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Byron Shire
June 4, 2023

Thus Spake Mungo: The joke that is the fearless men who lead us

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Even as Donald Trump announced he would cut and run from Syria, leaving his Kurdish allies to whatever bloody fate awaits them and opening a door for the resurgence of ISIS, our fearless prime minister was not ready to breathe a word of criticism of his friend, ally and protector.

To the contrary, in fact: the man of titanium actually praised the Donald for keeping an election promise, in that some years ago he said he would bring his troops home, as part of making America great again.

It was time to stop the stupid, endless wars, Trump declared – and perhaps he has a point. After all, for all his belligerence, against North Korea, Iran, and even China, he has not personally started any wars. That was left to his predecessors, most particularly George Bush, whose misguided and disastrous response to 9/11 began the invasion of Iraq and the whole ghastly imbroglio that followed.

But the hard reality was that America broke it, and America owned it. Neither Trump nor any other president can simply wish it away, or wash his hands of it regardless of consequences.

Some of his apologists are now pretending that he never gave Turkey a green light to invade – the idea was only to withdraw US troops, and allow the establishment of a buffer zone-of-peace between Turkey and Syria. But such ingenuousness does not stand up to the faintest scrutiny.

Turkey’s autocratic president Recep Erdogan has publicly threatened – for years – to crush the Kurds within his own borders and subdue any on the outskirts.

A swift war would be a useful distraction from the economic woes causing protests within his country

Like Trump, he is now doing more than honouring his promises. And of course there are side benefits: a swift war would be a useful distraction from the economic woes causing protests within his country and the so-called buffer zone would be a convenient dumping ground for the huge influx of refugees who have fled the long-running conflict.

Indeed, Erdogan is attempting to use them as a bargaining chip: if the European nations, deeply unhappy over his invasion, try to impose sanctions against his regime, he will open Turkey’s borders and flood the west with asylum seekers. It may or may not be an empty threat, but for many leaders already battling with problems around immigration, it remains a potent one.

And Trump himself has already walked back from his initial line that the invasion was ‘a bad idea’ and that if there were to be significant civilian casualties, he would use sanctions to bring Turkey to its economic knees. Within 24 hours he was talking about mediation between Erdogan and the Kurds as the desirable path, a move immediately rejected by the triumphant Turkish war leader.

So roll on the stupid, endless wars – but without, for once, American participation.

Morrison berated Turkey for what he described as a ‘unilateral’ crossing of the border, ignoring the fact that Trump had implicitly invited the Turkish troops to do so

Australia’s predictably supine reaction was to say it was deeply concerning, but all Turkey’s fault – Scott Morrison and his Foreign Minister Marise Payne had a quiet chat with one of Trump’s current enforcers, Mike Pompeo, as a result of which Morrison berated Turkey for what he described as a ‘unilateral’ crossing of the border, ignoring the fact that Trump had implicitly invited the Turkish troops to do so. And in his compliant response Morrison has confirmed that whenever Washington begins its next stupid, endless war, Australia, as always, will be the first in line to join in.

Arguably, this subservience makes him even more reckless and dangerous than Trump; at least the American commander in chief of a super power can claim some justification for his bellicosity as the west’s self-appointed policeman, guardian of both the national and international interest. Morrison is offering Australia as no more than cannon fodder – sending Australians into battle in the name of mateship, an alliance which has been shown to be less reliable than ever with no conceivable national interest involved.

The hapless and long-suffering Kurds may be the first casualty in Trump’s impetuous move but they are unlikely to be the last

And it will only need a simple tweet from the White House for the call up to begin – thus it was in Vietnam, the leaden standard, and thus it has been ever since. The hapless and long-suffering Kurds may be the first casualty in Trump’s impetuous move but they are unlikely to be the last.

And as the political crisis over Trump’s impeachment continues, and escalates, he is likely to become more unstable and unpredictable. A smart prime minister – a serious and sensible ally – would have been warning of restraint both privately and publicly, and planning to avoid becoming entangled in America’s problems, both domestic and overseas. ScoMo appears more interested in going to the footy in Fiji to bring out the water and the kicking tee for his prime ministerial selections.

However, if he could tear himself away from marketing his marketeer image, there is something useful he could do: consider the inevitable victims, many of whom are already on the run as the Turkish bombs and artillery are driving them out of their makeshift refuges.

Forget the ISIS prisoners – if they escape it will be someone else’s problem. But taking in an emergency planeload or ten of Kurdish refugees, if they wish to abandon their last hope of a state of their own, would surely be a worthwhile contribution to an unfolding disaster

Forget the ISIS prisoners – if they escape it will be someone else’s problem. But taking in an emergency planeload or ten of Kurdish refugees, if they wish to abandon their last hope of a state of their own, would surely be a worthwhile contribution to an unfolding disaster. After all, we did it once before, with a special consignment from Syria – now there is an even more pressing moral obligation.

And then there are the Australians immured in the camps. Border supremo Peter Dutton is utterly dismissive – the men are effectively traitors, to be stripped of their citizenship. And the women – why, some of them, many of them, are as bad as the men, so bringing them back to Australia could precipitate what Dutton quaintly calls a ‘mass casualty event,’ even if his suspicions were founded and they were charged and convicted under Australian law.

But what about their children, usually the outcome of rape or at best-forced marriage? Even Dutton and Morrison have evinced a touch of concern for them. If their version of the lucky country stands for anything, surely it should include at least an effort to free them and bring them to the safety of the extended families pleading for help in Australia.

It would obviously be the right and decent thing to do, and Trump would presumably raise no objection. And if he did, then it would surely, finally, be time to tell him to get stuffed.

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  1. ScoMo & Dutton just don’t get it… & yes,
    it is the Vietnam era all over again.


    The nature of man
    is recognised
    in what mood-tide
    he finds preferable…

    Who will then
    deal with a whale
    hooked by
    a bent pin?

    • Its hardly Vietnam all over again !! Regarding Trump
      Well he is all over the place ! However the opposition the Democrats are completely Mad !! Bunch of Left wing socialist , i mean they have no
      Hope at all to oust Trump ..Patricia Warren
      Is likely to be at the helm to lead the Democrats..
      Who lied about her Red Indian indigenous background.. !! And gaining momentum is the one and only Miss Clinton who stated beat Trump once
      Can do it again !! Is she delusional ?

      • Barrow old son the Americano punters voted for a Liar to become Their Lair in Chief so I hardly think your false claim ( she does have some of that Red Indian genetics ) of Liar Patricia will do any damage whatsoever.

  2. Trump typically comes out with blustering strongly (?carelessly) worded Tweets then goes soft on the same subject days later. Australia should remain distant from this man’s dangerous plotting and planning.

  3. US troops killed fighting IS in Syria? Nil. Kurds died fighting IS? 11,000.
    The US deserts its allies and guess who comes to their aid? Syria and Russia – and by extension, Iran. Go home America, and stay there.

  4. Yes, 11,000 Kurds died. I lost one of my closest friends
    in Nam [he’d enlisted] & my next best mate [conscript]
    came back from the hell-hole a broken man. Don’t talk
    to me about Vietnam. Read ‘Homecoming’ by Jean
    Williams. I helped launch it. I know too much about
    Cambodia as well.

  5. Well Barrow if the Democrats are crazy socialists, then Australia with its government sponsored universal healthcare system must be a communist state. Trump tried his best to destroy Obamacare, a by our standards very modest scheme to provide health insurance to 40 million low income Americans because it was a “socialist” policy?!
    And Hilary, despite being handicapped by a foreign government assisted campaign of lies about her emails etc, gained about three million more votes than Trump who only won due to the bizarre electoral college system they have, so she’s not that delusional.

    • Hi, time to examine Obamacare. It was written in its entirety by the insurance industry. As you know, the insurance industry profits from.. not providing insurance.
      Obamacare was a compulsory scheme to take money from poorly paid US workers. The single biggest cause of bankruptcy in the US is medical bills. Obamacare callously entrapped these Americans into taking out insurance they couldn’t afford – and allowed US doctors to opt out of treatment citing the patient’s lack of funds to cover the ‘gap’.
      Just as the Bush family are ‘oil’ men, and Trump is real estate, Obama was funded by the insurance industry. He won and paid up.

  6. @Barrow watch Fox news for a laugh, not for facts or what is relevant in the world. Bringing up Hillary Clinton? really? You must be a #cult45 ‘er

    I know living in the past is pointless but I thought I might go on a happy trip down memory lane and remind everyone of the wise guidance of the recently passed Jacques Chirac. He was a lot of things but what he wasn’t was stupid enough to follow George W’s ‘Coalition of the Willing’ 16 years ago, which unfortunately included our prime minister at the time. Then the American government ran an anti-French campaign doing things as pathetic as changing French Fries to Freedom Fries.
    The Invasion then proceeded, oil was seized first, no weapons of mass destruction found. Then Paul Bremer and associates thought it would be a great idea to disband all of Iraq’s armed forces, create a power vacuum and leave a bunch of armed trained Sunnis without power and put the Shia’s in power. Years of civil war followed, Isis came along more terrorist attacks started around the world and the Middle East was more destabilized than it had been in decades.

    I often forget what an intelligent guy George W Bush was and what legacy he left the world.

    • Which decades wld they be, the more stable ones? The mid-east has been a flash point for a century and a half, ever since the Zionists talked about a political return to the region. Not their fault, they had as much a right as the warlords on their camels. And they were all supposed to derive from a common history and understanding of religion. What did Whitlam and his government do about the region? Tried to borrow money basically. He even ignored East Timor. John Howard played more a part there and now there’s issues over who owns the gas, which noone is supposed to have. Of course the anarchists wld argue it all works better without politicians. Someone has to distribute the goods. I guess that wld be the anarchists.

    • The world had no place or proof to invade the middle east …big mistake! Like it or not Trump
      Committed to leaving all conflicts that The Yanks
      Were involved in at the 2016 election . And it was Obama who got the Americans involved in Syria
      His legacy has been forgotten already ..!!
      Chirac was a great leader ..so my french life long
      Friend informs ..

  7. You talk Mango of the Middle East problems as thou they all started with Bush. There have been Kurdish refugees in Turkey since before Erdogan, and they insist on their Kurdish state still, even resist learning Turkish. The rest of the refugees to get to Europe have to go through Turkey. Hussein wanted total Arab dominance in the region, made that pretty clear. To complicate matters, the Kurds supported Iran in their war with Iraq, which made them traitors. Even the Brits bombed the Kurds back in the 20s. That’s how far back this story goes, if not beyond to Mohamed. And all the Arab states have some or all Sharia law, in dispute with Western ideas of governance. The six-day war goes on because of Western ideas of governance and because Israel exists. I don’t think we can blame Trump for all of that, on top of which we might need our American ally again. The takeover of the South China Sea is ten years old now, ignored for too long. Which does involve Vietnam as one of the nations with a claim. Where history becomes the present, the present becomes the future.


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