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Remembrance Day – Remember who to blame!

By John Hargreaves 17 November 2014 46

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Each ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day, I, like so many others, pay my heartfelt respect to the fallen and to the soldiers who survived. We think of their families and we are sad.

We are sad because the loss of life is usually futile. The lives of our soldiers, naval personnel and air force members have been lost in wars light years away, in defence of a policy which is at times incomprehensive.

I don’t buy the forward defence theory. I did in 1969 when told about the Red Peril coming down the Indo-China Peninsular. I did when I volunteered to do two years National Service because my number didn’t come up. I did when I knew that there was a good chance I would go to Vietnam and be asked to kill people.

I was fooled like so many others.

The bit that got my goat lately was John Howard at the Remembrance Day ceremony. He said: “let us remember that [our servicemen and women] stand on the shoulders of their Anzac forebears and they carry in their mission the same values of this country as did their forebears.”

Yeah? What values were those precisely?

In 1914, Australia was 13 years old. The old colonial mentality had not been replaced with any sense of oneness as a nation. We were still British! They sent our soldiers to fight the British War, under British commanders in British determined battlegrounds turned into mass graves!

Where was any threat to Australia which required that immense loss of life? Nowhere!

The blokes who died at Gallipoli didn’t die for Australia. They died for Britain. That they died at all is a crime. Brave they were, heroes they were, unnecessary victims of a polity of the time they were!

So, fast forward to the Middle East conflicts of recent times and the current War. The same John Howard sent our guys off to the Middle East to fix that “weapons of mass destruction” problem. Along with Blair and Bush, he should face a war crimes tribunal.

There were no weapons of mass destruction (and they knew it), there was no threat to Australia (and we all know it) and we saw our kids killed. For what?

Tony Abbott has done it again. He has started the Vietnam process all over again.

The process for Vietnam was to send advisors (the AATTV) in to “assist and train” the good guys to fight the bad guys. Then we sent in more SAS troops. Then we sent in battalions. Then we started the body count.

For what? Where was the threat to Australia before Mr Abbott aligned himself with the US? We were not in the frame. We were too small to worry about. Not now we ain’t!

In case people accuse me of being unpatriotic, I contend that when a real time threat to Australia is present, no-one here will baulk at doing his or her bit. But I, like so many others, am sick of seeing our kids killed in wars which represent no threat to our home soil, which have nothing to do with us, nothing for us to gain, and at the end of the day actually achieved nothing positive for the people there.

What was gained in WWI? It was an armistice? Political borders are still contested today and the result spawned the Second World War.

The Korean War had nothing to do with us, is not over either (again an armistice) and is a hotbed of conflict.
Vietnam was a disaster! And again, none of our business.

Afghanistan and Iraq were issues of our own making and we are making it worse.

The Middle East is a world away. It is horrible for those there. But why do we have to be deputy sheriffs? Where is the South American contingent? Where is the African contingent? Where is Asian contingent? Where is the eastern European contingent?

As we often say when we face adversity? Why me? Indeed, why us? And on top of that, we send the asylum seekers from that very region on to an unknown fate in a hostile country. We helped create the need for asylum then we turn out backs.

Good on you, Mr Abbott. Just like Menzies and Howard, you perpetuate the myth that we need to sacrifice our young for the good of what? The world? Democracy? Freedom?

Yeah right!

What’s Your opinion?


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Remembrance Day – Remember who to blame!
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dungfungus 7:48 am 19 Nov 14

2604 said :

Like many on the left, you seem to think that peace is always the best strategy. “Peace” really just means acceptance of the status quo. That’s only an acceptable plan of action when the status quo is acceptable. What’s going on in Syria and Iraq – beheadings, crucifixions, persecution of minorities, kidnapping and murder of western journalists and aid workers – is most definitely not acceptable to me, nor to most Australians. Military action is never desirable, but in this case is the lesser of two evils. The strategy being followed in Iraq and Syria – drone strikes and small-scale ground operations in conjunction with local armies – is absolutely correct.

Historically, the Anglophone countries – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ – have always helped each other in times of conflict. That is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it shows backbone and reflects well on the national character of each nation. It stands in stark contrast to the unprincipled and opportunistic positions taken by other supposed major powers like France, which aggressively protect their own economic interests but otherwise pursue policies of isolationism.

Your chronology skipped World War 2 – you know, that minor series of events which would inevitably have involved a Japanese invasion of Australia, had the Americans not intervened to save us?

The “South American contingent”? The “African contingent”? With rare exceptions, those continents are economic and political basket-cases. The idea that we should only take action if banana republics and impoverished third-world nations are doing so is ludicrous and not befitting of a wealthy, advanced country like Australia.

Incidentally, I note that your article featured strong criticism of Tony Abbott, but no criticism of Barack Obama, who is pursuing the same military strategy. Is that because Obama is black, and you’re afraid to criticise a black man?

Obama is the pin up boy (is that politically correct?) of the Australian lefties. He is more popular in countries outside America.
At the weekend’s G20 talkfest, Obama chose to talk about future fantasies (abatement of carbon emissions thought to cause climate change) rather than the real problem of global Islamic terrorism.
John is yet to present his comments on the G20.

2604 11:21 pm 18 Nov 14

Like many on the left, you seem to think that peace is always the best strategy. “Peace” really just means acceptance of the status quo. That’s only an acceptable plan of action when the status quo is acceptable. What’s going on in Syria and Iraq – beheadings, crucifixions, persecution of minorities, kidnapping and murder of western journalists and aid workers – is most definitely not acceptable to me, nor to most Australians. Military action is never desirable, but in this case is the lesser of two evils. The strategy being followed in Iraq and Syria – drone strikes and small-scale ground operations in conjunction with local armies – is absolutely correct.

Historically, the Anglophone countries – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ – have always helped each other in times of conflict. That is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it shows backbone and reflects well on the national character of each nation. It stands in stark contrast to the unprincipled and opportunistic positions taken by other supposed major powers like France, which aggressively protect their own economic interests but otherwise pursue policies of isolationism.

Your chronology skipped World War 2 – you know, that minor series of events which would inevitably have involved a Japanese invasion of Australia, had the Americans not intervened to save us?

The “South American contingent”? The “African contingent”? With rare exceptions, those continents are economic and political basket-cases. The idea that we should only take action if banana republics and impoverished third-world nations are doing so is ludicrous and not befitting of a wealthy, advanced country like Australia.

Incidentally, I note that your article featured strong criticism of Tony Abbott, but no criticism of Barack Obama, who is pursuing the same military strategy. Is that because Obama is black, and you’re afraid to criticise a black man?

JC 10:54 pm 18 Nov 14

dungfungus said :

Look over there, is that a unicorn?

Nah it is a flock of blind and dumb sheep that will believe what ever they are told. Never mind the inconvenient truth of course.

justin heywood 9:44 pm 18 Nov 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Just for the record though, we have been involved in the following wars since federation: WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Gulf Wars One and Two, Iraq and Afghanistan and now here we go again.

A Labor PM was only one of those PMs who sent troops overseas. by my quick reckoning it is 8 to 1.
Nuff said! Don’t blame me, I voted Labor!

I usually let your laughably one-eyed versions of events slide, but in this case I can’t work out if you’re being disingenuous or you really don’t know the facts:

WW1. An election was in progress at the outbreak of war. Labor won. Billy Hughes (Labor PM) was so enthusiastic about the war he wrecked his reputation trying to have conscription introduced.

WW2. Menzies was in power, but the main difference between Menzies and Labor’s position was not on our involvement, but on where the troops should be sent, Europe or the Pacific. Labor’s John Curtin became PM in 1941. He introduced conscription at about the time the Japanese started dropping bombs on us.

Malaya: You seem to have forgotten Malaya

Korea: Menzies again in power. The Labor Party fully supported Australia’a involvement in Korea

Vietnam: Our involvement opposed by the Labor Party

First Gulf War: Hawke (Labor) sent ships and troops to Iraq.

Second Gulf War: Howard (Liberal) sent ships and troops to Iraq

Third Gulf War? Abbott in power. Support for Australia’s mission from both Labor and Liberal parties.

Thus by my reckoning there have only been two occasions when Labor has opposed our participation in a conflict (Vietnam and the second Iraq war). In fact Labor have actively supported our participation almost every time they happened to be in power – Labor Prime Ministers even led the charge for conscription on two occasions.

Your claim that ‘by my quick reckoning it is 8 [Libs] to 1 [Labor]. Nuff said!’ is a blatant misrepresentation of the truth.

You say you have a degree in Defence Studies (or something similar), so you either know what you said isn’t correct or your studies were remarkably sketchy. Perhaps you referenced Michael Crichton novels in your essays? How did that go?

Only a fool rushes off to war. But it appears that many times people from all sides of politics have made the decision that we should fight for a cause beyond our shores. Many fine young men died as a result. Remembrance Day is a day set aside to remember them, not to use the day (and a bit of distorted history) to score political points.

dungfungus 12:05 pm 18 Nov 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

justin heywood said :

Wow John. You throw out a Gish Gallop style argument, demonstrating a high school understanding of all the complexities of 20th Century history (apparently it was all the Liberal’s fault).

Then, as if further evidence of the shallowness of your thinking was needed, you trot out some airport novel as supporting evidence.

You seem to have drank the Labor party Kool-Aid circa 1970 and not to have had an original thought since.

I bow to your giant intellect and constructive and thoughtful contributions. for your info, in 1970, I was wearing Army greens. I joined the Labor Party in 1988.

John, if you ever write your biography (God help us) you could call it “From Fighting in Army Greens to Surrendering to Canberra Greens”.

John Hargreaves Ex MLA 12:02 pm 18 Nov 14

nazasaurus said :

I agree with a lot of what you say John. Interestingly the comments here prove yet again that any discussion of our military involvement cannot be discussed rationally and any disagreement with the party line (labor or lib) is seen an being un Australian or unpatriotic or lefty or communist or tree hugger or whatever the insult of the day is. These sort of discussions are had in Europe and even in Britain but cannot be had in Australia so lets just blindly follow what the politicians here tell us which is mostly to blindly follow what the politicians in the US dictate who in turn do as their lobbyists want.

Such truth.

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