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Where to from here!

By norvan - 19 September 2007 27

The article ‘British pull-out triggers Iraq row’ in the Canberra Times 4/9/07, and ‘Dutch withdrawal to leave our troops exposed and job undone’ in todays Canberra times have struck me deeply. A good friend will be deployed to Iraq this week. With the majority of the Australian contingent in Iraq under 30, as I am, the short-sighted, petty squabbling by aged men like Rudd and Nelson upsets me.

Australia obviously has a long term commitment to the people of Iraq following our involvement there over the past 5 years. However, I’m deeply concerned that there seems to be no long tern strategy for the future of Iraq. Let’s move beyond talking about when we will eventually withdraw our forces. What will the cost be over the next 5 years, and the next 20 years? Our generation of Australians and Iraqis will still be dealing with the mess started by people that will be out of office, Prime Minister Howard.

Australia’s strategic planning is badly stretched. The current ‘operational tempo’ of our defence force is at an all time high and the majority of our forces are deployed overseas. Recruitment is down to a historic low and personnel retention is slipping. As we saw in the Canberra Times article ‘A too ambitious defence strategy ‘ on 7/7/07, it is unlikely that the Australian Defence Force will be able to maintain the levels of personnel needed. I want to know how the ALP and the Coalition expect to secure Australia sustainably in the future.

Norvan Vogt
ACT Senate Candidate
Australian Democrats

[ED (Kramer) – We usually inisist on a more Canberra centric spin for most stories instead of getting buried in national politics, but as a ACT candidate for the Senate we’ll give you a bit of leeway to get on the soapbox. To bring the focus back to the ACT (its always about us here on RiotACT), we should ask how the ACT Liberal, Labor, Democrat, or other party candidates and their parties expect to secure Australia sustainably in the future?]

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27 Responses to
Where to from here!
norvan 5:56 pm 19 Sep 07

I would maintain the pressure for a timetable for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq to be developed and implemented as a matter of urgency. I believe that the best way to assist Iraq is with economic and ongoing infrastructure assistance to be provided to the Iraqis as soon as possible. This is best done through non military means such as multilateral aid to appropriate organisations in Iraq. Basically the situation in Iraq must be brought back fully within the framework of international law and the broader international community through the United Nations.

I agree with Ralph that recruiting and retention issues need to be addressed with better pay and conditions, something that I am on the record for while I was on the DRSC. I think that the troops that we have deployed as part of Overwatch Battle Group (West) and are helping provide security to the Al Muthanna and Dhi Qar provinces should be withdrawn after the next rotation. I believe that the alliance with the USA is an important one but there are better ways to support the USA. I really do think that we have our work cut out for us here in the Asia Pacific and that regional security concerns should be higher on the agenda.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 4:41 pm 19 Sep 07

Given the current skills and labour shortage, why don’t we offer immigrant citizenships to Iraqis who have had enough of getting bombed and blown up? Bring ’em with us when we come home!

Ralph 4:33 pm 19 Sep 07


Mr Evil 4:30 pm 19 Sep 07

Withdraw alongside the Americans – via Iran – and introduce a scorced-earth policy on the way out.

CharlieBell 4:29 pm 19 Sep 07

It seems to me that Iraq is in equally bad positions whether we (Aus/USA/etc) stay or leave. We should get the invading forces out and let them have self determination. It might not be the type of government that we (Aus/USA/etc) want, but its their choice – do you want the people across the road telling you how to live your life? If we then participate in an (invited) peacekeeping role or in an aid/rebuilding role we can do a lot more good than being part of an invading, indoctrinating force.

caf 3:20 pm 19 Sep 07

Norvan: As a candidate yourself, you should put forward what your answer to the question you’ve posed is. If you want us to vote for you, you need to tell us what policies you will be supporting in the parliament, and preferably why.

Ralph 3:13 pm 19 Sep 07

The US are our allies, they supported us, and we supported them through the Pacific Theatre, and to help fight the scourge of communism spreading through Southeast Asia. We expect them to stand by us as well in future times of need.

Our contribution is small, but it symbolises our joint values of democracy and freedom.

Our strong alliance helps to finance US investment in this country as well. To damage that is far more costly than any sort of lost investment opportunities that we might have in Indonesia.

DawnDrifter 3:10 pm 19 Sep 07

wow my post totally didnt come out with the full text

DawnDrifter 3:08 pm 19 Sep 07

We have how many troops there? 130,000

do the maths, our contingent is insignificant compared to the US, if they can ‘surge’ 30000 troops im sure they can surge another 500-1000 to cover our responsibilities..

why must we lose international cred, create tense diplomatic relations with our near neighbours(namely Indonesia) and suffer economically? show me the benifits of Aus being there. And also the detremental effect of us pulling out our

Mr Evil 3:07 pm 19 Sep 07

“…a stones throw away”

Excellent pun there! 🙂

Snahons_scv6_berlina 3:04 pm 19 Sep 07

They whole area has been a quagmire of idealogical violence since the history of mankind. I fear that no matter what ‘outsiders’ involvement there is, “peace” and “stability” will always be a stones throw away.

Ralph 2:55 pm 19 Sep 07

You people advocating an early troop pull out need to ask yourselves what will happen to the people of Iraq if we abandon them?

They won’t form a democracy on their own, and another dictator or insurgent group will seize control, be it sunni, shiite or kurds.

Either way if one of them becomes top dog, start the genocide count.

Realistically this will go on for decades, but with a reduced troop presence through time, but they are going to need us and the US, Britain to maintain civil order.

The ANZUS alliance is a grand achievement between our great nations, and has helped to serve the economic development of this country.

Take a look at New Zealand, who has taken the soft option on ANZUS for 3 decades. That country is floundering.

DawnDrifter 2:46 pm 19 Sep 07

The following is all my personal opinion so dont align me with any particular party or policy or i will virtually bite your head off…

If WE as in Australia, and THEY as in the US are such good mates, and have a firm friendship, and have a good understanding of each other. They should not have issue with us pulling out, with the yanks taking over our offensive and defensive roles – excluding that of protecting our embassy, (this is our job). John being the stubborn prick he is wont get them out cos he is buddies with George and obviously has made some promises that he will remain there for the long term, but i believe we should get out of there and let the yanks sort it out for they are the ones that started this shitfight.. Its harming us politically, economically and diplomatically.

I could go on, but you have all heard it before… commence your eye rolling etc…

Mr Evil 2:45 pm 19 Sep 07

We need to get THE bomb.

Come on: we’ve got all that uranium – let’s use it.

Ralph 2:44 pm 19 Sep 07

It’s a competitive labour market Norvan, if they are having recruitment problems they need to improve pay and conditions, and options for long term career development.

I am also an advocate of conscription for the long term unemployed, particuarly youth unemployed who refuse to go back to school or take a trade, and truants.

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