15 October, 2006

Why Howard will ditch War Veterans

Of course he will ...... Why wouldn't he?

Despite all the dedication and the skill shown by the Australian troops themselves in Iraq, Australia's involvement in Iraq is becoming more and more unpopular with ordinary Australians. The public were well aware that going into a war without post-war plans (other than to make Bush and all the other scalliwags rich on "cheap oil") was an idiotic thing to do, regardless of how bad Saddam Hussein was. Howard and his mob have been the most enthusiastic supporters of Bush and his military gambles and follies.

No matter how justified the overthrow of the so-called "Taliban" regime in Afghanistan may have been, the way in which Howard's mob got us into - and keeps us in - Afghanistan is also becoming unpopular.

Our military involvement in Timor Leste and in Solomon Islands should have been a dream run for any politician but both are turning into political nightmares.

Then, to compound their troubles, there are all the scandals involving the Australian Defence Force and the Defence Department that have popped onto public view despite all the spin-doctoring, all the intimidation and lies and all the attempts at cover-up.

Even getting rid of that troublesome priest, Archbishop Peter Hollingsworth, as Governor-General and replacing him with a genuine Army Major-General hasn't helped a bit.

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All in all, the excursions into military adventures by Prime Minister John Howard and his cronies, which started out so wonderfully, are now going horribly wrong. Only the feeble-minded and utterly gullible believe we are safer now because of Bush and Howard's failures.

Long before official reports were leaked and British and American officers spoke the truth about the real situation, ordinary Australians were well aware that there was a worsening credibility gap between what Howard's mob and the news media were saying and what was happening in the real world.

This set of problems, which would have been a challenge for a political leader who had actual experience of war and personal familiarity with military affairs, was exacerbated by the lack of military service of Howard and his cronies and their consequent dilettante approach to complex military and geopolitical issues; relying on the advice of experts is not enough if you don't comprehend what that expert advice really means out in the dusty noisy real world.

Since what started out as a terrific vote-winner has turned into something that will not only lose votes but put an end to the so-called Liberal Party itself. Military adventures are now seen as a LOSER! and the further Howard and his cronies distance themselves from them, the better will seem their electoral prospects.

Get ready for an abrupt change in political stance.

My guess is that Prime Minister John Howard and his cronies will unwrap themselves from the Australian flag so fast that they'll get carpet-burns.

Then get ready for rapid distancing of themselves from their bestest buddies - Bush, Cheney and that gang. Australia won't downgrade its relations with the United States of course but I'll bet the Chinese Ambassador will get fed up with being pestered day-in day-out by China's newest truest nicest pals.

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So where do war veterans fit into all this?

Once more, they will become highly unfashionable.

And, given the so-called Liberal Party's disgraceful track record of spite and neglect, attacks on war veterans and on their entitlements will start up again.

War veterans - hitherto very useful for bolstering the prestige of Howard and his cronies - will again be seen as something to do with political failure.

It does not matter that the war veterans themselves had nothing to do with the political decisions that sent them to war; it is the perceived connection that is important even though such a perception is irrational.

For example. just look at the way the so-called Liberal Party, the supposed Anti-Communist political party, betrayed and cheated and maligned the Australian war veterans who had actually risked their lives in combat against real Communists.

They've got the template; they'll use it again.

Totally and Permanently Incapacitated war pensioners had better get ready for a whole truckload of lurid stories in the news media, especially on the shock-horror TV shows, exposing TPI "malingerers" who have "obviously nothing wrong with them"and who are "as fit as a fiddle". The inference being that everyone on a Veterans Affairs pension is an out-and-out bludger and deserves nothing.

Untrue?
Of course .... if you want to put an alternative point of view then buy yourself a TV station.

Unfair?
Naturally ..... if you want fairness and justice then be prepared to squander millions in legal actions that drag on for decades (for instance, look at the monsterous injustices committed against the survivors of the sinking of HMAS Voyager).

Not only would this help Howard and his cronies to shift blame for their own blunders and to distance themselves from perceived failure ..... but by turning many of the public against war veterans it will be so much easier to slash the entitlements of war veterans and their families, perhaps easier to abolish outright even more of these entitlements.

And , of course, the lack of unity of purpose among ex-service organizations as well as their ingrained fear of "rocking the boat" and of causing an undignified fuss would make the double-crossing of veterans so much easier to carry out.

As for the righteous expectation that no government would ever dare do anything so nasty to those whose lives were permanently harmed whilst serving their country, think again. Does anyone seriously expect ruthless political operators to be grateful or honest or kind?

Get ready, too, for valiant old Diggers, true war heroes, to be replaced in the news media by more convenient subjects for the Prime Minister's photo-opportunities.

It's sad ..... but again, the Bad will triumph and the Good will be vanquished.

2 comments:

suki said...

...Long gone are the days when HoWARd and CDF (then Cosgrove) would be waiting at RAAF base Richmond to welcome home the troops. The PM would meet and greet the veterans off his 707 and CDF would press the flesh with those coming off the C130.

Australia and Australians still cared about our role in the coalition of the willing and felt somewhat proud.

It was standing room only- media, family members and politicians.

Now we don't even know when veterans return and this government is clearly distancing itself from the whole event.

Iraq does not seem to have been a core promise...or, if you prefer a Downerism- the failure so far to get [insert issue/outcome here] shows just how hard it is.

Ungrateful Troublemaker said...

Suki:
True.

War is never easy and it always puts a strain on the relationship between a government and its people; that's just the nature of war (and it's a good reason to avoid war unless it is absolutely essential for your survival).

What's happening here is that this government just doesn't have the ticker for fighting a war and then fighting even harder for an enduring and honourable peace. For them, it's only another political game so when things go wrong, instead of doing something useful .... they look around for scapegoats .... and, sadly thats where the war veterans come in.