26 November, 2006

Long Tan, John Howard and Vietnam Veterans

Australia has been run by the Liberal-National Party Coalition under Prime Minister John Howard for the past decade. Despite it's name and its marketing, the Liberal Party in Australia has become anything but liberal. In recent years, it has alarmed decent citizens by trampling over our centuries-old traditional rights, protections, responsibilities and liberties - all on the flimsy pretexts of fighting evil and the enemies (both real and imagined) of Mr G.W.Bush.

Anyone opposing what the Howard government has done to Australia is condemned as a "Howard Hater". Gerard Henderson's Weekly Column of 7th March 2006 gives a polite description of "Howard Haters"

During his recent trip to Viet-Nam for the APEC meeting, John Howard visited Long Tan, near Vung-Tau, where there was a battle between Australian and Viet-Cong forces way back in 1966; he also visited a Vietnamese war cemetery.

Nothing wrong with that. 40 years on, it is appropriate for an Australian Prime Minister, wishing to cement good relations with a rising economic power in South East Asia, to visit both sites.

However, what disgusted me was the crocodile tear John Howard shed over the shameful way Australia's Viet-Nam War veterans have been treated in their own country.

What!!! Him???

A politician bunging on a mournful face during a photo-opportunity at an old battleground is one thing ..... but trying to spin-doctor him into someone concerned about Australian Viet-Nam War veterans goes way beyond the bounds of tolerance and credibility.

Wasn't John Howard the former Young Liberals boss who sailed into Parliament on a tsunami of fear that Australia was in grave danger of being taken over by The Communist Menace?

Wasn't John Howard the federal Treasurer during the Fraser government, where he had the power and the opportunity every day to remove all the financial penalties against war veterans trying to re-establish themselves in civilian life ..... and yet chose not to do so?

For instance, why hasn't John Howard come clean about what happened to resettlement loans for war veterans to start their own small businesses?

John Howard was a member of Fraser's Cabinet; he could have taken decisive action to stamp out the virulent anti-veteran discrimination in employment and in education .... so why didn't he?

In the decade since John Howard became Prime Minister, he has been portrayed as the great patriot wrapped in the national flag and passed off as the nicest pal of war veterans ...... and thanks to the image manipulating expertise of spin-doctors, I wonder how many gullible members of the public have the impression that Howard himself had military service (he did not!) ....... whereas he and his cronies have an ongoing disgraceful track record of failing Australia's war veterans and their families.

Visiting an old battlefield was fine .... Using that visit to deceive the public was not so fine.

No, I'm not a "Howard Hater" ...... it's just that I have much more respect for Nigel Nog and Charley Cong ..... they only tried to drive us out of their country, that's all ....


Ungrateful Troublemaker said...

That link to Gerard Henderson's Wteekly Column is

Paul Murphy said...


Ungrateful Troublemaker said...

Paul Murphy:
You are entitled to your opinion, such as it is .... (insults don't worry me) .... and you are entitled to express yourself any way you like .... because there are people who take their citizenship seriously enough to risk their lives defending your right to do so.

UNLESS you have a useful comment to make, you should just scurry back to the George Bush Supporters' Society, Inc., in Baamfaak, Texas or wherever you came from. Or, take yourself off to your nearest USMC recruiter and try to become a Marine ... if you can .... and volunteer for service in Iraq.

Anonymous said...


i knew this politician was another hypocrite.

(i did a full tour with tfo/americal in 67-68. i also had a GREAT r&r in sydney-- i don't think i ran into howard, everyone was great).


Ungrateful Troublemaker said...

Ex-Americal veteran:

Sorry I took so long to get back to you; had some password issues with this d*mned machine ..... but it responded well after a bit of percussive maintenance.

Saw a bit of South Viet-Nam but didn't get up to I Corps area at all. Have a shoulder flash given to me by a guy who served in the Americal Division after you when I passed through Chicago years ago.

Glad you enjoyed your Sydney R&R - nowadays that place is more expensive than NYC.

You mightn't have seen our Mr Howard in those days - although he comes from Sydney - he was young then and somewhat gun-shy .... :-)

Since I posted this, Howard launched an extraordinary attack on your presidential aspirant, Barack Obama, and the Democratic Party ..... saying that al-Qaeda would be praying for an Obama victory. As spin-doctors say in such circumstances, "his reasons for doing so are unclear"; however, he is not a known smoker of non-tobacco products. Anyway, Obama told him to put up or shut up about the number of Australians serving in Iraq.

Sadly, this is now reflecting on the troops themselves in Iraq .... as though the troops get to pick and chose where and how they are deployed; they just obey orders .... and once more the Teflon(c)-coated politician comes out of his stuff-up looking squeaky-clean.

By the way, did you use your GI Bill of Rights or take part in any veterans' programs?

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