The tragedy of courageous Australian soldiers being murdered by Afghan ‘allies’ demonstrates not only the futility of war but also the absurdity of politicians repeating cliches about ‘staying the course’, and ‘ completing our mission’. The media participates in this process by usually inviting a grim faced Defence Association spokesperson to repeat those cliches, usually with a reference to ‘never cut and run.’
It’s time that another perspective was heard and heeded.
Professor Stuart Rees, Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation says, ‘It will take courage to question the cliches, to challenge that militaristic culture which regrets loss of precious lives yet stays determined to continue the policies which guarantee that more lives will be lost. This pointless process, built around claims about ‘honor’, and ‘ the courage to continue the fight’ has continued for centuries.
Another form of courage is needed: the mental/political courage to say enough is enough.
Instead of staying in Afghanistan, Australians can teach the world another lesson: this is a war which is not a war; this is an intervention which has lasted for too long.
Instead of uttering predictable cliches, political leaders could say,’ We will therefore find the courage to withdraw from Afghanistan and we will be determined to never sacrifice young lives again. We now realize there is no honour in that.’
Professor Rees concludes, ‘This statement may be met with cries of cowardice, but that is a risk worth taking The search for an alternative to these Afghan tragedies is long overdue.’
Melissa McCullough | Sydney Peace Foundation Media Officer
m: 0432 861 653
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