Politics

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Nathan Tankus: What the Hell is Going On With CARES Act “Funds”?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 6:24pm in

Trying to make sense of CARES Act gimmickry.

The Tory’s debt obsession is precisely the thing that will guarantee that debt will continue to grow

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 5:50pm in

The Conservative's obsession with debt repayment was on display in the House of Commons yesterday. As I noted when live-tweeting on comments made by MPs after Rishi Sunak's Spending Review:

You will note that the sentiment resonated.

What was particularly telling was that the obsession is not matched by the practice seen within the statement. This table comes from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) summary of the proposals being made:

The critical line is the one three from the bottom. Despite the obsession with debt repayment Sunak is forecasting a deficit of £394 this year and expects to borrow £100 billion or more for the next few years to come. Debt rises every year except 2024-25 and that is because of an accounting quirk (which reflects the absurd way in which national debt is calculated, but that is another issue).

Sunak will, of course, prefer to highlight that this forecast suggests that debt as a proportion of GDP falls by the end of the period. But, as I have already noted, the assumptions that underpin this are that business and consumers spend, spend, spend from 2022 onwards and there is simply no evidence based on past economic recoveries, where caution persists for a long time after recovery begins, to suggest that this is likely. If the behaviour is more normal, as I strongly suspect it will be, then borrowing will be approximately double that which Sunak is forecasting - and will be roughly £200bn a year, and debt will most certainly rise significantly, as measured in this way.

Does that matter? I suggest so for three reasons. First, Sunak pandered to this wing of Tory thinking yesterday. He has set himself up to fail as a result. This Spending Review will be added to all the other OBR wildly optimistic forecasts which have characterised its whole history. And he will be held to account for this. His star will fade pretty quickly, I suspect.

Second, the debt paranoia has already had an impact. The spending cuts announced are intended to achieve the goal of lower borrowing and will not achieve that aim but will absorb massive political capital for Sunak. Fighting civil servants on pay and his own backbenchers on overseas aid will harm him, but also harm the government: these are foolhardy policies that in the overall scheme of things are not worth the fight.

Third, when this paranoia translates into tax increases (as it surely will) then Sunak will make the continuing downturn (because that is what it is compared to expectation) so much worse, as he drains yet more demand from the economy when it will be very badly needed.

In that case what Sunak's debt obsession does is actually make the debt worse, which is very bizarre, but also true. His own belief that he cannot afford to spend more to stimulate the economy, which is the only way he has to restore the balance he desires, is precisely what is stopping him achieving this debt goal. You could not make such incompetence up.

Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review – and why he got it wrong

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 5:15pm in

Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review is one of those budgets (which this was, in all but name) that was always destined to go wrong. After all, for a man who has only been Chancellor for less than twelve months this is the fourth attempt at getting things right (at least) and all the others have been pretty inaccurate.

This time his big error is in assuming that people, businesses and foreign savers in the U.K. will behave very differently in response to this downturn to the way that they did in response to the 2008 crisis. I don’t think they will.  I explain why, and the consequences, here:

There is more on this here.

Oligarchic Imperialism Is The New Dominant World Religion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 2:39pm in

I was just watching a gaggle of blue-checkmarked narrative managers attack progressive commentators Katie Halper and Briahna Joy Gray on Twitter for platforming antiwar journalist Rania Khalek on the grounds that Khalek is an “Assadist”, which is imperialist for “someone who opposes western imperialism in Syria”.

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At no point do any of these narrative managers bother to address the actual things these women were discussing together or why anything Khalek was saying in their video conference was wrong. They do not feel the need to do such a thing, because they have this label, “Assadist”, which they can pin on one of the speakers and thereby reject one hundred percent of her work and one hundred percent of the people who give her a platform from which to speak. They feel no need to address the arguments, because they have a label which they all agree means they can completely un-person someone who opposes western regime change agendas in a specific region.

There are many such labels that are used to exclude people from positions of influence and power for simply disagreeing with the official doctrine of status quo oligarchic imperialism in any way. “Assadist” is one of them; it allows someone to be completely marginalized from platforms of significant influence without anyone ever needing to admit that they’re simply depriving anyone of a platform who criticized the way the US power alliance used proxy armies and propaganda campaigns in a campaign to topple Damascus. “Kremlin asset” is another, as are “conspiracy theorist”, “tankie”, or “[insert imperialism-targeted leader] apologist”.

In reality, these labels are interchangeable with the word “heretic”. They mean “Someone who disagrees with the mainstream consensus religion of oligarchic imperialism”.

In ages past people would be excluded from positions of influence and power if they did not belong to the dominant religion in that place and time. If you were a Jew living in the Holy Roman Empire, for example, the door would be closed to you from ever holding a position of power or influence over the mainstream population. In the same exact way, those who do not espouse the mainstream orthodoxy of continual military expansionism and status quo politics are cut off from major positions in politics and media using the modern-day equivalent of the “heathen” label. It’s a very old dynamic adapted for a new world.

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Oligarchic imperialism is the new dominant world religion. It is the scripture that everyone reads from. It is what shapes our culture. It is what holy wars are fought over and acts of terrorism committed for. It’s what power is built around. It’s what you’re branded a heretic for rejecting. It’s just as fake as any other religion, just as crafted toward the advantage of the powerful as any other religion, and just as dependent upon blind faith in insubstantial narratives as any other religion. But it lets its adherents feel smug and superior to people who believe in those primitive older religions.

Adherents of the old dominant religion used to read the Bible; adherents of the new dominant religion read The New York Times. Adherents of the old dominant religion used to go to church on Sunday; adherents of the new dominant religion go to Hollywood movies. Adherents of the old dominant religion fought in the crusades; adherents of the new dominant religion kill families with drones and Tomahawk missiles overseas. Adherents of the old dominant religion used to burn heretics at the stake; adherents of the new dominant religion imprison journalists and deplatform “Assadists”, “Putin apologists” and “conspiracy theorists” so their ideas don’t infect the rest of the flock.

These labels exist because if mainstream platforms admitted that they refuse access to literally anyone who disagrees with status quo oligarchic imperialism, they would have to admit that they are not the objective arbiters of absolute reality they portray themselves as being, but are in fact propagandists for a very specific belief system. That they are not tasked with the responsibility of reporting the news, but with promoting the doctrine of the new dominant world religion. That they aren’t news reporters, but high priests.

https://medium.com/media/a28e2b5eac1b5591cd2d48c13c2e5c33/href

Religion isn’t disappearing, it has just changed its form. The world has become too small for widespread belief in omnipotent deities creating the universe in six days and controlling all our affairs, so now people tell new fairy tales about a liberal world order which must be preserved by a beneficent superpower and its allies. In reality it is nothing other than propaganda for a murderous, tyrannical theocratic empire, of just the sort once presided over by Rome.

Western imperialism is worse than every single issue the mass media are screaming in your face about on any given day. It is without exaggeration worse than 100 percent of those issues. If people could really grasp the horrific nature of imperial warmongering, the wars would be forced to end. It is the job of the imperial high priests to prevent this from happening, which is why they use dismissive labels to marginalize anyone who might be inclined to remind you of this.

In a murderous, tyrannical theocratic empire, the only sane position to hold is that of heresy and apostasy. Hopefully one day mankind will open its eyes to reality and require no blind faith in any artificial belief constructs of any kind.

____________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Poems For Rebels or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Austerity’s Two Parents

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 10:47am in

This was an incisive post from B. Gray, which I thought deserved much more attention: It follows: Austerity has two parents: greed and fear, both of which are powerful motivators among the wealthy elites and the politicians that do their bidding. Greed: Austerity promotes privatization of public services and assets, and increased private debt, all... Read more

International development

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 9:02am in

After today’s percentage of GDP reduction on International Trade which was announced by Sunak, I cannot understand how, if the GDP is reducing anyway, as it clearly is, all the rhetoric is of much consequence. Still it may be a useful sop to the Tory Right Wing who may not realise this, any more than... Read more

The Australian Army’s inauspicious birth. From the Boer War to the Afghanistan War.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 6:10am in

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Politics

With such intense focus on the army’s record in Afghanistan we might look more closely at its history. It had an inauspicious birth on the first of March 1902 in South Africa, three months before the end of the Boer War.

The contingents from the six states which had been engaged in hostilities since late in 1899 came together to b constituent parts of the new federal army.

They had been deeply involved in the second phase of the war as the Imperial forces ravaged the Veldt in an attempt to repress the Boer’s highly effective guerrilla campaign. In doing so they became usually willing participants in a campaign that scandalised public opinion in both Europe and the United States and which flew in the face of the rules governing the treatment of civilians in war which been set out in detail in the First Hague Convention on the International Settlement Disputes which finished its deliberations just three months before the outbreak of war.

The Imperial army showed no restraint. Thirty thousand houses and farm buildings were burnt along with 40 towns and villages. All the personal property—furniture, clothes, pictures books and even pianos were thrown on bonfires or stolen and carried away. Farm machinery was smashed or otherwise disabled. Standing crops were burnt. Portable stores were commandeered. Tens of thousands of domestic animals were slaughtered or led away to be consumed by the soldiers. Dams were cut and fencing was demolished. In their diaries and letters home the young Australian men wrote expansively about torching the houses, stealing anything of value and smashing up the furniture to be used in camp fires.

But the pillage was not the worst of it. The Imperial troops took into captivity everyone they came across—women ,children ,old men and African servants and marched or ferried them in wagons to the nearest railway station to be carried to the open air prisons rapidly set up on the Veldt. There were officially called concentration camps. There were 34 of them. The death rate was catastrophic during the time the army was in charge—160,000 Boers were impounded; 28,000 died; more than 22,000 were children. More than 100,000 Africans were held in even more ramshackle camps. At least 14,000 died 80% of them children. Four times more children died in the camps than the number of Australians who died in Japanese prison camps during the Second World War.

The Australians had a bad reputation for ill- treating Africans and routinely shooting any they thought might be spies. One study of the war concluded that a substantial proportion of the assaults upon Africans attached to the army and upon Indian and Chinese civilians could be attributed to the colonial contingents ‘ notably Australians.’ And shooting of Boer prisoners may have been much more common than historical accounts suggest. A British soldier recorded in his diary in November 1900 one such incident. Twelve Boers had surrendered to a contingent of Australian mounted infantry members of which ‘ coolly walked up and bayoneted all the lot—no prisoners with them.’

All was forgiven or more likely forgotten when in 2002 Australia commemorated the centenary of the war. Farewelling an army contingent setting off for official events in South Africa the Minister for Veterans ’Affairs Dana Vaile declared:

Those Australians who served in the Boer War began the fine military tradition that

would be followed in wars and conflicts over the next century, from Gallipoli to members

of the Australian Defence Force serving today as part of the international coalition

against terrorism.

The war was swept up in the cavalcade of commemoration initiated and financed by the federal government which culminated during the centenary of the First World War. A statue was placed in a vacant location on Canberra’s Anzac Avenue, the mint issued a commemorative coin and official gatherings were held all over the country on the 31st of May which has now been named Boer War Day. In his official address on Boer War Day in 2015 Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove declared:

These men and women were the first to serve Australia in battle, and they did us proud

……….In a difficult war far from home, our Boer War veterans showed what it was to be

an Australian. In this centenary year, their deeds are as important and relevant as ever

and they are widely regarded as fathers of the ANZACS.

What can one say?

Is it simply a matter of inexcusable ignorance or a deliberate official policy to wash out of our historical memory the truly egregious behaviour of the Australian and other Imperial forces in South Africa which at the time shocked the world and a great many of the most prominent intellectuals, writers and artists in Britain itself.

But it draws attention to a profound problem created by what has been called the militarisation of Australian history, a project supported, often enthusiastically, by both sides of national politics. Our civil, social and political achievements have been overshadowed by what our armed forces have done in overseas wars. A whole generation of young Australians has been told that the nation was founded on the shores of Gallipoli, that our warriors are the exemplars of national virtue. The lavishly funded War Memorial now promotes itself as the embodiment of the nation’s soul and there seem to be few people in public life willing to question that self-aggrandising fantasy.

And it all has a purpose. The implicit message is that it is perfectly normal for the country to intervene in wars far from our shores. The ANZAC legend itself makes it easier for governments to go to war and makes it difficult for sceptics to carry out appropriate assessment when the diggers return. War is thereby normalised as something which we Australians routinely engage in and we always acquit ourselves well. How rarely we engage in serious assessment of what our assorted wars have achieved. We are even less able to seriously debate the morality of carrying war into countries like the Boer Republics that we knew very little about and which presented no conceivable threat to our homeland

It therefore comes as a shock to our self-perception when we are finally forced to confront the brutal reality of war, when the veil of gauzy romanticism is ripped away. We would have been for better prepared to confront the truth about Afghanistan if we had always known about the infamous circumstances attending the birth of the national army.

The Brereton Report: what the military can learn from the health system

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 5:59am in

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Politics

The Brereton Report makes for uncomfortable reading. Its findings and recommendations principally focus on individuals and their conduct, including unlawful acts, wilful misreporting, falsifying records, failing to exercise proper control over subordinates, giving false evidence and suborning colleagues to give false evidence. There are a handful of recommendations in relation to culture but they tend to focus on operational matters and training.

Several important lessons from the health system can and should be applied to the Australian military. This might seem a strange and implausible connection – health and the military – but not so long ago hospitals and their nursing staff were established and run along military lines. It has long been observed that nursing was ‘born in the church and bred in the army’ and, until nursing education moved into universities in the 1980s, the most inexperienced recruits were on the ‘front line’, making rigid obedience to orders and meticulous attention to minor detail critical for both staff and patient safety.

What has changed for health?

First, the evidence has shown that strict hierarchical structures are not conducive to patient safety. Programs such as ‘speaking up for safety’ encourage and educate even the most junior nursing and medical staff to raise their concerns when they believe the system might be unsafe. Bullying has been recognised as endemic within these hierarchical structures and active anti-bullying campaigns and programs are in place, although there is always more to be done. In addition, the administrative hierarchies have been flattened. The chief executive’s office is open to all. Chief executives regularly walk the floors and hold town hall meetings.

Second, when high-profile medical mishaps occur, internal and external reviews and formal inquiries, such as the 2008 Garling Report into acute care services in NSW public hospitals, demand the identification of cultural and organisational changes to prevent a recurrence. This focus is at least as important to the health system as is delivering redress to those who have been adversely affected and taking action against those found at fault. When things do go wrong, the system encourages open disclosure and a just culture and important protections are given to whistle blowers.

Third, governance arrangements have changed to allow other voices to be heard by the senior leadership team. The days of hospital boards being comprised solely of doctors are long gone. Hospital boards must meet community expectations on diversity and inclusion and have members with backgrounds that include other health professions, patients and carers, business, risk, governance, stakeholder engagement, NGOs, IT, marketing and communications. We know from the Banking Royal Commission that ‘group think’, a slavish adherence to orthodoxy and cognitive bias are the enemies of innovation and change. Diversity delivers strength and ensures that hard, uncomfortable and novel questions are regularly put to management.

Fourth, even though health focuses diligently on things that have gone wrong, learning from excellence and understanding resilience in healthcare are helping health services and their staff to focus on what goes right, and to capitalise on the goodwill and expertise at every level in the services .

Fifth, partnering with consumers at every stage of health service delivery is growing into a critical element of the co-production of health care. Studying, understanding and acknowledging the impact of the work we do on the people we do it with and for is critical to the improvement of services, even when sometimes the feedback from those partnerships may require us to do radical re-thinks.

Finally, hospital administrators are expected to accept accountability for high-profile medical mishaps and systemic problems, especially if they could have been known or uncovered by asking the right questions.

These developments have made for a much better, more agile and more resilient health system than we had a century ago, even if it might not be immediately recognisable to Florence Nightingale. Naturally, there are still chains of command. Excellence and compassion continue to be delivered. There are flexible and evidence-based models of care that guide and standardise decision making.

The arguments that the military is somehow different because of its mission and its traditions and that civilians do not understand the issues and challenges applicable to the military are redolent of similar arguments that were once put forward about the health system. Those arguments are outdated and no longer hold water. The military has shown its ability to adapt to modern civilian laws on work, health and safety and the environment. There should be no reason why the positives from the health system could not be applied to the Australian military.

West Australian Liberals gamble on youth

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 5:58am in

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Like a football club hoping to climb up from the bottom of the ladder, the West Australian Liberals have gone for youth in their latest leadership selection.
Zac Kirkup, elected unopposed to the Liberal leadership on Tuesday, is 33-years-old. He is in his first term in the State Parliament, having been elected in 2017 on a thin majority in the seat of Dawesville, south of Perth. His success was widely anticipated and may be seen either as a bold move by the WA Liberals or a sign of desperation, or perhaps a bit of both.

Politics is a funny sort of job and some people are cut out for it. Zac Kirkup is one of them and I expect him to be a formidable opponent, even for the tough hombres on the Labor front bench in Perth. I had never heard of Kirkup when I surveyed the West Australian scene in July for a post in Pearls and Irritations but I was assured by my government informant that he was leadership material. The general public will soon get to know him, judging by the impression he has made on colleagues and opponents in his first term in the Parliament.

Kirkup replaces Liza Harvey, who never showed the same spark in the top job that appeared so promising when she was. deputy to Liberal Premier Colin Barnett. Neither Harvey nor Dean Nalder, the mover and shaker behind Liberal leadership rumbles in recent years, stood for the job after the defeat of the Barnett Government in 2017. They left the Opposition leadership to economist Mike Nahan, who made a good fist of it and scored a by-election victory against the Labor Government. Harvey took over from Nahan in June 2019. Nahan was critical of the latest leadership change and called on Harvey’s deputy, Bill Marmion, and Liberal power-broker Peter Collier, to follow him into retirement at next year’s election. They did not accept his advice.

Labor won 41 of the 59 Legislative Assembly seats in 2017 in an unprecedented and unexpected landslide The Liberals hold 13 seats and opinion polls in the last weeks of Liza Harvey’s leadership were rumoured to be so bad that even further losses were feared in the election due on 13 March next year. Labor added to the pressure on Harvey. The West Australian newspaper on 17 November featured a full-page advertisement in colour with a picture of Liza Harvey looking worried. Labor was attacking the Opposition leader on the submarine maintenance issue.

Even by today’s standards it was a nasty ad and it was produced for two reasons. To let the Liberals know that Labor in WA has so much money it can afford to run full page advertisements four months before the election and to give a taste of the ruthless campaign that lies ahead. On the Labor side, Premier Mark McGowan exuded confidence as he opened the renovated West Australian Museum, which is one of Perth’s most spectacular and exciting projects in recent years.

The Government’s Treasurer, Ben Wyatt, is retiring from Parliament at next year’s election..His safe seat of Victoria Park goes to Hannah Beazley, who will become the latest parliamentarian in this family dynasty. It was Wyatt who first stepped up to challenge then Labor Opposition leader Eric Ripper but the challenge stalled and McGowan took over from Ripper in 2012. McGowan then led Labor to defeat against the Barnett-led Government in 2013, only to score a massive victory four years later with the same policies, placing a strong emphasis on public transport in greater Perth. They were good policies in 2013 and they were good policies in 2017. In earlier posts I have speculated on the reasons for their eventual success.

Libby Mettam from the south-west electorate of Vasse was unopposed for the Liberal deputy leadership. She and Zac Kirkup have a formidable task. To stop the rot, the Liberals need to pick up a few seats in next year’s election. The main criticism I hear from people close to the action is that the Opposition simply is not working hard enough. Kirkup and Mettam bring youth and energy but they will need to get their limited numbers working as a team and that might be a problem.

A dominating issue like Covid 19 favours the incumbent government. Voters are even less interested than usual in party politics. They are looking for consensus and bi-partisan policy. As a member I receive emails from Labor headquarters. The Party is fund-raising and door-knocking but there is not a lot of enthusiasm around the traps. After the extravaganza of the American election most of us have political indigestion and we are looking forward to a summer watching cricket.

Don’t tar all our soldiers with the same brush

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 5:56am in

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Politics

War in all its forms is awful, so let’s support those who conduct it on our behalf and, when they come back, go easy on them. They were only doing our bidding.

These days our soldiers are often put in impossible situations where the enemy is indistinguishable from the general community and follows no rules. While there can be no excuses for ill-discipline or criminal conduct by our forces, let us try to understand the dangers they face and the horrors they witness. Our forces should not remain in Afghanistan a moment longer.

The current outrage about the alleged criminal conduct of a small number of special forces soldiers in Afghanistan is justified, but let’s be careful not to tar all our soldiers with the same brush.

Both of my grandfathers served in the British Army on the Western Front in the First World War and both were gassed and suffered other injuries from their time in the trenches. I never got to meet my paternal grandfather, who died from his injuries well before I was born, but I’m proud to have his medals.

Growing up in England in the 1950s and ’60s, there was a sense of pride, a belief in the invincibility of Britain: the Second World War was still fresh in people’s memories, and we’d won that, hadn’t we? Films and comic books about the war were everywhere, and I was fascinated by the apparent glory of it all, even though the part of London where we lived was still horribly scarred from the blitz, piles of rubble everywhere 10 years after the Armistice.

My mother and I would occasionally visit her parents in the country, and I’d buttonhole my grandfather to try to get him to tell me about his experiences in the trenches. He’d shoo me away. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was because he was ashamed, he thought I’d never understand.

Years later, as a teenager with nothing else to do, I joined the British Army myself, and did three tours of duty in Belfast at the height of “the troubles”. It was only then that my grandfather was prepared to share his stories with me, because even though the shootings and bombings on the streets of Belfast couldn’t compare with what my granddad had experienced, I was a brother in arms. I knew what it felt like to have been a soldier in action, and the feelings of fear and guilt and shame that went with it.

Like most recruits I’d never really thought about what armies and soldiers were there for. To me and my comrades it was an opportunity to have some adventures, play a lot of sport and travel abroad to sunny places well away from the depressing grey dampness of England.

This may sound naïve, but despite being trained in a number of ways to injure, maim and kill people, we never actually thought we’d have to do it, until we did. I remember years later trying to explain to a good and trusted friend what had happened and how it felt, but I still remember the look of disgust on his face to this day. I felt like an animal, and I thought that I’d only been doing my job.

And that was why my grandfather wouldn’t tell me anything until I’d been there too, when he knew I’d have some hope of understanding it all, and that I wouldn’t judge him too harshly. And then we’d talk about the futility of it all and how it should never happen again, both of us knowing that it would.

And now, many years later, not much has changed. War follows war, and soldiers still do what they’re paid to do while politicians, the media and public wring their hands about bastardisation and the poor behaviour of our forces at home and abroad, and the terrible toll that war takes on innocent civilians. And then we send the soldiers off again to do more inhuman things to other humans, while the politicians we elected ride around on tanks or pose for photo opportunities wearing camouflage and holding weapons to look tough.

Meanwhile, our young men and women are fighting other young men and women, other peoples’ brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. And while we still send our young people to war, and will do again, let us take our share of the responsibility for what happens next. Try to imagine yourself in a situation where you have been shot at, and seen your mates killed and innocent civilians blown to pieces by an enemy which has absolutely no regard for “the rules of war”, an oxymoron if ever there was one. Our countrymen are killed and wounded, inexcusable atrocities are committed by both sides and it usually seems hard to find a winner when the smoke has cleared and the bombs and bullets stop.

And when our servicemen come home again, from Afghanistan, or from other conflicts that have nothing to do with us, let’s welcome them. I still remember how shocked I was when I first came to Australia and learnt that returning Vietnam veterans had been treated like lepers, when surely it had been the Australian people who had sent them there in the first place. War in all its forms is awful, so let’s support those who conduct it on our behalf and, when they come back, go easy on them. They were only doing our bidding

And, if there is an opportunity for anything positive to come out of all the current turmoil, surely it is to bring our soldiers home from Afghanistan now.

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