Howard should be on top of the world right now, but he looks tired and
edgy. One by one his closest supporters, the dirty tricks brigade, are
falling in the line of duty, denying that boss ever knew anything
Reith is long gone. In time he will be thankful for the phonecard affair
and take his early fall from grace as a blessing.
the debacle of the false accusations against Justice Michael Kirby,
the odious Senator Heffernan has been locked away in an attic, decently
removed from view, like some idiot child. Paul Sheehan visits occasionally
to take in meals and wipe down the padded walls, but there are no other
visitors and even the family cattle dog has forgotten him.
Iron Bar Tuckey is not in a straightjacket yet, but hes
been confined to his office, his parliamentary letterheads have been
confiscated and hes banned from sending out letters, emails, or
Ruddock is racked by guilt so deep his hands shake when he stands to
speak. Hes a living monument to the fact that a man ignores the
small quiet voice of conscience at his peril.
The Mad Monk Abbott, perhaps the nastiest head kicker on
the team, is badly wounded now. About a million redneck voters who admired
Pauline Hanson but voted for John Howard are feeling pretty miffed about
Abbott. They are not likely to believe his boss knew nothing about his
anti-One Nation slush fund.
Richard Alston spends his days lying in a coffin. The communications
minister cannot stand daylight and is said to get no pleasure from music.
He casts no shadow, doesnt show up in mirrors, and has the pallid
complexion and dead grey eyes of a vampire that has been too long without
blood. Hes been stalking the ABC for some time, trying to sink
his fangs. If he doesnt succeed soon hell probably turn
on Peter Costello.
contacts say you should never mention the i word in Howards
presence. For weeks hes been trying to pretend we have no troops
in Iraq. Actually we have nearly a thousand and its only a matter
of time before George Bush demands more.
works like this: the US has an army of 450,000 of whom a third are in
Iraq. To keep up this level of commitment theyll have to rotate
their troops every few months so that one third are in Iraq, one third
are preparing to go and one third are on R&R after coming back.
That leaves nothing aside for garrison duties in the empires far-flung
bases, let alone a minor war elsewhere. George can call up the National
Guard (the first 10,000 have already gone) but that wont hold
the line for long. Within the next six months hell need willing
new allies with substantial armies or hell need conscription.
The first aint looking good and the second is political dynamite.
Little John will come to the party because George cannot be denied.
The Timor commitment is winding down and the pissy little affair in
the Solomons isnt a good enough excuse. Perhaps John will be able
to put George off until the Federal elections next year, but thats
nine months away, and George is desperate.
Iraq is going from bad to worse. The Governing Council is a group of
hand picked quislings recognised by nobody and hated by most. The majority
Shiites are biding their time, waiting to see if the Americans
can wipe out their old enemies among the Sunnis. Trouble is, they cant
afford to let the Sunnis run the whole war against the occupation, because
if they do theyll lose all political credibility. Sooner or later
(probably sooner) they must deal themselves back into the game.
people of Africa and the Middle East have long memories. They tend not
to like each other much, but they hate Westerners and its not
hard to see why. We have bombed the shit out of them for almost as long
as aircraft have been flying. The Italians started in North Africa in
1911. The French followed suit in Morocco in 1912, and the Spaniards
a year later.
Brits began bombing Pathan tribes on the North-West Frontier in 1915.
In 1916 it was nationalists in Egypt and the Sultan of Darfur. In 1919
they bombed Dacca, Jalalabad and Kabul, in 1920, Iran and Trans-Jordan.
In Iraq, the Royal Air Force called this stuff control without
occupation and they started in the early 1920s. By 1923 the RAF
was regularly flattening villages and burning crops.
now know what real bombing means, in casualties and damage ... within
45 minutes a full-sized village (vide attached photos of Kushan-Al-Ajara)
can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or
injured by four or five machines ..., Arthur Bomber
Harris wrote in March 1924.
didnt learn this stuff in school, but the Iraqis did.