From under the linoleum
Old newspapers show Mussolini's imperialism looked a lot like today's

I sat on the floor and picked through the tragedy of the country we now call Ethiopia laid out on the yellowing pages. It was eerily reminiscent of the current Iraq adventure.

A tale for our times
The December 1934 assassination of Sergei Kirov

Seventy years on, the killing of Sergei Kirov casts an eerie light on the events of 11 September 2001, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the “war on Terror” and the state-sponsored hysteria surrounding the shadowy figures of Osama bin Ladin and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Ninety-three years of bombing the Arabs
It was the Italians, hell-bent on acquiring an African empire, who got the ball rolling. In 1911 the Libyan Arab tribes opposed an Italian invasion. Their civilians were the first people in the world to be bombed from the air.

Dispossessed all over again
After spending nearly two months in the West Bank the pull towards my village was growing stronger, especially after being detained twice and threatened with deportation … an Australian Palestinian returns to her ancestral home.

The tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
Australia slides further into the Iraq quagmire
Cabinet documents recently released under the 50-year rule show that, in 1954, Liberal (conservative) Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, and key figures in his Cabinet were extremely gloomy about the prospects for success in an American war against nationalists in Indochina. But eventually they went to the Vietnam War anyway.

Bombing King David
One man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist

Some historians date the beginning of modern terrorism from the 1946 bombing by Zionist terrorists of the British military HQ in Jerusalem.

Don’t loiter near the exit
Military debacle and economic decline haunt the Bush regime

When I was just a young possum in the school cadet corps there was a hoary old war story that we all knew. It was almost certainly apocryphal, but it ruefully expressed a nasty historic truth about the US role in the demise of the British Empire.

 


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New Year surprise:
Bush sponsors an Iranian government in Baghdad


28 December 2005

Sometimes I get a little rush of missing persons business over the Christmas season, but this time, everything went dead. I was pottering around the office sorting old files when Joadja and Old Possum came up with a six-pack of cold cider and some leftover panettone.

“You’re always gloomy, these days, lover”, she said sadly, as she opened the cider. “So tell me, what’s your prognosis for ’05?”

“Well, obviously the war in Iraq will dominate everything, and I reckon things will get very scary indeed”.

“How on earth are the Yanks going to cope?” Jo asked. “Everything’s closing in on them. They can’t even secure the ten kilometre road from the Green Zone to Baghdad airport – that’s about the same distance as Mascot is from the city. They’re ferrying their people to the airport by helicopter now, ’cos the resistance has turned the road into a deathtrap. The Marines have blasted Falluja into rubble, but there’s still fighting going on there, and now Mosul has fallen almost entirely under the resistance’s control. How the hell are they ever going to hold elections? Can’t they see they’ll never prevail in Iraq with only 150,000 troops. The experts are saying they’ll need three times that many.”

“Well, they’ll never get enough troops by voluntary recruitment”, Old said. “They’ve been claiming they’re meeting targets, but privately the US Army’s recruiters are admitting they’re likely to fall 50 per cent short of their quotas this year. That’s something like 60,000 recruits short.”

“Can you smell conscription in the air?”

“You bet. In the US, everything’s in place. All vacant positions on the local draft boards were quietly filled last year.”

“To say the least, the draft isn’t going to be popular with the masses.”

“You’re right, so Bush’ll be looking for some big atrocity to terrify people into accepting it. Right now, another 9/11 would go down a treat with the president and his Neocon buddies.”

“Ho, ho. Sounds like a job for Osama bin Forgotten or Abu Mossad al-Israeli.”

“And what about Australia? Surely not conscription here too?”

“Well, I reckon Howard would already be under pressure from Bush to send more than our piddling little commitment of troops and he doesn’t have any good excuses. If it keeps dragging on like this, and he sticks with the Yanks, he’d have to have conscription. Not that I’ve heard any whispers yet”. Old took a long suck on the cider bottle.

“But what I just don’t understand is this – the way things are going in Iraq, almost no Sunnis will turn out for the elections”, I said. “Effectively there’s a boycott, they’ve got nothing to lose because they’re only 40 per cent of the population, maybe thirty per cent.

“That leaves the Shia, in the south, as the only group apart from the Kurds – and they really just want to secede from Iraq – that can gain politically from the elections, but guess who’s leading them … Ayatollah Sistani, a bunch of Islamic fascists like the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and the Badr Brigades, and all of them are just basically a front for the Mad Mullahs of Tehran.”

“So the inevitable outcome of the Neocons little exercise in setting up a pseudo-democratic pro-US regime in Iraq is that the surrogates of the ultra-conservative Iranian ayatollahs will end up as the government in Baghdad. I suppose if that happened they’d stand a chance of raising a Shi’ite Iraqi army that would fight, but what a humiliating outcome.”

“The Sunnis and the secularists are never going to go along with that. There’ll be a full-on civil war.”

“I don’t know what’s worse – the irony or the tragedy”, Old said. “If that happens, and I don’t see how it can be avoided, the US, Britain and Australia will be fighting in a dirty civil war on the side of the Tehran mullahs the Neocons once labelled part of the Axis of Evil. Meanwhile the Sunni and secularist resistance, which is probably already getting assistance from Syria and Saudi Arabia, will get a whole lot more, and quite possibly from Turkey as well. It’s gotta be one of the greatest political debacles in history.”

“Yeah, Bush is gonna be eating a turd sandwich and saying it’s yummy.”