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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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Gungahlin Al 5:00 pm 20 Sep 07

Well it’s not often one gets to toss in their two bob worth on a national issue like this, so here goes…

The root cause of much of the problem in Iraq is that it is the US that did the invading, rather than the UN. There would have been a strong argument for the UN to go in there on purely humanitarian grounds rather than made-up WMD excuses, had the US been more patient. But given they did go in on a false premise, things will never resolve while the US remains in there.

I believe that the UN needs to step back in. They should symbolically boot the US (and the poms and us) out, and the wider international community should take over the peacekeeping role. Hopefully with the anti-American element robbed of their targets, the strife will peter away to the sectarian violence, and the Iraq government may be in a better position to cope with that.

BUT the US started this whole thing, so they should have to replace their forces on the ground with equivalent financial resources to cover the costs for all the other countries that have to go in to help clean up the US’s mess.

For what it’s worth…

Ralph 12:30 pm 20 Sep 07

This is 2007, and I can’t believe that some loonies want to argue the supposed merits, or ‘subtle ideological differences’ of communism – probably whilst sipping a cappuccino and munching a tim tam.

A failed paradigm, causing much human misery and hardship.

bonfire 12:18 pm 20 Sep 07

the long term strategy Norvan my red friend, is that iraq is stabilised, becomes democratic and independent, free from the danger of a tyrant reasserting himself (whether its a saddam or an islamofascist), and that stability comes to the region.

despite the rhetoric of handwringing softheads, i dont think the us or australia want to remain in iraq one day longer than necessary.

we do have an obligation to these people, and that requires our presence.

i note you dont seem too concerned about adf troops in the solomons, or east timor or the many other places they are located around the world.

also – they are volunteers. every soldier knows the risk when he takes the queens shilling.

and whats this nonsense about the age of rudd and howard ? churchill made better decisions the older he got. he learnt from mistakes such as gallipoli.

id rather have people with life experience even if its from the prgmatists pit of parliament, than junior ideologues who hold cuba and venezueal up as role models – who protest to stop bush coming to apec and say nothing about the chinese dictatorship.

caf 10:18 am 20 Sep 07

Press controlled by the government and rolling blackouts happen in democracies too, you know.

The real problem with Communism has been that command economies have been shown to be often unable to respond appropriately or quickly enough to changing conditions.

bonfire 10:04 am 20 Sep 07

start your own blog norvan, or will the 20 democrats members in the act merely respond with ‘i agree’ and ‘right on’ when you post this tedious, predictable leftist anti-democracy parrotting.

do you have ideas of your own act residents might be interested in ?

because this shite sounds like youve just come from a ‘resistance’ meeting at ANU.

Mr Evil 10:03 am 20 Sep 07

Mael, all of the Kiwis that I know over here certainly aren’t in any hurry to go back to New Zealand. Sure, maybe when they retire in 20-30 years, but before then – not likely!

The place has well and truly been screwed by successive Labour and National Govts.

Maelinar 9:25 am 20 Sep 07

Economics PhD is piffle when you have horse blinkers on Ralph.

I will answer your question re New Zealanders since you asked nicely.

They are forming a large contingent of the workforce that is sponsoring the current resources boom over here. Call any given mining company, and you have a one in three chance of getting a ‘hullo huw cun I hulp yuh’ at the end of the phone. Same goes with electricity companies, water, construction, engineering etc etc.

Kiwi’s go where the money flows – and it is undeniable that they can make good money here. Bet you a kiwi dollar though that once they have made their money they will return to NZ, I have already seen this process happening, although the cycle of incoming replacements is already in place which will skew statistics for a few years until ABS works out what is happening.

Ralph 9:10 am 20 Sep 07

Sounds like you should move to North Korea, Maelinar, given that that you sound so enamoured with communism. Do you like poverty, starvation and food shortages? Do you like a press controlled by the media? Rolling blackouts?

The question you should be asking yourself is: how come a population of merely 3 million has a currency value nearly equal to Australia’s buying power?

Population is irrelevant. You’re talking to an economics PhD here, so best you quit now on this one. The New Zealand dollar is strong purely due to interest rate differentials. That country has big problems with asset price inflation at the moment, large capital inflows (mostly for consumption) and has nearly lost all control over its monetary policy.

If New Zealand is such a great place at the moment, why are they coming over here in droves?

I support the USA in having their own State-sponsored dictators (such as Saddam was for some time) around the world in order to do their bidding and to maintain civil order. He became inconvenient for them, so he got the chop.

Maelinar 8:47 am 20 Sep 07

Ralph, I will address several of your posts.

Firstly, you are a redneck so I acknowledge most of this post will fall on deaf cauliflower ears, or simply go over the top of the peanut in charge of your brain.

Your comment about New Zealand is simply outrageous. For proof, watch the finance section of the news on any given night. The question you should be asking yourself is: how come a population of merely 3 million has a currency value nearly equal to Australia’s buying power ?

Pulling out of ANZUS has STRENGTHENED the kiwi dollar, and geopolitically, New Zealand is a stronger diplomatic force in the Pacific over Australia, this is a widely acknowledged point.

What will happen if the US pulls out of Iraq is the same fight that was occuring in the 60’s will be fought. I will point you to the fact that at that time, Saddam was the AMERICAN sponsored agency to sort out the infighting and resolve the issues. I think it a fair summary to say that America should mind it’s P’s and Q’s and butt out of the argument for a while. Their record of international dispute resolution is quite equitably at 0%. Perhaps they might wish to sort out their current international issues on the Korean Peninsula, Vietnam, Guadalcanal, and Afghanistan before they look towards American missionary style evangelism over yet another country/regime.

Communism is not the scourge you purport it to be Ralph, it is obvious you are still hung-up on the cold war propaganda that was circulating in the 80’s. It is merely a different way of looking at a similar problem. The fact they were standing up to America and showing them that there was another way of doing things was very unsettling to the Americans. I cannot begin to acknowledge the amount of devious activities the Americans engaged in to bring down the Communist theory. Yet does that make Democracy better than Communism ? – the fact it had to be actively undermined seems a little more like jilted schoolchildren dobbing in the other to gain credit with the teacher than international relationship forming.

Ralph 7:27 am 20 Sep 07

I agree 3 states is the way to go, but it is a dog’s breakfast though shauno. The Kurds in the north could have their own state, but that would piss Turkey off and could create more instability – drawing Turkey into the equation. The Sunnis and Shiites are all over the joint.

I am also an advocate of a tactical, and completely unexpected, nuclear strike on Iran. Short and swift, take them out.

shauno 11:57 pm 19 Sep 07

The only solution for Iraq is 3 separate states with Oil revenue for the time being controlled by the UN and distributed evenly.
This can happen after the US destroys the Lunatic Iranian nuclear effort and largely renders there military incabable. And back to a technology level which matches there political system and ideals namely 12th century. I expect this to happen some time in late 2008 or 2009.

boomacat 11:51 pm 19 Sep 07

If I were a supervising officer in the military the last thing I’d want would be for some chump politician to dump me with people with rebellious attitudes, enlisted against their will and with serious discipline problems.

Ditto if I was a soldier out on the field with such a conscript.

Good way to win votes with the proles I suppose.

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.

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

Agree.

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

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