Prime Minister Abbott’s constant reference to ISIL as a “Death Cult” is a gross over-simplification of a complex conflict in the Arab world. It is intended to exploit the gullibility of a great many Australians who take little interest in and have little understanding of that part of the world as they do not see it as affecting their personal interests, let alone that of the nation.
By deepening Australia’s military involvement in Iraq – which demonstrates that this government has learnt nothing from recent history – Australia is aligning with one dubious side over others in what is clearly an intense civil war. A war that essentially involves tribes; a war we have no business in engaging.
Surprisingly the same criticism can be leveled at the Federal Opposition which one might have thought had learnt something from its recent period of government.
One wonders indeed what advice the government has been receiving from its diplomats at the Department of Foreign Affairs – or are they being cowed as some were for years at the time of Vietnam?
In the next edition of the War Powers Reform Bulletin we link to an incisive article by Tom Switzer which exposes the fantasies (recall Abbott’s recent repetitive use of the term ‘fantasy’) underlying his justification for increasing Australian military involvement in Arab and Muslim affairs far from our shores. One uses the word ‘increasingly’ in this context as Abbott has foreshadowed further deployments which, despite his denials of “mission creep, is about as good a forward announcement of his intentions as one might get.
So why o’why, after all the tragedies, disappointments, indeed pointlessness of previous entanglements with Arab nationalism and overseas Muslim conflicts do we persist in endangering the lives of our military, and citizens at home, who unwittingly are being led into this quagmire. And this without a Status of Forces Agreement to protect the military from arbitrary prosecutions under Iraqi law.
Even worse is that Abbott has no idea of what would be ‘success’ in this mission, whether creeping or not, which most analysts see as lasting for many more years, just as the Afghan campaign led to the longest war in America’s history. – and that was without any measure of ‘success’.
From Australia’s perspective the conflict in Syria/Iraq is destined not to have a ‘good’ outcome. Historically it will be seen as yet another rebalancing of their disparate elements with far too many victims – military and civilian – whose plight we will do little to alleviate. The old colonial state structures in this region are destined to be realigned in this century.
Ill-considered foreign interventions with bombs and bullets only compound the problems; they are not a solution. Their solution at this time lies with the countries and peoples most immediately involved, to resolve themselves with force or otherwise.