Time to judge our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Somme Villers-Bretonneux Australian National War Memorial. Photo: Alamy (via Fairfax)

Reports of alleged breaches of the laws of war by Australian special forces in Afghanistan have drawn attention again to the length of the war itself and its apparent ultimate futility.

A feature of commentary on these breaches is how their severity increases the longer troops are in sustained combat, as they become shrouded in the ‘fog of war’ where the legal commitment assumes a certain relativity and the morality of the commitment becomes frayed – as does the ANZAC ideal of 100 years ago.

“Legal ambiguity at the …

Describing ISIL as a “Death Cult” is a ploy to dumb us down.

Prime Minister Abbott’s constant reference to ISIL as a “Death Cult” is a gross over-simplification of a complex conflict in the Arab world. It is intended to exploit the gullibility of a great many Australians who take little interest in and have little understanding of that part of the world as they do not see it as affecting their personal interests, let alone that of the nation.

By deepening Australia’s military involvement in Iraq – which demonstrates that this government has learnt nothing from recent history – Australia is aligning with one dubious side over others in what is clearly …

Are we again on the brink of further “Mission Creep” in Iraq?

In his 2015 State of the Union address President Obama noted that Iraq War No 3 (not his term) “will take time”, meaning there is no end in sight. But what is it that  will take time? What would be its end? Does anyone have any realistic idea about that given that a militant cancer is spreading throughout the Middle East?

The US has recently committed a further 3,000 troops to Iraq though officially their ‘combat roles’ are confined to air strikes in Iraq and Syria. It is not hard to envisage that before the US can reduce troop levels …

Two decades of super profits not enough

I DON’T know whether to laugh or cry when I hear Tatts claim that it has been treated ”unconscionably” by the Victorian government (”$1bn hinges on one word”, The Age, 17/8). Tatts and Tabcorp raked in billions over the 20 years of the duopoly they held in Victoria. Most of this came from the pockets of vulnerable people, leaving a trail of crime, broken homes and mental illness in its wake.

Further, the killing they made was far more than the government ever expected they would make. A National Competition Policy review in 2000 found that both companies were extracting …