This morning, in Ohio USA, our Prime Minister Scott Morrison attended the opening of the Australian funded Pratt Paper Factory. He gave a scripted little speech. In that speech, dutifully following the script, he thanked American Veterans for their service to the Great Alliance between the USA and Australia. What on earth did that little scripted homily have to do with the opening of a paper factory?
ScoMo’s little speech followed on from the equally hollow little speech by Donald Trump in which he praised up ScoMo and Australia as the best sort of friends the USA could possibly ever have. The false praise sprouted forth tsunami-like and it is a wonder that those in attendance weren’t washed out of the room on that tide of gushing compliments and suck-ups.
Made me wonder what it was all about. Then, of course, it hit me … it’s about Iran stupid!
Iran. Yet another Coalition of the Willing.
And what a load of bollocks all of that Coalition of the Willing language is. Because who in their right mind willingly volunteers to be blown to smithereens or volunteers to blow others into smithereens all in pursuit of somebody else’s unworthy cause.
Within the memory of our generation we had the Vietnam War, then Iraq, then Afghanistan. American wars. Failed wars. Nothing good, though much harm, came out of them. Surely we learnt something from all of that?
Some wars need to be fought, whether we like it or not, and World War II is an example of such a war. We have a very professional, but very small, Australian Defense Force (ADF) that is there to protect us and our interests. It represents precious capital that we cannot afford to fritter away on wars that have nothing to do with us.
There may have been a time, such as during the mentioned WWII, when the commitment of our soldiers’ lives to a cause was fully justifiable, and such a time may one day come again. But that time has not, yet, come again.
As the USA ramps up the rhetoric against Iran it would pay us to remember that America well and truly sold us the dummy with Vietnam, let alone Iraq, let alone Afghanistan.
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist, educated in France. As the Japanese occupation of Vietnam was coming to an end in the closing stages of WWII Ho approached the Americans for assistance to unify his country, and to forestall the re-imposition of French colonial rule. He repeatedly petitioned President Harry S. Truman for support for Vietnamese independence, citing the Atlantic Charter, but Truman never responded. Essentially, the Americans told him to get stuffed.
Not unnaturally, Ho thought … no, actually, you lot can get stuffed, and he then proceeded to do just that to first the returning French, then to the Americans and their small number of Coalition of the Willing allies. We were one of those allies. Good old Australia … always prepared to suck-up to the Americans and jump, under instruction of course, onto the martial bandwagon of the USA.
The proof of the Vietnam pudding is always in the eating, and despite the dire warnings that we were all fed of Communist Hordes domino-toppling everything in sight we are presented, now, with a modernising and unified Vietnam getting on quite ok with the West … Ho’d be tearing his hair out, because that’s all he wanted for his people in the first place.
One cannot be flippant about such a matter. Good Australian lives, the lives of good Australian military men and women, were lost in the Vietnam War. Many of our military people were maimed and psychologically shattered by their service in Vietnam. It was not the choice of our service personnel to go to Vietnam, they were ordered to go there, by our politicians.
We need to remember that our service personnel were abused when they returned, and some, as Veterans, are still trying to come to grips with the health legacies of their Vietnam service. They deserved to be treated better than that. It was not their fault that our politicians thought that toadying up to the Americans was a good thing to do.
We, Australia, now have a legion of Veterans from the growing list of America’s wars. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. With the exception of the Vietnam War, which had the overlay of the National Service Draft Lottery attached to it, most of the military folk that we sent to that steady treadmill of USA war-making, were volunteers.
Volunteers. They volunteered and joined up to protect Australia and Australian interests, and you can only have but the greatest respect for them because of that.
While only our Veterans can speak for themselves, I very much doubt that they joined up to fight for America.
If we dutifully submit to American requests and solidly sign on to the Iran Coalition of the Willing we are yet again selling ourselves short, selling our Service Personnel short, and selling our national independence short.
We should not have been in Vietnam, or Iraq, or Afghanistan. We should decline the invitation (order) to involve ourselves with Iran.
The lives of our service personnel are precious, and those lives should not be wasted in yet another possible war that has nothing to do with us.
It is our children and grandchildren of military age who always pay the price. Politicians like ScoMo or Trump and their historical predecessors, never do.
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