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Crikey says: what is the endgame in Iraq?

Iraq insurgency awakens the neocon zombies. Babies in the septic tank? How a flimsy story grew legs. The ideological battle headed for Australian schools. News Corp’s shaky legal case. The incredible rise of Tim Carmody. Mike Baird’s schoolyard fight. And what is Shurat HaDin?

”Aussies know how to fight, and I like having them in a foxhole if we’re in trouble.” So said US President Barack Obama as he refused to rule out a military response to this week’s extremist takeover of key Iraqi cities.

PM Tony Abbott also “won’t rule out” sending Australian troops into the quagmire.

As Guy Rundle wrote in Crikey yesterday, it’s impossible to overestimate the significance of the advance of militant group ISIS across Iraq.

But military intervention? Didn’t we try and fail at that before?

Yes, a coalition of Western military forces might turn back the tide of extremists in Iraq — or it might not. The latter is much more likely if past experience is a guide: as Bernard Keane writes today, the Iraq War was a multitrillion-dollar exercise in making Western citizens “less safe from terrorism”.

Australia’s involvement was also done without the support of our Parliament and on false pretenses. Any future involvement in military action in that country must be properly debated, and advocates must explain exactly what we’re seeking to achieve and how we know we’ll achieve it.

And before the US seriously contemplates any involvement, it should ask itself the one hard question the Bush administration and its cheerleaders in London and Canberra never asked: what exactly is the path out of such conflict? Because starting another war to prop up the Iraqi government could become immensely problematic if such a government can never govern Iraq.

Abbott’s sabre rattling in the US might work to impress the neocons, but this is one foxhole Australia should not be going down.

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  • 1
    Wexford
    Posted Friday, 13 June 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Don’t you mean it’s impossible to _over_estimate the significance of the advance of militant group ISIS across Iraq? It would be very difficult, at the least.

  • 2
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Friday, 13 June 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    The coalition American camp followers are in charge and at it again. Atta-boy Tony you sic our Aussie diggers into another conflict we will not / cannot win.

    By the way, spend plenty of money, after-all you just need screw the low to middle income Australian sheeples for a bit more -direct or indirect- tax, or sell off a few more gummint assets to pay for the adventure. Spin the Aussie sheeples a yarn to justify it; i.e. the terrorists will invade us, etc. Better still, a nifty three word slogan might suffice, as you know it has in the past, we Aussie sheeples believe all your utterances, even your lip schmacking is appreciated by many.

  • 3
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 13 June 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Don’t look now, but isn’t this a “r’Abbott hole” - and rather than “going down”, we’re more in danger of “disappearing up”?

  • 4
    AR
    Posted Friday, 13 June 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m a bit worried about this punny “foxhole” - are we disappearing into a muddy WWI shell crater or a labyrinthine den?

  • 5
    Luke Hellboy
    Posted Friday, 13 June 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Did the coalition of the arrogant learn anything from history, recent or past? Surely they’re not doomed to repeat it…

  • 6
    Iskandar
    Posted Friday, 13 June 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Just a few days ago I submitted some comments on the militaristic tone of Abbott’s speeches everywhere he went on his overseas junket, and predicted he might drum up some military adventure to shore up his collapsing approval ratings. Even I was surprised how quickly this prediction is showing signs of being realised, though I had expected it would be about propping up the US/NATO intervention in Ukraine.

    In 2003 Labor feebly opposed this country’s joining the invasion of Iraq, but then acquiesced. Hopefully this time they will have some fire in their bellies and vigorously oppose the Abbott neocons should they choose to go down this road again.

  • 7
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 13 June 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Am amused to hear news reports that Abbott has ‘brokered’ a better military deal with the US - as though this is something of which to be proud. Abbott has agreed to more troops being based in Australia & possibly broadening their reach down to Perth. As usual Australia gets scr*wed over by the megapower.

    Tony Dumb Dumb ‘brokers’ the US getting whatever they want.

  • 8
    Ken Lambert
    Posted Friday, 13 June 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    We should send that most culpable of warriors - Colin Powell back in to sort out Iraq….after all he knew the consequences better than his simpleton boss ‘Dubya’….the famous Powell doctrines distilled into one phrase…”you break it - you own it”.

    Dubya is still working on understanding that apt phrase.

    Powell could cut a sort of Macarthur figure…firstly as military governor of Iraq supported by 500,000 good ol boys in uniform to assert ownership of a broken country.

    Then he could spend his retirement trying to unbreak it.

    Tony and Cherie Blair could take over foreign affairs, and John Howard could try teaching the Iraqis cricket….surely the best way to civilize and harmonize the religious zealotry and tribal animosities.

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