Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What Australia Can do to progress the middle east situation

I promised I would actually put something down along these lines, but it is quite difficult to get all of my thoughts straight. So I'll try to put something in point form.

* As a small country, and not say the leader of the free world, it is not what we do per se that makes the most difference, but the example we display.

* Our actions around the Pacific are the main thrust of this. We have shown the right way to involve our military. We have made our forces extremely accessible in situations in the Solomons, East Timor, Bougainville, Aceh, Bali, PNG just to name a few, and most importantly, have not placed any conditions and have asked for practically nothing in return.

* In the Middle East, we have punched well above our weight. We were pretty much bound to act alongside the US for the most part, however. For a long time, we have had way less fatalities and accidents than the norm. Partly, this is because our forces tend to attract less attention, and they tend to be more specialised.

* Things like knowing Arabic language, being more disciplined than the Americans, showing compassion for the ordinary citizen rather than complete fear of everyone amongst them. These are attributes which would make a helpful example to others.

11 comments:

Andrew Shellshear said...

Here here.

Jenny said...

I've got to say, showing discipline and ethical behavior and not messing with people just because you can is very useful in a conflict. If the civilians know they will not be abused, they are less likely to become an active enemy. If your enemy knows that they will not be abused after surrender, they are more likely to surrender.
I've heard that in WW2 in Europe during the closing stages of the war, German soldiers would seek out Australian divisions to surrender to for this reason. Its a reputation that we should take pains to keep.

Marco said...

Where? Where?

What I don't understand is why the US (and European) soldier training doesn't drill this into the soldiers. I guess Australians just have to keep doing it better and better. And when all the countries in the world have either allied with us or surrendered - then we can concentrate on reducing general crime. After all, when there is no active war, a soldier is just a versatile police officer or emergency service person.

Dr. Clam said...

I do wish the mighty Andrew would expand on his comments a bit more! It seems to me that Marco is saying essentially the same sort of things he said in 2003...

Marco said...

Don't be so hard on Andrewww. At least he went to the trouble of demonstrating that he read what I was writing. It's people like Sandor that reeeaaallly infuriate me. He reads but does not acknowledge. He cares but is afraid of even putting a "hello there" comment. In fact, I have promised myself that I won't even as much talk to him if he doesn't place a comment in here next time he visits.

Dr. Clam said...

Sandor is afraid? This is a tragedy. As a citizen of a free country, he should be fearless in saying 'hello there' to his friends, however radical they may be. Though I can't talk, being a mollusc pseudonym...

Anonymous said...

Anonimity, even on the web, is not what it is cracked up to be. I believe that putting your ones name to something one publishes makes one a lot more disciplined writer. Although scary, when wanting to voice opinions to vent not knowing future consequences; the type of discipline is critical in business and work correspondence. With writing of this kind there is a fine line between saying what needs to be said, and unnecessarily giving ones detractors or enemies ammunition against you. I often follow up reserved and tolerant written correspondence with a phone call in which I won't hold back. Third parties then wonder why somebody is so upset with me when the written evidence seems to show me as the victim.

Dr. Clam said...

Bah, phones are of the devil! Everything should be a matter of public record, and privacy is a foolish affectation that soon will be effaced from the Earth. I will probably inadvertently out myself soon by sending Senators emails about stem cells with googleable text strings based on my blog entries in them. C'est la vie!

Anonymous said...

1) Phones are certainly of the devil, and with recorders, they could also be a matter of public record.
2) Privacy can never really be completely killed off. It is just that people will more and more give up privacy for various societal gains.
3) I cannot imagine a world where I don't try to take advantage of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Selecting when and where something private becomes public is where all power and intrigue lies.
4) One way to keep a written conversation private is to make it completely boring, then not to bring any attention to it.

Dr. Clam said...

I thought we could mess with Sandor's mind by making up what we think he would say. Whaddaya reckon?

Marco said...

Heh, heh... Could be good.