Abandon Australia

Open Letter to John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia

Dear Sir,
I know that Australia has gone to a lot of effort to create a military able to defend Australia. Very few people have the ability to invade Australia. The US could probably do it. Maybe a European alliance could do it. But we're allied with these people and they're far more likely to defend us than attack us! We do not face any serious threat of invasion, yet our military is structured on the assumption that we do. A country like Fiji manages to get by fine without having any ability to defend itself from external invasion. It isn't even in an alliance. Iceland manages fine without any military at all, relying instead on the NATO alliance. Haiti manages to get by with neither a military nor an alliance.

So while it is interesting that we have the ability to defend ourselves without external help, it's all rather pointless, when we are faced with a REAL security threat, and we have essentially ignored it. Our real security threat is from Islamofascists and hostile dictators looking for asymetric ways of attacking us. If not immediately, then in the future. In order to address this threat we need to both topple dictators and change the education system so that they stop inciting hatred against us. This is the minimum we need to do. The maximum would be genocide. Yet we are making no serious effort to counter this threat.

We have token forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. While that is certainly welcome, and is probably the best we can manage with the current structure of our military, it is not the maximum we could do if we were to restructure our military to fight real threats instead of the imaginary threat of an Indonesian invasion. We should ask the Americans to station 10 (out of the 11,000 they have available) of their planes in Australia just so that Indonesia doesn't go completely mad and attempt an invasion. We should then restructure our military so that we can deploy as many troops as possible overseas, within our current military budget. ie make maximum use of our resources, leveraging into the protection that the US is able to provide (at no cost to us), and instead have the ability to do something useful.

The great danger is that the US will get sick of providing 90% of the force required to protect the Iraqi government. They may in fact pull out all their troops and abandon Iraq. Precisely as occurred in Vietnam. Just as Australia should have provided protection for the South Vietnamese, even without a US presence, Australia should protect our Iraqi allies, even if the US gives up. Even if the US fails to provide air cover (as they did in Vietnam, despite the fact that we were in the middle of the Cold War), we can make use of British aircraft. The bottleneck as I see it is ground troops. Instead of wasting time pretending the Indonesians are about to invade us, we should fill this very real bottleneck of war-weary Americans.

There is a real threat to our homefront as well. And it doesn't come from the Indonesians, it comes from Australians who have become so blinded by anti-American propaganda that they think we are the bad buys and Saddam was some sort of benevolent force in the world who needed to be protected from the war-mongering Americans. We don't just need an education campaign overseas, we need one here. You can start by showing some of the torture videos that Saddam's henchman made. Show it to Australian children so that they have nightmares. Some sort of shock therapy is required to let Australians know what their grandchildren face if the military equation ever changes and our generation failed to take action when the military equation was totally in our favour. We are hated by a lot of people in the world. If they can torture "their own" people like that, imagine what they'll do to us!

Please take immediate action before it's too late. The American public is on a knife-edge, and Australia could make the difference between victory and defeat. If we can sway the American people, we will have effectively saved western civilization. Imagine that. Australia saving western civilization. There's something for the history books. And it can go alongside Australia changing the world when the Australian Lighthorse charged Beersheba. Or would you rather history recorded that Australia sucked its thumb, pretending that the Indonesians were going to invade us with their non-existant navy and despite the ANZUS alliance? No more thumb-sucking please Mr Howard. You know what needs to be done. Don't claim ignorance - I've spelt it out in full for you. I hope you rise to the challenge. It may well be down to you personally. Let the Americans know we are abandoning Australia's ability to defend Australia and will instead pick up the burden in Iraq before the panicky Americans abandon it. Maybe this will be enough to keep the Americans engaged until we get there to replace them. Let's hope it's not too late already.

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