Gillard, War Leader

Hard to see the Prime Minister knows what she’s doing. Having heard some soldiers were killed in the Fighting Season of a war we’ve been ten years in, she professed amazement, and left an international conference early (why?), refusing to see Hillary Clinton (why?), to fly to not Afghanistan but Canberra. Very hard to see why she chose that destination. Skype, after all, was available, and mobile phones. And generals capable of going by plane to wherever she was, in three or four hours.

She then said the news of some new deaths in a long war came ‘like a physical blow’ (no, it was like fired bullets at young men whose women didn’t want them to be there, at war with young men in their own brigades), but we would stay there nonetheless, in a war that nobody likes, and resolutely stay there by heaven, till we resolutely slink out of it in eighteen months time, on a date now decided that makes no sense to anybody; anybody, that is, except, perhaps, the Taliban.

(Eighteen months is the time between Dunkirk and Pearl Harbour; discuss. Eighteen months is a long time in politics; discuss. Eighteen months is five months longer than the Dictatorship of Julius Caesar; discuss.)

She thought this cry of commitment to a war long lost was in some way reassuring. Reassuring to whom? It left all our soldiers’ wives and sons aghast, and their mothers frantic with foreboded grief.

Why are we still in Afghanistan? Even the New Zealanders are leaving early. Whom are we pleasing? Anybody? Whom are saving from eventual beheading? Anybody?

Why did she not say, ‘We are training murderers to murder us, it would seem. I would like to know why. I require an investigation into this incident before I decide what we are to do. We may stay. Or we may go. I need more information.’?

What she did stay stands alongside ‘Americans can do anything!’  and ‘The real Julia!’ in the annals of her inanity. If a wartime leader is unpossessed of good words when a soldier dies — Lincoln words, Churchill words, Kennedy words, Beazley words, Obama words — she should not hold that office. Discuss.

One big thing that should flow now from this event is that anyone who comes here from Afghanistan should not be sent back there, and should be admitted automatically as refugees from this terrible, dangerous place, unfit for children to grow up in, and women to go dancing in.


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  1. Don’t worry, Bob, the real leader is one Ms Bryce: “The command in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative”. That’s reassuring. Not.

  2. Why not just cut all those fat subsidies and tax breaks to the mining industry - ie let them pay fuel taxes

  3. I can’t speak for the PM Bob, but I would say going to Afghanistan wouldn’t have been a wise move - why would she go there? What good would it do to fly into Kabul? Surely it wouldn’t be to comfort the troops?

    I don’t believe we should be there either, it is a disgustingly wrong war, but I know a few in the Army that do want to be there. That’s why they join the army - to go off and kill people.

    Also, Beazley and Carr support Australian troops there - your valianrt words apply to them too!

  4. The question really is, does the United Nations require us to stay there for a further 18 months, such that our leaving early would jeopardise whatever programs and plans are in place for the transition?

    If yes, we should stay; if no we can leave whenever it is practicable to do so.

    Hint : The answer is yes, leaving early may well jeopardise the work that has been done to date; risk causing a bloodbath amongst Bob’s favourite Hazara people, and jeopardise the orderly handover.

    • The bloodbath will come, soon or late. The only way to prevent it is by taking all the Hazaras in, and sending some in due course to Canada, Europe, the US and New Zealand.

      • Michael Lawrence

        That’s right, and these ‘green-on-blue’ attacks have been played-down recently as ‘less-than-fifty in the last two years.’ That’s one every fortnight. The entire mission has been a dream from the beginning. It’s Afghanistan.

    • DQ, have I missed something?
      The only UN involvement is the Assistance Mission I thought.
      So why would they require us to stay there?
      They didn’t organise the war.

      • Where have you been for 10 years?

        Afghanistan is a United Nations operation from go to whoa.

        The UN has passed a nearly unanimous resolution every year or so renewing the mandate.

        see :

        The UN want us there. The Yanks provide the main muscle, as usual.

        • I’ve been watching and listening to the wrong commentary apparently. My memory must be paying tricks.
          Now I thought that it was the trio of one George ‘Dubya’ Bush, Tony ‘my next job is as the Pope’ Blair and our own little rodent who stormed into Afghanistan in October 2001 without any approval from the UN.
          I always thought that the UN got installed in the Kabul region in about 2004, and I always thought that the whole she-bang war wise has been controlled by NATO for some time. So I’m surprised to learn that the UN is running the war.
          Usually the UN runs in the other direction when the bullets start flying.
          Wait! That was a wikipedia reference you gave me.

          • Yes, and I trembled with fear when I gave it. But it is accurate in a potted way, and sufficient for the purpose. Wikipedia is unacceptable for academic research and is only useful in pointing to the sources which should be examined.

            (As an aside, Bush Blair and Howard blundered into Iraq illegally and should be on trial for it.)

            The UN sanctioned the intervention in Afghanistan and still does sanction the police action - the police action - in Afghanistan.

            There is strictly speaking no war at all, only a police action against illegal insurgents (the Taliban).

            • (As an aside, Bush Blair and Howard blundered into Iraq illegally and should be on trial for it.)

              Just saw this. “Legally” this is wrong. How can military intervention in support of the legitimate government of Afghanistan be “illegal” or to warrant a “trial”?

            • Actually they did not sanction any invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and that lie was debunked a decade ago.

              They only granted the US the right to self defence, bombing Afghanistan to bits to punish some Saudis was nonsensical.

              • The “bit-bombing” was joined by Bill Cinton as a retaliatory action in 1998 via cruise missile strike: (according to a quikipedia here)…U.S. President Bill Clinton announced the attacks in a TV address, saying the Khost camp was “one of the most active terrorist bases in the world,” adding that “I want the world to understand that our actions today were not aimed against Islam” which he called “a great religion.” stemmed like a good idea at the time, now here we are. Radical Islam is at war with the west. We’ll never solve their (3rd world and muslims in general) problems without adding to them, and being blamed for trying. Let’s definitely not import any more of their problems.

              • Here is another question for you Marilyn. Should Obama be considered a war criminal like Howard, Bush and Blake because he authorises military attacks (Bin Laden raid, drone strikes)within another sovereign country (Pakistan) without that country’s consent.

              • Bullshit. Read the UN Resolutions.

            • DQ,Desmond Tutu agrees with you,at least with Bush and Blair; he’s probably never heard of Howard

              • Yes, Chris. Desmond and I are quite close on this issue. But he tells me he has heard of Howard, just never mentions him in polite company.

  5. It seems “the mission” has been a great success, sort of like Barry Mackenzie meets Osama Bin Laden.
    One more victory like this and they’ll be at the gates of Berlin.

  6. Afghanistan is what it is today because the two Cold War superpowers treated it, as they did so many other nation-states, like pawns on a chessboard. The Soviets invaded and the Americans created and sustained the resistance that then went on to terrorise its own people.

    Is war ever popular? Except for in extreme cases of nationalistic fervour, rarely.

    Is war ever just? The thought of calling a theatre of blood and death ‘just’ is a tad nauseating, but there can be no doubt that some war is just; given the right reasons, the right time and the right context. I’d wager that the pacifistic tolerance of inter/intra-national aggression and murder by powers that could do something about it has cost the lives of more people than if the US had been a less active interventionist.

    It would be nice to provide home, health and hearty fare to the displaced peoples of the world, but as much as those Hazara desire peace, I’m certain leaving their home would be one of the hardest things they’ve ever had to do.

    If we want to relieve the world of its woes and destroy its tyrannies, we have to be prepared to stay the course in Afghanistan and fly the flag into other gauntlets that the world would rather forget.

  7. Gillard is not a leader’s bum-hole.

    If you think Afghanistan is nothing but a medieval throwback to bombed out mud-brick sh#t-hole full of religious intolerance, take a look back in history how it once looked back in the 1950s:

    Food for thought…

  8. No one is talking about the war in America. Why are we even there?

  9. No the “Greens” and the “Blues”

  10. Can we get good government as long as we persist in elevating the prime minister to “leader”? At best they are, or should be, the chairman of the board.
    “The government is merely a servant - merely a temporary servant..It’s function is to obey orders, not instigate them.” Mark Twain.

    • An interesting point FI. It seems to be a throwback to the days when the King was the man who led the armies into battle.

      Perhaps Bob has a vision of a splendidly dressed “War Leader” riding the lead tank into an Armageddon type battle, male hormones pumping 19 to the dozen.

  11. I was musing, DQ, and generalising. Yes, she is, I suppose our “war leader”.
    But as long as we think of them as “leaders”, I think we shrug off a little of our own power.
    Most(?) of us would rather be a part of this:

    than a part of killing Afghans.

    • I am agreeing with you FI - we need to have a “leader” like we need a hole in the head. The PM is a cross between chairman of the board and CEO, with directors/ministers responsible for their own departments and advised by a multitude of public servants on every move.

      A “leader” will almost inevitably rampage across the ministers’ prerogatives and go against advice at times. If he or she is lucky, well and good; but otherwise . . .

  12. I knew that you were agreeing, DQ. I was recalling JWH, who I disliked initially because he reminded me of a sly, manipulative boy at school -(yes, hardly a sound political decision, I know). But this turned to loathing and rage pre Iraq, when he ponced around for some time about our committment, saying “I haven’t made up my mind whether we’ll go.” Of course he had, and of course we did. I’m happy to call him the war leader, the war instigator, the war criminal or anything else pejorative re that.

    • Taking an instant dislike to Howard was cost-effective : it saves time.

      I first came across Howard when he became Fraser’s Treasurer, seemingly from nowhere (apparently he’d been minister for business and consumer affairs).

      Better for everyone if he had stayed there(‘nowhere’ that is).

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