Sunday, October 26, 2014

It is becoming much easier to go to war.

John Menadue Pearls and Irritations October 20, 2014
We used to think that the gravest decision any government could make was to take its country to war. Not any more. Going to war for us has now become almost common place. We commit to war after war – Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan – but we are unwilling to contemplate the disaster which each of those wars has brought not only to Australians but to millions of other people. But rather than face up to our mistakes we hide behind the valour of service personnel who have made sacrifices.
Each of our military adventures in recent decades started with strong political support but they all turned into disasters.
Our current involvement in war in Iraq and Syria is now so commonplace that the parliament does not even discuss it.
As Henry Reynolds put it ‘
The threshold Australian governments need to cross in order to send forces overseas is perilously low. Because there has never been an assessment of why Australia has been so often involved in war, young people must get the impression that war is a natural and inescapable part of national life. It is what we do and we are good at it. We ‘punch above our weight’. War is treated as though it provides the venue and the occasion for Australian heroism and martial virtuosity. While there is much talk of dying, or more commonly of sacrifice, there is little mention of killing and never any assessment of the carnage visited on distant countries in our name.’
In modern Australia the sword has become mightier than the pen………
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