9/11, Afghanistan and the lies of the establishment
On the day of a parliamentary debate into Australia’s role in the war on Afghanistan, Jon Faine, presenter of ABC Radio’s widely listened to Melbourne Morning Program, declared: “There’s nothing to debate.” He went on to tell listeners that those with views “which are so wrong on such an important issue” are not entitled to an opinion.
Unfortunately, Jon was not raving about any of the nefarious lies being peddled in the federal parliament justifying Australian military involvement. Instead he was outraged by the conspiracy theory that MUA Victorian State Secretary and Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) President Kevin Bracken articulated when on Faine’s radio program. Bracken thinks 9/11 was an inside job.
Predictably, he was pulled up by anyone and everyone in a day of furore over his comments. The editorial in the Herald Sun condemned the theory as “nothing short of appalling”. Federal Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg pushed Julia Gillard to take action against Bracken (who is a Labor Party member). Gillard described Bracken’s comments as “stupid and wrong”.
His own union and the VTHC distanced themselves from him – obviously seeking some damage control.
Bracken’s comments are wrong. But the one thing that can be said of his theory is that it is at least premised on an understanding of a certain reality: that the US is prepared to kill countless civilians to serve its imperialist agenda. In that regard, his theory is far less batty than the rubbish spewing out of the mouths of “respectable” parliamentarians over the last two days. Take these examples:
Wrong view #1: Julia Gillard
Australia is involved in the Afghanistan war “to make sure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists”.
This statement is completely hollow. If networks of terrorists are a scourge that the government is intent on uprooting, why is the Australian military not engaged in Florida hunting down Luis Posada Carriles, and shutting down the host of known terrorist training camps which dot the south of the US state? Why, in the Prime Minister’s own words were there “no Australian units deployed in Afghanistan between December 2002 and September 2005”?
To ask these questions provides the answer. Terrorism was a pretext for war, but it is no overriding consideration. Western governments had a bigger fish to fry with Saddam Hussein. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie admitted in his contribution to the debate that Afghanistan is “irrelevant” with regard to terrorism. Wilkie supported the war on the basis that al-Qaeda was based there. Now they are not, so he is perplexed that foreign forces would remain.
Wilkie is a former army senior intelligence analyst, but he is lacking in understanding when it comes to the strategic motives of the US. It has only ever had one goal with these wars – to secure US supremacy among states.
Wrong view #2: Julia Gillard
“The new international strategy…is focused on: protecting the civilian population…and facilitating improvements in governance and socio-economic development…”
The civilians in Afghanistan have always been expendable. The country is under a foreign military occupation which is responsible for thousands of deaths; there are around 250,000 internally displaced and several million refugees in neighbouring countries.
Today the “international strategy” is actually to do whatever it takes to save face. The only outcry yet heard in the Australian parliament over civilian deaths in Afghanistan has been the one that ensued after several soldiers were recently charged over the alleged murder of Afghan children. And the uproar was not about murder – but that perhaps the troops are being hard done by.
As for improvements in governance, as Greens MP Adam Bandt pointed out in his contribution, “US General David Petraeus reportedly describes the Karzai government as a ‘criminal syndicate’” – yet this man and his hired goons have run the country for years now, receiving billions of dollars in support.
His claim to that support? He is the only person who seems to be able to cobble together a substantial coalition that is prepared to tolerate the US presence.
Wrong view #3: Tony Abbott
“Afghanistan has been the central front in the most important civilisational struggle of our times.”
This is possibly the most offensive justification for war that has been peddled in Australia – or anywhere for that matter. The idea that the US military machine – now responsible for probably over one million deaths in Iraq and the almost complete destruction of one of the Middle East’s most advanced nations – is a beacon of light in a war for progressive human values is one of the most racist and vile contentions around.
Someone should have thrown a pair of shoes – and the box – at his ugly little mug. Instead he went effectively unchallenged and was heard in silence. What a complete indictment of parliamentary respectability.
The parliament is full of these nutbags with unsupportable views, but you wouldn’t know it from reading or listening to the mainstream media. For them, bullshit justifications for endless slaughter in the name of the prestige and standing of the US empire are the bread and butter of legitimate debate.
Yet anyone who dares question the motives of the killing machine is derided as somehow insensitive. What hypocrisy.