The Australian plan to nearly double its forces in Afghanistan, to about 1,000, again illustrates the division between the countries that are willing to fight against the Taleban and those that hold back.Many nations who participate have included legal caveats blocking their troops from engaging in areas where heavy fighting is expected. No doubt Australia has a few of our own caveats in place, hence the minimal casualties to date.
Significantly, the deployment will include many more special forces. The province where the Australians are based, Uruzgan, is expected to be the scene of increased fighting...
The main forces are the Americans (12,000 in Isaf, with another 8,000 under their own national command), the British (going up to 7,700 soon), the Canadians (2,500), the Dutch (2,100), the Poles (who reinforced earlier this year to 1000) and the Australians (going up to 1,000 by 2009).
There are also fighting forces from Denmark, Estonia and Romania.
But now all of a sudden PM John Winston Howard has just thrown our Special Operations Task Group into one of the bloodiest areas. Howard is earnestly warning the Australian public to expect casualties:
"All of the intelligence advice suggests that there is a heightened security risk. There is the distinct possibility of casualties and that should be understood and prepared for by the Australian public."He provides no explanation for why Australia has twice withdrawn troops beforehand, of course.
In late 2002 there was only one Australian soldier in the country.History is bunk, dude!
All this has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that an election is looming, of course. It surely has even less to do with the fact that Howard is way, way behind in the polls.
Of course, a few Australian casualties in Afghanistan, with super-saturated Murdoch media coverage, might possibly help Howard take the moral high ground in defending his controversial "anti-terrorist" deployment to Iraq, but once again I say: this has nothing to do with the coming elections.
And of course, a few highly-publicized Australian soldiers' deaths in Afghanistan would be the perfect "wedge" opportunity for a PM who has mastered the art of over-simplification for the unwashed masses: DO YOU SUPPORT OUR TROOPS OR DON'T YOU?
The Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, supported the deployment yesterday but remained opposed to Australia's presence in Iraq.You see? Howard has already (repeatedly) tried to pin down the Labour opposition on this nonsensical issue, with very minimal success to date. The blood of our "heroes" will not doubt change the dynamics of the debate. How clever. How cynical. How fucking CRIMINAL.
"Afghanistan involves a continued military campaign against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, the people responsible directly for September 11 ," he said. "It's a military campaign which we need to prosecute to the end."
He said it was different to Iraq, which was chiefly a civil war between Sunni and Shiite factions of Islam, necessitating a political solution rather than a military one.
The Prime Minister disagreed, saying there were terrorists in both countries and all needed to be defeated.
Let's get real, folks. Anyone who dares to say that Mr Howard is cynically throwing Australian troops into an extremely dangerous situation purely to save his own sorry ass at the coming elections is totally out of order! M'kay?
And they are probably a whinging pacifist idealist to boot.
Bastards, I tell ya! Bastards!