On Long Tan

Alex Joseph writes: Re. “Rundle: at Long Tan, genocidal aggressors lose their right to a memorial“. I have been a subscriber for many years and I have enjoyed reading Guy’s articles. Though they are usually longer than others, I have often read them twice, I found them so interesting.

I feel his piece on the Long Tan commemoration fiasco is perhaps the best I have read, in a long time.  It should be required reading for EVERY kid in Australia.  Our diggers and the yanks were behaving just like the Wehrmacht (or perhaps as badly as the Waffen SS) in wiping out whole villages by aerial bombardment.  To get upset because the Vietnamese refused permission for the kind of triumphalism that was planned, displays gross insensitivity and churlishness. Good on you Guy.  Keep up the good work!

Geoffrey Briot writes: Rundle very generously says Vietnam Veterans “can reasonably say that they were not aware of the character of the war” (when actually fighting it). He adds: “But now that the character of the war is clear, they cannot disregard it.” Rundle clearly missed the Long Tan veteran who, interviewed on ABC radio, whinged about the lack of respect shown by the Vietnamese Government’s cancellation of his fellow pilgrims’ celebration at Long Tan by saying that, after all: “we fought a clean war”.  At the downgraded celebration in nearby Vung Tau his indignation could have been extinguished by scoffing a few Agent Orange cocktails.

On online gambling rules

David Edmunds writes: Re. “Nanny state doubles down on failed online gambling ban” (yesterday) . I sympathise with Bernard Keane on online gambling.  It is astonishingly destructive of lives and if a drug had the same impact on people there would be a well-funded and concerted attack on all parts of the supply chain.  I disagree that the government can’t control a good number of the overseas internet gambling sites.  The traditional approach is to block the site, but this is unsuccessful.  The site migrates almost instantaneously to another address, and business continues.

However, at the back end of the site is a banking connection that is not easily migrated and is far more susceptible to attack.  This is the approach taken by governments to money laundering and terrorist funding.  It may only be necessary to forewarn PayPal, or whoever, that it is the intention of the Government to make things happen.

Should the Australian government seriously wish to stop a particular online gambling enterprise, it could arrange for an attack on it banking connection.  If the government did not want to get its hands dirty, I am sure there are plenty of chaps in, say, Russia or Belarus, who for a modest sum of money, are more than capable of launching an attack that would have sufficient impact on the business model of the gambling business, that it would voluntarily withdraw from Australia just to preserve its operation in other countries.  Even if not entirely successful at the first attempt, a concerted effort would have an alarming effect on such gambling enterprises, particularly if it is clear that there was an intent to persist.

All the government needs to do is to pass legislation outlawing such gambling operations as it finds offensive, and make it clear that it intends to enforce the law, as it would do with other destructive enterprises.  Terrorism and child pornography come to mind.

But there really is no will on the part of any Australian government to take on this industry.  It is quite happy to continue with some hand-ringing while effectively ignoring the pain and devastation that ensues.

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey