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27 Diggers lost in Afghanistan: enough's enough

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We have lost our 27th Digger in Afghanistan. Senior correspondent Barry Everingham says enough's enough.

27th Digger down: Sapper Rowan Robinson - killed in Helmand Province (Australian Defence Force)

I’m indebted to Dr Raoul Heinrichs of the ANU for his chilling assessment in today’s The Age of the futility of sending our troops to Afghanistan to prop up what he describes as follows:

Osama bin Laden is dead.

Al Qaeda barely exists in Afghanistan.

The country in 2014 will look much like as it does today, and it looks today much like it did three, four and five years ago.

The central government will be weak and corrupt, its security services drug-addled and littered with elements whose loyalty is, at best, dubious.

The Taliban will exist and, with Pakistani support, may even enjoy a more prominent and political role.

Warlords, drug lords, tribesmen and bandits will be fending for themselves.

Even if Raoul Heinrichs is only half right — what in the name of all that’s supposed to be sane is Australia doing in that godforsaken place?

How many more futile deaths of the bravest men (and hopefully not women) we have will we be mourning before we leave this human detritus to their own shabby and illegal devices?

This madness of hopping into wars which, at the end of the day, have nothing to do with us.

Remember Korea? Remember Vietnam?

And closer to home, who got this current ball rolling?

John Howard and his slavish devotion to the likes of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld — and that trio’s quest for oil.

But the then ALP opposition didn’t have the balls to stand up for this country and off we went to help destroy what was as normal as a country could be under a beast like Saddam.

But, at least the mass destruction of cities and innocent men women and children didn’t happen before the Bush invasion plan, although the US provided gas which did help a population cull in Kurdistan when the then Iraqi regime and Washington were mates.

The “war on terror”, if we can believe the polls, is not in the forefront of peoples thinking — it was 9/11 that got all that rolling and with the 10th anniversary of that horror coming up, get ready for another onslaught of hyperbole about the necessity of our fighting forces being where they just shouldn’t be—in harm’s way.

Oh and by the way, each time the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader turn up at the funeral of yet another dead soldier they should remind themselves they do not represent all Australians.

They do not represent the hundreds of thousands of Australians who did not vote for the ALP or the Coalition in the last election.

The only Australian who can represent all Australians is the Governor General, Quentin Bryce, who has no political axe to grind.

The practise of politicians being at military funerals was given a boost by Howard when he sidelined the last Governor General, Michael Jeffrey, and assumed the dual role for himself.

Howard became like Lili Marlene, he was always hanging around the barracks gates.

Its time Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott stood back and handed the mourning back to the representative of the head of state.

 
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