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John Pilger on Australia's "special relationships" with imperial powers.

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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 07:18 AM
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John Pilger on Australia's "special relationships" with imperial powers.
Marching for Anzac in the 51st State

By John Pilger

April 22, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- The street where I grew up in Sydney was a war street. There were long silences, then the smashing of glass and screams. Pete and I played Aussies-and-Japs. Petes father was an object of awe. He weighed barely 100 pounds and shook with malaria and was frequently demented. He would sit in a cane chair, drunk, scything the air with the sword of a Japanese soldier he said he had killed. There was a woman who flitted from room to room, always red-eyed and fearful, it seemed. She was like many mothers in the street. Wally, another mate, lived in a house that was always dark because the black-out blinds had not been taken down. His father had been killed by the Japs. Once, when Wallys mother came home, she found he had got a gun, put it in his mouth and blown his head off. It was a war street.

The insidious, merciless, life-long damage of war taught many of us to recognise the difference between the empty symbolism of war and the actual meaning. Does it matter? mocked the poet Siegfried Sassoon at the end of an earlier slaughter, in 1918, as he grieved his younger brothers death at Gallipoli. I grew up with that name, Gallipoli. The British assault on the Turkish Dardanelles was one of the essential crimes of imperial war, causing the death and wounding of 392,000 on all sides. The Australian and New Zealander losses were among the highest, proportionally; and 25 April, 1915 was declared not just a day of remembrance but the birth of the Australian nation. This was based on the belief of Edwardian militarists that true men were made in war, an absurdity about to be celebrated yet again.


Australias military budget is A$32 bn a year, one of the highest in the world. Less than two months worth of this war-bingeing would pay for the reconstruction of the state of Queensland after the catastrophic floods, but not a cent is forthcoming. In July, the same fragile flood plains will be invaded by a joint US-Australian military force, firing laser-guided missiles, dropping bombs and blasting the environment and marine life. This is rarely reported. Rupert Murdoch controls 70 per cent of the capital city press and his world-view is widely shared in the Australian media.

In a 2009 US cable released by WikiLeaks, the then Labor prime minister, Kevin Rudd, who is now foreign affairs minister, implores the Americans to deploy force against China if Beijing does not do as it is told. Another Labor leader, Kim Beazley, secretly offered Australian troops for an attack on China over Taiwan. In the 1960s, prime minister Robert Menzies lied that he had received a request from the American-created regime in Saigon requesting Australian troops. Oblivious, Australians waved farewell to a largely conscripted army, of whom almost 3000 were killed or wounded. The first Australian troops were run by the CIA in black teams - assassination squads. When the government in Canberra made a rare complaint to Washington that the British knew more than they about Americas war aims in Vietnam, the US national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, replied, We have to inform the British to keep them on side. You in Australia are with us come what may. As an Australian soldier once said to me: We are to the Yanks what the Gurkas are to the British. Were mercenaries in all but name.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 07:27 AM
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1. As usual, an excellent article from John Pilger...
It's a bit of a side-note about the last few sentences, but he didn't mention that the Greens were a few on a local Syndey council trying to bring in a boycott of Israel. Bob Brown, the leader of the Greens refused to back them, said it wasn't Green policy to support any boycott of Israel (I take that to mean that the party wouldn't support sanctions either...

Apart from that oversight, a really good article. It's really irritating to realise how much of a defence budget there is while us taxpayers are being slugged (something I don't object to, btw) for a one-off tax levy to pay for reconstruction in Queensland...
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 07:33 AM
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2. American chickenhawks claim Australia is militarist because "they live in a dangerous neighborhood"
Presumably, that big country that produces cell phones and blue jeans is the biggest threat to world security.
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