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Money better than blood in Afghanistan

The international community, Julia Gillard insisted overnight at the NATO meeting in Chicago, had sacrificed too much and worked too hard to fail to support the Afghanistan military.

The mistakes of the past, of course, provide no rationale for continuing them. Fortunately, the international community is now focused on extracting itself as quickly as possible from Afghanistan, under the pretence that the kleptocratic, misogynist Karzai government can take care of its own security with the financial and military assistance of western powers.

This may not be quite the “declare victory and get out” approach of the Vietnam era but it should begin drawing to an end the consequences of the greatest blunder of the George Bush and Tony Blair governments (happily supported by John Howard): redirecting resources into a disastrous attack on Iraq before the Taliban had been defeated. NATO servicemen and the soldiers of allies like Australia have been dying for that blunder ever since.

Australia’s commitment of $100 million a year over three years may sound expensive, but it’s far better than continuing an Australian combat role in a country where the allied presence is achieving little except delaying whatever resolution the people of Afghanistan and their warring powerbrokers can manage themselves. It is not worth wasting more Australian lives trying to correct the mistakes of the past.

It may not be worth spending $300 million either, but it’s only money.

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  • 1
    Phen
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Someone needs to explain the “sunk costs” concept to our dear leader.

  • 2
    j.oneill
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    From the US and UK perspective going into Afghanistan was not a blunder. They have achieved most of their strategic aims which are to do with further encircling China and Russia; securing a pipeline route for Caspian oil and gas; and control of the lucrative heroin trade. Read the deal Obama did with Karzai: it is not what the press have blithely reported. The US has no intention of leaving any time soon, much less 2014.

    Agreed, Howard happily joined in this escapade, but the he did the same with Iraq and his predecessors didwith Vietnam before him. But Rudd and then Gillard made no attempt to rectify the error and are equally culpable for what transpired.

    You ignore the fact that the invasion was illegal in international law. The makes Bush and all the others war criminals. At Nuremberg certain key principles were established. It is a measure of how far we have sunk that waging wars of aggression (the supreme international crime) no longers lkeads to trials and accountability.

    $300 million is not worth it. It is also, per capita, greater than any other country by a wide margin. Is Gillard so desperate for Obama’s approval that she so readily relinquishes any pretence of acting in Australia’s best interests?

  • 3
    Meski
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    @J.Oneill: As I recall, it was a war of retaliation, not aggression. Connections were 9/11-> Afghanistan harbouring Al-qaeda. Whether you regard it as successful in driving them out of Afghanistan is another matter. And this war is but the latest in a long chain.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_Afghanistan

  • 4
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    When it seems you won’t succeed - move the goal posts”?

  • 5
    j.oneill
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    @Meski
    Your assumptions are so wrong on so many counts it would take a full article to canvass them. Can I suggest instead that you read Peter Dale Scott’s two latest books, ‘The Road to 9/11” and ‘American War Machine’ and David Ray Griffin’ s The New Pearl Harbor Revisited’.

    Once you are acquainted with the facts as opposed to opinions based on the rubbish pouring out of the mainstream media we might have an uintelligent debate.

  • 6
    michael crook
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Good article and comment. J.ONEIL, you are absolutely correct.

  • 7
    AR
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Err… it’s not “only money”, it is lives - Oz, euroid and multiples of “lesser breeds without the Law” but hey, what’s that got to do with the price of fish when there are global hegemony issues to consider?
    One day this country, belated followed by its ‘leaders’, might learn that dumbly following the ‘great & good friend’ du jour is never a good idea. They have their own objectives, we are cannon fodder, not even collateral damage.
    BTW, anyone still hung up on paltry concepts such as historical reality will recall that Kabul, in 2001 & 2002, offered to hand over ObL, to the Hague, if anyone, ie amerika, could provide a shred of evidence of his “guilt’. That damned troothiness thingy is always such a hassle.

  • 8
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Like the coalition for killing and maiming Vietnamese in Vietnam some 40 years ago; the coalition for killing Afghans are now also running away from a war they finally realised cannot be won. As for the American appointed and supported Karzai and his kleptocacy, he will go the same way as President Thieu the Vietnamese leader at Vietnam running away time - Karzai will just dissapear over the horizon with his loot. (Thieu finished up in the UK with a purported tonne of gold bullion for a self funded retirement and lived out his life there) Karzai and his government will be replaced by those ran Afghanistan before him; namely Taliban and the local war lords. Presently the Afghan civilians are subject to harrasment, and being killed by (1) the coalition forces and (2) their contractors, (3) Taliban, (4) Afghan government soldiers, (5) Afghan police (6) suicide bombers from Al Qaida and Taliban; and (7) warlords. One good thing that will result from running away time, at least there will then be (2) less - that is the coalition and their contractors will dissapear from that equation leaving (5). I do feel for those who have had dealings through work etc. with the coalition, like the Vietnamese before them, their day of reconning is only a couple of years away at best, I would not want to be in that predicament.

  • 9
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    In the sinister action of war, those who side with the United States will never be guilty of crimes against humanity. Indeed, in the last number of wars starting with the second world war, I have often wondered why there were never any war criminals on the winning side, especially the sides that were in lock-step with the US.

  • 10
    Meski
    Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Did you even look at the link? No? I thought as much. Whatever our opinions, that was the ostensible reason for it. And I’ve seen nothing yet but opinion.

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