Fallujah, Iraq and BS Mythology

The albatross of decisive victory in two gulf wars hangs around the neck of the US military. They can’t adapt to warfare where firepower means nothing and war is “politics by other means” was never truer.

Much has been said about Vietnam and Iraq. A closer analogy is Napoleon in Spain where the supply convoys were continually ambushed and over several years his army was decimated.

The destruction of Fallujah to save it is playing right into the freedom fighters hands. Prior to the assault the marine commander said this was ‘… their Hue.’, truer words never were spoken. While Hue was a tactical disaster for the Viet Cong in was a decisive strategic victory with the bloodiest street-fighting since Aachen or even Stalingrad finally convincing most the war was un-winnable.

The passion which the current freedom fighters are defending their city is testament to their courage and their hatred of the Americans. They cannot win the battle, but the US cannot win the war and as it doesn’t have an exit strategy we can only guess at how many more must die before the US accepts this.

Finally, the next time Australian commentators are telling us how courageous our military is they should remember 1. The ANZAC spirit/legend/myth has been soiled by our invasion of a peaceful country 2. They have never ever had to face the odds faced by the freedom fighters in Iraq let alone Fallujah and so their courage and ability has never been tested, ever!

The Generalissimo

Vietnam & Iraq

Another difference is that the Vietnamese, to quote a colleague and Vietnam veteran, “just wanted us out there”. The (North) Vietnamese weren’t interested in (or, perhaps, capable of) carrying the war to USA and its allies. However, whatever the final outcome, the Mess In Iraq is helping to create a new generation who are both willing and capable of bringing the fight to their enemies’ doorstep.

Nicki LaGrange

Drinking Australia dry and Rupert Murdoch

I was particularly taken with your item from another subscriber about the Australian press and its coverage of water issues. Why don’t the ‘mainstream’ press/news services cover the issues the way The Guardian did in England? I would expect the Country Party (or whatever name our agrarian socialists go by) would be rather upset to have any of this aired.

The issues around dear Rupert are very interesting. I tend to read The Australian’s business section, over the Age, as it gives a better coverage of issues and comment on business. AFR is better, but it’s too expensive to buy regularly. The Aus coverage of all things Rupert has been less than adequate and could be better described as a cheer squad exercise. A pity given how good they can be in their general business coverage. Ultimately will News remain the house of Murdoch after the departure of Rupert? Or will it be the classic rags-to-rags in three generations?

David

CRIKEY: Read The Guardian stoay here – How agriculture is drinking Australia dry

All quiet on the Melbourne City Council elections

I’m disappointed that you appear to over looked the elections happening in Australia’s second largest city & occasional financial/culinary/artisistic/moral capital city. On second thoughts delete ‘moral’, that’s Adelaide, isn’ it?

Where are the articles on preference deals, stooge candidates, shady candidates, decent candidates, ratbag candidates, the buying of public office, sex scandals, conspiracies, etc.

You know, the kinda stuff you ran for the last MCC election and the recent Sydney election.

My God, the election is almost over and not one Crikey mention.

Michael Kennedy

Gold Coast Remuneration

It was hard work going through the Gold Coast minutes -could only last for one set June 2004 so maybe I missed something but it seemed to me that Mayor Clarke did indeed vote against the salary rise even though having been rolled he benefited from the increase in salaries for all – Mayor, Deputy mayor etc, etc. Did anyone else read the minutes and is able to enlighten me?

Brian Pullen

The Packers and the Aussie Post mag business

Freddy Krueger says “regular users are starting to get annoyed by the queues as Post takes over so many others services, such as banking and bill paying”.

As a regular newspaper reader I’ve long been annoyed at having to wait at newsagents while they sell lottery tickets, which seems to be a very complicated business.

Newsagents have moved into gambling in a big way. Can you blame ACP for wanting to sell its magazines through Australia Post?

Anon

Congratulations to Diana Burleigh

Diana, I have just read your fantastic article in Crikey and wanted to congratulate you, both for your exciting and well-deserved win, and for your well-written, interesting article. Crikey should give you a regular column.

Judy Mather

CRIKEY: You can here Diana’s account of her triumph here – How I won Einstein Factor

The GG and the ACM lunch ripoff

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy held a fundraising lunch last Friday (Nov 5) with David Smith speaking on “The Governor-General as Head of State”. Then, the very next day, the G-G himself was quoted as saying, “Her Majesty is Australia’s Head of State”. Will the ACM be refunding the $65 per head?

Mike O’Shaughnessy
SPENCE ACT

Mable-Brown on NCP shares

Your story on Peter Morgan reminds me of a conversation I had with master fund manager, Rob Mable-Brown a few years ago when I chided him about his holding in NCP within the Advance Imputation Fund – when he and I both agreed that it shouldn’t be there on merit or on notions of value, both of which were held to be the critical measures for selection of a stock.

Rob and I were out of earshot of the crowd of planners who were there to hear his talk, so when I asked him if he held any NCP in his own portfolio (his personal wealth being substantial) he looked around and then said “What, you mean MY money?” I nodded and he said “Not a cent.” Yet he held about 6% of the Advance portfolio in NCP shares, as he said, because the asset consultants would crucify him if he strayed too far from the benchmark (the All Ords), which was then about 13% NCP. He could only wince and mutter “I’m less than 50% weight in NCP, so that says something.” But the point is and was that he should not have held any NCP, by his own admission and by his own (published and public) criteria.

So, the real culprits are the bloody asset consultants who hold managers to ransom – as well as the managers who fail to take them on. (The planners/advisers are in the main no wiser than their clients and bound by “recommended product lists” in any event.) Those of us who are genuinely independent investment advisers never follow the silly trends, but use our judgment, as the managers USED to be able to do, before the army of asset consultants (with no ability, judgment or experience to hang their hat on – but way too much clout..) started to have too much influence.

Investors are being led into a trap of both mediocrity and worse – higher risk – by those who are being paid far too much, but have little ability to provide some protection. Some things don’t change…

Regards from your friend in the money business.

Philip Carman
Perth WA

Family First fears

How can you say that people are being un-necessarily paranoid about Family First? The last thing Australia needs is the fanatical Christian right making decisions for all Australians. How can you say they are harmless when some Family First representatives have already been quoted as encouraging their followers to burn down mosques and attack lesbians? – That is sheer lunacy! And as far as I’m concerned, that kind of garbage has no place in a modern, Australian society. I may not agree with what people do or say, but I do not wish to vandalise other people’s places of worship or physically harm them simply because they hold a different view.

Why is it that the very people who supposedly espouse so-called Christian values send out messages of hate like that, it’s absolutely disgusting. I’m not saying that all the people who supported Family First are demented individuals from the Christian right. But what I am saying is that it does attract fanatics and other undesirables to come out of the wood work.

As an indigenous person I experienced increased racism first-hand thanks to Pauline Hanson who, I might add, was voted into my electorate of Oxley. Because no-one had the courage to challenge her I was subjected to having to deal with skin-heads and KKK members catching the Ipswich train line to and from my school. They bashed people who were coloured and they would taunt us on the train – they were anything BUT harmless. And yet people kept on saying that Pauline’s views were harmless. But my point is that, because the ridiculous views of Pauline Hanson seemed to be accepted, these people felt that their views and actions were justified because Pauline made it seem like it was all okay. In the case of Family First, who are the new One Nation – I do not want to see people subjected to that kind of treatment and intolerance ever again.

It is naive to believe that the actions and words of people/political parties are harmless, because as I’ve just proven, there is ALWAYS a consequence thanks to the mass media, who through their un-objective reporting, support and promote the views of individuals such as this.

Anon

How agriculture is drinking Australia dry” on The Guardian