Letters to the Editor
The New York Times & The Australian
25th June 2010
One day after seeing Julia Gillard become Australia’s 27th Prime Minister, it was disappointing to read that President Obama and Ms Gillard, have “agreed to work closely on the Afghanistan war during their first official phone call ”.
A preferred headline might have declared, “Australia’s new Prime Minister states her concerns re US strategy in Afghanistan”. Now in the prime position to effect policy change, Julia Gillard needs to be aware that Australians in growing numbers do not support the Afghanistan policies of the Labor Party in government or the Coalition in Opposition.
Responsibility for the flawed military strategy in Afghanistan rests entirely with the Obama White House for pursuing the quicksand policy of believing, as did the disastrous Bush -Cheney administration, that conventional military action can prevail in such an environment.
In North America and Europe, opposition to the war in Afghanistan has already seen Canada and the Netherlands announce the withdrawal of their troops. It has also caused the resignation of the German President Horst Koehler and brought about the collapse of the Dutch Government.
Meanwhile nine years on, Australian troops in constant danger, remain trapped in the corrupt and hellish environment that is Afghanistan, and for what? Both the Government and the Opposition need to tell the Americans that they are wrong about Afghanistan. A good sensible ally – would and should.
Australia needs to bring its troops home. And so should the US. This will become a major issue in the forthcoming federal election. If the major parties don’t act on this matter, the Greens will benefit.
As certain as each day’s incoming tide, Afghanistan’s neighbours will move in as soon as the US forces are gone. And go they must. As history will reveal, it is only the Afghan people who can decide their future. The experience of America’s Vietnam and the Vietnam of today is living proof.
It’s time to board The Peace Train!
Cat Stevens ” The Peace Train” 4 min
Brisbane / Australia