Let me firstly caveat what I’m about to write here by declaring that I know three-fifths of seven-eighths of sweet fuck all about events military in Afghanistan.
I do know, however, that 21 Australian lives plus some 2,032 other so-called coalition military lives have been expended on an adventuresome, expeditionary, do-gooder cause in that benighted place since ‘Dubya’ declared he was gonna git them terr’rists. Add to that the tens of thousands of uncountable civilian Afghanis who managed to get in the way of either democracy or insurgency. Jean Rostand stated
“Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god”
. A truly frightening, but truthful state of affairs. Human nature decrees that as numbers of slain rise, the degree of horror and disdain lessens. We think about money in similar terms. Ironic really. Numbers of dead in Afghanistan are simply akin to a telephone number.
So, why are we there? By ‘we’ I imply the national presence, which politicians continue to visit on our collective behalf and assure that we all love, honour & respect said national presence without actually understanding why we do so. Initially, and I mean 2001, ‘we’ went to Afghanistan because in a fit of piqued morality it was the right & proper thing to do in support of the US of A, which just wanted blood. So, we went along to help them get it. Then, some time around 2004-05 that blood-lust waned, especially after ‘Dubya’ took his bat & ball to Iraq, and a better, more politically correct excuse had to be found. Reconstruction, that’s it! Re-construction, re-education and rebuilding of a war-torn nation and bereft peoples. Pity most Afghanis couldn’t seem to give a fuck either way, and simply want their lives back the way they understood them 20-odd years ago.
The ABC’s Four Corners and Foreign Correspondent over recent times has shown us that re-construction, whilst an honourable aim, is a thankless task with little in the way of benefit to either Afghanistan as a whole or Australia even in the ethereal safety-from-terrorism sense. An horrific country from a military perspective, with only pockets of valleys able to be held, while insurgent forces roam at will through the hills and ranges. What point, I ask, is re-constructing a place which doesn’t particularly care whether you’re there, or not, and would prefer you gone anyway?
To my way of thought, the Australian Defense Force is precisely that. For Australia’s defense. Not to be engaged in pre-emptive anti-terrorism actions in far away lands where socially, culturally and politically we simply aren’t wanted. Bring our forces home and end the daily risk to young men & women. Nine long years is nine long years too long. If anything were to have ever come from the Afghanistan expedition, it would surely have come by now. Clearly, whatever was expected, anticipated or even fervently hoped for isn’t going to eventuate, so why persist. Afghanistan is a dead horse with an IED hidden inside. Why keep flogging it?