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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Patriotism lite

"...[There is a] disconnect between the United States' officially declared commitment to waging an all-out 'War on Terror' and Americans' reluctance to sacrifice in support of that war...'Nobody in America is asked to sacrifice,' this officer says, 'except us.' By 'us,' he means the armed forces...'It's almost,' says a retired U.S. military official, 'as if the politicians want to be able to declare war and at the same time maintain a sense of normalcy.'"

Paul Street, Znet, July 30

I can think of any number of Australian armchair generals, pontificating and encouraging an even more bellicose foreign policy. Perhaps they'd like to volunteer for the armed services. What? Busy, otherwise engaged or unfit? Thought so.


Blogger paul said...

I volunteered to re-enlist after Sept 11th, but was told I was too old; don't kid yourself, there's plenty of us out there who have the nads to do what needs to be done, even if pathetic leftist twerps such as yourself don't.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 1:35:00 am  
Blogger Rich Bowden said...

"What needs to be done" is for Australia to stop fighting other people's wars and employ a foreign policy more conducive to world peace.

Our current subservience to White House overseas aims has underlined the embarrassing nature of Australia's lack of a self-determining line of diplomacy and resulted in an almost gleeful participation in military ventures to countries which pose no threat to Australia.

Antony's point is instructive, the men and women who place their lives at risk for these ventures are not politicians or top military brass. If this was the case, maybe our foreign policy would be better thought through and (the key word) independent.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 8:52:00 am  
Blogger evan jones said...

'the nads to do what needs to be done' depends upon knowing who the enemy is.
The nasties who are now the enemies of the current junta in power in the US were once their friends.
The foot soldiers are sent to the front line as pawns in this great game that has nothing to do with the basic human virtues.
What this has to do with Australia's national interest is not self-evident.
Certainly the suck-arse that is our current PRime Minister knows what's in his self-interest.
Why one would put one's life on the line for a bunch of Strangeloves and little turds is a question for the psychologists.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 9:35:00 am  
Blogger Elise said...

After an all-round crap day,where people lash out at you for what they cannot handle in themselves, it's refreshing to see some people around the world realizing the problem always starts from within(whether that's within oneself or within one's own elected government).

When so many governments around the world became willing participants in the American political insanity, I was hoping people of those nations would take to the streets.But it didn't quite happen that way.So aren't we now all responsible for the Iraq mess?

And what of karma?What kind of collective karma did this war create, do you think?

And how many of those politicians and army officers call themselves Christians?

Saturday, August 06, 2005 10:05:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Well, Howard, Bush and Blair all see themselves as Christians, many of them have even prayed together. I wonder what they're asking God for. "Please, God, don't let me ever stand before an international criminal court for the horrors I've created?"

Saturday, August 06, 2005 10:10:00 am  
Blogger paul said...

So no calling to account for Osama, or any of the couragous "freedom fighters" around the planet who shoot up schools and drive car bombs into crowds of children in the name of Allah then, eh? What a duplicitous pack of yahoos. Just as well for you that there are men and women prepared to defend your way of life and right to spout such undergradute bollocks- if the sort of regime came to pass that is desired by the "enemies of the current US junta", self-proclaimed progressives (regressives? after all, it's the same old philosophy that's been batted around since hippiedom's brief period of relevance) as yourselves would be the first to feel the brunt of Sha'ria, and possibly deservedly so. If it wasn't so serious, you'd be god for a bit of a laugh, then ignored. Thankfully, you're just ignored at the moment.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 11:13:00 am  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

What a heavyweight you are Paul. Why not get rid of some of those second hand ideas, that'll free you up.

Thank God fools like you aren't running the country. Hang on, they are.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 12:25:00 pm  
Blogger paul said...

Excuse me, second-hand ideas? Name one fresh idea the progressive/left has had since 1968? Even the slogans and (ugh) fashions are the same. (And as influential and relevant to the vast majority).

Enjoy your fantasy.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 12:53:00 pm  
Blogger Vasco Pyjama said...

Paul, I am less than two weeks away from being mobilised to Afghanistan as an aid worker for a hippie leftist twerpish NGO. There are ways to contribute even if you are too old and unfit to re-enlist. If you are interested, let me know, and I can provide you with some links to look into.

Incidentally, ADF is now sending chockos (reserves) overseas since the troops are too far stretched. My partner is in Solomons at the moment, and his best mate (in Regular Army though) is about to go off to Iraq early next year.

Personally, I choose to go to Afghanistan to assist in the reconstruction as I believe that war is easy. It is rebuilding a nation that is damn hard. My country was responsible for toppling the ruling regime there. Now we have a responsibility to get the nation back on its feet as it risks becoming an opium economy run by warlords.

My partner has gone to Solomon Islands (as I did earlier, but as NGO aid worker) as it is an effort he believes in. He thinks that it is only appropriate that if a neighbouring nation invites us to intervene in their downward-spiralling ethnic violence, that we do it, and do it well. And that we put in structures, principles and systems in place to make sure it doesn't repeat itself.

I don't think the aims of hippies and military sorts are necessarily mutually exclusive (as demonstrated by my partner and myself). The only problem is that we seem to still like calling each other names. :)

Saturday, August 06, 2005 1:10:00 pm  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

I think that's right Vasco, but it really depends upon whom you are talking about. If you're talking about the average punter it's probably correct. If you're talking about powerful interests I'm afraid history teaches they will only stop doing what they are hell bent on doing when coerced by a greater source of power, for eg, mass opposition or greater military power. I suppose there are exceptions, Robert Mcnamara and Malcolm Fraser come to mind. But note even then the change in heart came well after they lost political relevance. It’s not enough to convince people with a more rational argument. Institutional reform is the most important thing. To give but one suggestion, something like making the Geneva Conventions applicable to weapons manufacturers would be a useful first step.

Re armchair generals, practically every modern 'general' fits into this category. Erich von Manstein, considered the Third Reich's finest military strategist, was an avid chess player. Churchill is well known for his interest in elaborate military excursions that failed more often than not. Theodore Roosevelt wrote approvingly of war, how it ennobled one's spirit and gave a person great character. It also helped the US conquer large parts of its hemisphere. I doubt General Musharraf ever slept in one of those frozen huts in Kashmir that routinely kill his soldiers.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 3:46:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Antony, nice post.

Vasco, quality contribution again. Thank you. Likewise, Calliope.

Paul, as far as new ideas for the left go (if relevant in any way to this discussion), I suggest that you visit your local library and look for Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, John Bellamy Foster, Harry Magdoff, or Samir Amin. By the way, where did you pull 1968 from?

Saturday, August 06, 2005 4:36:00 pm  
Blogger Vasco Pyjama said...

Iqbal, sorry... I got so carried away about responding to Paul's thought that I forgot the central debate. *blush*. But yes, far too many armchair generals. In fact, I would have thought that one usually needs to be an armchair general for wars to be waged, as most normal empathetic human beings would be sickened by war.

Regarding applications of Geneva Conventions to manufacturers of weapons... yes, I agree. It would be good. But I think a first step would be to get our world's hegemon to abide by the Geneva Conventions, no?

And to Dirtbikeoption: *nod*. Once again we are in the mutual appreciation club.

Sunday, August 07, 2005 12:50:00 pm  
Blogger Mustafa Qadri said...

Yes, getting them to abide by the Geneva Conventions as they stand would be a good idea too! :-)

Sunday, August 07, 2005 5:58:00 pm  
Blogger paul said...

'68 was about the peak of the influence of "prog/left" politics, wit the Sorbonne uprising/Paris Collective and the Vietnam Moritorium influencing North Vietnam to launch the disastrous Tet offensive- its all been downhill since then, with the situation now where the ideas of the hard left are highly influential with those who secretly fear Edward VIII is secretly still alive in Argentina, and plotting world domination.

Monday, August 08, 2005 11:01:00 am  
Blogger Andjam said...

I'll volunter to be a soldier the day you volunteer to be a Kurd in Iran.

Monday, August 08, 2005 6:42:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Ah, Paul, you are indeed learned.

Monday, August 08, 2005 8:13:00 pm  

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