Friday, September 10, 2010

Fighting Other Peoples' Wars: Australia in Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan is, really, as far as most ordinary Australians are concerned, “other peoples’ wars”. If you take the realistic view, the attack on Afghanistan was in response to 9/11. While ten Australians died in the attack on the Twin Towers, that would hardly justify the Australian military response that we have seen. Instead, other factors have motivated Canberra to “suck up to America”; the cynic would say, “as we have always done”.

In an ABC report just a few days ago, we can see that Australia’s commitment goes much further than just “sucking up to America” (though that is included). 22 Australian soldiers have died in the Afghan war so far, and who knows where the body count will end. While this is minimal in comparison to the US body count, it’s a war being questioned by more and more Australians. While Aussie diggers are dying in Afghanistan, the “ordinary people” are asking why.

The mainstream media and major political leaders are underestimating the public mood against the war in Afghanistan.
The Australian public is intelligent enough to realise that a war against insurgents and terrorists is, by default, a war against innocent men, women and children, that a war to bring peace is an oxymoron and that the impossible task of preventing places from becoming training grounds means staying there forever.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Was a pre-invasion poll of Afghani residents done to ascertain whether they felt the need to be protected from the Taliban? Or do they deserve what they get? Kandahar is a long way from Bondi Beach, and maybe Afghanis don’t want any part of the freedom and nudity of Bondi Beach, and such “expressions of Western freedom”. Just a thought.

More from the article:

Yet Gillard says: "Our object is . . . to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a training ground terrorists . . ." This implies that Afghanistan isn't currently a training ground, and one wonders how the threat of international terrorism can be combatted by waging an ongoing war in a country that the terrorists have left.

Australians want to see evidence supporting assertions such as al-Qaeda "may" re-establish a training ground in Afghanistan, and they want it explained how the Taliban — which are not al-Qaeda — represent a risk to our national security.

It seems to me that the real reason behind Australian support of this war is to curry more favour with America, and its obsession with bringing terrorists to justice. If any reader would like to assess worldwide public opinion about the war in Afghanistan, then check out This.

If you want my blunt opinion, then let Afghanis have whatever they want. But I think it may be time to stop Australian soldiers dying in the wretched parched earth deserts of Afghanistan. It’s the Noble Dream that Afghanis will take to Western concepts of freedom, but I don't think they will. If there is going to be change then maybe it should come internally, not through more Vietnam-like wars.

Afghanistan has now become the longest war the US has ever engaged in. And maybe the lesson to be learned here is that when you intrude on foreigners with the intention of imposing your ideals of democracy, don’t be surprised when you encounter forces like the Taliban.

This war has now become another Vietnam, and not only is public opinion against it, but also “expert opinion”.

U.S. author calls Afghanistan war "pointless"

The Taliban are never going to surrender, and so far history shows that, generally, intrusions into foreign territory almost always result in massive losses to the intruders. The US Vietnam death toll stands at 58,000 (a lost war), and Afghanistan 4,000, with how many more years of accumulating dead, who knows? And why was this instigated? To prevent further attacks like 9/11? Have they caught Bin laden? If Afghanistan was razed to the ground, there’s still no guarantee that the Bin Laden’s will be caught. Out of the ashes of Afghanistan and the loss of innocent human life, terrorists can still arise.

Nevertheless, Aussie troops are still doing what they can to improve the basic quality of life in Afghanistan, and for that they must be commended.

Last week, I drove (I’m a taxi driver) a wannabe Aussie soldier close to joining the Australian Army, who had dreams of fighting in Afghanistan, who really believed he would be doing this for “his family”. Young men are full of adventure. But how “his family” would benefit from the potential loss of his life in a hellhole like Afghanistan, is beyond comprehension.

This post is in no way meant to denigrate the Aussie soldiers who are now fighting in Afghanistan, and who deserve accolades for their bravery. In spite of what I consider to be the fruitlessness of this war, I salute the soldiers who selflessly dedicate their lives in the service of their country, and the misguided ideals of politicians who demand that they risk life and limb fighting "other peoples' wars".

Australian forces engage the Taliban:

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