Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Five diggers killed

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Five Australian soldiers have been killed in two separate incidents in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, marking one of Australia’s darkest days since the Vietnam War.

In a press conference in Canberra this afternoon, acting Chief of the Defence Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin said two Australian soldiers had been killed in a US Black Hawk crash in Afghanistan this morning (Australian time).

Earlier today the government confirmed three Australian soldiers were killed and two injured in an attack in Afghanistan by someone wearing an Afghan army uniform.
Members of Australia’s Special Operations Command move through the Garmab Valley, in Oruzgan Province.

Members of Australia’s Special Operations Command move through the Garmab Valley, in Oruzgan Province. Photo: Australian Defence Force

Air Marshal Mark Binskin said the families of the men had been notified. The latest deaths bring the number of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since February 2002 to 38.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/five-australian-soldiers-killed-in-afghanistan-20120830-251og.html#ixzz250TiRfe5

• Tasmanian Times: Get out of Afghanistan

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Garry Stannus

    September 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Nos morituri, te salutamus!

  2. phill Parsons

    September 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    As we reflect on the deaths of more Australians in the hottest part of the cold war we need to ask ourseleves [the Americans will probably never ask] was it the correct decision to support the Taliban against the then Afghan government.

    After all it was that intervention [as portrayed in Charlie Wilson’s War] that made the space for Osama Bin Laden’s development of Al Quieda, now a blight upon the lives of people in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, India, Pakistan and other places.

    It has come close to home with the Bali bombings and a ramping up of the activities of the security services, gave new life to ideas that do not belong in our democracy [those of racism and fundamentalism] and has driven assylum seekers into seeking refuge away from their homelands.

    It is dividing the Australain community as the selfish are manipulated for political gain, attempting to sideline the voices of reason.

    Perhaps Afghanistan could have been stabilized sooner if the momentum of the defeat of the Taliban government had not been diverted by the oil fed madness of Cheney and the ego of Bush junior as they blamed the wrong man and ruined Iraq for several generations.

    The only imperative to stay is that Gillard will be pilloried by Abbott if she agrees to bring the troops home early and she cannot afford that.

    Therfore, the only thing in the way of more diggers dying without a clear end is Abbott.

    Once ISAF ends its mission an undereducated nation is likely to again fall victimn to the desires of armed groups as they vie for regional power or for a leading position in the perversion of their faith.

    Perhaps there will be a Central Asian spring to begin the path from the ravages of decades of war but i doubt if it will start in 2014.

  3. dyslexictrout

    August 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    “Apparatus of bellum est fattened per viaticus commodo” – General Sherman.

  4. TV Resident

    August 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    This is a war that will NEVER be won by anyone. Our young men and women should never have been sent to Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else to appease Bush, Blair or Howard. The three of them, along with others in their clique, should face war criminal charges. These men have supported ‘terrorism’ from our own troops and yet have the gall to say they are fighting ‘terrorism’. IMO a terrorist is anyone who ‘invades’ another country, it doesn’t matter what the reason. Our troops should remain being trained to protect our own shores and not be sent on wild goose chases to appease the ‘blood lust’ of crooked leaders. It worries me that the USA seem to think that they are the only country that can have nuclear weapons and will war with anyone who thinks otherwise. There is something very wrong in their desire for ‘world dictatorship’.

  5. Leonard Colquhoun

    August 30, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Comment 12’s directing us to “Gillard’s fatuous comments” is very relevant – the notion of a Leftish PM vocalising “support for ‘our’ troops” is one or all of the following: inconsistency / irony / hypocrisy.

    Under the Rudd / Gillard governments, defence spending has fallen to its lowest since the late 1930s, and (with the very noticeable exception of the SAS) all three arms of the ADF – the Army, the RAN and the RAAF – have been run down in just about every way imaginable. Not that Coalition governments are blameless, either: it is almost a bi-partisan race to defencelessness^.

    No nation or people which lets its defence & security degrade can expect to be left alone in its Lotus-land version of peace. At the moment, the foreigners who have grasped this the quickest are people-traffickers to our NW, and this is something which can clearly be sheeted home to the Rudd / Gillard governments. Were it not putting lives at risk, it would be slapstick comedy in the finest Keystone Kops tradition.

    Yes, we do have some humanitarian duties here, but NOT at the expense of our security.

    Unless we want masses of boat people lead by 21C versions of Hengist & Horsa, or Strongbow, or Rollo the Ganger, or Señor Colon, or William Brewster, or our very own Capt. Arthur Phillip turning up, and staying, and staying, and staying . . . . .

    M Tullius Cicero again (in case you’d forgotten): SALUS POPULI SUPREMA LEX.

    ^ perhaps this carelessness is one of those unintended consequences, in this case a mindset of “No worries! The Yanks will come running!!”

  6. Tim Thorne

    August 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    #15 What is “the job” exactly? Are our troops to stay until the Taliban have been eradicated? Until there is a workable democracy? Until the various ethnic groups are living in harmony? Until there is free public education for all children, male and female? Until the opium has all been replaced by food crops?

    Or are they to come home within a year or two, having achieved nothing of consequence except the propping up of one bunch of corrupt, misogynist warlords against another (possibly worse) such bunch?

    A third option, to come home immediately, seems unlikely. Can anyone suggest a fourth?

  7. Garry Stannus

    August 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Yes William (#9): the war on terror began in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks. John Howard chose to support President Bush and committed our country to Operation Enduring Freedom. Howard himself had been in the USA at the time of the attacks. Subsequently, he went on to cast himself as the Asia Pacific’s ‘Deputy Sheriff’.

    Our two objectives in our operation in Afghanistan were: the overthrow of the Taliban Government (closure of Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist training camps) and secondly, the setting up of a democratic Afghan state. The desire to get Bin Laden was the sine qua non. After all, he had claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and through his Al Qaeda network had waged jihad around the world. So the USA declared a ‘War on Terror’, and we joined it.

    There was little analysis, but plenty jingoism. I think I recall seeing Howard standing with his hand over his heart, patriotic American style. It is not an Australian gesture, and I view it with distaste whenever I see Australians adopting this foreign pose. There was no attempt to examine Osama bin Laden’s cause. Our leaders decided that it was sufficient to label him as a terrorist and get on with the job of catching him. The issue that motivated Osama bin Laden was the issue that the USA and Australia will not discuss: the theft of the Palestinian homeland and the setting up of the State of Israel in its place. To this day, the USA and Australia continue to support the State of Israel’s existence, while failing to assist in the creation of a Palestinian State, allowing Israel to continue to evict Palestinians, and to allow Israelis to remain in the illegal settlements.

    The Palestinians have been denied justice all these years. American support for the State of Israel has led to the resort to terrorism and to the growth of Islamist movements. The Americans, and we, their loyal allies, think the appropriate response is to seek a military solution against any that seek to undo this injustice in the Middle East.

    John Howard liked to bask in Bush’s reflected glory. But I remember watching the TV news with Hasaras here in Launceston. They’d made the crossing from Indonesia in boats and promptly been imprisoned in various of our then Detention Centres. Howard called them ‘queue jumpers’. We’ve refined the terminology these days. We’ve found it more convenient to condemn ‘people smugglers’ and so we try to stop the continuing boat arrivals using as a pretext the personal safety of those that come here in them. Yet behind the latest version of the Pacific Solution, is still the ‘queue jumper’ mentality. Perhaps Howard was more honest than Gillard. Perhaps not. I remember while proclaiming that all boat arrivals would be kept in detention, he secretly was having them sent to regional locations around Australia. (I think this was because the detention centres were full) That’s how 25 of them turned up in Launceston some years ago. They were free, these queue jumpers, but the Govt decreed that no public resources were to be used to sustain them. Anglicare jumped into the breech. It found accomodation, the community organised language lessons, orientation and so on. These people were refugees from the Taliban but to Howard they were queue jumpers. They found some work, cutting broccoli, picking fruit and pruning.

    So one night, as we were eating, there was news about our invasion in Afghanistan, and the early successes against the Taliban and the topic of terrorism came up. One of the men I was with, a bloke called Juma, had had to flee his home in Ghazni Province. The Taliban had already taken his older brother who’d never been seen again. Juma had been next on the list. He’d already been beaten for having cut his hair. His family sold its apricot orchard to finance his escape. And so, with many a twist and turn in the road, here he was, sitting at a dinner table with others with similar tales and me. The news presenter was mentioning Al Qaeda, Bin Laden and terrorism in the context of justifying our military invasion of the country. And around the table, we were happy to see that the Taliban government was disappearing. However, Juma pointed to the hypocrisy of the Americans, who, he said, had committed the greatest single act of terrorism of all, when it had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima’. That bombing of Hiroshima has occasioned much controversy and will continue to do so. Juma’s point (remembering that he himself was fleeing from the Taliban who were sponsoring Al Qaeda terrorism) underlines the Islamic world’s perception that the USA is an imperial power, which itself uses the methods of terrorism to further its ends.

  8. A.K.

    August 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    #13
    “#10 Around the world there’d be continuous ‘criminal trials’”

    Sounds good to me, bring it on and get rid of all the war mongering ideologists worldwide.

  9. TasBrain

    August 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Afghanistan is just a barbaric collection of tribes stuck in the early middle ages, and ruled by a brand of fanatical, illogical and ultra-violent religious nutters. I suggest we just keep hitting worst infestations of terrorist training camps by drone attacks and leave the rest to fester.

    But anyone with the good sense to either battle the regime should get our logistic support, or if they choose to seek asylum, they should be welcommed here.

    But to spend more blood there? No thanks.

    There are many fascinating first-hand accounts now available from soldiers and aid workers. They’re essential reading to really get a grip on the prevailing attitudes – a few short newspaper pieces isn’t enough.

  10. Mike Adams

    August 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Agree with No 1. A mediaeval country with a puritan form of Islam and modern weapons.
    Islam at an early stage was scientifically inclined: decimal numbers, algebra and medical innovation.
    Then it seems the ideologists arrived…

  11. Leonard Colquhoun

    August 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the general thrust of Comment 10, one might consider if it is about time to bring “criminal charges against those politicians who voted to send troops” to a foreign war zone with inferior equipment, inadequate resourcing and back-up, and over-dependent on other forces for materiel and fire support.

    And to charge Federal governments with (the legal & constitutional equivalent of) gross negligence and dereliction of duty, in that, under their successive watches, our defence forces have been let run down to an extent where only units such as the SAS are actually combat ready.

    As for Comment 9’s “components of our Australian Civilian and Military Authorities” – I’m bushed.

    And what M Tullius Cicero said two millennia ago is as true then as it still is now: SALUS POPULI SUPREMA LEX.

  12. bob hawkins

    August 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the US-inspired invasion in Afghanistan, it should always be remembered that any foreign military person under NATO command is an invader — and therefore a legitimate target for those who believe they must defend their nation. That brave Western troops are dying in this ghastly way is because the Afghan resistance recognises that head-on confrontation with the West’s capacity for “shock-and-awe” violence is counter-productive. Should foreign invaders overrun my country, I would plot constantly to find ways to undermine their morale. May the planet never again find itself in the tragic situation of having a trio of megalomaniacal national leaders — Bush, Blair and Howard — blindly determined to start unjustified, vengeful wars.

  13. TGC

    August 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    #10 Around the world there’d be continuous ‘criminal trials’

  14. John Biggs

    August 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    This is a tragedy in which we have no business. Gillard’s fatuous comments about “maintain our resolve” and if we withdraw our boys will have died in vain — so we stay on so that more of our boys die in vain. Such cliched thinking can only be meant for one purpose: she (and other politicians) think that that is what the public want to hear so that means more votes for her. But that is not what the public want to hear at all: the majority want out, it’s none of our business, and its unwinnable as the British found out in the 19th century and the Russians in the 20th.

  15. Russell

    August 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Re #6
    The “push factor” is us occupying their country and leaving it a total shambles.

    No-one was fleeing these countries in boats before we illegally invaded them.

  16. A.K.

    August 30, 2012 at 8:51 am

    As a veteran, it always saddens me to see our troops murdered in useless ideological wars. Nothing can be gained from this at all, so it’s time to bring war criminal charges against those politicians who voted to send troops to invade countries which have no threat to us, or for that matter anyone outside their area.

  17. William Boeder

    August 30, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Why do I believe that Liberal Prime Minister John W Howard is responsible for our troops being in Afghanistan?
    Originally he was the man who committed the Australian forces to aid the George W Bush (American) war on terror, I do not recall if there was any consultation by Australia’s then Liberal Prime Minister John W Howard with the components of our Australian Civilian and Military Authorities at that time.
    I understand that the Australian military commitment in Afganistan was automatically assumed to be given by Howard (without the appropriate consultation taking place, as stated earlier,) to the the American Military Forces.
    I would appreciate some factual data that might correct my comments?

  18. Simon Warriner

    August 30, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I await the naming of the deceased to see if my neighbour’s kid, and my partner’s co-worker’s boyfriend are amongst the fallen. It was a truly chilling experience walking into my neighbours house tonite to collect my kid, not knowing what I would meet.

    Until those names are released, I suggest a respectful silence.

  19. Merk

    August 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    What a tragic loss of life, five young men in their prime. My thoughts are with their families who will no doubt be grieving as we type our comments.

  20. Leonard Colquhoun

    August 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Comment 2: very much doubt that our troops being in Iraq & Afghanistan has a strong cause & effect on the number of boat arrivals. There is a general ‘pull’ factor: life’s sweet here (despite Oz being a land of infidels, heretics, apostates, hedonists and heathens), and an ongoing ‘push’ factor: these nations (and others like them) are so riven by sectarian, ethnic and cultural hatreds that you could argue that any reasonable person would want to get TF outta there.

  21. Mountain Man

    August 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    What a bloody futile war this is.
    Even when all the foreign countries have
    ‘pulled out’ the country will revert to its
    previous occupation by the taliban and co.
    Bring them home now and save some lives.

  22. Peter Henning

    August 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    1# One of the most chilling comments I have read on TT about any issue.

  23. TGC

    August 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Was it appropriate that Australia played cricket against Afghanistan- even though the match was in Pakistan?

  24. Russell

    August 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    With these latest unnecessary deaths, coupled with the latest “Go back to where you come from” screening on SBS tonight, the most obvious point needs to be reiterated, once again – WHEN OUR TROOPS ARE WITHDRAWN FROM AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ, “THE BOATS WILL STOP COMING” AND OUR TROOPS WILL NOT NEED DIE UNNECESSARILY.

  25. Leonard Colquhoun

    August 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Time to go, but not for the usual wussy reasons proffered.

    Our token presence has done whatever was needed by treaty and alliance arrangements.

    Afghan society and culture is the ultimately the business of the Afghans, including dealing with the many gross human rights deficiencies in that country – no point in foreigners trying to change them.

    And, yes, when the NATO forces withdraw, there will be lots of vicious reprisals, as happened after the Soviet retreat 30 years ago. Women and girls will be the main victims, as also happened after the Soviet retreat 30 years ago.

    But there is no telling whether the total suffering of women and girls would have been any less had there been no NATO intervention.

    When enough Afghans, having become sick enough of the barbarity of so much of their culture, have taken steps themselves to deal with their problems, they can give us a call, as we await a Muslim Enlightenment.

    Worked for us over the last century or three.

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