Tag: australia in iraq

Abbott’s moonlight flit to Iraq, leaves home fires burning.

abbott talks to military in Iraq

A spokesman for Mr Abbott blamed security for keeping the media off the trip. “Due to security measures, there was very limited capacity to facilitate any movements of Australian media in Baghdad and the international zone during the Prime Minister’s visit yesterday,” he said.

“The PM’s office did attempt to obtain the necessary approvals for media but it wasn’t possible for this visit to Baghdad.

“Any suggestion the Prime Minister’s office ‘excluded media’ is patently untrue.”


Australian politics took an intriguingly mysterious turn recently when Tony Abbott slipped out of Australia on his own top secret mission to Iraq without telling anybody. It was all very hush-hush, so cloak and dagger that he could brief no-one, not even Tony’s Turd Polishers, his own media unit. Peta Credlin remained under the radar. Australians had to learn from Iraq what their PM was up to.

Masterfully, the PM also excluded the Australian media crew on standby in Dubai, permitting no independent footage to be garnered and ensuring no Australian journalists popped up with awkward questions. This also, however, guaranteed him a hostile domestic reception on his return and damaging questions about censorship and the breaking of promises he had previously made to the reporters stationed in Dubai.

Abbott’s mission was a minefield of awkward questions he typically thought best to side-step.

Questions thronged thickly around Abbott’s mutual morale-boosting joint appearance with Iraqi counterpart, US puppet Haider al-Abadi, another impotent ‘Prime Minister’ who recently announced the discovery of 50,000 ‘ghost soldiers’ on the Iraqi payroll. Although no one knows how many Iraqi soldiers are being paid but not turning up to duty, this was a reality shock for Albadi, matched only by his discovery after his dodgy election that no Iraqi has the slightest interest in taking him seriously and that his power is proscribed by Shiite militias and their political counterparts embedded in his corrupt and failing government. He was there to pocket US dollars and follow instructions.

Other pressing questions avoided for the meantime included: what on earth is Australia doing propping up an American stooge, a prime minister in name only who is presiding over a hopelessly corrupt regime which condones death squads and other acts of terror against Sunni civilians? What purpose is served in propping up an illegitimate puppet who has little real authority over an Iraq which exists now in name only?

Why are we now talking of increasing our troop deployment? The PM announced that he doesn’t rule out committing more troops to Iraq yet he said he had no intention of committing ground troops two months ago? Why has Abbott come out and criticised the US for the hash it made of rebuilding Iraq?

Questions out of the way, Wing (nut) Commander Abbott made his dash. His political career in freefall, Abbott, kitted out in a bomber jacket, activated Plan B for Baghdad, scrambling himself, his eternally brunette Ken Doll, Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews, who was to pretend for the first time in his life to have any remote interest in the military, and a News Corp camera crew and the odd photographer. The chief of defence, Air Chief Marshall, Mark Binskin was also on board to add credibility to official Australian propaganda photographs.  It was also thought it might be handy to have someone who could shoot back should the mission come under fire at any point.

Pausing only as long as it took to tuck $5 million dollars into one flying boot and to flash a two-fingered victory sign at a flabbergasted but grounded Bishop from the cockpit, Abbott stole away at the crack of dawn.

Abruptly, unkindly left behind to keep the home fires burning and to front the nation’s TV cameras entirely un-briefed, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flapped about like a stranded guppy. The Princess Mesothelioma was forced to fall back on her native wit and intuition, an excruciating situation for both herself and the nation. She was asked what PM thought he was up to.

Vamping whilst running one hand through her own exquisitely gamin styled coiffure, Bishop raised an eyebrow whilst she inspected the immaculate nails of her other hand. She supposed, she said airily, the PM knew what he was doing but it was not for her to second-guess Mr Abbott on yet another vital mission (abortive PR stunt) but if she’d known they were going to be keeping up appearances, she’d have let them borrow her spare hair-dryer and a bit of eye-liner and some lippy. (Julie and Kev often swapped beauty routine tips, like keeping on top of your grey roots and how it was vital not to let oneself go.)

After she had downed the odd glass of bubbly, Foreign Minister Bishop seized her opportunity and issued statements contradicting the PM’s lie that he was invited by the Iraqi government. Abbott said we would fight in Iraq to stop ISIL coming to Australia. Bishop said she didn’t know what he was talking about; ‘no request has been received,’ she said implying that he didn’t know either.

Abbott knew exactly what he was doing. Like a rat deserting a sinking ship of state, he fled Australia, prudently choosing not to help out local fire fighters in Victoria or South Australia lest his presence provoke spontaneous outbreaks of bomb-throwing, shirt-fronting, booing or other hostile popular reactions such as might compromise his personal safety. He would visit when all danger was safely past. Besides, he reasoned to no-one in particular, the National Interest didn’t look after itself and was known to take unkindly to neglect. And fires are dangerous.

Whilst being burnt alive is not always a negative career move, Abbott’s handlers discouraged the martyrdom option, richly attractive as it may now appear to the condemned PM and advised him to shun public places, for as long as possible, at least on the domestic front. The PM’s popularity is now lower than a snake’s prolapsed belly, so low, indeed, that these days that his diary is full of people, dates and places to avoid, such as the recently announced Queensland state election, the entire studio complex at 2GB and everyone at the ABC except for Lee Sales and any others Mark Simkin says is OK.

Abbott’s clandestine, ‘Black Ops’, top secret sortie was a fully-fledged ripping yarn fit for the pages of a Biggles’ story, The White Fokker, perhaps. His staff, such as remained after his latest PMO ‘reforms’, sworn to secrecy, remained tight-lipped and would only allude to ‘pressing security reasons’ for keeping the trip top secret. Just as it was a matter of national security preventing any explanation why the media were excluded. The National Interest was not invoked but it stood close by expecting a salute.

Secrecy, of course feeds speculation and rumour. Imagine the vital productivity lost to the nation were it to be known in advance that the PM had left to visit another dangerous world trouble-spot. Millions would take the week off work to celebrate. Eric Abetz, George Brandis and the IPA would instantly draft legislation prohibiting time off except on statutory holidays and Clive Palmer would be talked around to supporting it because it would further cheapen the cost of his own large labour force. Joe Hockey could weigh in with a sensitive ‘poor people don’t take holidays because they don’t own cars.’ Hunt could claim that the windfall of the repeal of the carbon tax ensured that all families could afford expensive luxury cruises. And so it would continue.

Imagine, Warren Entsch would wag his finger, the explosion in violence from home-grown and imported mental defectives and other ‘Jihadist terrorists’, who might exploit the Great Helmsman Abbott’s absence from Australia and run amok, following the spin-doctors’ thoughtfully provided script.

Others may argue that the PM was on hand in Sydney at our last ‘brush with terror’, for all the good it did. All that could be said was the lame argument that Abbott had strapped his buckler on to deal with the main threat at its source and that mouthing platitudes about ISIS being evil in Iraq would eliminate entirely any further domestic terror brushes.

The truth is both complex and prosaic. Abbott needed a boost, and Haider Al-Abdadi, our man in Baghdad, needed at least one other friend in the world. Baghdad is on hand to offer Abbott peer support from other like-minded cronies, other similarly scurrilous, self-interested, discredited merchants of mendacity who will happily laugh long at your jokes until your money runs out.

Abbott, moreover, has much in common with the Iraqi PM, including an embarrassing British citizenship, a capacity for self-delusion, political impotence and a disturbing lack of popular support.

Baghdad, home of the Arabian Nights, is a post-modern fabulist’s paradise, and may take out top honours this year as bullshit capital of the world, although the title is always keenly contested. Canberra, itself, of course, boasts some cred in this area. What richer setting then to repeat the nonsense that Australia is in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government? What more fertile site to reiterate the Abbott crusade against evil? Against the ‘death-cult ISIS? Where better to wear one’s new bomber jacket?

Modern Baghdad, a collective delusion, in the same way that the entire state of Iraq is a convenient fiction, exists almost solely in the minds of those vested interests whom it suits to support its existence. The perfect home away from home for any compulsive liar with quasi-military aspirations and in bed with Big Oil, Halliburton and multinational capitalists, Baghdad appeals greatly to Abbott, but this alone does not explain his trip. Nor does mingling with kindred spirits.

Whilst Abbott has, indeed, been bonding with his peers, a select group comprising other hopelessly ineffectual leaders of another morally bankrupt regime on the brink of extinction, the flying visit was wholly for domestic consumption. The PM is hoping to show his own nation, if not himself, that he is still a vital force. It pays to have as few observers as possible in case anyone starts laughing.

Abbott is counting on a visit to Iraq injecting a little special something into his flaccid career. He is desperate to stem his rocketing disapproval. He wants to give the old action PM routine another spin, this time, as before repeating the palpable lie that Australians are much safer at home if we attack Iraqis overseas. All we need do is ‘knock off’ ISIS in Iraq and we will all be so much safer in our beds in Sydney. And we are morally obliged to help Iraqis take up arms in the fight against evil ISIS.

So far the visit has been an incredible runaway success: Abbott has also been able to slip A$5 million in ready cash into an eager Iraqi palm. Such a piddling amount is likely to be punted away in a night at a Baghdad casino but it proves that Abbott is right on the money when it comes to making the right sorts of gestures.

Abbott’s junket also got him away from having to answer embarrassing questions about why he lied about renouncing his British citizenship. A document search obtained under FOI indicates that there was no renunciation from Tony aka ‘The Great Prevaricator’ Abbott. It looks serious. The Australian Constitution will not allow any Australian who holds dual citizenship to be Prime Minister, but a quick dash to Iraq buys Abbott a distractor if not a bit of thinking time as well as offering priceless photo-opportunities with the boys (and girls) and other opportunities to pose as a world statesman, even if he can’t give our troops a decent pay rise any more than he can be honest with the Australian people about his intention to increase our troop numbers in Iraq or the fact that he is still a British citizen and constitutionally prohibited from being Australia’s Prime Minister.

Renewable energy target cutback: dirty trick; dirty work and dirty business.

coal power plantAustralia is one of the best-placed countries in the world to take advantage of wind and solar energy. The country should lead the world in the use of renewable energy. Everyone could be winners: consumers, producers, our children, their children and of course the planet. And it is the people’s choice. The Australia Institute found 86 per cent of respondents want to see more renewable energy and 79 per cent think governments should support an expansion in renewable energy. There is also very strong support for more electricity generated from hydro (72 per cent), wind (80 per cent) and solar (90 per cent). By comparison, only 11 per cent wanted more electricity generated from coal. So not only are we are naturally blessed with abundant resources of sun and wind, surveys suggest that we have a population which is strongly in favour. You would think that any sane government would act in accordance with these facts.

Yet, instead, a dirty business is set to be the winner if our government gets its way. Solar will be stopped in its tracks in favour of dirty old king coal and later, nuclear. Power companies and industry associations will demonstrate once again that the Abbott government is their puppet. Some dirty work has been deployed to contravene the will of the people.

The coalition’s dirty work was brazen. When the Abbott government made a big effort to appoint climate change denier, businessman and former RBA member, Mr Richard Francis Egerton-Warburton, aka `Dick’, in charge of a ‘review’ of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, it sent a clear signal to all parties that its previous commitment to renewable energy targets was to end. And, as it did with the commission of audit and the national curriculum review, the coalition pulled a dirty trick. It hired a third party to do the dirty work.

The decision to mount its own inquiry was, in itself, cause for concern for those in the renewable energy sector. Why did Abbott not leave the review in the hands of the climate change authority? The authority was already scheduled to carry out a review. It seems, however, there are reviews and ‘reviews’. The Abbott government did not, in fact, want any independent evaluation or analysis, it simply wanted to justify turning back the clock to support its allies in the coal-fired electricity generation business. And as the cynical old adage has it: only commission an inquiry when you know the outcome beforehand. On this Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin should have something in common should they meet in a fortnight in Brisbane during the G20 shindig.

In the case of Tony and Dick’s RET review, it was not a review which the government was after: it wanted a result. It wanted to stop the renewable energy industry in its tracks by watering down the RET, a closing of the scheme to newcomers and, if Abbott’s instructions were to be adhered to, abolished altogether. Old king coal stood to gain a new lease on life; his backers stood to pocket billions.

As things turned out, it was not an easy scheme to pull off. The appointment became a little controversial when Warburton, the favoured candidate, attracted the attention of the federal police. Hand-picked by Abbott, who faced down more than a whiff of scandal over allegations of bribery in a foreign venture, Warburton was engaged as Abbott’s hired gun.  It was to be a double-barrelled gun. A self-professed climate sceptic, with connections to fossil fuels, Warburton was also the author of a Quadrant essay in 2008 in which he argued that Australia’s only alternative fuel option was nuclear. For many observers, the outcome of Warburton’s review appeared a foregone conclusion.

And so it has proved.  Despite his disavowal that being a climate change sceptic would not in any way affect the outcome, Warburton’s panel report is clearly the product of those who cannot see the need for renewables; those who see all too clearly their duty to protect dirty coal powered generation. It recommended the RET either be closed to new entrants or increases in the RET be limited to half the increase in electricity demand — a “real 20 per cent’’ scenario. It must be noted that the RET is 41GWH. It has never been a percentage. Australia’s RET goal is for large-scale generators to deliver 41,000 gigawatt-hours or enough to power about 6.2 million households.

In proposing a ‘real 20%’, the government will cut the RET by 40% to 25-26 GWH. If adopted, the recommendations will decimate the local industry. The lights will go out in local wind and solar industries. Estimates are that 13 billion dollars of investment would be lost or one per cent of Australia’s GDP. Regional areas would bear the brunt of the lost investment in manufacturing wind turbine towers from Australian steel, and for other Australian products and services.

Obsolete coal burning plant will, however, be given a new lease on life. Existing power suppliers who are chiefly in the dirty business of burning coal to produce electricity stand to gain as much as $8 billion. Old, inefficient, obsolete plants previously decommissioned would be recommissioned. Power costs to consumers will rise. Research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows wholesale electricity prices could increase by $5 a megawatt hour by 2020.

Abbott’s appointment of Dick Warburton reveals his own and his party’s connection to big business and obsolete, dirty technology. It also hints at a potential nuclear future. Warburton is a highly successful businessman who has enjoyed lucrative directorships on many business boards including Caltex Australia. Yet his career has not been free from controversy. A director of Note Printing Australia, his firm was investigated by Federal police for alleged bribery throughout Asia between 1998 and 2008. Consequently there was some discussion over his suitability to head the review, but Abbott was prepared to make his captain’s call and appoint Warburton personally.

Abbott was aware at the time of appointment of a secret internal investigation into Warburton’s role as a former director of a firm involved in Australia’s worst foreign bribery scandal. Abbott personally approved the appointment despite serious questions about the role of Mr Warburton and his fellow former NPA directors in overseeing a company that police allege engaged in repeated foreign bribery. Accordingly, it has come as no surprise that the recommendations of his review represent bad news for the renewable energy sector, the Australian people and the planet.

The war will cause death of an Abbott government unprepared to share the true realities of situation in Iraq.

Eager to send Australian troops to war in Iraq, doubtless for perceived benefits to himself and his government’s electoral standing, Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott appears to have less appetite for due diligence. Or is it a matter of political will and instinct?. Whatever his motives, he is failing the nation in his responsibility as PM and courting electoral disaster for his party in his haste to commit us to Iraq.

Abbott’s attraction to Iraq is, no doubt, complex and ultimately unfathomable, even to himself but the following elements appear clear. He appears energised somehow as if he believes that combat itself enhances his leadership stature.  War engages his political and personal instincts, including his impatience with detail and depth. It also resonates with his moral view of the universe as a struggle between good and evil. At the very least it can be presented in this attractively over-simplified yet electorally appealing manner. The ‘pure evil’ of the ‘death cult of ISIS’ then leaves him with no alternative but to intervene on the side of the forces of good.

Yet it is far more than this. And yet so often, it will appear rather less: Abbott the political animal loves appearing at the centre of the action. Photo-opportunities beckon with men in uniform, men with arms. Soon images of Abbott in a flak jacket, Abbott sighting a rifle, Abbott inspecting troops will displace the current costume of hard hat and hi-vis vest. Yet there is more to it than appearances. War appeals also, no doubt, to Abbott’s macho man of action’s sense of himself. In some matinee theatre complex of his mind he is a type of antipodean Spider-Man, ever-vigilant over the rise of evil, ever-ready to stamp out wickedness and moral depravity.

Yet surrender to any of the charms of war could be the undoing of Tony Abbott and his party. The stakes are high – higher than he appears to recognise, at least publicly. Regardless of its innate appeal to the ‘fight before flight’ psychology of the former Oxford boxing Blue and irrespective of his shrewd political intuition that a war leader can be a popular leader, a commitment to war is not to be rushed into.  Even putting to one side for a moment his almost indecent eagerness to follow the US leader like a pack rat, boosting US-Australia relations, as he may see it, or ingratiating himself as might appear to others, being over eager to play the war card is a risky strategy. Make war in haste. Repent at leisure.

The Australian people deserve better leadership from their Prime Minister than hasty and ill-conceived military misadventures. What we need in a time of international crisis is a responsible leader whom we can depend upon to exercise due diligence before acting. Before entertaining any notion of military intervention in another country’s bloody civil war, Abbott must reveal a rational strategic plan which is based on more than impulse and intuition. And he must be prepared to publicly unpack his thinking. It is his responsibility. It is expected of him, not unreasonably, by the population at large and especially by those whom he is committing to war on their country’s behalf. Neglect of this step in maintaining trust, in vouchsafing his compact can only hasten his decline, and could easily be his government’s death warrant.

Due diligence would involve Abbott knowing what he was getting us into, and openly sharing what he knows. It would also involve a clear plan for aims and objectives as well as the nature and extent of combat.  So far what we have been fobbed off with is neither open nor realistic. Abbott’s explanation that we have kept our troops back until we have got the Iraqi government to sign an indemnity for Australian forces to operate as ‘trainers’ in Iraq ignores the political reality that such a signature would not be worth the paper it is written on. Iraqi politicians are drawn from those who were victims or who are relatives of Saddam Hussein’s Baathists. At best they represent a quarter of the population. Eighty per cent of government jobs, moreover are filled with members of this group who are often ill-equipped and unqualified for the positions and responsibilities they are expected to discharge. Most Iraqis are not happy to have foreign troops on their soil, despite what the political classes might claim. The signing of an indemnity by a yet to be appointed Defence Minister has been compared to signing his own death warrant.

Last Tuesday Iraq’s political leadership, including Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki; President Jalal Talabani; Mr. Maliki’s chief rival, Ayad Allawi; and several other high-ranking officials evaded the ‘deal-breaker’. Government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh’s statement, said the leaders had agreed that there was “no need to grant immunity to trainers,” instead of the clear commitment which Abbott and the US were insisting was essential to deployment. We have yet to hear Abbott’s comment or indeed yet to have the PM share his setback with the nation. There has been no announcement that Australian troops are coming home.

‘Degrade and destroy’ is a slogan not a plan. Getting the Iraqi forces trained up to fight on their own is beyond any external agency. The US could not do it. Hundreds of billions of US dollars have already been wasted in pursuit of this chimera. And as for ‘helping the Iraqi government’, little research is required to reveal that this is a fool’s errand. The Iraqi government is severely compromised in its lack of political and military authority, its appearance as a puppet of the US, its dependence on embedded jihadi terrorists as capable of atrocities as ISIS and its record of Sunni persecution. Above all in a theatre of war riven with factions, shifting alliances, multiple flashpoints and against a determined, skilled, well-financed and well-equipped adversary with a commitment to fighting not matched by any outsiders, it is likely to be protracted difficult and long. For our troops’ sake for our country’s sake, Australia’s Iraq war III plans must contain an exit strategy, some idea of how and when we might get out. For, as modern history should show us, as in Viet Nam, or Afghanistan or Iraq 1 and 2, it is easier to get into an international fight than to get out of it. Above all, whatever their initial popularity, protracted engagements are likely to prove ruinous to any government in the end.

When news of the prospect of Australian military intervention in Iraq first broke, Prime Minister Tony Abbott appeared to jump to attention and salute the opportunities this might provide to boost his standing with an indifferent or alienated electorate. He’d already had a bit of win on the world stage although to some he seemed to be over keen on chasing ambulances, air disasters and other media opportunities to promote and stage-manage his statesmanship. Some of these wins proved illusory as in the free trade agreement with China which that country has not broken. Similarly unfulfilled were his promises regarding recovery of bodies of victims of the MH17 disaster and his advice regarding MH 370’s imminent discovery. Yet it was not for lack of trying: Abbott almost upstaged himself, such was the energy and lack of reserve with which he threw himself into the new role. Many spectators were unnerved rather than reassured by the newly minted desperately international statesman Abbott crashing about on the world stage.

At home it was toned down Tony who played to captive domestic audiences. Soberly, steadily, slowly enunciating the compass of our likely involvement, his new performance values allowed him full rein to practise in public the advice of his vocal coaches whilst inwardly basking in the warm after-glow of the self-invited, over-sharing partner to the righteous in an international crisis rich with opportunities to moralise. Dickens would have loved him.

Public office demands high performance and high performance standards. In leading our intervention in Iraq Abbott has been working himself into the role. As ever, his instinct is to play to the gallery. Or else he patronises audiences, talking down to the little people who on other occasions he claims gave his party a mandate. Little matter that even to close friends he has all the credibility of a dodgy funeral director. Or that he risks appearing self-indulgent, inconsistent, or inauthentic. Or all three. At his worst, Abbott resembles a method actor in continual rehearsal for a work in progress.  The act threatens to undo him, unravel the very fabric of his presentation of self, the fibre of his political being.

Events will quickly conspire to unseat Abbott’s lazy complacency and lack of due diligence. The myth of one united Iraqi people allied with us against evil will quickly be shattered by the reality of battle. It will become apparent that the Iraqis we say we are defending have a tenuous grip on power and are a diverse group, many of whom resent our presence. Many Iraqis are conflicted with intersecting allegiances to competing religious, tribal and political identities. Much of the government, and its administration has to be negotiated with factions . The negotiations are not going well.  Many political commentators believe that the government has lost legitimacy and any real authority. The Iraqi government is now resorting to trying to persuade Sunni armed factions and tribes to help it fight ISIL but Sunni leaders want greater rights and representation in government. In brief, we are backing up the US in its ‘pick a winner’ strategy but invest it as we may with moral justification as Abbott has our fight against pure evil is much closer in reality to fighting alongside troops who comprise a range of groups and affiliations many of whom are as evil or slightly less evil than ISIS itself. The propaganda war has to be laid to one side. Abbott has to share fully the complexity of the theatre of war before Australia is bogged down in a costly, protracted war of attrition between forces who may change sides at a moment’s notice.

Success would bring only another power vacuum. So embedded is ISIS and those factions who have allied with ISIS for the meantime to hitch a ride into a more promising political future that victory against ISIS would not usher in any period of peace and stability but rather just mark the next stage of an increasingly desperate and bloody civil war.

Abbott’s gambit of risking his fortunes and the fortunes of his party on an overseas adventure in Iraq will quickly prove costly. The ‘humanitarian mission’ will fail as it becomes wrecked on the rocks of political realities which it will become all too readily apparent, realities which could and ought to have been foreseen at the outset. There will be a huge cost to the nation in terms of all of the resources of war, as military strategists like to see them men, materiel and money. But greater than these losses will be the rapid disintegration of the theatre of integrity with which the Abbott government has sought to bolster its legitimacy. Australia is not an international moral policemen scrambling to mobilise against evil but an over-eager US catspaw rushing headlong into a doomed battle without a real plan. An already alienated or at best disaffected and doubting electorate will find even greater reason to mistrust the Abbott government and to resent being taken for a ride; resent its sordid descent into political expediency at the price of integrity and democratic responsibility and accountability.

Wimpy Bill goes to war.

In the latest of a series of disturbing and disappointing career moves including winning Labor Party leadership, second musketeer Bill, ’war for one and war for all’, Shorten has further diminished Labor’s electoral standing and dashed the hopes of decent working men and women throughout Australia. Yet, surely, it is at times such as these ordinary Australians need a voice and deserve a representative who will stand up for them. Instead Australians have been betrayed by lickspittle Bill eagerly stepping up for his own turn on the war drum, acting as Tony’s roadshow toady. It’s an alarming and dangerous turn of events: another out of step drummer is frankly not in the national interest. An effective Labor Leader of the Opposition is.

For those who must serve in uniform, short-shrift Shorten has helped to cruel their futures, cancelling some of them and aborting yet others. Rather than protect his followers, he has helped make things dangerous at home and deadly abroad. Shorten has aided and abetted PM Tony Abbott’s fetish for militarism by backing him in sending us to an undeclared war, a war which Abbott’s spin doctors insult the nation’s intelligence in calling a mission. Accidentally, the word ‘mission’ may be heading in the right direction if only because our over-eager acquiescence in the US military adventure is not unlike assuming the missionary position.

Whatever form of words you choose, however, this latest military adventure is a dangerous war game. We have no strategy, no end game and there is no prospect of anything but a long, protracted engagement in an alien environment against forces which are difficult to identify. Many will suffer. Death, serious injury or a lifetime of traumatic psychological disorder await the unwary, to say nothing of the suffering such military service will bring to the combatants’ families and the nation. Mission improbable will morph into a mission impossible which will rapidly outwear our current hysteria, our quickly whipped up appetite for vengeance against the evil anti-western death cult desert dwelling barbarians, a hate-inspiring phantasm, the constructed enemy of the moment, created by tabloid media assisted by the PM’s strategic communications media. the outcome of such an engagement is impossible to predict. The only certainty is that it will be protracted, expensive and ordinary people will suffer. Those who survive ISIS can look forward to a civilian life of alcoholism, ostracism, family breakdown, a rat shit pension and PTSD. Ordinary men and women are the ones who get sent to their deaths in war, Bill, not the scions of the elite. Surely you would have learned that at University.

Why is Labor’s leader tamely agreeing with Abbott on the need to go to war? Abbott’s not making sense. Never has. No compelling case for war has been articulated by our gung ho,trigger happy leader. And we know that the little Aussie scrapper has a history of anger management issues, an unhealthy interest in fights and physicality matched only by his unbecoming attraction to grandstanding, his predilection for posturing and his ruthless expediency, his capacity to do anything else that he thinks will win votes. Why indulge him? It’s irresponsible. It’s like shouting another drink to an alcoholic who has fallen off the wagon. Perhaps Wimpy Bill has caught something. Perhaps he’s been careless with his prophylactics again. Is obsequious fawning an infectious disease? There’s been a fair bit of it about lately. Clearly the man’s not acting right. What compels him to join Labor to this latest conga line of suck-holes? What makes him think it is OK to go along with Tony’s going along with the USA and commit Australian troops to Iraq and Syria? We all know Abbott may be lacking in many things but the last thing the PM needs is help boosting his war lust or wimpy Bill cheering him on. Shorten has morphed into an embarrassing fan who claps the beat, whistles and throws his underwear on stage – or the moral equivalent of his underwear . Indecent is his haste: the curtain is barely up on the First Act.

Why is he doing it? If he knows he is not telling and his silence fuels unhealthy speculation that he is in it for self-interest, in the hope that the gravitas conferred by joining cause with the war effort will boost his credibility as a leader. Wet lettuce Willie Shorten has passed up on the need to offer any explanation or clearly articulated alternative position, preferring instead to whimper that Labor is bipartisan when Australia’s security is at stake. Bipartisan may be OK in key areas of public policy but here it is an unconvincing cop out. Our national security is not at stake, Mr Shorten, despite the government’s hysterical war propaganda, but it soon will be if you continue to support ‘Wall-Banger’ Abbott in committing troops to a cause rather than a conflicted military zone, a cause that will that will serve to put us fairly and squarely on the ISIS terror target map. As for your own or your party’s future, if you lie down with a dog of war, you wake up with fleas.

Committing our troops to serve in the Middle East will create more enemies than Rat f**k Rudd having a bad hair day. For despite Abbott’s spin, and the rhetoric of the coalition of the concerned, it is not a mission or a cause. It is not our freedoms that ISIS hates, Bill, it is US air strikes. ISIS does have a problem with being bombed and shot at or having a missile shower skewer their fundamentalism. It’s not an unreasonable reaction. Public decapitation in the name of Islam, however, is a means to an end for ISIS, a guaranteed way to get our attention which must be seen in historical context. Whilst Mr Abbott seizes on this with his pure evil death cult slogan and confects a cause from moral outrage it is vital to not confuse the causes with one barbaric symptom. Let us not ignore the long history and theological underpinnings of decapitation in the name of Islam and pretend that the task is an aberrant atrocity and let us not assume that our confected moral outrage is a just cause for  war. Challenge the government’s scare tactics by asking for empirical evidence of threats to our security and for evidence of  our attempts to deal with it before new laws make this even harder.

Enough of that dangerous ‘bipartisan’ drivel, Bill. Challenge Abbott to drop the demonising rhetoric of rampant evil and instead stick to the facts. Or do your own analysis and apply your own thinking. Now, Mr Shorten, it seems as if you are not really listening or understanding, so let us put it as simply as we can. An Opposition is meant to keep the government in check not lie down and let it walk all over you. You are leader of the opposition, not Tony’s double or cheer squad. People look to you to for leadership and they expect you to be independent from the vested interests of the machinery of war. Ordinary people expect you to stand for something and they need you to represent them. They look to you to ask the hard questions and they have a right to expect you to act in their best interests; the interests of ordinary Australians. They do not expect you to throw your hat in the ring with Abbot’s: into the dirty whirlpool of the war monger who deals in death; who denies our common humanity; whose evil business may destroy us all.

Theatres of War

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TONY Abbott has committed RAAF combat aircraft and army special forces advisers to join the fight in Iraq against the Islamic State terrorist group, in an operation that could last for “many months”.

Eleven years after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Prime Minister announced today that within days, the RAAF would send to the United Arab Emirates up to eight Royal Australian Air Force F/A18 Super Hornet or “classic” Hornet combat aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft; and a KC-30A multi-role tanker and transport aircraft.

With them will go about 600 Australian Defence Force personnel — 400 from the RAAF and 200 from the Army. The Australian

Flanked by a human shield of top to bottom military brass including yet another war dork, Prime Minister Anthony Battlelines Abbott confirmed yesterday that he would be sending Australian troops to Iraq – if the country still exists by next Monday. And if anyone can discover a safe air route over a battle zone.   His uniformed ‘rent a regular’ nodded for the camera. The PM nodded back, training his eyes on his guest, a frisson of wild excitement barely concealed beneath his funereal suit and manner.

Details of the ‘mission’ were as we have come to expect in border protection classified unavailable and none of your business as befits ‘up in the air matters’. Mr Abbott, however, made it clear several times that no Australian would be doing any fighting. No-one. No combat. Their role, it seems, would be confined to the odd bit of air-striking, military advising, looting and trading recreational marijuana.

Wagering a crafty each-way bet that no-one in his audience was smart enough or old enough to see through his tired euphemisms and unsubtle double talk, fawning lickspittle and capitalist-imperialist lackey and running dog Abbott’s use of the phrases air strikes and military advisors was typically fearless . It pumped him up. It pumped his audience to see him pumped. And fearless with other peoples’ lives and futures.

What war-monger Abbott really meant was immediately clear to all viewers over ten years old. Australian forces would be fighting on the ground in Iraq or Syria or wherever for as long as it took. Or as long as the US required. For oil and multinational capitalism, amen. All Australians were committed without consultation. Dissenters would be thrown into prison under the newly formulated anti-terror laws that Attorney General Mr ‘Magoo’ George Brandis would rush through parliament immediately. Detention centres with surplus capacity had been placed on standby. Prison is too good for those who by their actions show they are not part of Team Australia, Mr Abbott said slowly. There need be no further discussion. The nation would be on standby for conscription when it became necessary.

Our commitment has been scaled back a bit. Abbott originally volunteered Australia’s entire armed forces, the reserves, school cadets and anyone on Centrelink benefits under 65. Lame Duck Obama, however kindly hosed the PM down in private, after a long jacuzzi and personal rubdown by young Maria one of the White House’s multinational personal staff, the President thanking him kindly but adding that this would not be necessary. Yet.

Digger Abbott’s bombshell was of course in some ways a fizzer. An anti-climax. After all, Mr Abbott had long treated the Australian people playfully to a cheeky sort of strip tease routine in which he gradually bared his intentions. All 37 members of the Turd Polishing communications unit had been working overtime for three months to put together this strategic product delivery. At last it all made sense. All we had witnessed prior from the PM were not so much premature ejaculations but a carefully planned softening up process in an orchestrated campaign of lies and tergiversation.

Naturally, to add to the arresting sense of deja vu, Mr Abbott was upstaged by the presence of yet another unknown War Dork an Air-vice Marshall  Bin liner, according to programme notes.

Despite looking like your local taxi-driver, Air-Vice Marshall Bearskin held the attention of the entire gathering effortlessly. Armed forces do that to an audience. Especially to the PM. Say what you will about natural leadership and authority you can’t beat a soft-spoken chap in khaki with a pistol in his pocket. Or eight Hornets in his carport. You could tell Bats-wing was used to captive audiences. You could tell he would take no prisoners. And he had to be more interesting than Abbott himself. And so it proved.

Telegenic Air Vice Marshall Blinky Bill was intelligible, coherent, measured, credible. And lethal. By the end of his softly spoken chat to the nation, ten chaps had perished in the UAE as they encountered friendly fire from Kurds, Sunni tribesmen, Peshmerga and other colourful local groups united by the presence of further western blood sport. They had spared a few other Australians to be passed over to ISIS for decapitation on social media. At the same time all terrorists in the Middle East had added Australia and Australians to their list of future targets.

It was a polished performance. Top marks must go to the Turd Polishers and to PMC on this pilot programme for what will inevitably be a very long running and highly successful reality TV series scheduled to run on all channels. The pilot show proved compelling viewing and, as befits reality TV, was in its own way both nauseating and grotesquely fascinating at the same time. At no time did it underestimate the intelligence of its spectators. Expect a lot more where this came from.

Sporting his latest ‘Gravitas’ aftershave, another Macy’s product from an admirer in the White House, and borrowing for the occasion Joe Hockey’s industrial strength deodorant, his Teflon coated comb-over dusted down for the lights, the Prime Minister affected a sombre bearing as befits one who must pretend to reluctantly bring such solemn news to a nation so far completely unused to seeing him do anything remotely decisive or wise or in the national interest. In anyone else’s interest.

Abbott’s awkward bearing resembled that of a school prefect, voted in because he was popular for being one of the lads who having just received his prefect’s badge, now for the first time in his life was expected to make a speech showing his leadership.  The effort was grotesquely fascinating, compelling and disturbing at the same time. The effect was unsettling. Even Abbott’s close friend Greg Craven has described the new pose as resembling a funeral director at a chancy funeral.

Yet birth rather than death and romance were the dominant subtexts of Abbott’s performance. Craven no doubt has yet to be informed of the budding bromance between Abbott and Obama. As revealed recently in The Herald Sun, the PM has disclosed a long-standing secret and unlikely admiration for the world’s most powerful leader, describing Barack Obama as an “extraordinarily gifted man” and a potential friend to rival past ­presidents. The spin unit, Mr Abbott’s strategic communications unit were still working on a catchy slogan. All the way with LBJ worked for the Vietnam War. Gung ho with B.O., on the other hand, was proving a little trickier to work with.

Viewers are settling in for a feast of quality viewing as more televised beheadings are scheduled in future episodes of the new big budget reality TV show which is provisionally entitled, Fools Rush in.