Australia’s Afghan War Fails

KC has been an ardent critic of Australia’s Afghan intervention since its misguided inception in the time-honoured tradition of following Uncle Sam. We have traced its tragic misadventures, and Australians’ apathy in the face of their government’s supine attitude and increasingly threadbare rationales. Our human toll is now 39 Australian soldiers killed and hundreds wounded. Cataloguing the massive cost and loss of life to Western allies, and the long-suffering Afghan people, would fill today’s column, so I’ll keep it simple. And not bother with quotation marks around the weasel words of our political and military leaders.

The war will not be won, terrorism will not be deterred, our mission will not be finished, democracy will not be installed in Afghanistan, the job will not be done, Afghani women will not be saved from sharia-style treatment, the Afghan army will probably not be ready to control its territory, and most importantly the Taliban will not be suppressed. On the contrary, evidence points to its ascendancy, with both the Karzai government and US negotiating with Taliban leaders for a semblance of cover to withdraw occupying allied forces.

A final shred of flimsy rationale for Australia’s ongoing military engagement fell away this week, with the announcement that our command had suspended joint operations with their Afghan protégés. This follows the most recent so-called ‘green on blue’ incident where an Afghan Army soldier turned his gun on Australian comrades, killing three of them. Australia’s training role in Oruzgan province, purportedly preparing the Afghan army for duty after our withdrawal, is effectively in tatters. No amount of weasel words can hide that fact.

Aussies really are a weird mob. Polls have consistently shown that over 60% of us are now against this bad war, and yet protest is mooted, almost non-existent. As commented previously, we have conflated notions of sacred Anzac respect with support for whatever our diggers are doing. But ironically this lack of criticism allows the government to get away with its lies and tokenism, as its leaders attend soldiers’ funerals. It does not respect the deadly commitment of our soldiers. Of course nobody wants to say that lives have been sacrificed in vain. Wake up Australia! What have we learnt from our long history of fighting our allies’ wars? No more Australian lives should be sacrificed to such a transparently misconceived cause. To make matters worse, pundits now forecast a gradual decline into civil war in Afghanistan. My anger just keeps growing.


  1. Peter, thanks for the concise and cutting summary of this political/military failure…my growing anger parallels yours! What we have learned from history is that we haven’t learned at all….or should that be: “every time history repeats itself, the price goes up.” Dick

  2. So 60 % of us (as a relatively fresh Australian I’m allowed to say that…) are angry, but there’s not protest, no rally no demonstration, not even a raised voice at any dinner table conversation would be considered appropriate.
    What is it that keeps Australian’s blood so cool/disinterested/well tempered?
    Ocean breeze?

  3. If ya gonna have an Australian army doing sweet FA then what a lotta loot tied up in its soldiers, staff and fancy machinery with mindboggling killling power all getting rusty…and going to waste…and how can you justify new bullets when the old ones haven’t fired a shot in anger?? War is good for more money can be allocated then and latest technology for killing humans quickly can be bought and justified….?

    as for ugly buildings…Australia is the world’s leader and home of these.. were we speaking of Bondi ?….home of the blog writer? ….that would be the epicentre of the worst degradtion of a once sacred Aboriginal haunt…a concrete jungle..surrounding the pristine white sands of a beach least the sand is still pristine……I wonder how much was used in the early days to make Bondi’s cement?


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