Time to judge our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Somme Villers-Bretonneux Australian National War Memorial. Photo: Alamy (via Fairfax)

Reports of alleged breaches of the laws of war by Australian special forces in Afghanistan have drawn attention again to the length of the war itself and its apparent ultimate futility.

A feature of commentary on these breaches is how their severity increases the longer troops are in sustained combat, as they become shrouded in the ‘fog of war’ where the legal commitment assumes a certain relativity and the morality of the commitment becomes frayed – as does the ANZAC ideal of 100 years ago.

“Legal ambiguity at the …

Palm Sunday refugee rally address: Australia’s wars of choice create refugees

Text of an address to Rural Australians for Refugees in Armidale, NSW by Paul Barratt, President, Australians for War Powers Reform Palm Sunday Refugee Rally, 25 March 2018

 

Good morning ladies and gentlemen

My remarks this morning are directed not so much to how we treat refugees who come to our shores seeking help, but how so many of them come to be refugees in the first place. This is appropriate because many people have become refugees as a result of wars in which we have participated, such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Most Australians would be …

Defence Department says international law is ‘challenged’

RAAF Super Hornet aircrew on return to Australia from the Middle East last January    Image from The Australian

 

Today’s (2 March 2018) analysis by Chris Ray in The Australian explains Australia’s withdrawal of RAAF Super Hornets from Syria early this year, but not the continuing presence of the air-to-air refuelling aircraft and an E7-A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft, and associated personnel.

Nor does it explain why the ARF and Special Forces are still needed on the ground in Iraq, if IS has been defeated, as the Iraqi Prime Minister says.

It doesn’t offer an alternative …

The Media, the Iraq War, and Fallujah

Rupert Murdoch and his newly appointed head of Fox News, former Republican adviser Roger Ailes, 1996

The Australian media continues to fail us badly over its coverage of the Middle East wars, terrorism, and the ongoing disaster of ISIS. That failure began with the invasion of Iraq. Unlike important overseas media, no Australian media has admitted to or apologised for its failure in the coverage of the Iraq war and its consequences. As is often the case, our media was embedded in the ADF in support of Coalition policy. The political class sticks together. News Corp media has been most …

Australian complicity in civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria: A matter of time

An RAAF FA-18 refuelling over Iraq in March 2017. Image courtesy of US Air Force via Wikimedia Commons

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made it clear that he will be no less aggressive than his predecessor Tony Abbott. “Our job is to protect Australia from all threats,” Mr Turnbull has said. “Right now, as you know, our Air Force is operating in the Middle East killing terrorists.” Back in September 2016 Mr Turnbull announced that Australian laws would be overhauled to allow the Australian Defence Force to target more Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq and Syria. The …