Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Green Left Weekly: Throw Howard Out!

Throw Howard Out!

By Rohan Pearce
Green Left Weekly

“There is no doubt in my mind that Australia’s involvement in the Iraq conflict was consistent with our interests and our values… I believe in the US[-Australia] alliance because it is in our national interest and delivers enormous benefits to Australia” — Prime Minister John Howard, June 18.

The message is clear: If re-elected, the Coalition government will drag Australia into more US-led wars of aggression.

In his speech, Howard spelt out the pillars of the Liberal-National Coalition's militaristic post-9/11 policy: unconditional support for US-led wars of aggression around the world; repressive “anti-terrorist” attacks on civil liberties at home; support for repression in South-East Asian nations; and the recolonisation of poor Pacific states, such as the Solomon Islands, that can no longer satisfy the needs of Australian big business.

There is no doubt that getting rid of Howard's government in the federal election would be an important step towards upsetting this agenda. In particular, it would be a blow against the brutal US-Australia-British occupation of Iraq.

In the lead-up to the federal election, particular venom has been levelled at ALP leader Mark Latham, in parliament and in the Murdoch press, for his promise to bring the Australian troops in Iraq “home by Christmas” if Labor defeats the Coalition in the election.

Although Australians only make up a fraction of the 150,000 foreign troops occupying Iraq, their withdrawal would significantly pressure the regime in Washington to abandon its war on the Iraqi people. For Australians to force this withdrawal would be a powerful statement that we will not let politicians murder in our name.

But under pressure, including public rebukes from the White House, the ALP has begun qualifying Latham’s promise. In a June 22 interview on ABC’s 7.30 Report, Latham made it clear that he neither intends to withdraw all of Australia’s military forces from the Middle East nor does he intend to fundamentally challenge Washington’s phoney “war on terror”.

Latham told the interviewer that he intended to leave the Australian forces involved in “Operation Slipper” in the Middle East as an ongoing contribution to the “war on terror”. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, one aspect of Operation Slipper was enforcing the murderous UN Security Council economic sanctions against Iraq. The sanctions were responsible for more than half-a-million deaths.

While Latham supports many of the Australian troops operating in Iraq coming home, he doesn't support ending the occupation and allowing Iraqis to determine their own future. Although Latham hasn't bowed to US pressure to ditch his “troops home” policy, he has made clear that he supports the US-Australia military alliance.

Given the ALP's history of reneging on promises made while in opposition, even the promised, limited troop withdrawal from Iraq may be threatened by a Latham-led government caving in to US pressure.

That's why you should vote for the Socialist Alliance. A vote for the Socialist Alliance is a vote for the anti-war alternative — we're helping to build a movement to make sure that all the Australian troops are brought home from the Middle East.

To seriously challenge the US-Australia alliance, and to end Australian participation in Washington's murderous “war on terror”, we need to build a visible, militant mass movement capable of forcing whichever of the pro-corporate parties gets elected to act. That's why we don't just want people to vote for us, we want them to help us build the anti-war movement.

In its 2004 election manifesto, Another Australia is Possible, the alliance puts forward a vision for radically different foreign policy than the ALP-Coalition consensus: “Australian foreign and defence policy must change sides. It must champion the poor and struggling peoples of the world against corporate elites and their governments and global institutions, like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. That requires one thing above all: to end Australia’s military and economic alliance with the US, not only rejecting `Son of Star Wars' but closing Pine Gap, leaving ANZUS and ending all `defence' agreements with Washington.”

From Green Left Weekly, June 30, 2004.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page -

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news