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Fortress Australia « Previous | |Next »
September 21, 2004

I'm on the road. I managed to catch a glimpse of the news yesterday. The ALP continues to go on to the front foot on national security, with Latham rightfully highlighting the importance of regional security, whilst insisting that Australia should act co-operatively with its regional neighbours.

The news grabs said that defence and security dominated the election debate yesterday. Both leaders have pledged to protect the nation-state from an insecure and anarchic world, and they dutifully warned of risks posed by their rival.

Both seem to tacitly accept the clash of civilization thesis.

What sort of sovereignty is this that is being protected? What has happened to all the talk of the lessening of sovereignty from globalization that we used to here?

One presumes that the right to resort to pre-emptive or preventive strikes is inherent in the sovereignty of a nation to protect itself. However, does not international law say that we should not act until the threat is imminent? Does not the rationale of self-defense justify one nation's invasion of another only if the necessity of that self-defense is instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation?

At least Latham has the sense not to embrace Howard's application of the neo-con idea of a pre-emptive strike on Indonesia against JI; or more accurately, the hawkish doctrine that a pre-emptive strike against terrorist bases in another country is a justified response if Australia was at risk of an attack.

In the light of the clash of civilizations thesis this is a good article.

The pre-emptive strrike is stated publicly; privately ther government reassures our Asian neighbours that Australia has no plans to launch unilateral military strikes on terrorist networks across the region. See Road To Surfdom on this

September 22
Whilst on the road I managed to have a quick glance at The Australian and I came across this cartoon:


Now Howard is rattling the sabre with his re-affirmation of the doctrine of the pre-emptive strike. This gives Australia a severe image problem throughout the Asian Pacific Rim, and further isolates Australia in the region.

If I remember rightly, was not the doctrine of "anticipatory" self-defense also used by the Nazis to defend their aggression in World War II, and by the Japanese to justify their attack on Pearl Harbor?

Am I right about that or is my memory faulty?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:26 AM | | Comments (1)


One of the major problems with the Fortress Australia thing, is that if you are a member of the armed forces, and you survive, any and all of the actions, that the current government and past governments have committed Australian military personnel to, should you have become debilitated physically or mentally in any way, you are written off. The same applies to members of the armed services who become injured during peace-time service.
Ask any veteran or ex-serving member how 'easy' it is to obtain a pension for war service under the VEA or compensation under the MCRS or MRCS.
The rules are changed to help the government keep its money, the veteran out in the cold and the public servants employed.
When you have served your country in peace and war, it is reasonable to expect a degree of respect and gratitude from the government who put your life in danger. The politicians are not the people who are getting shot at, or stood up by stupid rules of engagement and made to watch massacres. Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia etc, to name a few.
To compare peacetime service in the armed forces with civilian employment of any sort is ludicrous. What job in civilian employment will have you on an aircraft, bound for a war at the earliest convenience of the government of the day? You train to kill the enemy, before he/she kills you. What civilian job requires this of it's workers? What civilian employment trains it's workers to kill it's opposition?
The current bunch of politicians, with a few exceptions, definitely not including those who should be helping service people and ex-service people, have shown the calibre of their leadership and care by doing nothing or as close to it as possible, for these people.
There will be a backlash against both 'major' political parties at the coming election. 'Major',that is a military rank, they will never make it to Colonel, in fact they should be reduced to the ranks and called baggy arses, as that rank is more apt.
Be not confused by the 'baggie's' saying that they have supplied a new all encompassing act for the benefit of the service personnel, it is designed to keep the downward spiral of respect and gratitude from this countries 'baggies' to the defense force personnel, current and past and future in their place, going out backwards and they, the 'baggies' don't care!!!