RSS Feed

Tag Archives: war


Posted on

Lest I forget.

Tomorrow, ANZAC Day, is when we remember the Australians who served in all theatres of war since World War 1.

I sit here today with my Dad's five war medals beside me.  
They were the only thanks he received for participating in World War 2 in Ceylon and the Middle East.
His personal legacy of service was having to live the second half of his life classified as Totally and Permanently Incapacitated.

I also think of my gentle-natured teenage mate who at age 20 drew the short ballot straw and was sent off to fight in Vietnam.  He saw and experienced things there which took away his sense of fun and humour, and sent his mind to a place which never again needed my close friendship.

Additionally, I have enormous gratitude for all the young Aussie men responsible, under appalling conditions, for repelling Japanese invasion forces in WW2 at our front doorstep, on Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Track in spite of inept high level military command and support.

My allegience to Australia does not however preclude me from also giving compassionate thought to the 100,000 Japanese young men who died in the PNG conflict.

They, just like our own front line soldiers, were simply pawns in the ugly game of human conflict.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Wars are good ……….

Posted on

………for very little except the following;

New Guinea, an innocent bystander, found itself plumb in the path of Japanese expansionist forces during World War 2.

Closely followed by Australia's defense response, and a massive United States military presence, both of which combined with loyal Papuans and New Guineans to eventually achieve the formal Japanese surrender at Wewak in September 1945.

The US does not pussyfoot around when it comes to conducting warfare.
Nor does it spend much time dusting the shelves or vacuuming under the beds when it comes time to leave.

At Finschhafen, a major base for US forces in New Guinea, massive amounts of infrastructure, stores and machinery were simply bulldozed off the end of the isthmus into the ocean, leaving behind only two things.

1. Cleared earth.

2. A wonderful opportunity for an enterprising Australian businessman to almost immediately hoist everything back out of the sea, and, in very short order become a millionaire ship and aircraft owner from the proceeds of selling scrap metal.

Twenty years after the war, as a rural village development worker I was eternally grateful to the Americans for providing a seemingly limitless supply of marsden matting, (perforated steel sheeting used to surface military aircraft landing strips)  44 gallon drums, wire rope of all dimensions, and steel culvert pipes.

These resources were used for good purposes building houses, suspension foot bridges over deep gorges, copra driers, and village smallholder pig and poultry projects.

Now, living my own low-key bush lifestyle in Australia, I miss not having access to marsden matting.

K Mart continually ignores my requests to stock it.  
Surely there must be some surplus in Iraq or Afghanistan that they could get hold of if they were really interested in customer service.

As a sobering byline I wish to present the following figures to illustrate the utter futility of war and the waste of human life.
300,000 militarily brainwashed young Japanese men took part in the New Guinea invasion.
60,000 died in battle.
110,000 died from tropical diseases and starvation.
The remainder surrendered.

For what  result?   Absolutely nothing!

Read and post comments |
Send to a friend

War, peacekeeping, and cane toads

Posted on

Australias active military enforcement roles in other countries, even with the best of intention, is a process fraught with uncertainty and moral questionability.  It also seemingly often receives little appreciation from those whom it seeks to help.

Australia became politically and militarily involved to assist East Timors "liberation" from Indonesia.  There are probably lots of good reasons for numerous provinces of Indonesia to be spared the often brutal rule of their Government and military, but I fail to see why it is Australia's responsibility to enable one select group to break away.  East Timor is part of the Indonesian chain of islands, and, even with my meagre understanding of continental drift, assume it will remain so.

I am a little more tolerant of Australia being involved in multinational peacekeeping operations around the world which are not in our own backyard.  The United Nations, for better or worse, is the best global organisation we have for engineering peace and harmony.  It should ensure, however, that we are not involved where we have a "closest neighbour" relationship to maintain with any of the combatants.    Building a trusting and mutually beneficial friendship with Indonesia should be Australia's primary foreign affairs project.   Our becoming involved in East Timor was detrimental to that relationship.  

And just how much do the East Timorese appreciate Australia's efforts on their behalf?  Certainly those with the biggest mouths find ways to condemn us.  Our troops accused of using a little unnecessary force here and there.  Well, people, that just might happen when gangs of your teenage thugs are pelting them with rocks.   Where is the enduring appreciation for Australia medically evacuating and saving the life of your own elected leader Jose Ramos Horta after your assassination attempt on him?

The very latest criticism from East Timor is that some of our military equipment carried some pesky cane toads as passengers from Darwin to Dili.  Spare me!
If you need help eradicating them, call the Indonesian military…..they have an excellent record of extermination.

Can someone please explain to me why Australia should not be a politically neutral country, and use our large military budgets solely on building up a defence of our borders, and stop wasting it on the unappreciative?
If we have surplus defence force staff just waiting for an unlikely invasion, why not make them available to carry out civil or humanitarian projects with our near neighbours or the less fortunate countries on earth.  That might just make an invasion even less likely. Goodwill never hurt anybody.

Read and post comments


Send to a friend