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Australian MPs Oppose Afghan War

afghan childernAustralia has an appalling 60 year history as a cowardly, greedy and racist lackey of a violent, racist and genocidal US.  Australia has participated in all post-1950 US Asian wars, wars that have been associated so far with 24 million violent deaths or non-violent avoidable deaths from deprivation, the breakdown being 1 million (Korea), 13 million (Indo-China), 4.4 million (Iraq), 4.9 million (Afghanistan) and 0.8 million (global opiate drug-related deaths due to US Alliance restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry from 6% of world share in 2001 to over 90% today). 

Astonishingly, while Australian forces have been involved in Occupied Afghanistan for 9 years it has only been in October 2010 that the Australian Federal Parliament actually debated the matter. The Australian Afghan Debate arose because of a hung Parliament after the 2010 Federal elections. The incumbent Labor Government under PM Julia Gillard failed to win a majority after deposing Labor PM Kevin Rudd shortly before the election. Kevin Rudd had led Labor to power in 2007 with a smashing victory over the Liberal-National Party Coalition but was dumped by Labor and replaced by Julia Gillard after a decline in popularity as adjudged from media polls. Rudd had offended by a draconian tax on mining companies, his inaction on climate change (Australia is a world leader in annual per capita greenhouse gas emissions) and his decision to do nothing about climate change for several more years if re-elected.

However many Australians were upset by the extraordinary, overnight political assassination of PM Kevin Rudd. They would have been even more upset had not the Mainstream Media of Murdochcracy Australia strenuously avoided commenting on the Coup reality that pro-Zionist, pro-war Rudd was replaced by a pro-Zionist-led Coup with an even more pro-Zionist and  pro-war Julia Gillard.  In the 2010 elections there was a big swing to the Greens (who gained 14% of the vote) and Gillard was only able to stay in power with a bare majority in the150 seat House of Representatives by reaching agreements with the new Green MP Adam Bandt (Melbourne, Victoria), the new Greenish Independent MP Andrew Wilkie (Denison, Hobart, Tasmania) and 2 rural Independents, namely Tony Windsor (New England, New South Wales) and Robert Oakeshott (Lyne, New South Wales). One of the conditions of the Labor agreement with the Greens was to have a debate on the Afghan War in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Afghan War Debate was prefaced by pro-war statements from the Labor PM Julia Gillard and the Liberal –National Party Coalition leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott. Both argued that the war was about “terrorism”, notwithstanding expert evidence that the presence of formerly US-backed Al Qaeda in Afghanistan has been negligible since the 2001 invasion. PM Julia Gillard tried to outdo her opposite number by pledging Australian involvement for a further 10 years, notwithstanding the reality that the US wants to get out and plans major withdrawals in 2011.

The pro-peace Greens (14%of the vote,  1 out of 150 members of the House of Representatives and 5 out of 76 senators with 4 more senators their seats in 2011) are opposed to the Afghan War and the  Iraq War whereas Labor and the Liberal-National; Party Coalition (aka the Lib-Labs) supported both conflicts. Labor opposed the Iraq War but nevertheless prosecuted the Iraq War for 2 years in government under PM Kevin Rudd. Accordingly the Afghan War Debate was largely predictable but nevertheless threw up several surprises. Thus in addition to the  5 Green Senators opposed to the Afghan War, the Debate has so far revealed opposition to the Afghan War from 5 MPs in the House of Representatives, namely new Green MP Adam Bandt (Melbourne, Victoria), the new Greenish Independent MP Andrew Wilkie (Denison, Hobart, Tasmania), 2 decent Labor MPs, namely Anna Burke (Chisholm, Melbourne, Victoria) and Kelvin Thomson (Wills, Melbourne, Victoria) and Liberal medical practitioner MP Dr Mal Washer (Moore, Western Australia).

Quotes from 5 MPs of Australian House of Representatives opposed to Afghan War.

1. Labor MP Anna Burke (Chisholm, Melbourne, Victoria): "How much longer will our troops continue to work to risk their lives on the frontline of this war, and how many more civilians need to die? … What measures will we adopt to determine when it's time to withdraw? … I can't comprehend how killing people will change hearts and minds.”

2. Labor MP Kelvin Thomson ((Wills, Melbourne, Victoria): "I've come to the conclusion that this war is unwinnable and I don't want us to go down the failed roads of Vietnam and Iraq… Surely Afghanistan is not some kind of Hotel California where you can check out any time you like but you can never leave, surely there is an end point beyond which we are not required to continue risking young Australian lives."

3. West Australian Opposition Liberal backbencher and medical Dr Mal Washer: “When should we leave? If you can't do that in six months I think we're wasting our time. Forget the fourth brigade, they've got enough warlords and armies to take on whatever you want, they just don't have the will to fight, they don't want to fight for us. And let's get our people home. We all know this war is lost” (see ABC News, “MPs call for Afghan strategy rethink”, 27 October 2010).

4. Greens MP Adam Bandt (Melbourne, Victoria): “Mr. Speaker, no one knows exactly how many people have died and been injured in the war in Afghanistan, because in those infamous words of the US military “we don’t do body counts”. But we do know it is in the tens of thousands….It is now clear that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won, however you measure victory. It is now clear that the reasons successive governments have given to be in Afghanistan no longer stand up to scrutiny. It is also now clear that the main reason we are there is not to defend democracy or human rights but simply because the United States asked us to go and want us to remain. And it is now clear that although our alliance with the United States is important, a simple request is not a good enough reason for our troops to fight and die in an un-winnable and unjustifiable war. This is a decision we must make for ourselves as a country. Mr. Speaker, it is time to bring the troops home. ….

While others in the world are discussing exit strategies, Australia is writing blank cheques. More and more countries are removing their troops and we should join them. Earlier in the year the Netherlands withdrew their troops from the province in which Australia operates and Canada will leave next year. No one has doubted their integrity or their commitment to democracy. And even the US and NATO have talked about a time for withdrawal, yet it seems that our Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition are unwilling to set a date. Instead the Prime Minister has just committed us for another decade or more of war. The Greens have a different view. The Greens believe it is now time to bring our troops safely home.”

5. Greenish Independent Andrew Wilkie (Denison, Hobart, Tasmania): “Mr. Speaker, I’m a Duntroon graduate and former Army Lieutenant Colonel. For a time I served as a senior intelligence analyst. I believe in just war and supported the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan on the grounds that al Qaida was involved in the 9/11 terror attacks, and so significantly intertwined with the Taliban that any effective US response warranted regime change in Kabul. Unsurprisingly I’m a strong supporter of the Australian Defense Force, and have been as saddened as anyone that it’s my old battalion – the Sixth, based at Enoggera in Brisbane – which has lately borne the brunt of casualties in Afghanistan. I was a platoon commander, the adjutant and then a company commander in 6 RAR and understand well the difficulty of the job our soldiers are doing in our name. On balance I’m also pro-US. The United States and Australia are natural allies on account of our common histories, cultures, values and strategic security interests.

The US-Australia bilateral relationship is understandably one of Australia’s most important and I can understand Prime Minister John Howard’s decision to invoke the ANZUS alliance after 9/11. When the US is in strife it is right that we should come to its aid, as in fact we should try and help any country so long as doing so is within our means and consistent with our national interests. But, despite all this, I’m a vocal critic of the war in Afghanistan and believe we must bring our combat troops home as soon as possible. And when I say as soon as possible, I envisage a withdrawal timeline carefully planned by military professionals, not politicians, which speedily hands military responsibility over to Afghan security forces in a matter of months.

Yesterday the Prime Minister was talking about us still waging war in Afghanistan in ten years time. That was an extraordinary admission of the difficulties we’ve gone and got ourselves in to and entirely inconsistent with our national interest. If it was up to me, I’d be very concerned with any military plan that still had us fighting in Afghanistan in 10 months time, let alone 10 years. Mr. Speaker, in 2001 Afghanistan was a launching pad for Islamic extremism. But now the country is irrelevant in that regard because Islamic extremism has morphed into a global network not dependent on any one country… Mr. Speaker, no one knows exactly how many people have died and been injured in the war in Afghanistan, because in those infamous words of the US military “we don’t do body counts”. But we do know it is in the tens of thousands….

In other words, Afghanistan is no longer relevant to Australia’s security in the way it was in 2001 and the continued Government and Coalition insistence that we must stay in Afghanistan to protect Australia from terrorists is deliberately misleading – a great lie which, in recent Australian history, is second only to the gross Government dishonesty over Australia’s decision to join in the invasion of Iraq…

The reality is that the main reason we’re in Afghanistan is to support the United States, and by that support to enhance the likelihood of the US coming to our aid in the event Australia’s security is one day threatened. Such a reason for staying in Afghanistan has appeal to a not insignificant number of Australians. Problem is it’s a misplaced appeal because the reality of foreign policy remains that alliances last only so long as interests overlap. So US support for Australia at some point in the future will depend on our usefulness to Washington at that exact point in time. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other supposed down-payments on our American insurance policy will not, in themselves, necessarily amount to anything. Turning this point around is the reality that Australia is, and will remain, as important to United States’ strategic interests as the US is to ours.

Our location, political and social stability and inherent security, in part because of our air-sea gap and inhospitable frontiers, combine to ensure this is one piece of real estate the US will continue to be prepared to shed blood over. Some commentators see in New Zealand a demonstration of the perils of saying ‘no’ to America. But the reality is that Prime Minister David Lange’s decision in 1984 to deny US nuclear ship visits did not unplug Wellington from US security arrangements for the simple reason of the continuing need for America to access the material collected by at least the Waihopai signals intelligence ground station located on the North Island.

In other words, the bilateral New Zealand-United States security arrangement did continue, albeit in another form, because the security needs of the two countries continued to overlap. And all the theatre about New Zealand being completely cut adrift by the US was just that, political theatre for public consumption mainly in America. So too Australia could continue to rely on United States’ security guarantees even if we pulled out of Afghanistan, because we’re simply too important to the US’s own security for them to do otherwise. In fact we’d almost certainly be at less risk of being taken for granted in Washington if sometimes we just said ‘no’…

The only certainty is that Afghanistan will never face the possibility of enduring peace unless it’s allowed to find its natural political level. And that can not happen while the Afghans regard themselves as being occupied by foreign powers propping up an illegitimate puppet central government.”  Andrew Wilkie wept after reading out the names of 21 Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

In addition, Independent MP Robert Oakeshott (Lyne, New South Wales) has ambivalently voiced concern over the Labor Government plan to stay in Afghanistan until 2020: ''The US is not even saying that and nor should we. This will be a messy and complex withdrawal, whether it happens now or in 10 years' time. This work should, therefore, be on in earnest now. I would ask the Prime Minister to consider a 10-year military commitment and bring that forward to at least 2014'' (see “Gillard talking tougher than Americans, Oakeshott”, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October 2010).

The most remarkable thing about the Australian Afghan War Debate, apart from its belatedness and the paucity of opponents, is avoidance of the horrendous carnage associated with the Afghan War (4.9 million violent deaths and non-violent avoidable deaths from deprivation), although Greens MP Adam Bandt stated that “no one knows exactly how many people have died and been injured in the war in Afghanistan, because in those infamous words of the US military “we don’t do body counts”. But we do know it is in the tens of thousands”.

Before the Debate I sent a detailed Afghan War Fact Sheet to Australian mainstream media and to key MPs but the Silence has been Deafening. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) , the oldest Afghan women’s political organization, published my Afghan War Fact Sheet under the headline “Afghan War, Afghan Holocaust & Afghan Genocide 9th Anniversary” – 4.9 million dead, 3.2 million refugees: report” and with the sub-heading “It has been estimated that the annual death rate is 7% for under-5 year old Afghan infants as compared to 4% for Poles in Nazi-occupied Poland and 5% for French Jews in Nazi-occupied France”. The first and last parts of this 24 point, 25 reference documents are reproduced below.

“The Afghan War has now entered its 10th year. It has become the longest US war. As of 7 October 2010, the 9th Anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan, the human cost of the Afghan War has been estimated as about 4.9 million violent deaths or non-violent avoidable deaths from Occupier-imposed deprivation.

The ongoing, US Alliance-imposed Afghan Genocide has now reached the dimensions of the World War 2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation). Decent people around the world must continue to vigorously oppose this gross violation of Humanity. To assist such decent folk I have prepared a carefully documented Afghan War Deaths Fact Sheet as set out below and incorporating the latest information as of 7 October 2010.

1. Post-invasion non-violent avoidable deaths from deprivation total 3.7 million.

2. Post-invasion violent deaths total 1.2 million (assuming advice that the level of violence has been 4 times lower in the Afghan War than in the Iraq War and an Iraq War violent deaths/non-violent deaths ratio of 1.3).

3. Post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 2.6 million.

4. Afghan refugees total 3.2 million, this comprising 2.7 million in Iran and Pakistan and 0.4 million internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan)…

While Western Mainstream media, politicians, academics, public servants and law enforcement agencies ignore these horrendous realities in gross violation of truth, humanity and rational risk management, I have made repeated, detailed formal complaints to the International Criminal Court over US Alliance and Australian war crimes and genocide complicity in Occupied Afghanistan and elsewhere.

What must decent people do? Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Decent people everywhere must (a) inform everyone they can about the horrendous realities of the ongoing Afghan Genocide and (b) apply and urge intra-national and international Sanctions and Boycotts against all those people, politicians, corporations and countries complicit in this ongoing atrocity.”

Summary of Australian complicity in the ongoing Afghan Genocide

The Australian Afghan War Debate is continuing. So far only the 5 Greens senators out of the 76 members of the Senate and 5 MPs out of 150 MPs in the House of Representatives have voiced opposition to the Afghan War. Australian mainstream media, MPs and academics remorselessly ignore the horrendous carnage of the Afghan War (4.9 million violent deaths and non-violent avoidable deaths from deprivation) that together with 3.2 million refugees constitutes an Afghan Holocaust and an Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention.  Unlike the many Germans who in 1945 said that “they didn’t know” about the Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy dead),  for Australians the Awful Truth is only several mouse-clicks away – simply Google UNICEF and you will quickly discover that 311,000 under-5 year old Afghan infants die each year ( 90% avoidably from deprivation).

In 1945 the Germans adopted the protocol summarized by the acronym CAAA (C4A) of Cessation of the killing, Acknowledgment of the crimes, Apology for the crimes, Amends for the crimes and Assertion “never again to anyone”.

Unfortunately, cowardly, greedy and politically correct racist (PC racist) Apartheid Australia does not even acknowledge the horrendous genocidal crimes in which it is complicit. Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Decent people everywhere must (a) inform everyone they can about the horrendous realities of the ongoing Afghan Genocide and (b) apply and urge intra-national and international Sanctions and Boycotts against all those people, politicians, corporations and countries complicit in this ongoing atrocity.

Sanctions and Boycotts were successfully applied against US-, UK-. Apartheid Israel- and Australia for the crime of denying the vote to Africans, Asians, Indians and mixed race people. Australia is involved in the Afghan Genocide and denies the democratic wish of one supposes over 99% of Afghans that their children have the Right to Life. RAWA and the heroic Afghan woman MP Malalai Joya want the US Alliance out now - preferring life under the misogynist Taliban to US-imposed war that is associated with an estimated 440,000 avoidable deaths annually from derivation (50% children, 50% females and 75% women and children).

A majority of Australians now oppose the Afghan war (56% in 2008). Only international Sanctions and Boycotts – including exclusion of Apartheid Australia from sporting events such as the Football World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, the Davis Cup and the Olympic Games – will make decent Australians take effective action against their war criminal politicians.

Any Australians voting for the pro-war, war criminal Lib-Labs and any people avoidably buying Australian goods and services are wittingly or unwittingly complicit in the ongoing passive mass murder of Afghan infants at the rate of about 0.3 million annually. Thou shalt not kill children.

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