Archive for the ‘War’ Category

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Boom

August 8, 2009

A letter in the paper today seems to put forth the view that the fact that nation states hold nuclear weapons may be good for world stability. The writer advocates that a “nuclear balance-of-terror may deter big wars”. Of course, this letter has been prompted by the recent passing of yet another anniversary of the catastrophic August 6th 1945 dropping of the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The letter writer then goes on to remind readers that the Japanese committed horrific war crimes during World War II and that his father was a victim of these crimes, having been held in a POW camp himself for three and half years. There is no denying this of course. It is well documented that the Japanese Imperial Forces committed disgusting and horrific crimes against humanity during World War II, particularly the rape of Nanjing, which the Chinese people will be hard pressed to forgive or forget for, one would think, thousands of years. These atrocities must be remembered and learned from, just like the myriad of other lessons that history teaches us. Furthermore, certain sections of Japanese society need to deal with them and learn from them as well as acknowledge that they happened and that they were atrocious and morally reprehensible in every way. Certain other sections of Japanese society have indeed already acknowledged all this.

However, separate from his first point, there seems a more base level claim and justification for dropping a nuclear bomb on an industrialised, densely populated city that the letter writer espouses. The only problem is he fails to link it to the first point he attempts to make in the letter – that nuclear weapon ownership among nations is a stabilising factor in the international arena of world powers.  Abandoning the pretence that a “nuclear balance-of-terror may deter big wars”, the letter writer then wraps up his ‘point’ by mentioning karma and stating that “what goes around, comes around”.

Now, is it just me or is has this letter writer not learned his lessons from history? I intend to make a few points in response to these claims below. Firstly, I’ll deal with the claim that nuclear weapons are a stabilising factor in the international arena. Then I’ll say a few things on the never ending debate about whether the nuclear bombs should have been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the moral judgements that are bandied about constantly in relation to the decision to drop them. I will then say a few things about my own experience of Hiroshima and make the point that those who think that there can be ‘good’ reasons for the existence of these abominable weapons in the world are misguided, to say the least.

To say that nuclear weapons are a stabilising factor in the international arena is completely ridiculous. It’s akin to saying you can arm a substantial part of the population of a country with guns and the fact that they all own guns will stop them from shooting each other. We have hard evidence that this is not the case.  Furthermore, it creates suspicion and paranoia. Extrapolate this to the international arena. The fact that the United States developed the bomb first and used it set the Soviet Union off on a rapid nuclearisation path that plunged both these nations into the Cold War. This face-off led to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis which perched the world on the brink of nuclear war. This period was anything but stable and the so-called détente which followed it was stable only in relative terms to the period which immediately preceded it. As the Cold War wound on, nations on both sides of the divide fought proxy wars and took steps that aided in the nuclearisation of their perceived allies. Furthermore, other nations less drawn into the overarching conflict of the Cold War have also been successful in their pursuit of possessing nuclear weapons.

This proliferation has eventuated in the following countries possessing these catastrophic devices in addition to the United States and Russia: Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. While Israel officially says it doesn’t possess any nuclear weapons, it is nonetheless the opinion of many international observers that Israel could be in possession of up to 100 such weapons. That’s an official total of eight countries with the real total probably being nine. On top of this, Iran, Syria and Myanmar are all suspected to be actively pursuing nuclear weapons to varying degrees right now.

The destabilisation and suspicion that this has caused has been so great that the United Nations, no matter how hard it tries, cannot reel it in or devise any workable solutions in regard to stopping the proliferation of these weapons. Probably the most poignant example at the moment of nuclear weapons having a huge destabilising effect does not come from North Korea (as alarming and destabilising as the North Korean regime having them is) but from Pakistan. Pakistan is thought to possess around 200 nuclear weapons and is steadily increasing this arsenal. The destabilising factor, as many have pointed out, does not come from the Pakistani state as it stands at the moment (except from India’s point of view, but that’s a whole other geo-political issue). The nightmare scenario is if the Taliban and their friends are able to mount an effective enough campaign to oust the weakened Pakistani government and arm themselves with the nuclear weapons that Pakistan has attained over the last two decades.

A nuclear armed state in the international arena has proven throughout the 20th century to be a constant threat of war and destruction on a catastrophic scale. A nuclear armed bunch of stateless fanatics who routinely practice beheadings, amputations, appalling sexism and many other lovely little cleansings of the soul in the name of their warped world view is a new threat that will cause untold destabilisation and irreversible damage to the region with ramifications worldwide. There have been recent renewed efforts from Pakistan to deal with this threat, but the political will to do so is fickle and their enemy is a resourceful, powerful and enduring one.

Not only has nuclear proliferation been a major destabilising factor for the world throughout the 20th century, but as the world grows more complex and new types of war are being fought with unconventional forces who renew their tactics constantly and are utterly unpredictable, these weapons have the potential to completely destroy the world as we know it. The idea that nuclear terror will “deter big wars” is absurd. Nuclear weapons are, after all, weapons. They are designed for a purpose and just like in the case of every other weapon, that purpose is waiting to be executed by those who are willing to push the button – and to say that such people don’t exist is naive and silly. Nuclear weapons a stabilising factor? What planet are you on?

A few things about the Hiroshima/Nagasaki debate. Should nuclear weapons have been used on these cities at the conclusion of World War II? Of course not. The war was a war between belligerent armies and Japan was steadily collapsing and being worn down by the overwhelming superiority of the American forces. Of course, some will point out that the Japanese High Command were simply not willing to surrender. This may be so, but it does not justify the dropping of a nuclear weapon on a city which caused somewhere in the vicinity of 70,000 deaths instantly, 50,000 in the following days, thousands more in the following years and a long term mutation effect on many among the local population. The war was between soldiers – and yes, Japan did not respect this and in fact carried out some of the worst atrocities against civilians of the 20th century. However, this does not mean that the Allies should have done the same. It’s like saying that terrorists blow up our cafes and nightclubs with suicide bombers, so we should go to their local communities and do the same. A “what goes around, comes around” attitude is a sadistic retributive justice stance that does not rectify a situation and has the effect of robbing people of their lives and their dignity. Punishing a people collectively for the crimes of their compatriots is ludicrous. America needed to fight in World War II, America needed to be in Europe and the Pacific and do many of the things it did. America DID NOT need to drop those bombs to win that war and doing so has been one of the monumental mistakes of modern history.

Anyone who’s been to Hiroshima will get a sense of why it was the wrong decision to drop those bombs. The Japanese in this city know all too well the devastation that nuclear weapons cause. The museum and peace park underneath where the epicentre of the explosion was are testaments to this. They offer an emotional education of why these weapons are a scourge on our humanity. The museum takes care to mention Japanese atrocities during the war and acknowledges the Japanese military regime’s role in bringing about the war in the Pacific. It also gives an informative overview of nuclear weapons around the world. The last part of the museum takes you through the devastation of the city on August 6th 1945 as well as the following days and months. It’s an emotional walk through that museum. It’s a powerful and sombre reminder and that whatever gripes humans may have with each other over whatever issue, there is no guarantee of a good outcome if nuclear weapons are used – particularly if both parties possess them.

A photo I took in Hiroshima Peace Park earlier this year. The Arch is directly underneath where the epicentre of the explosion was said to be.

A photo I took in Hiroshima Peace Park earlier this year. The Arch is directly underneath where the epicentre of the explosion was said to be.

Anyone who says that nuclear weapons can have some sort of positive effect on the world needs to re-evaluate their thinking and do some serious research before making such an absurd assertion in the future.

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Friedrich, Karl and the perpetual crisis

November 29, 2008

Guess who… And from where…

“The productive forces at our disposal no longer tend to further the development of the relations of bourgeois civilisation; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these relations by which they are encumbered, and so soon as they overcome these encumbrances, they bring into disorder the whole of bourgeois society, then endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The relations of bourgeois society have become too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by the enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. And by what means? By preparing the way for more general and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.”

– Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, published 1848.

Oh dear… So much insight for one small passage. Now, every monopolistic, capitalistic right-wing moron who isn’t smart enough to understand the above passage will insist that the “current economic crisis” is starting to correct itself and that the market will “come good” over the next year. No, no, no! The only reason why some of the largest corporations in the world aren’t in the hands of receivers right now is because the government has bailed them out. Yes, that “old socialistic” visible hand has come in and injected shitloads of money into the very corporations who have misled the masses, handled their money irresponsibly and then (behind closed doors) begged the government (who are indebted to these right wing bourgeois fucks) to bail them out while they walk away without a single scar.

Yes, my friends. The government is always looked at by conservative right-wing economists as the evil entity sticking its nose into the business of business and robbing citizens of their money in the form of taxation. Do I entirely disagree with this assessment? Of course not – they do have a point in certain contexts. But, on the whole, current western government is just a tool and mechanism of the essentially monopolistic capitalist system in which we find ourselves and hence they will bail out those of their ilk before they give a damn about those who have lost out and are about to lose out in this latest “crisis”. That very system that Marx and Engels describe in the depths of their (and I don’t give a shit how old and cliqued it is) brilliantly written Communist Manifesto is the system we find ourselves in. Think about it: On the one hand by the enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces”… hhhmmm, so by war (in every sense of the word) – The Empire has started two obvious ones over the last seven years. On the other by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones” . If you can’t see these, then you’ve been living in a cave forever. This wasn’t really even an insight in 1848, when the manifesto was written. The conquest and exploitation of new markets is evident in China and India, even in an extremely superficial analysis.

If you want to go deeper, look at the effect that this has had on the emerging working classes in places like China and India (where that annoying glitch of trade unions is largely avoided thanks to an overbearing alliance of business and government. Yes, China’s government has never been “Communist” – it is now a fully functioning fascist capitalistic dictatorship). So, there’s your exploitation right there… Then look at the middle classes of those respective countries… Then look at the effect that the outsourcing of jobs from the rich world has had on the working populations of places like, say, Detroit in the good old U S of A.

So, we have the conquest of new markets – China and India’s bourgeoning (oh – I know you’re marvelling at my oh so clever pun! And, yes – there are two correct ways to spell this in English!) middle classes and desperate poorer working classes. Then the “more thorough exploitation of old ones” – the outsourcing of jobs in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia which (to varying degrees in each of these countries) forces working classes into the position where they need to get more jobs to make enough to get by and/or then become more indebted to the… massive corporations who have created and perpetuated this whole “latest crisis” through their irresponsible investment, their irresponsible lending and their irresponsible borrowing… You see? The so-called “economic cycle” is precisely what Marx and Engles have described above. It is the economic cycle of perpetual crisis – it thrives on crises to survive.

So, who loses out at all of this? Most of us, it seems. The masses (in their various class forms throughout history) endure the suffering, hardship and economic (in the form of increased taxation and various depleted social government programs) cost of each crisis as it is progressively and systematically played out.  Who does well? The few who run the show: the indebted spine-less “representatives” of our respective democracies and dictatorships and the corporations who fund them in many direct and indirect ways. In a word, the bourgeoisie (and the few aristocrats who are left in the world). Call them what you will with the passing of time. They take many more forms than what Marx and Engels envisioned. But the essence of what Marx and Engels envisioned is what matters, if you have a clear enough line of sight to see it.

So, I hear you saying that you fund the government too, right? Well, you are correct madam and sir! But, how do you vote? You vote within the system… As do I… In the words of one of my favourite bands, Propagandhi:

“You can vote however the fuck you want, but power still calls all the shots. And believe it or not, even if (real) democracy broke loose, power could/would just “make the economy scream” until we vote responsibly.”

And, yes, my friends… This is where our right-wing counterparts have a point (refer to what I wrote above). Taxation is exploitation (doesn’t that sound familiar? From a distant lost past perhaps). Our simple right-wing friends get it wrong in how taxation is a problem though. And (don’t you just love artists and musicians for their ability to sprout truth in a simplistic, but beautiful light?) to quote Michael Franti: “Take a look at where your money’s gone… See? … Take a look at what they spend it on. No excuses! No illusions!”

The system is the problem people. What system? Thy name is monopolitisic, government supported, greedy capitalism.

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Smashing misogyny, patriarchy and sexism

November 24, 2008
As White Ribbon Day approaches, it seems the day where women are treated as equals, subjects and people is still a distant dream. Indeed, for someone who is a feminist, it feels wrong that I should long for the time before I was alive in the 1970s because it seems like feminism was gaining traction and the female fist was raised in resistance and defiance back then. The world has changed, but it hasn’t necessarily progressed. Bleak is the world where:
The above are results of an Australian survey only. These stories are repeated in millions, if not billions of lives around the world.
Bleak is the world where I just watched the news and saw 21 nations at the APEC summit with only 2 represented by women. Bleak is the world where I today heard a 15 year old boy claim triumphantly that he would rape and kill a woman. Bleak is the world where in every conflict that is happening around the world at the moment, rape is used as a prominent weapon to degrade, dehumanise, humiliate and destroy women. Bleak is the world where men don’t speak up about this fucking bullshit – and shame on every man who doesn’t. We are brothers and sisters and we are both subjective human beings who are at one when our minds interact to make this world a better place. We are nothing and no-one if we let it happen and don’t confront it ACTIVELY. Smashing misogyny, patriarchy, sexism and any other form of oppression is a 24 hour a day attitude and activity, not merely an intellectual plaything.
Raise your fist and resist. We have work to do. We have a world to improve.
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70 years on – smashing Franco’s fascism

April 24, 2007

For anyone that watched Foreign Correspondent tonight, you’ll understand. I’ve studied the Spanish Civil War in some depth both at university and on my own time. It seems that since Franco died in 1975 and Juan Carlos initiated democracy in Spain, Spanish people have been reluctant to disturb the ghosts of the past and deal with the civil war. With a whitewash of propaganda during the 36 years of Franco’s rule, Rupublican views, interpretations and memorials of the war have not even been acknowledged, let alone respected and honoured.

Of course, any historical study of this fascinating but brutal period in history reveals that there were atrocities committed by both sides during the war. Fascist Francoists as well as Republicans killed each other without a second thought – civilians included. However, the fact remains that the Fascist Francoists seized power from a democratically elected government. The Popular Front Government was elected in Spain in February of 1936. In July of the same year, Franco and his posse launched a coup that plunged Spain into a brutal civil war – a war that saw Hitler support Franco with the German Condor legion conducting the first mass aerial bombing of a civilian centre in history. This bombing campaign has since been immortalised in Picasso’s famous “Guernica”.

Franco was a great admirer of Hitler. He even met with him during the early stages of the Second World War in 1940. During his reign, Franco suppressed all Republican interpretations and views of the civil war. He paid homage to the fallen Fascists of the war but never acknowledged those Spaniards on the Left or those who were simply defending the democracy that Fracco set out to destroy. The fact that many Spaniards are now demanding to acknowledge and literally dig up the past is a sign that Spain is now coming to terms with the fact that it was ruled by a ruthless fascist dictator for the most significant part of the 20th century. This dictator set back the political development of Spain for four decades and suppressed the flowering of Spanish democratic culture.

We should all be glad that Spain is acknowledging and honouring the Republican dead. The Republican side most certainly lacked many of the virtues that it was seeking to implement into Spanish society. But the fascist dictatorship that overthrew the democratic Republic was a devastating blow to the political, cultural, artistic and social devlopment of the world both during and after the Second World War. With all their failings, we should not forget the sacrifice that Republican Spaniards made in defending the virtues of democracy in the face of an overwhelming threat from the forces of devastating fascism. Indeed, we should remember and honour this sacrifice and use it as an inspiration to carry on the fight against fascism in all its forms.

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The steadfast climb up Mount Arrogant

March 23, 2007

I’ve watched Barack Obama with increasing interest over these last few months and one of the things that has really struck me about the man is his quick-witted ability to size things up in an instant and deliver a succinct sentence or two that cuts to the heart of whatever he’s talking about. John Howard felt the full brunt of Obama’s ability to do this about a month and a half ago when he proclaimed that terrorists in Iraq supported Obama and the Democrats in the US. Of course, Howard’s remarks were made in the context of his unwavering assertion that civilization will come to an end if the US and Australia pull out of Iraq. Upon hearing Howard’s remarks, Obama quipped back that if Howard was so “ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, then perhaps he should send 20,000 more Australians to the war. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of empty rhetoric.” And there you have it. That’s all it is. If Howard is so committed to fighting terrorism, then why are Australian troops stationed in the relatively peaceful south of Iraq and not in the middle around Baghdad where the hotbed of Iraqi resistance, insurgency and terrorism is happening? If Howard is so committed to fighting terrorism, why do we have a total of only 550 troops in Iraq? I noticed Alexander Downer saying this week that the Governemnt will never surrender to the terrorists in Iraq. Surrender? Our forces aren’t even in Baghdad fighting them Alexander – surely you know that. Of course you do – your whole goal is to whip up hysteria and fear in the electorate.

Howard is caught between a rock and a hard place in regard to Iraq. On the one hand, he can’t desert his mate George W. Bush and admit that he was wrong to support this absolute disaster of a war in the first place. On the other hand, he can’t really back up his thunderous claims with more troops because he knows how deeply unpopular the war is in Australia. So what does he do? In the classic slimey Howard way, he attempts to play the electorate with fear and a steadfast projection of himself as the wise captain at the helm, always knowing what is up ahead and steering us poor ignorant voters to safety.

But is this washing with voters anymore? I’m not so sure. Polls, as we all know, usually aren’t very good signifiers of anything unless there’s a marked trend over a time of about six months or more. However, looking at the polls over the last six months it seems as though this trend is happening and support for Howard’s government as well as the popularity of the man himself is slipping. Interestingly enough, one of these polls suggested that 68% of voters believe that Howard is arrogant. In response, Howard said: “I don’t feel very arrogant, I don’t behave in an arrogant manner”. No! Of course not. Why would voters think that someone like Howard, who thinks the Vietnam War was justified and right, even with the benefit of hindsight, is arrogant? Why would anyone think that Howard who has said this week in regard to Iraq that “I accept that I may be, on this issue, swimming against the tide of public opinion” is arrogant? Then again, perhaps Howard is telling the truth in saying that he doesn’t feel very arrogant, because he knows that everything he’s saying on Iraq and terrorism is “empty rhetoric”. And thus we return to Obama’s nail on the head summary. It’s all a bunch of empty rhetoric – everything that Howard has said on Iraq and Afghanistan is.

The point was again highlighted this week on Radio National Breakfast by Professor William Maley, director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the ANU when Fran Kelly asked him about Afghanistan and the dire situation there:

“Alright, so how do we combat this? Is it simply more troops? I know that certainly that’s what the Australian Government and the US Administration have been calling for.”

To which Professor Maley responded:

“Yes, I think it’s actually very disappointing that the Prime Minister, in his speech last night to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute didn’t take the opportunity to announce a further deployment of cutting edge troops to Afghanistan. It actually highlighted for me that the speech was much more about the Australian election than about the well being of the people in Afghanistan.”

And there you have it again. Obama sized it up and said it straight away a month and half ago and Professor Maley has echoed his summary this week. Howard has scaled to the very top of Mount Arrogant over the last few years and is now bellowing out in every direction to make it look like he was right to do so. All the while, the truth is that he is precariously stuck on the summit. I wonder what form the rescue helicopter is going to take. It’s only a matter of time before the Government whips up another distraction lie. The question is whether it will work again this time. I’ve said it before and many others have been saying it for some time now: it’s going to be a very interesting year in Australian politics.

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Winning Hearts and Minds…

March 7, 2007

Through rape, torture, intimidation and murder. That’s the way to do it! Although it’s been well documented through disgusting examples like the Abu Ghuraib prisoner abuse episode, everytime I hear more about the way ordinary Iraqis have been treated under the US led occupation, I get more upset and outraged.

Last night on Late Night Live, Phillip Adams spoke to Joshua Key, a US Soldier who served in Iraq and has now gone AWOL and applied for refugee status in Canada after refusing to return there after witnessing and taking part in some of the most horrific, disgusting and degrading acts that I’ve ever heard about. For the full MP3 interview, go here and be sure to download it as the ABC only keeps it up for about a week. Josh’s book The Deserter’s Tale: Why I walked away from the war in Iraq was released in Australia this week.

Last night in the interview, Josh told us that among other things, he had witnessed the following:

  • A little girl who had usually come to beg food off Josh and some other soldiers decapitated after being machine-gunned.
  • A father and his 10 year old son decapitated by US troops after their car came under machine gun fire. There were no weapons or explosives in the car whatsoever.
  • Four Iraqi bodies decapitated and US troops kicking one of the heads around like a soccer ball on the banks of the Euphrates River.
  • US soldiers using C4 explosives to break down residential doors.
  • US soldiers stealing people’s possessions after raiding their houses. Josh explained that one of the soldiers he was on duty with even took to stealing jewellery from some of the houses they raided and sent it back home to his wife in the US.
  • What he thinks may have been a rape. Josh said that whilst he was outside a building they had raided, he was told by another soldier to guard the front of the building. In the 20 or so minutes in which he did so, he said he heard grunts, a woman repeatedly screaming and other noises which overwhelmingly led him to the opinion that the Iraqi woman inside had been raped by a US soldier.

This is not to say that every US soldier in Iraq is taking part in these disgusting activities, but it’s no wonder that attacks against US troops are viewed favourably by a majority of the Iraqi population when disgusting abuses such as these occur. There is no justification for these acts, not that there was any justification for the war in the first place. In the 200 odd house raids that Josh took part in, he tells us that he didn’t find one terror suspect nor any weapons of any kind. Thus, ordinary Iraqi houses are being destroyed, looted and their occupants humiliated, raped, tortured and killed under this occupation every day.

All this is from the mouth of only one soldier which can only lead us to the horrifying conclusion that this is happening all over Iraq. This brutal occupation must end now.

UPDATE 9/3/07: Tony Jones speaking to Joshua Key on Lateline last night.

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Dick, the wanderer

February 23, 2007

Peter Hartcher’s column says it all. With approval ratings at 29%, a Congress and Senate controlled by the Democrats and his mate Rummy no longer in the corridors of power, what’s a vice-president to do? Visit Australia of course! To say “thanks” of course! That this chief war-monger is still traversing the globe in Air Force II spewing forth pro-war sentiment is a testament to the kind of unrealistic, selfish and downright arrogant thinking that neo-conservatives seem to be prone to.

Just before coming to Australia, Dick the brave gave a fervently pro-war speech to US troops on an aircraft carrier stationed in Yokosuka in Japan. With over three thousand US troops dead as a result of the Bush/Cheney administration’s decision to go to war with Iraq, Cheney again showed his utter comtempt for the lives of the soldiers he has sent off to fight this despicable war:

We will be flexible. We’ll do all we can to adapt to conditions on the ground. We’ll make every change necessary to do the job, and I want you to know that the American people will not support a policy of retreat.

Does Cheney, Bush or Howard or anyone else ever say what “the job” is? No, except of course for the new Vietnamisation “shift the responsibility to the Iraqis” policy. It was interesting to see Dick’s fellow lame-duck John Bolton on Lateline last night drive home the rhetoric on that one.

Cheney has no right to speak of “retreat” in a negative tone to anyone, as Hartcher points out:

With the US at war in Vietnam, the young Cheney, of drafting age, applied for four deferments to avoid service. “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service,” he would say later. This is why he has been branded in the US as one of the Administration’s so-called “chicken hawks”.

And yet Cheney has the hide, during his visit to Sydney, to schedule an event at Victoria Barracks where he will pose with Aussie war veterans, hoping, one presumes, for valour by association.

I wonder if the three thousand US soldiers who are now dead had other priorities. I wonder if their families had other priorities. Why is Cheney only visiting Australia now? It’s been six years since his last visit and it’s been four years since the beginning of the war in Iraq. To say “thanks”? Yeah right! He has nothing better to do.

Is Howard guilty by association with this man? Of course not. Australia is close to the US and always has been. However, Howard is guilty for blindly following the bad policies that Cheney and the neo-cons have espoused, for involving Australia in an unjust war based on lies and for putting Australian lives at risk in doing so. This is the point that Kevin Rudd is making and it’s an entirely valid one. Howard, like Cheney is defending the undefendable and turning blue in the face as he insists that he wasn’t wrong, still isn’t wrong and never will be wrong. It’s OK to be arrogant sometimes when you believe in something – but not when you’re sending young men and women off to war. Rudd, like the Democrats in the US, is pointing out the obvious and appealing for common-sense and a way foward. I’ll be remembering that come election day.