Wading back into the Big Muddy

Just as US soldiers and National Guards who’ve completed their tours in Iraq are being conscripted by stop-loss orders, recalls and the like, then sent back for a second round, Australia has received new orders. The New Europeans (Spain, Poland, Netherlands and so on) are all pulling out, and its up to us to fill the gap.

Of course, there’s no mention of the US in Howard’s announcement. Supposedly, this is a response to personal requests from the British and Japanese Prime Ministers. Older readers will recall that exactly the same farce was played out with our commitment of troops to Vietnam. Anyone who believes the government’s line might reflect on what kind of response Blair and Koizumi would get if they requested from Howard something the Bush Administration didn’t like, such as ratification of Kyoto.

There’s no strategy here, just hanging on and hoping things will change for the better. There’s no sign so far that the presence of 150 000 troops has done any good. The insurgency/resistance/terrorists are far more numerous now than they were a year ago. They gain legitimacy when they attack foreign occupiers, and lose it when they attack fellow-Iraqis. I hope that the new Iraqi government, when it emerges, will maintain its campaign commitment (watered down at the last minute) to demand a schedule for withdrawal, but if it doesn’t, Australia and Britain should be pushing the US to set one.

Tthe decision raises some other big issues for Australia that don’t seem to have been considered. In particular, there’s the possibility of war with Iran. Have we received assurances either that there won’t be any US military action against Iran or that, if there is, Iraq won’t be used as a base? To ask this question is to answer it.

185 thoughts on “Wading back into the Big Muddy

  1. Here’s a quotation for those folk who are inclined to believe in the ability of the Bush Administration to achieve any military objective it sets itself. Seems that the flow of willing recruits for Operation Grease Every Bad Guy Everywhere is dwindling:

    [Since the Army’s fiscal year began last October, it has only signed 18.4 percent of its target of 80,000 new recruits. That’s less thanlast year’s and well below the 25 percent target the Army had set for itself to meet by this time.]

    “Very frankly, in a couple of places our recruiting pool is getting soft,” said Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, the Army’s personnel chief. “We’re hearing things like, ‘Well, let’s wait and see how this thing settles out in Iraq,'” he said in an interview. “For the active duty for ’05 it’s going to be tough to meet our goal, but I think we can. I think the telling year for us is going to be ’06.”

    http://www.gnn.tv/headlines/1233/Will_there_be_a_draft

    Those telephone calls from London and Tokyo to Kirribilli House would have to be coincidental, wouldn’t they?

  2. MichaelH, you refer to the fact that there are many Islamic scholars who support your view of Islam which contrasts with the ones I quote. The difference is that the women or men I quote, simply decided they wanted to enjoy the same rights we western liberals take for granted and generally end up being well and truly fucked over as a result. The scholars you quote have done nothing so brave and essentially spend their time justifying oppression.
    If the Islamic scholars you refer to are really moderate why do they have such difficulty criticising their own societies without, at best, saying something along the lines of the situation in Sudan is all very interesting but look what those evil Israeli’s and Americans are up to. One Palestinian life lost to an Israeli generates more outrage from most Muslims than 100,000 lost to fellow Muslims or non-Muslims such as the Serbs. Why can’t some of the current wankers who are being feted by western liberals even bring themselves to outright condemn the stoning to death of women for god sake. Your comments on modernisation are ludicrous. You are essentially saying that because a traditional Muslim guy feels unsettled by the fact that a young Muslim is wearing jeans and listening to rock Music or even simply deciding to marry who she feels like, the fact that he might then choose to throw acid in her face, rape or torture her is at least somewhat understandable – sorry but I think a bullet to the head is more useful response in these circumstance. I don’t recall people like yourself being so understanding were the KKK or rednecks in Alabama are concerned when it came to blacks demanding equal rights. Should Martin Luther King have shown greater sensitivity to the indigenous Southern American cultures he was trying to change.

  3. “Your argument re. Iran boils down to: “I don’t trust them and I think I should have a veto on who can and can not develop nuclear power.â€? ”

    Ian – spot on the money.

  4. Razor,

    “Very frankly, in a couple of places our recruiting pool is getting soft,� said Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, the Army’s personnel chief. “We’re hearing things like, ‘Well, let’s wait and see how this thing settles out in Iraq,’� he said in an interview. “For the active duty for ‘05 it’s going to be tough to meet our goal, but I think we can. I think the telling year for us is going to be ‘06.�

    This is a direct quotation from Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, the personnel chief of the US Army. If you put his name and “recruiting pool is getting soft” into Google you’ll get 182 references to the same statement, many from the mainstream press.

    I can understand why such news would be a very disturbing to a person of your views. Girlie men can’t requite their virility fantasies by transferring them to their beloved totem of male potency. Scary isn’t it?

    You have two choices

    1. come out of the bunker and join the “reality-based community”.

    2. Get your subscription to “Soldier of Fortune” redirected to a dead letter drop.

    Try not to be a goose Razor. You can still be a proper bloke even though the US isn’t omnipotent.

  5. Katz and Ian Gould

    Please note that Post 180 and 181 are not by the Razor postings before then.

    I don’t know how to stop that happening.

    Kind regards

    Razor

  6. MB – Your ESP seems to be working overtime. Not only do you know whom I’m referring to, but you know their opinions and that they have “difficulty criticising their own societies” and they “spend their time justifying oppression”. Or maybe it’s not ESP, you’e just so well read you know it all.

    Then you wrote, “You are essentially saying that because a traditional Muslim guy feels unsettled………that he might then choose to throw acid in her face, rape or torture her is at least somewhat understandable”.

    Actually, I said nothing even remotely like that.

    I said that some (modern revivalists, neo-Muslims, fundamentalists – whatever you like), use Islam to justify these actions, which are in part, a retreat to reassuring certainties in the face of a failure to fully engage with modernity.

    To understand is not to condone, or even to empathise.

  7. Michael H writes: ” said that some (modern revivalists, neo-Muslims, fundamentalists – whatever you like), use Islam to justify these actions, which are in part, a retreat to reassuring certainties in the face of a failure to fully engage with modernity. ”

    I guess the UK native suicide boombers were expressing their “…failure to fully engage with modernity’.

Comments are closed.