Green Left Weekly's 250,000 Fighting Fund: Join the army, see the world, meet interesting people — and kill them

November 17, 1993

Peter Boyle

This was a slogan on popular anti-war badges and posters in the 1960s and 1970s. It also sums up (without the dressing) PM John Howard's recent call for a bigger Australian army.

He's spending $10 billion to add two new battalions to the army. This is on top of the extra $51 billion in arms spending his government announced in June. When it comes to hospitals and schools there's no money, but when it comes to the military it's spend, spend, spend!

The extra troops and weapons are for imperialistic interventions in other countries, not for defence. As Howard puts it: "With the ongoing role that this government sees Australia playing, as a partner with our allies in other parts of the world in operations, not necessarily directly analogous, to but not dissimilar from Afghanistan and Iraq, it is quite obvious that we do need a larger army."

And what is the federal Labor opposition saying?

Kim "Bomber" Beazley: "We went to the last election with me as defence spokesman saying the army needed to be bigger. The army is hopelessly overstretched at this moment. And we have great challenges in this area and we had a very specific set of propositions. Those light troops readily deployable in the immediate region, they needed reinforcing and increasing. So, we argued at the last election, the army should be increased. But the problem is this: John Howard has in fact presided over a decrease in the army."

Me too, me too! I said it first! I'd do it better! Didn't the ALP election strategists conclude that the old shoulder-to-shoulder tactic was a spectacular failure? Didn't they tell the Bomber?

Green Left Weekly says: Don't be sucked in. Don't become cannon fodder for the corporate rich's global killing spree. Heed the lesson drawn by Long Tan veteran and former company commander Harry Smith, who said on ABC TV's 7.30 Report on August 17: "You know, my feeling 40 years down the track is that it was very sad that we were committed to that war. We lost 520 Australians in Vietnam and 2500 wounded."

And it cost between 2 and 4 million Vietnamese lives between 1945 and 1975. Enough said.

Instead of enlisting in their army, join the "army" of Green Left Weekly supporters who keep this proudly anti-war newspaper afloat. Our "army" of supporters raised $6038 for the Green Left Weekly fighting fund last week. This brings the total we have raised so far this year to $115,018. If you can help make our Fighting Fund target of $250,000 (we are only 46% of the way there!) please send your donation now to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, phone it through on the toll-free line 1800 634 206 (calls from within Australia only) or donate online at: <>.

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