day just to score political points.  Like the American Veterans Day, it’s a day to honor the veterans and remember our losses.

      Hating Howard is your choice.  If you want to honor the dead, do so without hate in your purpose; you can always protest Howard.  I think the dead of wars past have earned that much, don’t you?

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 04 23 at 10:28 AM • permalink


    1. How about we remember the dead’s sacrifice, and those who continue to suffer from war still. Why do people insist on dragging their politics into it? I’d say the biggest bleaters are those who haven’t actually seen a situation of conflict, or understand WHY people put themselves into harm’s way for others. They don’t get it. They never will.

      Posted by CB on 2005 04 23 at 10:36 AM • permalink


    1. Jeff, I do honour the troops.  That’s why I want to end their abuse by lying politicians.

      My father was conscripted into the army in WW2.  He fought in New Guinea and was part of the occupying forces in Japan.  He was repatriated after attempting suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

      He wouldn’t talk about the war, but suffered two nervous breakdowns in later life, the second lasting four years until his death.

      War sucks.  Sucks big time.  Why don’t the pollies go themselves? or send their own children if they’re so convinced it’s the right thing to do?

      Posted by Hector on 2005 04 23 at 10:42 AM • permalink


    1. Lining the hall and clapping were dozens of Bangor residents who have set a daunting task for themselves: They want every Marine, soldier, sailor and airman returning through the tiny international airport here to get a hero’s welcome.

      Who can you honestly say is doing the most good in the world: people like these….or Michael Leunig?

      Posted by rinardman on 2005 04 23 at 10:45 AM • permalink


    1. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

      – John Stuart Mill

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 04 23 at 11:09 AM • permalink


    1. Just to reinforce the points raised above its not about the war or battle its what these young men did that is being celebrated. My family’s background is Italian, but I celebrate ANZAC day every year because these men deserve it and have earned and we all owe them.

      Whether they were on the victorious or defeated sides there sacrifice should be honoured, so hopefully we, and our sons and daughters wwill never have to storm a beach to prove anything. I have always believed that war is right and justified when fought by democracies and free people to help others.

      I hope in the next few years, to bring my very young sons (3&1) to a dawn service, so as to see the men and women who have allowed them to live the way they do.

      Leuing, by the way is a knob, and I really hope he gets to go on a cartoon tour of Iraq so he can draw really piss poor ducks.

      all the best

      Posted by dino on 2005 04 23 at 11:13 AM • permalink


    1. Thank you, Tim, for answering the burning question:

      Who is Australia’s answer to Ted Rall.

      Posted by scott crawford on 2005 04 23 at 11:25 AM • permalink


    1. When John Howard parks in the VIP carpark tomorrow morning, he’ll be standing on the bones of those he pretends to “honour�?

      I don’t get it. Are there dead bodies under the carpark?

      I’m sorry about your family trauma, Hector. But you don’t indicate just what there was about fighting in New Guinea, occupying Japan, or any other aspect of the war that caused your father’s mental problems. Many other men went through the very same thing and did not suffer the same affliction, so there could have been—must have been—other underlying causes to your father’s mental difficulties than simply being in a war. In any case, your country no longer has voluntary conscription, so I don’t see what your problem is. You won’t ever be forced to go to war; and if it should ever happen that someone wages war directly on Australia you are free to flee into hiding or to some other land where you won’t have to fight to defend your country.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 04 23 at 11:26 AM • permalink


    1. I formed the view several years ago that Leuing is not a full two bob after watching him interviewed on the ABC.

      Perhaps the Age is trying to arrest it’s rapidly falling circulation.

      Posted by TT Tazman on 2005 04 23 at 11:28 AM • permalink


    1. We have a similar puling little jackass here in Ohio, who draws cartoons for the Dayton Daily Rag.  His name is Mike Peters, and he never passes up a cheap shot or a mean-spirited jab.  Must be a trait of the breed.

      My father went to war at 18, came home in 1945, had a couple of nervous breakdowns, and then went on to marry, raise a family, and be a productive citizen all his days.  He never spoke of his war service, and I know he never really got over it.

      I attribute the nasty whinings of piss-ants like Leunig and Peters to unacknowledged shame at being piss-ants in the shadow of greater men (and women).

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 04 23 at 12:08 PM • permalink


    1. Hector — A fashion tip

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 04 23 at 12:17 PM • permalink


    1. Soldiers can quickly tire of patriotism and piety in the globalised world. Many become mercenaries now and sell their souls to the highest bidder as hit-men; which may tell us something about what it takes to be a soldier.

      Gee, then you’d think the UN at least could pick up a better grade of peacekeeper…

      Iraq is crawling with these lapsed “best and finest�? people.

      Yep, its the Thirty Years War all over again, with barbaric bands of “free companions” pillaging the ravaged landscape.

      I’m coming to the conclusion that the left doesn’t deserve honest intellectual engagement.  Either they don’t believe this nonsense, in which case they’re not doing us the courtesy of honest debate, or they do, in which case debating with them makes about as much sense as arguing with the funny man with the shopping cart who camps out in front of the liquor store…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 04 23 at 12:26 PM • permalink


    1. I know what you’re thinking Hector, you just know Howard had something to do with WW1 but you don’t know what yet.

      How about instead of hijacking the day for a political agenda, you go visit your father’s grave, then spend the rest of day in reflective peace.

      The demon that was conscription is long dead, those that go to war now, do so because they willingly joined the military.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 2005 04 23 at 12:28 PM • permalink


    1. Hector, when you pre-empt a solemn event meant to honor someone to make a political point, you are doing so for your own reasons.  You are attempting to draw attention from them to yourself.

      That is not honoring the dead.  You are walking on their bones, every bit as much as you accuse Howard of doing so.  You claim his reasons for going to war are immaterial or wrong.  If you think Howard is using the occasion for his own purpose, how are you, in using the event for a protest, any different?  Freedom of speech applies here, but so does discretion and respect.

      Of course, I assume that Howard is genuinely marking the occasion in a solemn fashion.  You do not.  But that doesn’t take away from the fact that, by your own reasoning, you are not honoring the event by not holding it for those that we must remember, but for your own purposes.

      We mourn our losses and honor our veterans.  This is their day.  Not yours, not mine.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 04 23 at 12:28 PM • permalink


    1. In the grisly light of the fact that Australian soldiers so recently took part in the invasion of Iraq, which involved the killing of more than 100,000 civilians, and lost not one soldier in the process

      Only 100,000 dead?  Lies!!!!  Shameful rightwing revisionism!  My calculations show it to be as much as 6,000,000,000 dead!

      (*  the range is anywhere between 0 and the whole population of Earth, all deaths of which were caused by the Aussies in poodlelike obedience to their dark master, Emperor Bushitler Palpatine)

      Posted by wronwright on 2005 04 23 at 01:12 PM • permalink


    1. WW1 didn’t resolve anything, but set us up for WW2.  By the end of WW2 we had strategic bombing and nuclear weapons, and we waged war aginst entire populations.  We’ve been effectively at war ever since.

      WWI was the meltdown of the old power structures of Europe.  The meltdown was not allowed to complete, except in Russia where they somehow managed to come up with a government even more oppressive than the Tsars.  It was, on the level of politics and high strategy, one of the most thoroughly stupid wars ever waged.

      WWII was different.  It was the fight of the free nations against Fascism.  There is absolutely no question about WWII: There was a good side and a bad side, and we were on the good side. And also no question about this: We won, and the world is a far better place today because we did.

      WWII turned entire countries into production lines for the war effort.  That in turn made just about everything a military target.  For people living today, when the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq have no noticeable impact on our daily lives, the extent of WWII is almost incomprehensible.

      After that, we had the Communists to deal with.  They really wanted to take over the world.  Seriously.  Ask anyone from Eastern Europe, or indeed East Asia.  They didn’t (and don’t) give a shit about human rights, only about power.

      Fortunately, Communism is as catastrophic in economic terms as it is in human terms, and the Soviet Union eventually collapsed without triggering an all-out war.

      War sucks.  Sucks big time.

      How insightful.

      In the case of WWII, we had no say in the matter.  The Axis started the war, and planned to take over most of the world. We fought because we had to.

      We fought in Korea to oppose the Communists.  If you ever think we were wrong to fight, look at North Korea today.

      We fought in Vietnam to oppose the Communists again.  Think that was wrong?  Do you remember what happened after our troops were withdrawn?  Do you remember when “Vietnamese” was a synonym for “refugee”?

      Do you remember Cambodia, where we didn’t fight?  Have you ever heard of Kampuchea?

      Were we wrong to liberate Afghanistan?  Were we wrong to bring democracy to Iraq?  If you think so, you’d better be able to tell me why we were wrong.

      The reason we have been at war is that there is evil in the world, and it has to be fought.  We – Australia and America and Britain and our allies, the free nations who haven’t turned their faces to the wall like France has done – may not have always been right, but for the past century we’ve been right a damn sight more often than we’ve been wrong.

      Posted by Pixy Misa on 2005 04 23 at 01:19 PM • permalink


    1. The lingering myth of Anzac Day
      April 19, 2005

      The 90th anniversary of the Dardanelles campaign is a convenient occasion to reassess some of the prevailing myths about World War I in general, and Gallipoli in particular, which were prevalent when the left-wing interpretation of Australia was dominant.

      In 1914-18 Australia did not fight another nation’s war. This is the theme popularised by many, including left-wing polemicist John Pilger in A Secret Country and Jonathan King in his 1978 book Waltzing Materialism (King seems to have changed his mind). Certainly in 1914 Australia was allied to Britain. But Germany had possessions in the Pacific and a victory by the Kaiser would have had a deleterious effect on Australian security. The fact is overlooked by the historian Bill Gammage in his influential work The Broken Years (1974).

      Turkey was an ally of Germany and, consequently, an enemy of Australia. At a time of war, the Allies were entitled to invade Turkey as a means of putting military pressure on Germany and assisting Britain’s ally, Russia. In a recent article in The Sunday Age, Terry Lane wrote of the “worrying renaissance” of Anzac Day. This is the same Terry Lane who in 2003 expressed a wish that Saddam Hussein’s forces would prevail in the second gulf war. He’s an ABC Radio National presenter.


      Posted by Srekwah on 2005 04 23 at 02:02 PM • permalink


    1. I’m coming to the conclusion that the left doesn’t deserve honest intellectual engagement.

      No you aren’t.

      Posted by guinsPen on 2005 04 23 at 02:22 PM • permalink


    1. guinsPen — Don’t give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 04 23 at 04:21 PM • permalink


    1. Hector is a community worker in the non-profit industry, whatever that means.
      Here’s Mushie & loadedog having a sniff

      Oddly enough not so idle-burger pops up on here and he makes a big mistake, he argues against himself.

      Posted by rog2 on 2005 04 23 at 06:36 PM • permalink


    1. People like Hector the Hijacker (no doubt just another manifestation of DH or Bryla)deserve no mercy. They have no answers to what ails the world. Their weakness encourages attack, as they declare they have no stomach for a fight.
      Solutions please. Not whining.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 04 23 at 06:42 PM • permalink


    1. Michael Leunig-habemus pablum-or a taco shy of a full combo plate,as we say in the desert southwest.  Cultural imperialism-sure,why not.  Mr Leunig seems to forget that the military is responsible for maintaining liberty-that fundamental component necessary for all those non-military types to “advance” civil liberty, at least in western civilization.

      Posted by yojimbo on 2005 04 23 at 07:00 PM • permalink


    1. Look anyone (like hector) who lives by forcing others to work eventually justifies this slavery to themselves by becoming left wing.

      The same happens with organisations, e.g .schools, BBC & councils.

      When your rewards are aligned with serving customers well, then you become right wing (i.e. in favour of personal economic freedom).

      Coerced-collectivist (i.e. socialism and communism) ideas have killed at least one hundred MILLION people during the last century.

      We eradicated Slavery (people owning people) the century before.  Now its time to eradicate Socialism (the state owning people).

      Posted by Rob Read on 2005 04 23 at 07:14 PM • permalink


    1. Seeing as how “Hector” is apparently one of Mr Heidelberg’s personas I have decided to ban him.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 04 23 at 09:24 PM • permalink


    1. Well Leunig, maybe you can inform us about your own life and aspirations before you throw stones at others. How much have you done to protect this country and make the lives of Australians more secure? What is your contribution – besides drawing stick figures, that is?

      You ask what kind of person volunteers ‘to devote their life to the skills of destruction and the business of hunting, trapping and slaughtering humans?’

      Here’s an example of the men you denigrate. My uncle ‘volunteered’ to fight the Japanese in WWII and ended up on the Kokoda Track.. I’m sure he would have been much more comfortable staying in Sydney with his family and fiance – but I guess he was just one of those men who cant resist the impulse to ‘hunt, trap and slaughter’ their fellow humans. My uncle should have followed the path of Leunig and those like him – of course, Michael would be publishing his cartoons in Japanese in the Sydney Nippon Daily News, but he would have the eternal satisfaction of refusing the ‘way of violence’.

      On second thought, Leunig would never have had to worry- the defence forces take people like him as a last resort only, when the real men are all dead or imprisoned.

      Posted by dee on 2005 04 23 at 10:48 PM • permalink


    1. A bit OT, but a good example of the Leunig philosophy. Leunig blames soldiers for the ills of Australian society – here is a woman who blames Howard for heroin smuggling.

      Letter from the SMH (Apr. 22 2005)

      “I’m not surprised that some members of the so-called Bali Nine were worried about paying off their credit cards so much as to involve themselves in a risky drug smuggling adventure. At the last federal election a majority of Australians voted in John Howard and the Liberals in fear of rising interest rates, ignoring the issues of health, education, the environment and unemployment. These young people are an example of our society which has moulded them into what they are today. Naive and desperate with no responsible guidance or respect from our elected government”
      Julie Williams, Lithgow.

      So all would have gone well and their credit cards would have been paid up if only we brainwashed fools had not been conned into voting for Howard. I think Julie’s name deserves to go into the Hall of Fame for the sheer twistedness of her mind. You have to really think to come up with a connection like this one.

      Posted by dee on 2005 04 23 at 11:12 PM • permalink


    1. If you go to the north of France – as I did with the much better half a little while ago – there is a village called Villers-Bretonneux. This little village was liberated by Australian troops in World War One one year to the day after the landing at Gallipoli – April 25th 1916.

      We stopped in at the local bar and had a drink and got talking to the old guy who ran the joint. My girlfriend – who is French – explained that I was Australian and that in the afternoon we were going to visit the Aussie War Graves just outside of town.

      Finding out I was an Aussie was enough. The drinks were on the house and – after a second round – that old fella shut up shop and took us on a walking tour of the town. He showed us the flagpole in the village where the Australian flag still flies. He showed us the square where ANZAC Day is celebrated each and every year, usually with a representative of the Aussie embassy from Paris. And then he showed us the local school with the plaque attached noting that it was rebuilt with funds sent back to France from Australian soldiers who had liberated it from the Germans. There is even a kangaroo carved into the stone. 90 years on, this old fella still remembered what his father probably would have told him: Australian soldiers aren’t about killing, they’re about saving; it’s not about destroying, it’s about rebuilding.

      Maybe Leunig has been a little more removed from the costs of conlfict than the people of Villers-Bretonneux, but you don’t have to have lived through hell to show soldiers some respect.

      Posted by Villeurbanne on 2005 04 23 at 11:17 PM • permalink


    1. I’ll miss Hector/Dave here, but he was being too much of a jackass in other threads.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 2005 04 23 at 11:17 PM • permalink


    1. kisdm001 – if you have a Sydney Daily Telegraph handy, look on page 2. There is a whole report on the village of Villiers-Bretonneux and a photograph.

      My father told a story he heard from his own father about a French village in the path of the German invasion. Australian soldiers were marching down the same road to defend this village, and met some of the refugees fleeing their homes. As soon as they were told that Messieurs les Australiens were en route to their village, they promptly turned around and went back.

      Posted by dee on 2005 04 24 at 12:52 AM • permalink


    1. I’ve just been contacted via phone by a journalist from the Age newspaper, about a letter I wrote to them re the Leunig article.

      According to this person, reaction has been HUGE to this, completely off-the-scale, with about half very critical, the other half praising it to the skies. Which says something about the readership.

      Kudos are due to the Age for fact-checking what I said in my letter, and confirming it with me.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 2005 04 24 at 01:02 AM • permalink


    1. One wonders how many of that other half is just David Heidelberg pretending to be different people.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 2005 04 24 at 04:38 AM • permalink


    1. LOL, Aging Gamer!  I wonder if Mushie Heidelberg can afford so many subscriptions?

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 04 24 at 06:28 AM • permalink


    1. Hector, perhaps Mr.Howard feels he has a right to be at Anzac Cove. Don’t forget his father and grandfather served as soldiers in WW1. Indeed, his father’s diary records the two meeting in France, late in the war.
      Father and Grandfather, both serving, both fighting… I believe Mr.Howard has the right to be at Anzac Cove.
      1 Commando Company, ‘77-82.

      Posted by Gerber on 2005 04 25 at 09:45 AM • permalink


  1. Poor old Leunig. Must be hard being an old pacifist. To me, what he says is pretty stupid, but it’s heartening nonetheless. The only time complete pacifism and non-violence looks good is in a very safe and peaceful society. I guess the fact that lots of people think like him shows just how safe and peaceful Australia is. To me, that’s good.

    Not quite sure why we should care what old Leunig thinks, though. He’s been drawing the same cartoon image for thirty years.

    Posted by Kyle Schuant on 2005 04 28 at 02:13 AM • permalink