Justin Templer writes: Re. “Political tensions worsen after US soldier kills Afghan civilians” (yesterday, item 15). The shooting of Afghani civilians by a US troop, closely following the burning of the Koran, is yet another in a litany of ongoing PR and human disasters facing the countries waging war in Afghanistan — unfortunately including our own.

Political leaders continuously tell us that the reason our economies are being bled and our soldiers are dying is to keep the world safe. At the same time those who would foment terrorism feed on the fact that there are Christian forces in Islam lands, burning the holy book and killing the innocents. Can anyone really imagine that the Afghan “war” is actually keeping the West safe?

And then there is the other shibboleth that the presence of Western forces is protecting the rights of Afghani women, while installing a stable government which will ensure a semblance of democracy. Of course, we all know that the existing government, one of the most corrupt and dysfunctional in the world, will collapse within a minute of the withdrawal of Western forces. Or, like Pakistan, require that a funding funnel be maintained to ensure its continued existence and obeisance. Take your pick.

Rest assured — the end analysis will hold the Afghan War (commenced as the ironically named Operation Enduring Freedom) to have been an ill-conceived and entirely misdirected reaction to 9/11. It failed its purpose very early in the piece, succeeding only in increasing the global level of disaffected Muslim aggression and thus the danger to civilian populations in the West, increasing the incidence of civilian violent death in Afghanistan, creating an exorbitant drain on the revenues of the countries involved, presenting a distraction from other areas of the globe where intervention might have been more useful … one could go on. In summary, an astounding failure.

And, saddest of all, while Western countries clearly signal their intention to withdraw their troops, one knows that the Taliban and other misfits have all the time in the world before they choose to crush the existing government and re-impose their brutal regime across the country.

Bob Katter:

John Richardson writes: Re. “ABC Radio presenter, the voice of Katter hate ad, stood down” (yesterday, item 3). I couldn’t much care what anyone thinks of the awful loudmouth Bob Katter, nor the smooth Liberal National leader, Campbell Newman, or the peoples’ Anna Bligh for that matter: they are all professional snake oil salespeople and none of them could lie straight in bed on any issue. But I must strenuously take issue with ABC’s arrogant and totally unreasonable action in standing down Suzanne McGill who, at the end of the day, is simply selling her voice to make a living.

In attempting to justify its actions by claiming that McGill is obliged to follow its “editorial and workplace policies”, even though she is employed on a casual basis, the ABC simply demonstrates how out-of-touch with reality it is to think that it is reasonable to try and restrict the employment activities of a working class Australian, employed by them on a casual basis, whilst, at the same time, denying her the security and hope that comes with secure employment.

All power to Suzanne McGill and a pox on the ABC and any other organisation that would stoop to use such heavy-handed tactics to punish and victimise the weakest and least powerful player in this sordid affair.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey