On Emily’s List

Kristina Keneally writes: Re. “The transformative, stoic and inspirational Joan Kirner” (yesterday). I was a bit surprised to read this comment from Mary Delahunty in today’s Crikey:

 “The top female Labor leaders in the land are and have been women supported by Emily’s List — from Julia Gillard and Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek to every female premier of Australia.”

I never received support from Emily’s List.  The organisation did not donate to my fundraisers nor did they back my candidacy as a MP — either in pre-selection or at a general election. I acknowledge that for some female candidates Emily’s List provides valuable support, but they do not provide it for all female candidates. I hold no grudge against the organisation.  However, Emily’s List should neither take nor receive credit for backing me when they did not. If you could correct the record, I would appreciate it.

On a return to Iraq

James Burke writes: Re. “Keane: Australian neocons on the march back to Iraq” (yesterday). Australia’s neo-cons may actually be slower learners than their American counterparts. In recent weeks all leading Republican presidential candidates, including a hapless Jeb Bush, have been  pinned down and forced to admit that they would not have invaded Iraq in 2003 “knowing what we know now”. Deliciously, this was driven by Fox News and right-wing Bush critics like radio host Laura Ingraham, who said “you can’t think that going into Iraq, now, as a sane human being, was the right thing to do. If you do, there has to be something wrong with you.” Admittedly “what we know now” deliberately sidesteps the issue of the Bush administration’s knowledge “then” being mostly lies of its own devising. And of course, several of these candidates have threatened a war with Iran should they win the White House. How that would leave Australian troops in Iraq is a question Molan, Jennings and Andrew Bolt are yet to address. Maybe they’re rooting for Clinton in 2016?

Tony Kent writes: I was pleased to see Bernard Keane refer to the involvement of armchair warrior Jim Molan in the now well-documented Fallujah atrocities of 2004, where white phosphorous and depleted uranium ammunition were used extensively by coalition forces with scant regard to the civilian population. This is a story that needs to be discussed widely and publicly.  Too few Australians even know of the atrocity, let alone that James Molan, an ADF officer representing our country, was commander of coalition forces and so bears ultimate responsibility for the events which unfolded there.

At some time Molan will be brought to account for Fallujah but it seems not just yet.  He is lionised by the coalition parties and his warmongering reported breathlessly in the main stream media.  Perhaps unsurprisingly he was the architect of the coalition’s “Operation Sovereign Borders” which features brutalisation as a policy tool, and which has trashed Australia’s international reputation, at least in those civilised democracies which don’t suffer under the heel of the News Limited jackboot.  His continued public presence is an affront to decent Australians, as much for his warmongering and borderline-fascist opinions as for his masquerading as a war-hero.

His toxic presence is compounded by numerous government sinecures and now, a run for public office as a Liberal Party Senate candidate. This man is no 21st century John Monash.  Monash would have nothing to do with the fascists and totalitarians of the New Guard.  In contrast, many of their views are reflected in the neocon agenda which Molan enthusiastically shares.  In truth, Molan is now more a reprise of Lance-Corporal Jack Jones with his “They don’t like it up ’em!” calls to arms to repel foreigners, his plaintive cries of “Don’t panic…panic!” to insufficiently concerned citizens, and his vivid dreams of — possibly — heroic long-ago battles with Pathan foes on the North-West Frontier.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey