Carlo's Corner: New failed Iraq War to mark Gallipoli?

April 16, 2015
Surely a minimum requirement for sending people off to die in war is you can at least name the enemy, something Kevin Andrews wa

The 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing is nearly upon us and the government decided to kick off commemorating the sacrifice of nearly 9000 Australian soldiers in the failed invasion of Turkey by sending 300 more soldiers to take part in the seemingly endless failed war on Iraq.

This government is sometimes accused of insensitivity, but who could disagree that the best way to remember a disastrous invasion of a country half-way around the world that poses no threat to Australia on behalf of an incompetent foreign power is to repeat the exercise.

There can surely be no better place to repeat it than Iraq on behalf of the United States, because you can be certain you're on safe ground. Few, if any, nations in recent years can claim such a strong track record in the area of futile, failed and catastrophic invasions of foreign countries at huge human cost, and nowhere has a US invasion been so disastrous as in Iraq.

Though I suppose we shouldn't be too hard on the US's geopolitical track record in recent times, seeing as the Barack Obama administration is trumpeting a potential agreement with Iran for greater oversight of its nuclear energy program in return for easing US sanctions.

This is indeed a huge testimony to US power, with years of diplomatic pressure, sanctions and tough negotiations finally forcing the Iranian regime to accept the exact same thing it was willing to accept more than a decade ago.

Of course, it could be added by some negative nellies that the only reason the US is even considering such an agreement is because its failed war on Iraq has left it dependent on Iranian help to contain the fall out, but that would be churlish.

It does represent real progress, when you consider it took the US nearly 65 years to finally admit its attack on Cuba's national sovereignty via sanctions had failed to impose US power on the small Caribbean island, whereas it's only taken about a dozen years to reach the same conclusion in the case of Iran.

At this rate, we might expect the US to realise its new sanctions on Venezuela — condemned by every Latin American nation as well as the Group of 77 + China international body involving 134 countries — has badly backfired sometime before the end of the decade, more or less.

When it comes to repeating history, they say the golden rule is “first time tragedy, second time farce”. And to his credit, defence minister Kevin Andrews turned up on cue to provide the farce, failing repeatedly, when asked by 7:30's Leigh Sales on April 14, to name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — the leader of the Islamic State (IS) forces the Australian soldiers have been sent to fight.

Really, in the matter of sending young men and women off to die in a foreign war, you'd think the bare minimum for a leader should be the ability to actually name the enemy.

Winston Churchill would hardly have developed a reputation as an inspiring leader during World War II if he gave speeches that went: “We shall fight them on the beaches, you know them, led by … whatshisname …”

And then if pressed to respond like Andrews in the case of the IS, insisting that the Nazi leader's name “was an operational matter” and anyway, “there's a series of people involved”.

It was actually refreshing to see Andrews go on national TV and humiliatingly display his ignorance, because Tony Abbott has been disturbingly quiet of late.

It seems like forever since he last put his foot in his mouth with an out-of-touch, ultra-reactionary or just plain batshit crazy statement, and really, if we must suffer under this cruel, pro-war, poor-hating government, then providing some cheap entertainment along the way is the least they can do.

I can't help but wonder whether Abbott's advisers have put him on a heavy course of ultra-strong sedatives, or perhaps even replaced him with an imposter, with the real Abbott tied up in a basement under Parliament House shouting: “Help me! Help me! Please somebody! At least get me an onion, I'm really hungry!”

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