Missiles, Monash and No More War!

MISSILES

A week after the alleged chemical attack in Douma on April 7, the British journalist Robert Fisk walked the streets of this Syrian town in which fundamentalist Jihadists had recently been overpowered by government forces.

Fisk interviewed a doctor named Assim Rahaibani who had been in the underground clinic when the “gassing” victims were treated. Rahaibani told Fisk that those videos of children being hosed down and given oxygen were real, but the people were gasping for air because they live in dirt tunnels under buildings pulverized by bombs, and the air was more deadly that day because of “wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm”.

Whether it was gas or the toxic dusts of war, this was an event, among probably a million events since this war began, that killed people, most of them not guilty of anything but trying to survive. And this event was used to ignite a burst of outrage among people watching their screens in the US, UK, France, Australia and other countries whose leaders concur that Syria’s government led by Bashar al Assad is exceptionally evil in the way it fights war.

And so Trump, May and Macron launched missiles to blow up buildings they say house chemical weapons. It seems they tipped off the Russians to lower the chances of triggering retaliatory missiles.

Inflaming outrage among citizens of nations closest to the USA, and scaring the governments of nations who aren’t, sent the price of stocks in US weapon-makers Raytheon, Northrup Grumman and Boeing, into the smoke-filled stratosphere. Ratheon charges US taxpayers $1.8 million for each Tomahawk missile fired by the (chubby) fickle finger of Trump, and he and Brit PM Teresa May have also arranged massive new arms sales this year to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Bill Black is a former US government financial investigator who quit his anti-corruption government post to write a book called The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One. In an interview on The Real News TV. Black points out that the newest cruise missiles are extremely accurate and can be fired from beyond the range of most countries’ air defence systems.

Just 10 years ago missile strikes like this risked war planes being shot down and pilots captured, leading to huge diplomatic and intelligence ”issues”. US military brass have known since Vietnam just how serious these ”issues” can be. With today’s technology the most heat they feel is hot air from those of us citizens who are crazy enough to demand an end to war-fighting.

MONASH

Anzac Day commemorates the Aussie/Kiwi troops who were obliged to fight for the British Empire against the German one, from 1914 to 1918. This war over who-could-win-a-war left 17 million people killed in battle zones, including at least 60,000 Australians, and as many again who died of war wounds after the armistice.

Anzac forces—30,000 of them—were stuck on a beach cliff at Gallipoli, Turkey, for eight months, under fire, in a botched attack planned by British navy commander Winston Churchill, who thought he had friends in Turkey who might support Britain. In fact, they had already signed a secret deal with Germany, and half the Anzacs lost their lives, for what?

The core battles of World War 1 came after Gallipoli, when literally millions of young men from opposing countries were stuck in trenches in fields of France and were expected to leap out and run at each other shooting rifles until everyone in that charge was dead. Then do it again.

ANZACPIC

A breakthrough came when a major-general in the British forces, who was an engineer, proved that distracting the other team by attacking their trenches with planes and tanks before going man-to-man was far more effective, and saved lives by the shipload.

This officer was unusual not just for rethinking stupid warfare but also for being a colonial—an Australian—and Jewish. Top British toffs were obliged to overlook these negatives and get their King George (Kaiser Wilhelm’s first cousin—yep, aristocracy is insane) to knight the engineer right on the battlefield in France, making him Sir John Monash.

After the war, despite being dissed by our official war historian as “a pushy Jew” and by Rupert Murdoch’s father Keith because he couldn’t manipulate him, Monash created Victoria’s State Electricity Commission (SEC). It was a successfully grand enterprise until it was privatised by the coffee-addled Liberal premier Jeff Kennett.

In 1960 Victoria opened Monash University, where I pretended to study. A recent survey found most of its present-day students think it was named after the nearby freeway. All this will be set to rights when my old mate Bob finishes his movie about Sir John.

Now Tony Abbott and his Coalition mates are campaigning to expand coal-based electrical generation calling themselves the Monash group. Monash the engineer would have understood the science of carbon fuels damaging the atmosphere, and Monash the social democrat would have had no time for an anti-social know-nothing like Abbott.

NO MORE WAR!

Monash also organised the building of the iconic Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. It is at the heart of Anzac Day solemnity, which celebrates appalling carnage set up by British supremacists. We Australians have added our own injury to that British insult by promoting an idea that the nightmare of Gallipoli, above all else, made our nation. This may be because we have not looked hard enough to find what has made our nation, or because we don’t believe we’ve really made it yet.

All of which suggests we could help make our nation better if we got over this worship of a travesty by taking a day or a year to re-evaluate who screwed whom across the 230 years since the first British mob came here—and who stood up for a fair go for everyone, including the mob who were here for 60,000 years before the new mob came.

The Australian War Memorial is breaking a grain of new ground by commissioning a Turkish artist to install a work on his nation’s experience of Gallipoli.

Let’s acknowledge everyone who went to war, as well as people who had the courage to not go on principle, and those who fought from the 1950s through to today against joining the many American wars on poor nations seeking independence from, well, rich Americans.

A lot of Australians campaigned against our being America’s lap dog in Vietnam and Iraq and its neighbours. Many chose to derail their own lives rather than fight unjust and unnecessary wars, and it’s time we celebrate those who served their nation by beating drums for peace and breaking laws to keep us out of the business of making war.

READ HELEN RAZER ON WHY ARTS JOURNALISM STILL MATTERS

10 responses to “Missiles, Monash and No More War!

  1. The lies of history so ‘tis said
    Make heroes of our valiant dead
    Makes righteous that for which they bled
    For us that all their lives were shed

    In war, there is no honour bright
    Mere cannon fodder locked in fight
    No angels bathed in shining light
    Just rotting corpses in the night

    And when you see the passing hearse
    Or broken remnants of war’s curse
    Know that for better or for worse
    Twas all just for some rich man’s purse

    We struggled in the nets of fate
    Our trials and torments to abate
    With demons barred from heaven’s gate
    Died both too soon and much too late

  2. So, going on this:

    “A ‘conceit’ begun when Abbott & Co co-opted the Monash family name to promote an industry that has wallowed in enough subsidies to convert the planet to renewables in a trice—starting with trillions of public dollars spent on wars to pillage the planet’s supplies.”

    Coal – and coal only – caused wars, that cost trillions of dollars?
    And the cost of those wars could have been used to convert the world to renewables?

    What a poor defence against a contribution that nailed you. Laughable in fact.

    Well done, Archie.

    I mark the scorecard:
    Common-sense facts 1
    Trumped-up feels 0

  3. I hope Monash University ‘pretended’ to grant our author a degree.

    What a conceit for Monash’s descendants assuming to know the mind of Sir John on the issue of coal fired generation in the age of ‘climate change’.

    Many older engineers who know something about thermodynamics will confide privately their concerns about the exaggerations of the AGW story.

    Sir John might have concurred, but being well informed of the politics he may have kept those doubts close to his chest to ensure he got his fair share of the rivers of gold subsidies flowing to the alternative energy sector.

    Authors who bag the simple patriotism of the 325,000 volunteers who went abroad in WW1, should ask themselves why the white workers paradise of a self-governing dominion of the British Empire felt the need to risk such relatively huge amounts of blood and treasure to fight on the side of those poxy British Imperial supremacists.

    1. A ‘conceit’ begun when Abbott & Co co-opted the Monash family name to promote an industry that has wallowed in enough subsidies to convert the planet to renewables in a trice—starting with trillions of public dollars spent on wars to pillage the planet’s supplies.
      As for why the 325,000 patriots did it, why don’t you tell us Archie?

      1. I will Philip.

        Because those 4.7 million Australians saw great value in their heritage, the democracy they had built and membership of the Empire over which the sun never set.

        They saw it as their patriotic duty to fight for the Empire attacked by German militarism, and what it stood for. They saw it in their self interest to be part of the most powerful Navy and economic trading block then in existence and to protect the prosperity of the first years of nationhood.

        1. I agree that many were moved by by”patriotic duty” and some lived on to understand how hollow that is as an excuse for war. And many saw Britain’s imperial power as a great ship to board. Their children and grandchildren, however, have seen the sun set on much of the empire and its Navy, and its economic might.

          We can’t go back and see better for our forebears but we can see the present with clearer eyes.

          No, coal is not the lone cause of anthropogenic climate change—the industry that Abbott & Co are trying to prop up is the fossil fuel industry which most of us understand should no longer dominate the global energy business. Had the many subsidies to that industry through just the past 50 years, wars included, been directed to transitioning to sustainable energy, we would have a better shot now of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Not a laughing matter.

          1. Turn it up Phillip. Global warming only officially started in 1975. Before that ‘scientists’ were predicting an ice age.

            Coal Plant lasts for 40 years, so how could the industry be ‘transitioning’ over the past 50 years?

            And what is the quantity of the ‘subsidies’ to coal your ilk are always claiming? What was the alternative to coal 50 years ago? Solar panels were laboratory toys. A few commercial panels appeared on boats in the 1980’s. Wind was something you got after too many baked beans!

            Wind power is still limited by the iron rule that power output is proportional to the wind speed cubed. (^3) That means if your turbine is optimised to 100% output at 20 knots, and the wind speed drops to half (10 knots), the power output drops to 1/8th (12.5%). If the wind speed drops to 5 knots the output is 1/64th (1.56%).

            That’s why the F***kwitted ex-Premier of SA could claim that his whole State was being powered by wind when the load was 1000MW , and 2 hours later the windmills were producing 50MW and the great State of South Australia was pulling the other 950MW from the great State of Victoria via a dirty brown coal interconnector. (SA load varies between 800MW and about 3000MW)

            BTW the great State of South Australia had NO storage of any kind until the Musk Rat sold same F***kwitted ex-Premier a big battery which had a reputed capacity of 129 MWhr which would power the great State of South Australia for 9.7 minutes at 800MW load and 2.6 minutes at 3000MW load. At its maximum rating of 100MW, Musks battery would deliver 100MW for 1.29 hours (77 minutes) which would power 12.5% of the great of South Australia at minimum load of 800MW for 77 minutes. Which 12.5% do you inhabit Phillip??

            If you get much older I think you will find that the AGW scare will drop to 30-50% of its 2005 level and doomsday will be delayed.

  4. Let’s also remember those who died while not being given the license to kill – the journalists, photographers*, doctors, nurses, stretcher bearers, merchant sailors – why are these not commemorated also as defenders of the freedoms we today take for granted. Why only those who are themselves trained to kill?

    * Damien Parer, Daniel Pearl, Neal Davis, Nicholas Tomalin- author of the most life-altering book I have ever read,The Strange Voyage of Donald Crowhurst – Anna Politkovskaya, Marie Colvin

  5. Overcooked alas. Monash was a very good commander, so was Sir Arthur Currie, his Canadian counterpart who was rather abrasive and told Haig to so off on more than one occasion and refused to allow his men to fight under Haig’s nincompoop protege Hubert Gough. Monash was a great tactical commander though. It would be interesting to hear his thoughts on Mongrel Murdoch Mark II and his support for the Abbott arrogance.

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