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If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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They’ll be home before Christmas in this war to end all wars

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

Prometheus in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Masque of Pandora”.

 

Truth in placards

 

The latest cabal of war mongers – the US, the UK and Australia plus the other usual white western suspects and a few Quisling Arab states – has rushed back into Iraq to defeat the death cult, Islamic State.  I have no love for IS, but they didn’t kill 2 million civilians in Indo-China; they didn’t kill more than one million civilians in Iraq; they didn’t kill tens of thousands of innocents in Afghanistan. They aren’t drone bombing women and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.

The real death cult is western imperialism.  Australia is worshiping at the altar with the high priest, the US.

Like all the liars of war, this time it is humanitarian. Just like Vietnam. Just Like Iraq in 1990. Just like Afghanistan in 2002. Just like Iraq in 2003. Of course Vietnam was built on a lie, the lie of the Gulf of Tonkin . Iraq 2003 was built on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. And now the latest war in Iraq is built on fear of Muslims at home and abroad and the lie of humanitarian intervention.

ISIS is a logical consequence of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Islamic State might be a bastard child of US foreign policy but its parentage is clear.

This next round in the war in Iraq is a war to remove the mistakes of the past war. It won’t work because the wars in Iraq are the problem, not the way they are carried out.  All our intervention will do is invigorate those fighting against us and possibly make Australia a target for an attack here. Indeed that may well be Islamic State’s intention – to draw us in to their trap.

War and capitalism are a long married couple.  As US economic power declines and that of China rises the world will become more unstable. The US will resort more and more to force to keep China in second place, a second place far behind the US.  It cannot work in the  long term because the forces unleashed in China are the very forces that built US capitalism and imperialism – the drive for profit protected and expanded by a strong state.

So why the return to Iraq? Because of its sectarianism and abuse of Sunnis, the US puppet regime in Iraq sowed the seeds for ISIS. Islamic State was in fact supported by the US in Syria for a while. The arms they use are American.

Islamic State receives major support from Saudi Arabia who, perhaps not coincidentally, is not part of the white man’s war brigade in Iraq.   (As an aside Saudi Arabia beheaded up to 40 ‘criminals’ last month, including some for sorcery. Unsurprisingly there was not a mention in the mainstream press.  Beheadings are OK when our erstwhile allies do it.

Australia is supporting the US as part of its insurance policy deal with American imperialism. Our ruling class provide cover for an alliance to provide protection in the future against Chinese imperialism and to enable Australian power under cover of US power to expand in the region.

Clearly the Australian ruling class has aligned itself closely with the US, and therefore against China.  Pine Gap is for the Americans. The Darwin base and its expansion is for the Americans. We might sell our resources to China but our ruling class’s long term interests they believe lie with the US.  Hence the insurance policy with the US. What are a few dead Australians sacrificed on the altar of the US alliance compared to being on the hopefully winning side and for ever in America’s gratitude?

One problem. The US isn’t even the winning side. The defeats that dare not speak their name – Afghanistan and Iraq – are about to be repeated, in Iraq.

There is an added bonus for the government, they hope. A good war will distract attention away from their war on Australia’s poor and workers. There’s unlimited money for war but none for the poor.

And if anyone still has illusions in the Labor Party, Bill Shorten’s ‘all the way with TA’ should put the final nail into that coffin.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that this war in Iraq would take months. No doubt they’ll be home before Christmas.

Have we learned nothing over the last century? Or is this the war to end all wars? This time, no doubt, the Western ruling classes will get it right.  Oh yeah, just like 100 years ago.

Later articles will try to address why the US is doing this, why Labor is in partnership with the Abbott government and how we can resist.

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Comments

Comment from Ian
Time September 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Hi john,

What is the alternative practical steps you would adopt?

Comment from John
Time September 15, 2014 at 7:22 am

Thanks for the good question Ian. Not invading foreign countries would be a good start. You can only understand ISIS and its rise in the context of the 2003 invasion. This new invasion will produce the same results if not worse. Second, the task is to build an anti-war movement. After the shooting star effect of the anti-war movement in 2003 I don’t hold out much hope of a long term anti-war movement or even a short term one. That leaves bringing together like minded people to fight against war, for a better world, essentially for a socialist society. in 1915 at Zimmerwald the anti-war socialist totalled something like 50 delegates. 2 years later there was revolution breaking out across Europe.

Comment from Fred
Time September 15, 2014 at 9:55 am

You’re a bit vague about what you would do.

What about the minorities in Iraq?

What about Islamic radicals in Australia?

What about Western hostages held by ISIS?

Comment from John
Time September 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm

I would do nothing other than join with others here in opposing the war and giving verbal support for the Arab revolutionaries in countries as diverse as Egypt, Syria and Libya and for the liberation of Kurdistan. I’d make the point it is for the people of the region to win their liberation.

Western intervention only makes the situation worse as the invasion of Iraq in 2003 shows, once again. Intervention has nothing to do with humanitarianism. If that were the case why not in Palestine against Israel, in Sri Lanka against the genocidal regime there, etc etc.

Comment from Richard Heggie
Time September 17, 2014 at 9:38 am

An attempt to answer Ian’s difficult question….
If War is not the Answer – What Is?
Phyllis Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies) has published in The Progressive a six step plan to weaken the influence of ISIS and to work towards political, diplomatic and financial solutions – without airstrikes.
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=751728828220921&id=607738679286604

Comment from Richard Heggie
Time September 17, 2014 at 9:45 am

Going part-way to answering Ian’s difficult question….
If War is not the Answer – What Is?
Phyllis Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies) has published in The Progressive a six step plan to weaken the influence of ISIS and to work towards diplomatic and financial solutions.
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=751728828220921&id=607738679286604

Comment from John
Time September 18, 2014 at 6:26 am

Thanks Richard. I am just worried about selective humanitarianism. Why not other ‘trouble’ spots? Perhaps because the intervention is not about humanitaranism, it is about say US power. The way to prevent ther rise of ISIS and other similar groups is to stop invading other countries. The bigger threat is not ISIS; it is Western militarism.