Australia’s historical predilection for joining in every imperial military adventure with our ‘traditional’ allies continues unabated today.
With another warship rotation (the 68th since 1990) into the Persian Gulf this week, Australia has now racked up thirty-two years of continuous maritime operations in the Middle East. Since we segued seamlessly in 2014 from the second Iraq War to joining the fight against ISIL, to training the Iraqi Army, and protecting the world’s oil supplies from Iranian agression through the Strait of Hormuz, we have expended at least $1.3 billion, and possibly $2.5 billion (depending on the accounting treatment).
I’ll spare you my usual lecture about flimsy strategy cover, futility of our interventions, supine attitude of our parliament, and Australia operating way beyond a reasonable regional remit, and simply quote the official Australian Parliament House website:
“As such, the question of Australia’s continued involvement in a conflict after ISIS is ‘defeated’, or at least no longer represents an existential threat to the Iraqi Government, is also a pertinent one given that it is the basis for the justification of Australian operations in Syria. So, if the mission changes, the framing and extent of Australia’s participation in any future operations may need to be revisited. But to date, the possibility that the mission may change has not been raised publicly. While the Government’s objective in Syria has clearly been to ‘degrade, destroy and defeat’ ISIS, there has been no serious public discussion or parliamentary debate about what comes next. Neither the Government nor the Opposition has outlined any current plan, strategy or coherent policy for Australian involvement in the region beyond defeating ISIS or contributing funds to Iraq for reconstruction, even though it looks increasingly likely it will be a long-term commitment.”
Now, here’s the kicker: the Iraqi parliament (yeah they have one) recently voted for U.S. and Coalition forces (that’s us) to leave Iraq. The U.S. government, champion of democracy, does not accept that decision and says the Iraqis have to negotiate with them so they can stay. Uncle Sam knows best, and Iraqi sovereignty is a work-in-progress! Down Under, not a peep from anyone in our ruling class nor our journalistic brethren.