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Bombing Bridges – questioning Australia’s role in the war on Syria.

David Macilwain

A bridge in Raqqa, destroyed by US and allied bombardment.

As I wrote recently, in an article intended for publication on the Australian blog “Pearls and Irritations, but finally published by 21st Century Wire, the apparent retreat from Syria by Western powers has seen a resurgence in abusive criticism of the “victorious” Assad government – as well as of its allies Russia and Iran.

Far from admitting to any fault, or guilt for their seven year-long conspiracy to replace the Syrian government with a Western-friendly puppet regardless of the democratic will of Syrians, these governments, their NGOs and media partners are now entrenching their false narrative of a noble and just effort that failed to remove a brutal tyrant.

Even better informed commentators who generally oppose the US’ hegemonic attitude and duplicity, and may recognise its shared responsibility for other disastrous conflicts – in Libya or Yemen or Iraq – are still evidently in a state of delusion over the war on Syria, and the US coalition’s malevolent role in it. The immediate reason for my article was the publication on “P&I” by one such respected commentator, Professor Ramesh Thakur, of an article considering how the Syrian war could have been shortened and with less loss of life – had Western powers behaved differently.

The whole premise of his article was wrong – that so much death and destruction had been for nothing because Assad remained in power; only Libyan style mayhem would have been a worse outcome. My concern, and desire to counter Thakur’s arguments, was because an alternative viewpoint – such as is accepted by all those on Syria’s side of the divide – is completely absent from Australian media, whether mainstream or alternative.

This is despite the events of the last few months in Syria, that have seen the true nature of the “rebels” and the true extent of their foreign support network exposed, in both alternative media and in mainstream Russian and allied media networks. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been outspoken and explicit on the criminality and culprits in these networks, albeit to a deaf target audience.

The fabrication of the “Douma Chemical Weapon attack” and the subsequent US/UK/French bombing – clearly a war crime – was perhaps the last straw for Russia’s patience in dealing  with Syria’s opponents, but it must also be seen against a background and history of US coalition crimes against Syria and the incredible catalogue of lies and false pretences that supported their covert operations.

One of the most devious and profoundly criminal of these crimes was one in which Australian forces happened to be directly involved – the joint US-Australian airforce attack on a vital Syrian Army outpost in Deir al Zour of September 2016. This happened at the height of the West’s campaign to save the Al Qaeda-linked terrorists occupying East Aleppo, and while the US constantly stalled Russia’s efforts to create humanitarian corridors so civilians could escape the siege.

The story did nevertheless make the news in Australia, though government officials naturally denied any intention to target the Syrian Army. But the claims of the US and Australian forces who launched this assault that they mistook Syrian soldiers for “illegal combatants” rang hollow, as the attack continued for over an hour despite urgent protests from Russia, killing at least 80 soldiers and completely destroying their outpost. That this facilitated the immediate takeover of the hilltop post by ISIS militants, who appeared to have been waiting and ready for the US-coalition “assistance” was never mentioned by the compulsively “patriotic” Australian media. (It should be noted however that Australian pilots and support staff may well have been innocent of the true intent of their commanders; it was reported that some questioned intelligence on the target but were ignored)

A special internal investigation by the US was a complete whitewash as predicted; the US could hardly acknowledge it intentionally targeted the SAA as part of its effort to take control of land east of the Euphrates. Had the enquiry interviewed witnesses and victims of the attack, as did Robert Fisk at the time, and Australia’s Professor Tim Anderson more recently, the US-Australian case would have been hard to sustain. Had Australian government ministers been subject to more aggressive interviewing, and reasonable suspicion they were not being honest, the question of Australia’s real role in Syria might have been asked, in Parliament and by State media.

Only weeks after that attack the US mal-intent became transparently clear when it bombed bridges over the Euphrates in Deir al Zour. This barely rated a mention in Western media, but its effect on Syrians’ thinking and on reporting in Syrian and Russian media was dramatic. I had this confirmed in May, while visiting the city of Homs and seeing its steady recovery from years under siege. Our guide there was a strong and proud woman who like so many in Syria had lost a son in the war – killed by “rebels” while he was serving in Deir al Zour. Her other two sons then joined their father in the Syrian army, committing all in the fight to save their fellow citizens from this monstrous foe.

For Hayat herself, the loss and grief had become a source of strength in her community’s battle against the violent jihadists, where they occupied part of the city only a hundred metres from her home. Following their final expulsion two years ago her job is now to educate, or re-educate, foreign visitors to Homs.

Perhaps not many of them know the story of Deir al Zour and significance of the bombing of its bridge over the Euphrates, but as one who did I couldn’t resist her gift – of a glass block with an etching of the famous bridge – or fail to feel honoured by it. She gave me too the obligation to share this story of US strategic military bastardry, a key event in Syria’s history. (the US also bombed two bridges across the Euphrates near Raqqa, before launching its campaign to take the city under its “SDF” control and relocate IS forces)

The construction by Russian engineers of a sectional temporary bridge a year after its bombing to bring aid and assistance to the besieged population of Deir al Zour, following months driving IS forces back across the desert, saw a renewed push by US and NATO forces to keep control of the Eastern Syrian Oil and Gas fields in the hands of their terrorist allies, in violation of every law of civil and military conduct. (the “liberation” of Raqqa was concluded at the same time.)

Tim Anderson visited Deir Al Zour last October, and wrote a detailed account following interviews with witnesses and victims of the US and IS assaults and occupation of the city.

Anderson’s methodical and structured work sadly counts for nothing in Australian media discourse; dismissed as an “Assad-lover” and “conspiracy-theorist”, his solid evidence can be safely ignored. To any fair minded and unprejudiced person however, what he presents is clear-cut; wittingly or unwittingly the Australian government has been assisting and cooperating with terrorist groups including Al Qaeda and Da’esh/IS, as a result of its partnership with the US and other coalition allies.

While Australia announced a formal withdrawal of its fighter jets from Syria in December – though not its air-tanker or surveillance planes, its continuing involvement and support for anti-Syrian forces seems likely. The government’s rhetoric against the Syrian government and its Russian ally is unchanged, and support for Syria’s local enemies Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as it NATO partners is as strong as ever.

Neither is the position and intention of US forces occupying NE Syria at all clear. Far from pulling back, as they have done in the South West, the spectre of ISIS is being conjured up yet again as a pretext for them to remain, with the numbers of IS fighters still on the loose suddenly boosted. The source of these claims is none other than the DIA – the same organisation that notoriously predicted and supported the “declaration of the caliphate” in 2012.

The last word on this should go to President Putin and his colleagues, who continue to try to rebuild bridges while their opponents work so hard to destroy them. As the now hopelessly compromised UN – which has worked so hard for the Syrian “Opposition” – ramps up unfounded fears of yet another humanitarian crisis in the last terrorist-infested Syrian province of Idlib, Russia has forged on with its plans to involve Europe in cooperative work in Syria. In advance of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Germany, via Austria, Russia brought a large group of foreign journalists to Aleppo to see how much has been achieved there since its liberation.

Call it a “charm offensive” – or “bridge-building” – or just “a wake-up call” for those in the West who may be reconsidering their views, Russia’s positive message contrasts sharply with the combative talk from their NATO opponents, of threats and destructive sanctions.

As I write this the leadership of Australia’s conservative governing coalition is about to change, and in what seems likely to be a hard-right direction. Where foreign affairs is concerned, one can say two things about this dramatic domestic development.

First, that the question of foreign policy has played no part whatsoever in this change, and at this point has not rated a single mention, even on critical questions like our relationship with Trump’s America. And second, that whoever leads the government and country makes little difference – they all share the same allegiances to our allies and delusions about our opponents.

And it’s no cause for complacency or resignation, or even the reassurance that Australia is a small player in world affairs. If our involvement in some of the worst crimes committed against Syria isn’t sufficient evidence, our role in the “Five Eyes” security alliance, due to meet next week in Brisbane reveals that we “punch above our weight”, – and bomb bridges like the best of them.


36 Comments

  1. Obama is a leftie? says

    “the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya was operating a «rat line» for Gaddafi’s captured weapons into Syria through Turkey

    “the US tradition in that regard has long been to ignore civilian casualties; i.e., collateral damage of US attacks is okay or even desired (so as to terrorize the population into surrender) – not an ‘issue’, except, perhaps, for the PR people

    “Hillary Clinton Approved Delivering Libya’s Sarin Gas to Syrian Rebels

    “Obama is so obsessed to replace Assad in Syria

    “Our policy has always been against him [Assad]. Period”

    “the CIA’s first coup had been not just planned but was carried out in 1949 in Syria, overthrowing there a democratically elected leader”

    http://themillenniumreport.com/2017/04/hillary-clinton-approved-delivering-libyas-sarin-gas-to-syrian-rebels-seymour-hersh/

  2. The author shows a typically profound misunderstanding of the situation in Syria. The ‘Western’ policy in the region was never to bring down Assad but, only to weaken him and protect Israel. That is why Mr. Assad is still in control, because the Western powers did not want neither to intervene directly, nor to risk an opposition victory that could have created a strong Syria and, therefore, future trouble for Israel. The truth is that Western oligarchies do not care that much about the fate of Syria or the Arab ‘revolution’. They know that strong Arab countries and democracies could turn, eventually, against Israel, even if that is a mistake due to wrong perceptions. They fear the ‘Arab street’ and will do anything to thwart it. In many ways, Russia and Iran have been peons in the hands of Western policy, their soldiers and blood have been used to prop up and defend a tyranny that the Western elites want to preserve without dirtying their hands. They have been fooled.

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  3. Canberra is US protectorate says

    Want to see the true colours of the Canberra’s regime?
    Look how much care and help the governing parties are giving Assange in his ordeal.

    Assange is Australian.
    Both Labor and Liberal parties are a showcase of fascism and hypocrisy.

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  4. [posted at the earlier article referenced here]
    Some devious [***] named Ramesh Thakur asked, ‘What if the road to the Syrian hell was paved with the good intentions of liberal humanitarians?’
    A: It wasn’t. It was paved with the satanic intent to destroy an entire nation and lay them open to the bestial genocide of demonic head-chopping cannibal degenerates, with knowing, conscious evil.
    Thakur uses the phrase ‘brutal crackdown’ as if this propagandists’ meme was not already exposed for the war-mongers’ lie it was, by 2013. Where does Menadue find such cave-dwellers? At ASPI? There will never be a shortage of scribblers as long as Thales and Raytheon are paying their salaries. The rest of this insidious diatribe follows the same mendacious line (‘civil war’, ‘dictator Assad’, ‘Sunni-Shia divisions’ etc etc –every one a flat lie).
    Thakur’s distortions are an indicator of the vicious intent of the United Nations cabal under one Jeffrey Feltman, Clinton plant, purveyor of fabrications (the Caesar photos, etc) who is likely behind the current ‘secret order’ to inhibit the return of Syrian exiles to their beloved land.
    Brandon Turbeville has exposed Thakur’s Nuremberg lies. Others will drive home the point. Australia it was who provided close air support for ISIS at Mount al-Thaarda, that being passed off by Turnbull as a mistake. A two-hour-long close-quarter massacre of uniformed Syrian Army soldiers defending besieged Deir ez Zor, DURING WHICH ISIS infantry followed up, was no mistake. The RAAF pilots and those in the RAAF hierarchy who connived in this atrocity must be exposed and pay the price for dragging Australia’s honour in the mud.

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  5. James O’Neill says

    The official reason given by then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in September 2015 on ABC Radio was that Australia was fighting in Syria pursuant to the collective self defence provisions of Article 51 of the UN Charter at the request of the Iraqi government. The fact that the Iraqi government issued a statement denying having made any such request was simply ignored by the Australian media. Similarly, that Article 51 does not apply when the defence is against non State actors was also ignored.
    As David points out, there is no opposition to this illegal war involvement by the official Labour Opposition, and the minor parties are silent. The sad truth is that Australia has completely sold out to the Americans and Syria is only one of many such illegal wars that they are in “coalition “ with the Americans. The mainstream commentariat is no better.
    Australia now has a prime minister that belongs to a fundamentalist Christian sect. His lack of knowledge of science is as profound as his ignorance of foreign affairs. Things have really reached a low point.

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    • British Traditions says

      Thanks for shedding light on ‘Canberra’s Obfuscation’ over the legality of their presence in Syria.

      I recall reading about the Australians ‘well hidden’ response to their aggressive intervention. They were saying: Aussie troops are in Syria due to Syria’s inability to defend herself against the terrorists.

      So here we go. The West arms and trains the terrorists and send them on regime change missions, and then claim that invading that country is necessary to protect it from terrorists.

      Hell is empty, because the murderers are here on Earth!

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    • Jim Scott says

      I am not so worried about the leadership change in Australia because i am sure this is the last hurrah for the Coalition Government. The reason the spill succeeded was because the governments polling results were very bleak and the MPs were fearing losing their seats. The coup has been a badly managed nasty affair that was led by deluded far right morons who did not understand that it was not Turnbull who was unpopular as his personal ratings were high, it was the very nasty right winger climate deniers who who were rating poorly in the polls. The feeling has been that the coup was orchestrated by Murdoch and the IPA (Institute for Public Affairs) a right wing don’t think tank that was a front for channeling money from foreign cigarette and gambling companies and coal mining companies into election campaigns and campaigns to promote tobacco alcohol and gambling as well as fossil fuel. Their other key interest was in preventing meaningful environmental protection, principally ameliorating the climate change impacts of fossil fuel..
      To sum up the coalition under new leadership is badly on the nose and have also offended and threatened the women in their Party by bullying them into supporting Duttons challenge. They have to use an Australian colloquialism, mine and Buckley’s chance of winning the next election which I think will be early to minimise the damage. Already two liberals have announced they will be retiring from parliament because of the nastiness one being the former PM who said he will be gone in two weeks taking the governments majority with him. The second is one of the harassed women who holds a marginal seat. We could see the Labor plus greens having the majority before Christmas. We will soon be rid of the most disfunctional, immoral ineffective government since Abbott.

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  6. Antonyl says

    we “punch above our weight” yes, like the UK but at least the London cabal has their undeserving permanent UN security council seat as fig leaf excuse to poodle behind the Industrial-military-CIA complex.
    Can’t the Aussies defend their continent size island by themselves? If not, allow more immigrants.

    • Jim Scott says

      You can’t defend yourself when no one is attacking you. The only threats the Australian Government can envisage is the millions of refugees they have helped create while serving the Empire. What seems obvious with our membership of the five eyes spying network and our military bombing of people who are no threat to us to please the Western war machine, is that our current government without resistance from Labor have secretly made a pact to earn our stripes by slaughtering brown people in the Middle East so that the USA/NATO group can get control of the remaining oil and gas fields to limit China’s expansion. There is also an element of isolating the Russian fleet so its ships cannot access the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean to protect their interests in the ME.
      The US and NATO tried hard to get rid of the Russian naval base at Sevastopol through the coup in Ukraine but were thwarted by Russia retaking Crimea through a democratic process that was questionable but bloodless. Australia is now assisting its allies by trying to keep Russia out of Syria and Iran and disrupting any oil and gas flowing through Russian pipelines to Europe. The USA is demanding Europe sanctions Russian gas and oil so it can take over market.
      The glaring lack of intelligent or accurate reporting by any Australian media of the deep state plans of which we are heavily involved in is an act of treachery against our people. Surely they aren’t all so dim that they do not understand the real agenda’s and the real villains.
      I am pleased that there are more Australians now interacting and learning on this site. It is a sign that the bullshit is being seen through but the similarity of the major parties is worrying. It seems only the Greens are attempting to provide another viewpoint that rejects being unpaid mercenaries for NATO and rejects the idea that Arabs and African people or Muslims are somehow not equal to nice white folks.

  7. The Western based MSM is beyond despicable. Instead of functioning as a truth teller, it is issuing government propaganda on a regular basis. Unfortunately that propaganda is rife with lies and deception. We all suffer because of it.

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  8. If I was Australian I would be asking what on earth is my country doing. Why are Australian forces in Syria and by what Mandate are they there in the first place? I am a UK citizen and my question is why have no charges been brought against the UK and in particular Mrs May for sanctioning the missile attacks related to “Douma Chemical Weapon attack”? The silence ‘up over’ is as deafening as that ‘down under’. Plenty of chatter by the MSM and IGATS regarding what Mr Corbyn said or events he attended though!

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    • grandstand says

      As an Australian I would like to get traction on the question of “what on earth my country is doing”. I want to know why my country is, without informing its people, attacking the legitimate army of a country that poses no threat. I want to know why the media of this country are ignoring it. But whenever I raise this issue with friends and colleagues – intelligent people – pointing out the facts as outlined in this article – I am regarded as either demented or treasonous. I try to point them to other sources of information than the corporate/government media – in particular this site, Moon of Alabama, and Caitlin Johnstone, mentioned above, but they refuse to move outside the envelope prescribed by the media. The power of propaganda is far worse than I had expected. These people will usually accept that they have been lied to about WMD in Iraq, they might just – though this is not easy to accomplish – be willing to read the British Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee damning (though reserved) report on the media and Libya, but they continue to believe that the media are telling them the truth today about Syria, Ukraine, North Korea. With such a lack of critical thinking, I despair for humanity in general and Australia in particular. I love my country and its people but I worry that the direction our leaders and our media are taking us will be to the detriment of future generations of Australians.

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      • JudyJ says

        “…I am regarded as either demented or treacherous”. Me too. What I find distinctly difficult to explain is that however much I say to friends that they really ought to at least ‘dip into’ RT and websites like this one, 21st CenturyWire, ConsortiumNews and Craig Murray to judge for themselves, they just refuse point blank or they might patronisingly say “Oh yes, I might do that” when you know darn well they won’t. Yet they are more than happy to believe without question the MSM and Government’s malevolent criticisms of such alternative news outlets. It’s almost as if they are afraid to find out that they are being completely duped.

    • Here in Australia we also have a government and a Labour opposition that are US sycophants and the problem with the world is US hegemony backed by NATO and world right wing extremists

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  9. George Cornell says

    When is Australia going to depoodle? Their revolting role as despicable and subservient fartcatcher to the never ending lineup of American thug-presidents and its amoral predatory MIC fills in for what its racist core and ubiquitous contempt for minorities of all kinds does not. Successive smug, arrogant ,venal governments surely reflect the will and ethos of the masses. Why do Australians accept their innocent young men being sent off to die for the self-serving aims of American foreign policy? Do they get early release Hollywood movies? They don’t really believe all that PutinAssad hatespeak, or do they?Australia is multiply blessed. Is it not time for it to grow up?

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    • What country are you in? Your description of the Australian government’s subservience to Washington, and its citizens apathy, could be applied to many countries, particularly Canada and the UK, yet you write like Australians are uniquely foolish in letting their elected “representatives” kowtow to empire. Are you really not familiar with how imperial geopolitics and modern “democracy” work?

      One could also write a J’accuse paragraph almost identical to yours and describe Americans’ willingness to sit back, or pass the buck, while their government steam rolls over their rights and liberties, foments a new Cold War, uses young soldiers as cannon fodder in illegal invasions and murders millions of people in foreign lands via conventional warfare, aerial bombardment, economic sieges or the funding and equipping of proxy armies comprised of thugs and religious fanatics. The moralistic and lecturing tone of your screed implies that you take yourself to be a superior specimen of human who would never take the route of least resistance when it comes to the crimes of your government.

      But I suspect your sh*t smells as unpleasant as the turds of the people your are wagging your finger at.

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      • George cornell says

        So because others do it, it is ok? That is the argument I used when I was 13 and wanted to stay out later. Everyone else can, I said. My parents laughed, just like I am laughing at you. Actually in Iraq it was a very small coalition that disgraced themselves. Chrétien said no. The French honourably did too and you Aussies laughed when they were called surrender monkeys by you invasion monkeys. Someone will have to stand up each time and it sure as hell won’t be the Aussies who will remain seated, talking about house prices.

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      • You seem already to have written a “j’accuse” paragraph, only against me, and with a particular venom which as you so indelicately put it, “smells like shit”.
        I actually explained quite well the context of this attack, and the fact that Australians in general and particularly on the “left” are quite ignorant/innocent of their country’s malintent. If they are sitting down looking at house prices – or electricity prices – then they’ll be talking about gender and diversity issues, or refugee justice. They simply don’t realise that our governments’ role in stoking the war on Syria, and Russia over both Ukraine and the Skripals, is not benign and is highly significant.
        Of course the same can be said of the UK, or France, or the US, but plenty of people are saying that already; Australia remains more or less in the dark..

        You might have the decency to retract your abusive charge.

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    • Jen says

      As Grandstand has said, the Australian mainstream news media completely ignores and/or avoids the issue of Australian participation in the war in Iraq and Syria. Our mainstream news media surely rates as one of the more dismal media in the world for its narrow range of opinion and the high level of ownership concentration with the bulk of news media (at national, regional and local level) owned directly or indirectly by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

      As David McIlwaine states in his article and as James O’Neill confirms, all major political parties in Australia plus several minor ones as well support US and UK policy in the Middle East.

      Australian self-interest is part of the reason for Australian obeisance – we do much business with Saudi Arabia as demonstrated by periodic news about the fate of live sheep shipped from Australia to that country – not to mention of course that Australian politicians and parties are wooed and feted by organisations and individuals (Christian and Jewish alike) sympathetic to Israel’s psychopathic government and its policies, and claiming to represent the interests of Australian Jewish people as a community.

      On top of that, for several years now our foreign minister has been a woman and women’s magazines in this country have long been bedazzled by this odious creature called Julie Bishop who cultivates a glamorous image. She has recently been replaced by another woman who previously held the portfolio of defence.

      The wonder is that some of us Australians actually realise we are walking 24/7 in a peasoup fog of propaganda. Trying to warn people of the lies being told to us is difficult. The more educated and intelligent people appear to be, the more they swallow the garbage.

      I’m beginning to think that apathy and indifference on the part of most ordinary Australians might actually be a defence mechanism against the idiocy being daily visited upon us.

      • George cornell says

        I think Oz being geographically and to a degree has always punched above its weight in science, in sport, and to a degree in art. The reality of living in America and what it stands for is beyond the average Aussie. There is little empathy, very little, with the downtrodden of the world, in the way that self-made men and people want to take credit for their own success. It is a short distance therefore to blame others, including those who have had none of the advantages the Aussies think they deserve, for their failures. I would have thought that having thir young men used as cannon fodder by the English in more than two wars would have cured them of the propaganda-ready scheming manipulation by the likes of the Americans. Evidently not.

        • George cornell says

          …being geographically, and to a degree culturally isolated, has always…

        • Jen says

          We have been following the Americans into war since the 1940s. Probably the most important unacknowledged date in Australian history is 15 February 1942 when Japan defeated the British empire in Singapore and took over 80,000 military POWs, several thousands of whom were Australian citizens. Several thousands of civilians in Singapore, some of whom again were Australian, also became prisoners. We were effectively fighting a war on two fronts – we also had soldiers fighting in Europe and North Africa at the same time – against two enemies until the Americans landed in Guadalcanal in the Solomons in August 1942. From then on Australian and American forces started pushing the Japanese back towards Japan.

          We sent thousands of troops to fight in the Korean War and the Vietnam War as well. We still have troops in Afghanistan serving as part of the US-led coalition there.

          Fighting with the Americans wherever they go, no matter that the reason for following them makes no sense to Australia and could endanger Australian national security in the long term, has become part of Australia’s identity and existence.

          • George cornell says

            Thank you Jen for the clarification re WWII. But surely it is apparent to Australians that the US has changed dramatically since then. And so should Oz rethink its positions. Blind loyalty to anyone is fraught as you hint at. Canadians , who are very much more familiar with the core values of Americans for reasons of geography and near cohabitation are very wary. Enough so that Trump wants to penalize us on many fronts. Many of us would wear this as a badge of honour under the present circumstances. Why not Australia? Or do people believe the heroism narrative? The hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and families would not see it that way. The fraud that led to many Australian deaths seems to have provoked negligible outrage.

            I remember the story about Churchill interviewing an applicant for an important post.
            “you have enemies?! Good! It means you have stood up for something important at some point in your life!

            • Jen says

              You answered your own question before you even asked it: it is because you Canadians are closer to the Americans physically and share history that you know to be wary of the US.

              Having a large French-speaking population with its own history, culture and outlook, and which has maintained itself by assimilating Irish Catholic migrants and then migrants from Francophone countries in Africa and the Middle East, probably helps Canadians maintain psychological distance as well.

              Australia on the other hand has long viewed the US as a supporter and guarantor of its national security. This always seems to be a persistent mindset in the news media here.

              • George cornell says

                I think you are right about the Francophone influence, evident in Chretien’s famous Iraq speech. The influence of the French Equatorial African and Haitian migrants is negligible outside of Quebec, indeed even Montreal.

                But who is threatening Oz national security? Who has ever threatened it since the Japanese in WWII?

                • Jen says

                  Fact is, no-one is threatening Australian national security and no-one has threatened it since WWII.

                  Politicians of mostly conservative stripe have played either the Indonesian card (when Sukarno was President there) or the Chinese card.

                  Currently China is Public Enemy No 1 – even though that country is now Australia’s biggest trading partner. You can imagine how this paradox plays out in Australian political life where one faction of one major political party favours getting on well with China and another faction in the same party favours following the US into an unnecessary and unwanted war; and the same situation exists in the other major political party.

                  • George Cornell says

                    It doesn’t seem to matter anymore and perhaps it hasn’t for a long time. There is no credible threat from Rusia whose economy is no larger than California’s and whose dreams of world domination play out only in Saturday morning cartoons, but the US/UK desperado initiatives to portray it otherwise seem to be primarily aimed at selling arms. Of course you need to buy them to qualify as a NATO member. And you need NATO to protect your nearest and dearest from those nasty Russkies. And the Saudis need them because they have lots of money?

                    I am warming to Putin in proportion to how much the Amerikanskis vilify him. He must threaten or thwart them in some way and there must be some good in that.

  10. Harry Stotle says

    As the funeral pyre in the middle east grows we can only be certain of 2 things – the media’s role in hiding the truth, and a lack of consequences whenever governance (or should that be chaos) is imposed by violent imperialists.

    Despite a 24 hour news cycle many people in the west and elsewhere simply fail to understand that our leaders are responsible for war crimes – what has to happen for them to wake up?

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    • Despite a 24 hour news cycle many people in the west and elsewhere simply fail to understand that our leaders are responsible for war crimes – what has to happen for them to wake up?

      24 hour “news” is propagandized entertainment or background noise, and besides, it doesn’t much focus on the war crimes of its host societies. For people to wake up they have to be at the receiving end of the same kind of brutality their leaders and military mete out to the citizens of countries who resist being inducted into the empire…or at the very least they must pay a hefty economic price for the crimes committed in their name. War with severe consequences for one side only is not a good thing as it encourages endless slaughter “of other people’s people” while making it easy for citizens in the aggressor nations to ignore the bloodshed.

      Russians still know what war entails, western Europeans are so caught up in their own narcissistic BS they have forgotten what WW2 did to their countries and people and Americans can’t even begin to imagine what going through a horrific war that tears apart their nation and its people is like. But overly aggressive warmongering states are always on borrowed time as history clearly demonstrates. Sooner or later the chickens come home to roost and these countries are violently attacked by the victims of their aggression or they tear themselves apart from within as the social and financial cost and the irreconcilable contradictions of being a war society take their toll.

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      • George cornell says

        Well said Eric, the sooner the better for repatriating the chickens

      • grandstand says

        The Americans did have a war that tore apart their nation – the American Civil War – proportionately, by far, the bloodiest in the history of the country. But it has disappeared in the mists of time. Even WW2 had limited impact on the US – about 1/3 of 1% of the total population, and very few civilians. Compare Yugoslavia with at least 7% of the population dying. The American Civil War resulted in a similar percentage of casualties. A key problem of the current situation is that the military is relatively small in number, professional, and volunteer. Opposition to the Vietnam War in the US grew, in part, because the children of ordinary middle class people were being drafted and killed or seriously injured. That is not happening in today’s wars. That opposition also grew because, at least some of the time, the Western media did their job in reporting atrocities like the My Lai massacre. Neither of these are happening today. Governments have free rein to deploy the military in actions that, at the very least, have no bearing on the defence of the country, and indeed that might weaken that defence. One has to ask how such decisions are being made. Cui bono?

        • Very true. Have you noticed that the Russians, we are told, “invaded” Ukrain (they didn’t), but US troops are “deployed” in Syria?

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      • JudyJ says

        “…what has to happen for them to wake up?” A fundamental problem is that many people in the West don’t see the need to ‘wake up’. The simple truth is that with so much brainwashing about the superiority of ‘Western values’ over and above every non-Western nation the belief is ingrained in them that any nation east of the Euphrates or south of Europe must be inhabited by sub-humanity only worthy of our contempt and pity. The fact that the populations of such countries are no different from us but just happen to have a different (but not inferior, and in many ways superior) lifestyle or culture seems to completely escape many people in the West. When pictures are shown on the news of suffering in the Middle East and Africa I’m amazed how often the first reaction of acquaintances of mine is not one of sympathy or a desire to know WHY it is happening; it is a remark as banal as “Well, they don’t help themselves by having so many children. Why do they still have children when they know the country is at war?”. As if war is just inevitable in those areas because that’s what such uncivilised societies indulge in and have clearly brought upon themselves. The unnecessary deaths and maiming of thousands of people in those countries, contrived by Western deceit and corruption, are frankly of no concern to many observers in the West and in some circumstances are actually welcomed. There is no consideration of the reality of what’s behind the conflicts and the impact it has on innocent families. It is very difficult to alter such ignorance.

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