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Abbott’s real Afghan problem: his minister

While Tony Abbott’s justification for not visiting Afghanistan is the sort of thing that would earn a Labor Opposition leader a week of contumely from shock jock and earnest op-ed writers, it’s a non-issue in the scheme of things. Indeed, there’s something to be said for not having the Prime Minister and the alternative prime minister flying into the same war zone on the same flight.

Nonetheless, the Coalition — or more accurately its Defence spokesman David Johnston — is not being particularly helpful on Afghanistan. There is clearly a difference between Abbott and his shadow minister, with Abbott this morning taking pains to emphasise the bipartisan nature of policy on Afghanistan, rather than endorsing Johnston’s view that the Government should be taking its advice from soldiers on the ground and significantly ramping up our Afghanistan presence, rather than listening to the ADF top brass.

Abbott is wise to do so, because public opinion on our involvement in Afghanistan is strongly opposed to it, and divisions between the major parties are only going to increase the likelihood that public opposition firms up into something more actively hostile to our role.

It’s tempting to see the Coalition as playing politics over our role but Johnston’s comments, after the controversy over a soldier’s email criticising the ADF after the firefight on August 24, might instead — or also — reflect an emerging dispute over the nature of our role in Afghanistan and differences between the Defence hierarchy and soldiers on the ground.

People assume that because a Digger says something, it’s true, but it’s just one perspective,” Neil James of the Australia Defence Association told Crikey (the ADA has a detailed and very clear account of both the email controversy and the issues it raised). “And your perspective depends on what you think our operational missions should be. If you think our mission should be to secure Oruzgan province and destroy the Taliban, you’ll think we need much higher force levels. If you think our role is to mentor Afghan forces, then you’ll think the force level is about right or needs only a small increase.” (The ADA believes the mentoring force should be increased by about 150 troops).

James also says there’s a generational divide between the ADF hierarchy, who came up during the peaceful years of the 1980s and 1990s, and the current generation of servicemen who have extensive combat experience. “This is more than just a communications problem, which the ADF thinks it is. It’s a cultural problem.”

There’s a growing view — a twist on the much-mocked “good war” thesis — that we should end our role in Afghanistan because the West lost its opportunity to destroy the Taliban and establish a viable Afghan state when we launched the assault on Iraq. Charles Richardson articulated this view in Crikey last week. And yes, Julia Gillard, like Barack Obama and David Cameron and other leaders with forces on the ground in Afghanistan, has to make decisions about our future involvement in that country within the framework of the disastrous strategic blunder of Iraq, which has made a tough war in Afghanistan vastly more difficult. But like those who oppose the war outright, whether on the basis of reflexive anti-Americanism or for any other reason, that argument fails to acknowledge the reality that Australia is currently on the ground in Afghanistan and is playing a specific role that serves the broader strategic rationale for why we participated — correctly — in the removal of the Taliban in the first place, to ensure Afghanistan does not serve as a state sponsor of terrorism on a vast scale. There are no options for Australia’s role in Afghanistan free of serious consequences. The withdrawal of Australian troops would further reduce the already limited prospects for a stable Afghanistan.

Neither side of politics has been able to convincingly argue this strategic rationale to Australians. Perhaps that was an impossible task anyway — judging by the views of Americans and Britons, US and British leaders have been no more successful than John Howard, Kevin Rudd and now Julia Gillard is convincing people that we need to be in Afghanistan. But David Johnston’s efforts only serve to fragment what’s left of the major party consensus about how we fulfill our responsibilities in Afghanistan.

  • 1
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    David Johnston is a gift to withdrawal. Let him rip I say. Let him run around picking up tales from every disaffected soldier and then pontificate. The Australian public will wake from their torpor eventually.
    The poor bastards fighting there must hate it and if they are gifted with intelligence, they will know that they are nothing more than a human sacrifice to our friendship with the yanks.
    Who needs such expensive and demanding friends?

  • 2
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    We spend more time and money jailing the few thousand refugees who get here than we do trying to protect Afghans.

  • 3
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Not a bad article, but no comment on the pending trial, of the three soldiers, trying to do the impossible.
    If they are going to fight to the rules of engagement drafted by outofdate leaders, and persecuted for the mistakes, then its a shameful day for Australia, as a Viet Vet, regretful as it is collateral damage does happen, people get hurt in stupid, unwinable, other peoples wars.

  • 4
    John Bruce
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    In response to KR2, I could not agree more. If the three are to be tried then we should also try every one of their senior commanders up to the CDF. It is war there facing an enemy that follows no rules and exploits every opportunity to put our highly exposed people offside - not that anyone would condone another My Lai. Further, I also do not know how an engagement with heavy weapons being deployed by the Taliban can go on for 4 hours without the allied forces bringing into play all its superior technology such as tagetting drones and heavy firepower. Primafacie, senior management stuffed up and could not or did not provide adequate support and another Australian life was lost.

  • 5
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny - there were “shortages” during the Howard administration too, not near as loudly “reported”, and not near the (“trendy”?) politicisation, from those “on the ground” either?

  • 6
    zut alors
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Two questions:

    1. Is Afghanistan a safer place and does it have an improved quality of life than just under a decade ago?
    2. ditto Iraq?

    If the answers are in the negative, why are we still there?

  • 7
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    So KR if Afghan soldiers murdered 5 Aussie kids in their beds you would say that was fine?

    Get a grip.

  • 8
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m indifferent to Abbott’s presence/non-presence in Afghanistan.

    What I want to know is what the hell is he doing going to a Tory conference! Is this at public expense,or is it paid for by his party and its membership?

  • 9
    Michael Rynn
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    What a stupid unquestioned echoing of the conventional wisdom. Of course Mr Keanes would not be allowed in print, if he did not parrot the conventional views of the Patriotic US ally, such is the constraints on the official conventional media here, even at Crikey. Instead of reflex anti Americanisms, what we get fed every day is a long entrained reflex Americanism, which is very deeply engrained into Mr Keanes and all his journalist peers, who along with our main politicians do not want to offend the powers and media that nurture them and supposedly keep them safe. Crikey also does not take risks of offending. Who would not want to be labelled supporters of a organistation labelled as terrorists, instead of being the anti-ccupation force.

    I find nothing nice about the Taliban, except to say, what kind of environment must they live in that makes their way of life a survival adaptation. What happens in Afghanistan should not be at the determination of US, Russia or Australia. The US was and still is the worlds biggest sponsor of terrorism, conflict , weapons sales, coups, military bases, which has helped to launch Al Queda and backed Osama bin Laden. The CIA has always supposedly aimed to serve US imperial interests, despite appearences of gross incompetence with consequences of blowback. The interests of Afghanistans people have never been considered except for propaganda purposes. After all, why should we care? The evidence of our immigration policies says we do not care, and tells the real truth about how we feel.

  • 10
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Interesting article, but I have an issue with “Indeed, there’s something to be said for not having the Prime Minister and the alternative prime minister flying into the same war zone on the same flight.”

    Tony Abbot isn’t the PM in waiting, Wayne Swan is. Having Gilliard and Abbot’s plane crash with loss of all life doesn’t mean the country is leaderless, it means Swan is PM and Bishop is Opposition Leader.

    Abbot isn’t the alternative Prime Minister, the election is over.

    Apart from that, I felt a lot more informed after reading this than before. I appreciate that. I’m now wading through the ADA’s information that was linked to. How on earth do they expect us to keep banging on without a clue in the world if they insist on being calm, rational and informative???

  • 11
    Stevo the Working Twistie
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Abbot is the “alternative prime minister” in the event he wins an election, or otherwise manages to secure a majority in the House. In the event of a plane crash or an IED incident involving the PM, then Wayne Swan is the alternate PM. While this doesn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies, it doesn’t preclude the PM and the Opposition Leader from sharing a plane, or a war zone.

    That said, in the interests of not furthering the misery of the Afghan people, I’m pleased Mr Abbot chose not to go.

  • 12
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Only yesterday UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres stated that
    “Afghan refugees are dispersed across 69 other countries – a third of all states in the world… I do not believe there is any group of refugees as systematically undesired, stigmatized and discriminated against.”

    Bombing the bejasus out of Afghanistan seems to have not improved this situation… time for something new perhaps.

  • 13
    Holden Back
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we should organise a bike race in Afghanistan … .

  • 14
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Michael Rynn, there is little to say against what you’ve said. America’s wholesale abandonment of Afganistan after Russia withdrew led to the wholesale collapse of the shaky government there and the Taliban moved into the vacuum. Why? A Policy Shift. ie., Russia isn’t there anymore, so we don’t care about you. Similiar things could be said about Iraq, and the condition that region was left in after the Iran/Iraq (Russia/USA) war there, during which the west (UK, France, USA), helped Iraq make WMDs. They didn’t make them from mutated swamp grass!

  • 15
    Richard Wilson
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    The reason the military (I mean those poor devils doing the fighting who are not fully under mind control) is hacked off is that there appears to be no strategy to win this war. But outcomes are not the point of any modern war in my view. What is the point is governments spending as much taxpayer’s money as possible or borrowing it to spend on military equipment and contractors in the course of protecting pipelines, ensuring that neither the Russians nor the Chinese get any greater foothold in Central Asia or South America and, in the case of Afghanistan, poppy production is protected.

    Now eventually the public get so sick of this caper that the parasites have to move to a new host. And we know which those will be because the MSM propaganda machine has already written the foreword - Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Qatar and possibly Iran.

    The problem as I see it for all NATO participants and their affiliates (e.g. Australia), is that NATO policy in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else for that matter looks more like a strategy to ensure as much blowback as possible. The only reason I could see for this would be that by ensuring that the target local populous has no choice but to a man, to fight back and kill as many NATO soldiers as possible,(irrespective of the schools, hospitals and bridges being built), they can be painted in the Western media as terrorists, ingrates or both who hate our freedom. This thereby ensures an increasingly mind numb and gullible public sign up to this charade for the maximum period possible.

    Of course you cannot pull this off without the unfaltering compliance of the MSM which daily presents these wars to us as a matter of fact rather than the matter of considerable contention which I believe they are to a very large number of Australians.

    Incidentally there are more “mercs” in Afghanistan and Iraq than regular soldiers and eventually these guys will get tired of being killed, even for three times the enlisted man’s pay, as people in these countries forget their rivalries and come together to rid their land of the invaders.

    Then you can just bet we will have to once more face “conscription” in Australia. It will probably be a lottery but nevertheless it will be back on again as we wander around the world doing the US’s bidding, fighting no win - no outcome wars to serve the military industrial complex and their masters the global financial elite. I agree with Carroll Quigley, the powers that be should just come out and tell everybody this is what they are signing on to rather than attempt to “spin” us into the stratosphere.

    Sadly, we will continue to import as much potential homeland risk as possible by bringing the same very angry war refugees whose dispossession we have been a party to, to Australia which they must surely see us as the reason for their dispossession, no matter whether we are training troops in Oruzgan, building bridges somewhere else or fighting the Taliban in Kandahar.

    Ah, but any retaliation on our home soil of course gives the government greater justification for increasing the level of restriction on our basic human rights in the name of protecting us from potential homeland attacks.

    Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin:
    “The man who trades liberty for security does not deserve no will he ever receive either!”

    Remember to smile for the camera!

  • 16
    Rod Hagen
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Nah, Bernard. The “alternative PM” currently is actually Wayne Swan.

    Still, now they know that Abbott is too tired to visit Afghanistan I guess it might slow the refugee flow out of the place a bit!

  • 17
    zut alors
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Prior to this we were unaware Tony Abbott tires so easily and is prone to jetlag (apparently inhibits his brain, according to reports). In view of the amount of international travel he’d be required to do as Prime Minister it’s become clear he’s not physically capable of performing efficiently in fulfilling such a role.

    On the other hand Gillard looks as bright as a button and 100% alert.

  • 18
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    HoldenBack , like the bike race idea. Would get Mr. Abbott on the ground talking to the “Locals ” and he gets to ride his bike too. Will donate a USA flag and pole for his bike. Start race in Iraq through Pipastan and finish in Iran.

  • 19
    Charles Richardson
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Bernard, you say “The withdrawal of Australian troops would further reduce the already limited prospects for a stable Afghanistan.” But why do you think this? Where is the evidence that the foreign troops are improving things, rather than making them worse?

  • 20
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Why gives a damn what Blabbott and his cronies say or do?

  • 21
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Sorry should have said ‘who gives a damn’ or ‘why give a damn’ , couldn’t get it out fast enough! I just don’t give a damn!

  • 22
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Funnily enough George, Tony and Johnny maybe should have had a slumber party and watched Rambo III before they decided to invade Afghanistan. I have put the quote down below, the relevance to the US current situation is uncanny. Who would have thought that in 1988 Hollywood would have such insight?

    Mousa: This is Afghanistan… Alexander the Great try to conquer this country… then Genghis Khan, then the British. Now Russia. But Afghan people fight hard, they never be defeated. Ancient enemy make prayer about these people… you wish to hear?

    Rambo: Um-hum.

    Mousa: Very good. It says, ‘May God deliver us from the venom of the Cobra, teeth of the tiger, and the vengeance of the Afghan.’ Understand what this means?

    Rambo: That you guys don’t take any shit?

    Mousa: Yes… something like this.

  • 23
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    The alternative ptime minister’??? Please Bernard, stop copying lines from Warren Truss (who has no idea) and learn to think straight. Wayne Swan is the alternative prime minister until the Labor Party decides otherwise. Abbott is just some sad, tired little guy who lost an election.

  • 24
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    If it can be shown that the atrocities oif 9-11 could not possibly have been carried out by Islamic extremists co-ordinated in Afghanstan, the rationale for the initial invasion and subsequent occupation falls apart.

    Why is it that you - and every other mainstream media journalist in Australia - fails to look at compelling evidence to that effect?

    Is that the price of admission to the paid commentariat?

    There’s a newish short video on Youtube - “Scientists, U.S. Military Officers and Actors & Artists for 9/11 Truth”

    I won’t give the link, because it usually means getting stuck in the moderation queue.

    In it, actor Daniel Sunjata points out that support for the Afghan War in the USA is down as low as 38% on the latest poll. He asks whether those 38% are aware of the evidence about 9-11 presented at his joint media conference - and if not (looking at the media), he asks: “Will you tell them”?

    Will you, Bernard?

  • 25
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    With Tony’s medical problem , he could not sleep rough with the troops in a camper bed. After loosing the unlooserable election , he had a meeting with the Pope. After that , you may have noticed his funny walk, he is soo tight and angry that he has not been to the toilet in weeks. Tory parties will help loosen him up and learn how to hack phone calls, at the Tax payers expense.

  • 26
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    SYD , the Islamic extremists are good, they made Building 7 fall down without a plane ? and in a nice speed of gravity. Never believed the 9/11 thing when i saw the 1st tower drop and the aerial on top fell straight down. Very good demo job. their is a movie with 2 french brothers filming a newby fire fighter who was stationed and looked after the towers. they were filming for weeks before and on the day of 9/11. Worth a look.

  • 27
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 7:16 pm | Permalink


    How about the FACT that the BBC reported the collapse of Building 7 half an hour BEFORE it happened!!!

    The BBC claimed that was a ‘mistake’. LOL.

    One might imagine there’s a story in it for someone in the Canberra commentariat? Apparently not.

    In nine years I have not received a single satisfactory reply from any paid Australian journalist about this. I’ve talked directly to a few. They get twitchy and clam up. Is that a story or what?

    Anyone doubting the official story of 9-11 is bogus, Google “Building What” and follow the links.

    It’s more than time to cut the lies and end this appalling war, which is based on a foul ‘blood libel’ against Muslims.

    There’s a majority against the Afghan War in every major occupying nation. It’s really a war against us all - not just Afghanistan, the target range de jour.

    Essential to this war machine is a dishonest mass media. I think we can assume the media is stacked with spooks. But I doubt they’re a majority. The honest majority should get organised without further delay and start telling the truth. There’s safety in numbers.

    It may be crucial to our long-term survival as free people.

  • 28
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Is the Afghanistan operation a role, or a mission? The difference is, a mission may in some circumstances be worth fighting and killing for, risking violent death far from home, or criminal charges for the effects of returning fire at those who would kill you. A role is not worth any of those things. There’s an American saying which, I think, came into common usage after Vietnam. Q: What makes a good loser? A: Plenty of practice.

  • 29
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    The reason the clockwork puppet declined Julia’s invitation to visit the troops has gotta be ‘Because he’s going to the UK via the Vatican’ or is this his second home?

  • 30
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    FREEC: There is an equally true saying-and my grandmother was always saying it-A winner is so because he gets plenty of practice.

  • 31
    Catching up
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Abbott has better things to do. The need to be lauded and loved is his first priority. Once again Mr. Abbott shows little political insight or judgement. Why give the excuse he gave. Surely, it would have not been difficult to find another reason not to go to see the troops. He has once again put his foot in his mouth, talking before thinking. Yet, he is being honest in stating his needs come first, as they always do.

    “because he did not want to turn up “jetlagged” to the British Conservative Party conference,” ” I thought it was important to do this trip justice. I didn’t want to get here in a jet lagged condition so I’m in a position to make the most of this opportunity.”

    What opportunity?
    What is in it for Australia?
    Why is it more important than seeing the troops?
    Is he after a job with the Conservatives?

    If Mr. Abbott is going to Britain to attend a conservative do, why are we picking up the tab? Surely, it is only in his benefit, not Australia’s for him to attend Conservative Party event where he is to be lauded as a hero. He has made it very clear that attending the British Conservative Party conference is the reason for his trip. It should be seen as party business and paid for by the parties involved. As for Afghanistan, I believe that Mr. Abbott sees votes in disagreeing with the government. Bipartisan is ended as far as Afghanistan is concerned.

  • 32
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Syd Walker, if 9/11 was a “inside job” or “fundraiser”, don’t you think it would have been just as effective to hit symbolic targets, like Disneyland or the Statue of Liberty, rather than potentially exacerbating - as many believed for a while that it had - the recession? In fact it didn’t cause a longer downturn, but the fact that this has been disputed even in retrospect, signals that the effects would have been very unpredictable to any American patriots planning a big military and intelligence expansion. Such an expansion depends, of course, on American economic strength to fund it. Why risk serious economic damage, when a symbolic target would work just as well? This is just one of many reasons I cannot take the “inside job” theories seriously. But as I watched the towers collapsing on the TV screen that night, I knew we would not have to wait long for the “inside job” theories to hit the bestseller stands.

  • 33
    John james
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh, the Loopy Left are out in force here!
    Picking up where the Iranian President left off, sparking a walk out from the UN of just about every democratic nation’s representatives, as he suggested 9/11 was the result of clandestine US Government planning , a government in the hands of the Zionists ( of course ! The Jews run everything, didn’t you know!! ), the bloggers here continue to advance their bizarre Left conspiracy theories.
    It would be funny, but for the fact that it constitutes a snapshot of evidence for the Left’s not so funny association with Islamism and the jihadists ( and any other despot or thug assaulting the Unites States and the West. )
    The controversy about support for Australian forces didn’t just come from a few disaffected soldiers on the ground, but from senior officers like Jim Molan, who led Australia’s counter insurgency effort in Iraq.
    He alludes to a recent ambush of Australian forces, in which a young Australian commando, with a pregnant wife at home, was killed, and about which there is a strong view amongst the soldiers involved, that had the ambushed Australian commandos had proper tactical and air cover, the much larger Taliban force would have left the battlefield with either their arms raised in surrender, or in body bags, not, as is the case, being able to withdraw, to ambush Australians in future.
    Abbott should press Gillard. Lets have a real debate!
    Gillard and Labor hate them. They’ll probably set up another committee.

  • 34
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink


    Regarding the choice of targets and timing of 9-11, better direct your inquiries to the perpetrators. I have some theories but that all they are.

    9-11 should not, however, be a highly speculative matter of opinion. It is a matter of easily verifiable facts. I repeat, a good place to start is to Google “Building What”. Checkout the “Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth website as well - now supported by more than 1,300 verified architectural and engineering professionals. Read what they have to say.

    You don’t need to know everything about how, why and by whom a crime was done to be able to debunk a flawed hypothesis. The official 9-11 story is precisely that - an easily falsiable hypotheis/fable, most of it foisted on the public in the first day or two via a few major mass media organisations, at a time when the public’s sense of shock was greatest and rational defenses lowered.

    Bear in mind the official 9-11 inquiry (much like the Warren Commission a generation before), assumed the guilt of the accused and was asked only to provide more detail on how Al Qaida (Less Harvey Oswald) did the crime and the policy ‘implications’. It did not start afresh, like a normal inquiry. It only looked at one possible culprit, specified in advance.

    That’s not justice. It’s an absurdity.

    On 9-11, or so we’re told by the US Government reports, THREE gigantic tower blocks collapse in the own footprint at near free-fall velocity as a result of fire. Those tower blocks had steel frames and were concrete constructions. The smallest, WTC7, was 47 stories in height.

    If that’s what happened, it’s the ONLY day in history when any steel framed concrete towerblock has collapsed through fire. Some skycrapers have blazed for more than a day until only the shell is left, but the shells are designed to stand.

    On 9-11, we’re told, three such structures did fall without controlled demolition. Yet it’s clear that controlled demolition is what actually happened.

    In that case, there’s no way that ‘Al Qaida’ could have pulled it off. Such a crime required access to the three towers for days if not weeks in advance. The leaseholder must surely have known. At minimum, he should be questioned by investigators.

    The leasheolder of WTC1, 2 and 7 is a man called Larry Silverstein. Larry is not a Muslim. But he does happen to have some powerful Australian associates. In the 1990s, he was on the board of Westfield America, which also held the lease on the concourse at ground level in WTC1 and WTC2.

  • 35
    Universal Man
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    This is not about anti americanism,those people over there are the same as us under the thumb.
    What it is called is anti american governmentism but even that isnt right because it isnt all american government thats in on it. This is about someone who is in control from behind the scenes. Someone that has controlled governments for a long long time. You can call them freemasons,Ivy league,golden dawn,illuminati,spearshakers,whatever. They are just criminals.
    When the people in america tried to escape control back in the begining they already had these barstards in their midst to sabotage it with a two party system, a corruption of democracy from the start. Then it was our turn. Both nations being too naive to see through it. They need to go through these governments like a dose of salts & get rid of them.

    As for Iraq & Afghanistan we have been interfereing in their countries for a long time stiring the pot,taking their resources. They just wanted another korea or vietnam. A war they could not win without nuclear weapons & mass murder. If they did use nuclear weapons they wouldnt be able to access the resources. Not to mention stripping heaps of money from their own countries to line their own pockets. They had no chance of winning these wars & never intended to. All they have achieved is mass migration & guess who is going to pay for it ? Us!
    They should get out now so the people that are leaving there can go home. Not sit there trying to save face, another stupidity. They blew up the WTC to start this shit & they should be put on trial & sent to Guantanimo Bay. The stupidity of trying to train people who have been at war for thousands of years none stop & who will never give up & who one day could be pointing a gun at us.

  • 36
    Universal Man
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    It was the american government that gave saddam hussein chemical weapons. They have just admitted to infecting tens of thousands of south americans with horrible diseases. Osama Bin Laden brought down the soviet union. The WTC was a Global institution & this war on terror got global backing because of it. Disneyland & the statue of liberty would have only upset America & got some backing. The Banks run a thirty year financial cycle to catch millions of people in a mortgage trap. Our Government put an embargo on russia in the seventies to collapse the wool industry putting millions of australians in the poor house & they knew what they were doing. They bought shares in oil & plastics, did the deed to replace wool fibre & other industries with plastic fibres. They sold out australia & they are still doing it. Russia bought two thirds of our wool. Most of the wool growers lost all their holdings & their children were herded like sheep into the capital cities looking for work that never came for twenty five years. No housing, no work & no money. Living in housing commission slums like Mt Druitt & Fortitude Valley. Does anyone still want to stick up for them,this is both sides of the pariament kids, Labour & Liberal.
    White Australia Pollicy ,both sides kids. Don`t tell me they arent capable of it ,thats how they make their crust.

  • 37
    Jan Forrester
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    1. Like most wars this one will not be won on a battlefield. Nothing to do with the intelligence and commitment of soldiers. Or otherwise of our politicians.
    2. Manylower and middle class Afghans are already planning exit strategies.
    3. There is a remarkable cycling of money in Afghanistan, reported key officials leaving the country with bagfulls of US dollars.
    4. The Afghani currency has appreciated 5-6c against the US dollar in the last several months, there is a local boom on which is good for some.
    5. The Taliban are not the only ‘anti-government’ force; there are others out there in the pay of the Pakistani ISI. Iran is supporting the sunni Taliban….the friend of my friend is my enemy etc. (The US and allies were also funding these warlord guys, and still are as they have leveraged themselves into legitimacy establishing logistics and security companies.
    6. We have a small number of troops in one province fighting a war; yet we deny Afghanistan is a dangerous place and are sending back asylum-seekers, (shia Hazaras whom the Taliban think are heretics).
    7. What are the strategic overriders, Richard Wilson outlined a few: Afghanistan is in the middle of Central Asia with a great ring road and a great fibre optic cable following it (thanks China and Iran); even the US were dealing the the Taliban over oil pipelines. As Russian looks east to China as an oil market and China looks everywhere Central Asia ripens for some.
    8. It is a mess: who can tell which way it will go? Eventually, we distant foreigners will go. Surrounding countries are already discussing future strategies, as they must. Pakistan still feels AF is its backyard…….

  • 38
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Free country , the owner of the run down , out of date , and loosing tenants to newer offices with broadband etc etc, twin towers, insured them for US $6 Billion . The towers were built to stand up to aircraft hitting the towers and most of the fuel exploded outside and it proven that temps were not hot enough and didn’t melt the steel. All towers (3 ) fell at the speed of gravity , meaning nothing was slowing it down, all 100 + floors and fell on top of its self. Did you see the footage of the pentagon , 16 foot hole in the building and no marks of the wings ?? No photos of aircraft from hundreds of cameras ?? Bush family member was in charge of security at the towers?

  • 39
    Space Kidette
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 12:36 am | Permalink


    Glad I am not the only one who could not find the plane in the pentagon either - finally realise I am not going barmy.

  • 40
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Space Kidette, if you start at American Airlines Flight 77 in wikipedia, it has a lot of links to evidence of what happened to the Pentagon. Wikipedia is not, in itself, an authoritative source, but it is a useful bibliography of links to other sources. There will always be apparent anomalies - what can I say, I was brought up on eyewitness stories of the Angel of Mons from 1914. That’s just life, it’s chaotic, there are always unanswered questions, some details that come out in the wash later, and some that never do. Nevertheless, in this case the official story is the correct one.

  • 41
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Harrybel, Syd, Freecountry,

    I’ve read those links regarding Sept 11 (I REFUSE to call it 9/11) and have an open mind to the proposition but, if it was an “inside job,” two immediate questions arise:

    1. why did Al Qaeda claim responsibility? Surely it was in Bin Laden’s interest to expose the Americans for their shameful self-inflicted horror? He would’ve been tempted to claim the glory for such destruction but he would’ve inflicted mighty political/societal destruction if he’d pointed the finger back at the guilty Americans.

    2. why would US perpetrators take an incredible risk knowing they may well be caught out? It doesn’t make sense that Afghanistan was that monumentally import to the USA - it wouldn’t warrant such a gamble.

  • 42
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I forgot to add that Bush Junior’s reaction when told of the initial WTC attacks was extraordinary. He sat in a schoolroom listening to a story being read, with a strange lost expression in his eyes, for several minutes. That’s always impressed me as bizarre human behaviour, let alone for the president of the country under siege.

  • 43
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    @zut alors and freecountry

    For those reasons this is why the conspiracy theories are considered wacky. So wacky not even Hollywood has come up with a good plot based on those. Nothing of the order of Oliver Stone and his JFK conspiracy movie.
    zut alors your point one is in fact the reason for the President of Iran making the same comments at the UN.
    It is no wonder most walked out on him.

  • 44
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Zut Alors,

    You’re right, the nickname “911” indulges bin Laden’s clever psychological warfare in choosing a date which matched the emergency phone number in the US. I’ve always been surprised that the media fell for it, so that Americans now picture the WTC whenever they place a call for emergency services.

    I think Bush just needed some time to rally his thoughts. I doubt if he was still listening to the schoolkids after he received the news.


    When Ahmedinejad made his speech giving credence to those theories, I thought Obama should have stayed in his seat during the walkout. He could then have replied calmly that New York is, among other things, the world capital for psychotherapy, and that although one normally makes an appointment, he could make a few phone calls and organise some help at short notice for the president of Iran. No shame in needing a little help, etc.

  • 45
    Acidic Muse
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 10:13 am | Permalink


    Creating and perpetuating conspiracy theories is a national passion in the United States of Amnesia - let’s not forget almost half the population also worship an imaginary sky faerie they believe created the world circa 6 thousand years ago. Is it really so surprising 911 conspiracy theories gained so much traction when 20% of the population also think Obama is a “moo-slum

    In the early 90’s you had 15 million people regularly listening to Art Bell espousing various conspiracy theories on his Coast Coast radio program - he had a lot of them believing Alien Lizard people were running the US government amongst other things


    I know someone who has actually seen the gas station CCTV footage of the plane hitting the pentagon that the Bush Admin never released to the general public.

    It definitely happened, hon

    Personally I think it was a real mistake not to release that footage but the Shrub admin’s rationalisation was that given the constant repetition of footage of the twin towers falling had already carved a huge scar in the national psyche - subjecting Joe Public to the same kind of exposure to a successful strike at the heart of American’s military industrial complex was just not an option.

    Of course, it’s also in their interests to have all kinds of wacky conspiracy theories circulating because pointing to them is an excellent way of undermining more rational arguments against the USA’s National Security leviathan

    I love Toxic Tony’s resorting to a Bushism to explain his Jet Lag lie. He mis-spoke .. just like he did when he lost his rag on 4 Corners on Monday night ..lol

    The Toxic Templar continues to seriously misunderestimate the Australian public’s intelligence

  • 46
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    @zut alors

    Why did Al Qaeda claim responsibility?

    Not sure what you mean. The first interview Bin Laden gave after the attacks specifically denied responsibility and pointed the blame back towards the USA and its ‘allies’. Later in 2001, the infamous video allegedly discovered in southern Afghanistan showed someone, looking distinctively different from the man himself, bragging about the attacks.

    Since then, Bin Laden has cropped up in video messages and audio tapes with tedious regularity, especially before US elections. He was at it again recently, banging on about the floods in Pakistan.

    Do you assume these tapes are genuine?

    Khalid Sheik Mohammed, we’re told, confessed. But we’re also told he was waterboarded repeatedly. Do you believe his ‘confession’?

    None of the 19 alleged hijackers confessed. They were cinders… or so we were told on the day. In fact, according to various reports, some carried by the BBC at the time, several ‘hijackers’ turned out to be alive afterwards, living elsewhere and bemused to see their photos smattered over the headlines as the guys responsible for 9-11. Perhaps they’d had their identiities stolen? It does happen.

    Questions on the motives of the perpetrators are best addressed to the perpetrators. I was not one of them. I can speculate, but that’s all it would be.

    Western countries are quite civilized for the most part. We have procedures to deal with crime that evolved over the centuries: things like inquests, trials and inquiries.

    Unfortunately,in the excitement of the chase, these processes can be forgotten. In such cases, we can be trickeed into relying on trial by media, sometimes without even realising that’s what’s happened.

    That occured back in November 1963, when the US Government set up a Commission to investigate the murder of President Kennedy. Its terms of reference were not to find out who killed JFK. It was tasked with finding out how Lee Harvey Oswald killed him… a rather different brief. In that case, it was not until the late 1970s, towards the end of the Carter administration, that a genuine congressional invesigation established ‘probable conspiracy’ in relation to the President’s murder. Many people don’t even know that.

    Similarly, the only official invesigations into 9-11 have assumed the conclusion: ‘Al Qaida’ dunnit.

    I recommend the books of David Ray Griffin on this topic. He was rather late to come on board as a 9-11 scpetic, but has been prolific ever since. His later book, incidentally, is about the Obama Administration’s efforts to disrupt the 9-11 ‘truth movement’. It’s called ‘Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory’ and focusses on the work of Cass Sunstein.

    Anyone for COINTELPRO?

  • 47
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 10:20 am | Permalink


    Actually I refuse to call it 9/11 because it’s a stupid system of writing a date - back to front! To my knowledge it is only done in the USA, the rest of the planet knows the day comes first then the month then the year. As the French say, ‘les pauvres Americans’…

  • 48
    Acidic Muse
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    @Free Country

    I agree with you that despite the Bush Admins passive complicity in allowing it to happen due to criminal negligence, the 911 conspiracy theories are complete bunkum

    Nonetheless, you go several bridges too far trying to defend Shrubs gormlessly moronic initial response to having the news whispered in his ear. That footage captures almost perfectly just how ill equipped he was for the job - without Dick Cheney’s hand up his ass moving his lips, Shrub was always useless as tits on a Billy Goat…um..Song

  • 49
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I would dispute the claims that our “Diggers” (not WW1 anymore, journos) are sick of the fighting and can’t wait to come home. Many may be bored to death, but this is what they trained for. A deployment is exactly what many ADF recruits want, so I’d be careful about ascribing to them some sort of war-is-hell pathos.

    As for 9/11, I think it’s hard to argue that the Bush administration didn’t know it was coming, and let it go ahead for political gain, but the idea that they orchestrated the attack in league with Israel and the MSM is just tinfoil hat crazy. What did Bush and his mates ever do that suggests a cabal of brilliant masterminds able to execute and conceal a conspiracy of that magnitude?

  • 50
    Last Chance Cafe
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Well well well now…..we enter a new era of self “sacrifice”when a journo commits VE on such a passionate issue, so one may decrease so others may increase….i don’t think it gets much better and the bond just keeps getting thicker and thicker….yea, I hate him..LoL!!!