Afghanistan is essentially absent from the Australian election campaign. In fact, any foreign affairs are missing in action. Parochialism is the name of the game.
Today’s Australian features a mindless quote from Julia Gillard that the risk of further Australian deaths in Afghanistan is real. Very insightful.
A foreign affairs “expert”, Michael Fullilove, offers this gem:
Bipartisan agreement on such a difficult issue [Afghanistan] is welcome precisely because it was not inevitable.
The war is a disaster and the public against it but this “serious” man praises both major sides of politics for continuing into the quagmire. Genius.
Finally, and perhaps most tragically, here’s the former ABC journalist Chris Masters, just back from a boy’s own adventure in Afghanistan, writing in Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph why Australia should stay in the country. He displays the classic embedded mindset (and of course, Afghan voices are completely absent):
But Australians should know their soldiers don’t pack it in because it is hard. They see their efforts are worthwhile. To them, protecting military investment in Afghanistan is far more than just emotional. There is sweat as well as blood on that ground.
Civilians casualties in the country are soaring. Foreign troops are probably helping some Afghans to improve their lives but this doesn’t mean that occupation should continue indefinitely. The war is chaotic, confused, morally suspect (paying off former “terrorists” like in Iraq) and working with a Kabul government that represents nobody and pockets billions of dollars annually.
Stop the propaganda, already.