August 28, 2018

Molan's meretricious mumblings

In December 2017, Jim Molan, a retired Major General, was deemed "elected" to the Australian Senate.  I think it's probably fair to describe him, based on his (reported) past comments, as a white supremacist, anti-Islamist, right wing death beast. 

Fair enough...

But what, for this veteran, is really hard to swallow is a comment he is widely reported to have made recently.  That comment was: "I've put my life on the line for major Islamic, Muslim countries in this world."

Before I get deeper into Senator Molan's dodgy comment, I think I'd better establish some context for what's about to follow.

Firstly, I will assume the reader has read Major General Smedley Butler's 1935 book titled "War is a Racket".  (It's a free download.)

Secondly, the reader needs to understand that I assert that any war we wage on foreign soil for dubious and debatable imperatives is, in my view, nothing less than state sanctioned mass murder.

So, now, back to Molan's "I've put my life on the line for major Islamic, Muslim countries in this world" comment:  Molan's major "achievements" were in the Iraq war during 2004-2005.

If Molan wants to tell us that his tour of duty in support of George W. Bush's war against the people of Iraq was waged for the benefit of the people of Iraq then he's either a deluded fool or a lying scoundrel of the lowest order.

That war was fought for only one reason:  To bolster the West's energy interests (read "oil theft") in the Middle East.  The war's objective was to transfer Iraq's oil profits from the people of Iraq to Western oil corporations. 

That war was a total disaster for Iraq.

That war killed in excess of one million Iraqis and gave rise to a massive insurgency which greatly swelled the ranks of al Qaeda and subsequently led to the rise of Islamic State. 

Sorry, Senator Molan, but your disingenuous war propaganda bullshit doesn't cut it with those of us who have bothered to inform ourselves about the West's megalomanic white supremacist machinations in the Middle East over the last 100+ years.

Gerry Binder
Vietnam veteran

November 30, 2017

"No War in Korea" Peace Rally - Fri 8 December 2017 - Sydney

The Korean Sydney Candlelight Alliance is holding a 'No War in Korea' Peace Rally on Friday 8 December 2017,12.30-1.30pm outside the MLC Centre, 19-29 Martin Place, Sydney. 

They are going to promote the following: 

1)   De-escalate the threats of war in the Korean Peninsula; 
2)   Sign a peace treaty between the US and North Korea; and 
3)   Sign and ratify the UN Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. 

Please share this facebook event  page with your friends and come and join this rally for world peace! 

This rally is proudly supported by: Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association; Independent and Peaceful Australia Network; Sydney Stop the War Coalition; Friends of 'Comfort Women' in Sydney; Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union; Solidarity Choir; Green Left Weekly; Latin America Social Forum; Pax Christ; Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition; Maritime Union of Australia; Australian Veterans For Peace. 

June 18, 2017

A Vietnam veteran's letter to Prime Minister Turnbull

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,

You recently opined in a most heartfelt way about patriotism. Thereby you have hit a raw nerve with me. The question as to whether or not I am a patriot has been troubling me for years and since you present yourself as supremely knowledgeable on this subject, I turn to you for advice.

I was born in 1946, came to this country as a migrant (my family were refugees from eastern Europe) in 1956. I served in the CMF (Army Reserve) 1964-67; then in the Regular Army 1967-76 (honourably discharged with the rank of Sergeant); served in Vietnam 1968-69, first as a machine gunner in an infantry section and then as an instructor with a Mobile Advisory Training Team training South Vietnamese soldiers.

I used to be a strong supporter of capitalism right up until the late 80's when I expanded my field of reading. Since then I discovered what a mass murderous war crime the Vietnam war was. I have come to see neoliberal capitalism as a corrupt and unsustainable economic fraud that enriches very few and hurts the vast majority of people. I have also come to see war as a political evil (except in the most dire self-defence-on-home-soil situations).

In 2003, at an anti-war rally, as an act of protest against our joining America's Coalition Of The Oil Swilling in their war against the people of Iraq, I handed my war medals to Senator Nettle to pass on to Prime Minister Howard. And I joined the Greens. And campaigned for Andrew Wilkie in Bennelong. And I kept right on campaigning for the Greens till Howard was unelected and then onwards till about 2012.

I am no longer a member of any political party but I am a staunch anti-war activist. I believe that the "war on terror" actually breeds more "terrorists" than it kills and that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission about the whole Middle East situation should be held, run by the International Court of Justice. I also believe that Australia should take a more independent and neutralist stance with regard to foreign policy and get the hell out of the Australia-US Alliance (and any other treaties which lock us onto the American war machine).

So, Mr Prime Minister, I really want you to tell me what you, personally, think of me on the question "Is Gerry Binder a patriot?"

Respectfully yours,

Gerry Binder
Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist

=   =   =   =   =

UPDATE:  The PM has, as at 31 December 2017, not yet replied.  Quelle surprise...

April 22, 2016

Lest We Forget

(A Vietnam veteran's open letter to his local State MP)

Liberal MP, Louise Marcus, at considerable expense to the tax payers, sent me, and every other householder, a glossy brochure inviting me to attend an ANZAC Day service.  I'd like to respond with this open letter to Louise:

Dear Louise,

I am a troubled Vietnam war veteran and I shall not be attending any services on Anzac Day (or Vietnam Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day.)

Your glossy brochure said "LEST WE FORGET".

Lest we forget what, Louise?  Forget that war is politics gone stark raving mad?  Forget that war is nothing more than state-sanctioned mass murder?  Forget that war is terrorism, just on a much more a massive scale?  Forget that young men and women were hyped up by ideological propaganda and lies so that the "Big Boys" could pursue their war profiteering agenda?

And for what, Louise?  For "Empire"?  For our "superior" culture?  To further capitalism's glorious march towards globalisation?  To secure Middle Eastern oil for "The West's" exclusive exploitation? For what, Louise?

You've confused me, Louise.  Really.  I'm stumped.

So, please, Louise, what is it, exactly, that you  don't want me to forget on ANZAC day?

Gerry Binder
Vietnam veteran

November 25, 2015

"All war is a mistake, all war" said our Governor General

Sir Peter Cosgrove, our current Governor General, was Chief of the Australian Defence Force in 2003 when the then-prime minister John Howard committed Australian troops to support the US invasion of Iraq.  Since he was an officer in the Australian Army who rose to become Head of the Army, I do not believe, for one minute, that he was not savvy enough to be able to astutely read between the lines of the political propaganda driving that invasion, nor do I believe he was a dull-eyed slouch when it came to critically examining and assessing intelligence reports and analyses.  And therefore feel that I must take issue with some of the  comments he reportedly made, a decade later,  in a 2013 ABC news report:

Ten years after the event, still limply trying to justify his decision to commit Australian troops to the Iraq invasion, he gave these "reasons":

[1] "...a horrible dictator eventually was removed..."

That was the reason to go to war?  Really? So how come we never went to war against any of the equally (if not more so) horrible dictators (like, for instance, the succession of despots and dictators who ran South Vietnam) whom America installed and supported whenever it suited U.S. global "interests".  Nor did we ever voice strong objections to such examples of breathtakingly hypocritical and mass murederous American foreign policy.  So, clearly, being a horrible dictator is only a crime punishable by death if you're not a "U.S. friendly" dictator.

[2] "I think we all understood after 9/11 that there'd been a profound change in what might be called the pervasive security aspirations of democratic countries, and Iraq was, if you like, a step along the way,"

Am I the only one who thinks that reads like a pile of dissembling obfuscation?  Al Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 atrocities - Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 !   Saddam Hussein, as a whole swag of the U.S. intelligence analysts, and even our own, tried to point out at the time, was not even talking with al Qaeda.

[3] The ABC reporter points out that General Cosgrove does not believe a "lie" about WMDs was used in order to supply a pretext for going to war: "A lie presupposes [that] people deliberately contrived to invent a reason for war, and that’s certainly not the Australian experience," the erstwhile General was reported as having said.

Well, how does the erstwhile General reconcile the fact that, prior to the deployment of our troops, grave doubts about the veracity of those "massaged" intelligence reports were being loudly expressed in very reputable quarters of the intelligence community, even in our own?   Andrew Wilkie even quit his career with the Office of National Assessments (ONA), one of our lead intelligence agencies, in protest at the lies being bought, apparently unquestioned, by the likes of General Cosgrove.  

Those lies have since been well and truly verified by a whole stack of first-person accounts including accounts by US, British, German, and Australian intelligence analysts. For the erstwhile General to claim, ten years later, that he still does not believe that the WMD circus was a huge beat-up to help provide George W. Bush with a fraudulent excuse to invade Iraq, beggars belief.  Unless, of course, one factors-in the idea that if General Cosgrove had permitted himself to courageously and unflinchingly stare the truth in the face at the time, he would virtually have felt an overwhelming moral duty to tell Prime Minister Howard something along the lines of "Call off your sycophantic support for America's planned illegal invasion of Iraq, or go find yourself a new General to prosecute your war, John!"  But he did no such thing.  I suppose he opted for the convenient excuse of "I am just following orders."   Will he also now absolve those hung for trying to get away with that very same excuse at the Nuremberg Trials?   I doubt it...

And of course, as history has shown, Prime Minister Abbott, Howard's successor in the ranks of conservative politics, handsomely rewarded General Cosgrove's loyalty (to the conservatives' political agenda) by promoting him to Governor General of Australia, and even recommending him for a knighthood.  (Was that Abbott's dog whistle to others that there are huge rewards for Army officers who display unflinching loyalty to their conservative political masters?)

In that 2013 ABC report General Cosgrove also said "All war is a mistake, all war..."  Apparently he had that epiphany well after he deliberately and willfully ignored strong and credible doubts, loudly expressed by members of the intelligence community (and even fellow Generals) at the time, in order to justify sending our troops into yet another American bloodbath which achieved only negative results and was arguably the main cause of the huge growth in al Qaeda's ranks in Iraq, and the rise of ISIL.

And reading between the lines of that ABC news report, I get the strong impression that General Cosgrove still blames everyone except himself for involving the men and women of the Australian Defence Force - many of whom have since committed suicide - in what was arguably a war crime.  

Nice one, General...  Will we ever get Generals with the moral fortitude of Andrew Wilkie? 

I live in hope...

Gerry Binder
Vietnam veteran

April 24, 2015

Anzac Day 2015 - Remembering Hugo Throssell VC

In the midst of Australia's current orgy of war glorification, it might be appropriate to remember the life of Hugo Throssell:

In 1919, Gallipoli veteran and Victoria Cross winner, Hugo Throssell said, “The war has made me a socialist and a pacifist. It has made me think and inquire what are the causes of wars. And my thinking and reading have led me to the conclusion that we shall never be free of wars under a system of production for profit”. 

After his initial enthusiasm for war, Throssell lived through some of the worst slaughter at Gallipoli and saw his brother killed in action in Palestine. Injured, he ended up suffering from  meningitis and what we today call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 
Already disillusioned about the war, he met and married Communist Party activist and author Katharine Susannah Prichard. After finding it hard to get work during the Depression, Throssell committed suicide in 1933, in the hope his death would see the government grant his wife and child a war pension.
He wrote on the back of his will, “I have never recovered from my 1914-18 experiences”.

Sources and further reading:

August 21, 2014

Book Review: Raw Man by Fred Rivera

Politicians sold us the the Vietnam war as a just war, a necessary war.  
A massive stack of well researched books has since debunked the blatant lies and warped thinking which led us into that war. US Vietnam veteran Fred Rivera's novel, Raw Man, stripped of all the usual machismo and chest-thumping hero worshiping faux patriotism one often finds in personal accounts of soldiering, gives a brutally honest, soul searing glimpse into the reality of that most stupid of wars, and what it did to the bodies and minds of those who were so callously exploited to serve such dubious imperatives.   Gerry Binder 

April 26, 2013

Standing in the corner...

One of our members, Gerry Binder, recently spent two interesting weeks taking part in 13 Rooms, a performance art project staged by Kaldor Art Projects. He was one of six veterans performing Santiago Sierra's work.

Note:  The "War IS Terrorism" t-shirt was worn with Santiago Sierra's prior consent.

May 10, 2011

Vale Claude Choules

Claude Choules served in the Royal Navy in WWI and in the Royal Australian Navy in WWII.

In his later years he became a staunch pacifist and eschewed Anzac Day and Remembrance Day celebrations, thereby refusing to glorify war.

He was the oldest living British combat veteran of WWI when he passed away on May 5, 2011.

The conservative mainstream media, such as Murdoch's News Limited, when reporting on his passing, by and large "forgot" to mention his anti-war stance.  Similarly, the Royal Australian Navy's "biography" of Chief Petty Officer Claude Stanley Choules also omits to mention his intense aversion to the glorification of war.

July 28, 2008

Afghanistan - should we be there? Part 2

Why Afghanistan is Not the Good War - by RON JACOBS

It's the perennial thorn in the colonialist's side. It's the war that won't go away. It's a wasp sting that swells, slowly choking the life out of the sting's recipient. It is the nearly seven-year old occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and various NATO allies. Nearly forgotten by most Americans, the situation in that country has taken headlines away from the occupation of Iraq because of the resurgence of the anti-occupation forces. Nine US troops were killed in one day, easily topping any recent US fatality figures coming out of Iraq in recent months. The growing ferocity of the resistance was brought home to me when a young man whom I have been close to since he was three years old was removed from the battle zone with wounds serious enough to send him stateside for surgery and recovery. (He's scheduled to get out of the Marines in October--hopefully he won't get stop-lossed and sent back over there).

Read more >>>

July 26, 2008

Afghanistan - should we be there? Part 1

Democracy Now! - a daily TV/radio news program, airing on over 700 stations, the largest community media collaboration in the U.S., recently interviewed Sonali Kolhatkar of Pacifica station KPFK in Los Angeles, who is among America's leading voices against the occupation of Afghanistan. She is co-author of the book Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords and the Propaganda of Silence, and she is also co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a group that works in solidarity with Afghans to help improve health and educational facilities for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Read the entire transcript of this interview >>>

December 22, 2007

...because our fathers lied...

Rudyard Kipling, that most pukka of British empirophiles, pulled strings to get his son a commission in the army.

His son was killed in the Battle of Loos during WWI, at the age of eighteen.

Subsequently, Kipling wrote this:

If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied.”

July 16, 2007

Time for action

We are supporting the protest action against Bush and Howard at the APEC Summit on September 8. If you are a veteran who is opposed to war; If you are a veteran who thinks that all political action should be nonviolent; If you are a veteran who thinks that war is madness - then join us - contact us.

We have contacted the organisers of this protest and expressed our support and also our absolute commitment to keeping our protest peaceful, and we have requested that all other participants also refrain from any violent action whatsoever.

We stand for peace, peacefully.

We believe it's time to stand up and be counted. Don't you?

July 15, 2007

The last of a kind

Harry Patch is the last surviving World War I veteran in Britain, reports
the Telegraph in Britain. A few years ago he was taken to meet a German veteran who had fought opposite him in Flanders. "Nice old chap. A pacifist. Same as me. Why did they suffer, those millions of men?" (Emphasis mine)

I think we'd better make him an honorary member of Australian Veterans For Peace.

Good on you, Harry.

April 25, 2006

Countdown to Anzac Day - Zero Hour

"Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war."

~Donald Rumsfeld

Countdown to Anzac Day - A minus one

"It is only those who have never fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is Hell."

~American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman.

April 24, 2006

Countdown to Anzac Day - A minus two

"War doesn't make boys men, it makes men dead."

~ Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie AC DSC CSM - Australian Army
 (Update:  Now retired - served as Chief of Army from 2008 until 2011.)

April 23, 2006

Countdown to Anzac Day - A minus three

"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."

~Noam Chomsky

April 22, 2006

Countdown to Anzac Day - A minus four

"Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence."

~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

April 21, 2006

Countdown to Anzac Day - A minus five

"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious."

~General Smedley Butler, USMC, (Twice awarded the Medal of Honor)

April 20, 2006

Countdown to Anzac Day - A minus six

"The chain reaction of evil--wars producing more wars -- must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 19, 2006

Countdown to Anzac Day - A minus seven

The Howard Government is spending huge amounts of tax payers' money on cranking up the Anzac Myth, hoping it will rekindle the jingoisitc, faux patriotic kneejerking necessary to give the much mis-used Defence Force new cannon fodder for his current, and future military misadventures.

To counter Howard's Hubris in whatever small way we can, we shall be posting, daily between now and Anzac Day, quotes by famous people through the ages, who might well have disagreed with our Dear Leader on the subject of war or the need to talk-up to the level of National Myth, that massive, pointless, military blunder which was the Gallipoli debacle.

Here's today's item:

Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail during the period of the Nuremberg Trails, kept a journal of his observations of the proceedings and his conversations with the prisoners, which he later published in the book Nuremberg Diary. Gilbert recorded Goering's (Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief) observations that the common people can always be manipulated into supporting and fighting wars by their political leaders:

Gilbert: "We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction."

Goering: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

Gilbert: "There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

Goering: "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

So there you have it, the full context for Goering's famous quote.

Source: Snopes

September 14, 2004

Gen. Peter Gration - veteran against war in Iraq

In an article in The Age (Melbourne), on January 2 2003, General Gration tried to warn Australia:
Australia has no good reason for war and many against. There are better ways, writes Peter Gration.

Full Story >>>

Brig. Adrian D'Hage - veteran against war in Iraq

From an article in The Advocate (Burnie, Tas.), August 19, 2004, by Gill Vowles:
Retired Brigadier Adrian d'Hage used the Vietnam Veterans' Day service in Burnie's Civic Centre Plaza to launch a stinging attack on the Australian Government's foreign policy on Iraq.

Speaking after a wreath-laying ceremony, Brig. d'Hage said the policy decision to follow the US into war was an "absolute disaster".
(We did have a "Full Story" link back the newspaper so that you could read the entire article on their website, but their website does not support permanent links back to older stories. We are currently trying to obtain a copy of the complete article for our own archives. Once we have this we will provide a link to it for you to view it from here. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

Update: The Advocate has not replied to our emails so we have given up on this.

September 09, 2004

Re-writing history - again

A Google websearch today, using the phrase "Ted Smout died", produced five significant media reports of his death. They were: The Australian Defence Report,, Media Release from Dana Vale - Minister for Veterans Affairs, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Army newspaper.

Whilst reporting on the passing of Ted Smout, WWI veteran, not one of these sources bothered to mention the very relevant fact that Ted was opposed to our participation in the Iraq and Afghaninstan wars, and that he was a pacifist.

Hope this sets the record straight.

Ted Smout - WWI veteran against war

On 22 June 2004, Australia lost one of its few living links to the horrors of the Western Front when Ted Smout died in Brisbane, aged 106.

This is an excerpt from The 7.30 Report, ABC-TV, 23/6/2004. The reporter was Jonathan King:
Ted Smout's legacy is in the hundreds of newspaper articles written about him, the book he wrote Across Three Centuries, hours and hours of video footage instructing Australians not to get involved in conflicts like Iraq or Afghanistan.

His main message always was we should not glorify war.

It was a mistake to fight in a far flung battle that had nothing to do with Australia and he pleaded with the nation never to do it again.

So, great warrior, great fighter, but (also) a philosopher and a pacifist.
(Text in brackets added by me.  Ed.)

Gulf war veterans agaist Iraq war

From The Age (Melbourne), this article by Meaghan Shaw, 21 March 2003:
Magnus Mansie and Brett Jones served together on HMAS Success during the first Gulf War.

Together again yesterday, in front of Parliament House, they handed back their service medals in protest against Australia's involvement in a war without United Nations sanction.

Both said they were proud of their medals but felt their action was the only way to be heard. They supported Australian troops now in the Gulf and called for their immediate return. Deputy Opposition Leader Jenny Macklin, Greens leader Bob Brown and Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja received the medals on behalf of Prime Minister John Howard who was "too busy" to attend. Later they delivered them to the Prime Minister's office and asked them to be given to the Australian War Memorial for safekeeping.

August 31, 2004

What to do about Anzac Day

Historian David Day has this to say about the way we commemorate our war dead:
It is time to rethink the way we commemorate the sacrifices that were made back then without neglecting to question whether all of them were necessary or in Australia's interest. The march should be transformed in tone so that it works as a warning against war rather than a celebration of it.

If children are to replace their dead fathers and grandfathers in the march, how about not only scouring the cupboards for grandad's medals but also getting under the house and locating the souvenired body parts that some grandads seem to have brought back from the war, such as the Turkish skull that was discovered recently on a Victorian farm? Let the children march with those to emphasise the horrors and waste of war. >> more >>
I second the motion, David!

And then there's this Anzac Day tribute by Grace Wong, which ends with:
Lest we forget. These words which we muttered during our school assemblies is a timely reminder to all of us, that war is not glorious, that we should never forget those who sacrificed their lives and above all else we should not repeat past mistakes. Lest we forget what war can do.
That's good enough for me... Thanks Grace.

Lest we forget...

Gerry Binder - Vietnam veteran strongly opposed to war

Laura Tiernan reporting for WSWS, covering the Sydney anti-war protests,
23 March, 2003:

Others on the platform included Gerry Binder, a Vietnam Veteran and Greens supporter, who told the rally he was handing back his war medals to Prime Minister Howard in protest against Australia’s participation in the invasion of Iraq. Later he told the WSWS: “I totally disagree with our current engagement with Iraq. It’s American aggression and we shouldn’t be part of it. I also have come to the conclusion that the Vietnam War was wrong anyhow, so there’s two reasons for handing those medals back.

“I think they’re after oil. I think it’s a long-term strategic move they’re making. And they’re using us and they’re lying to us. I would like to say if I’m on tape, that my beef is not with the Australian troops, it’s not their fault. John Howard hijacked them. They’re just obeying orders. I wouldn’t like to see people turn on the troops the way they did when we came back from Vietnam. It’s not their fault.

Doug Cowlishaw - WW II veteran opposed to war

From an article in The Advertiser, 25 April, 2003:
WW II veteran Doug Cowlishaw, who marched with his eight-year-old grandson Harry, said he was against war, but felt it was justified when it came to threats to Australia's security.

Harry said he was proud to march with his grandfather and "remember the people who died in the war".

Alec Campbell - WW I veteran strongly opposed to war

This snippet from ABC Radio's The World Today program of 3 April 2003:
PETA DONALD: The author of Alec Campbell's biography, Jonathan King also has no doubt about what the last ANZAC would have thought of Australia's involvement now in Iraq.

JOHATHAN KING: Alec Campbell would have opposed Australian troops being sent to Iraq because he realised having fought at Gallipoli, how wrong it was to send Australian troops to the other end of the world.

They lost the campaign at Gallipoli, despite the fact that it's so celebrated in Australian history, and he became a pacifist. And he said we should learn from the folly of Gallipoli never to send troops abroad again to fight in countries that are not threatening Australia.

So Alec Campbell, who we're basically farewelling today at this book launch, believed strongly against sending troops abroad. Defend our own shores, defend our own shores, but don't send them abroad.
Lest we forget...

Re-writing History

The re-writing of history, in relation to Marcel Caux, began as soon as he died.

An internet search conducted today produced the following results:

Channel Seven, Channel Nine, The Age, The Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telelgraph, The Mercury, and The Townsville Bulletin all "forgot" to mention that Marcel Caux was strongly outspoken against war.

Only The Sydney Morning Herald and The ABC remembered to mention it.

Rusty Priest, a former president of the RSL in NSW, who is reported to be a close and long-time friend of Mr Caux, and who gave a eulogy at Mr Caux's funeral, also apparently "forgot" to mention that he was strongly outspoken against war, or if he did mention it, the media apparently "forgot" to report it.

Since Marcel Caux's strong pacifist stand was central to who he was, I cannot help but think that those who "forgot" to mention it were engaging in blatant and deliberate attempts to re-write history.

I hope this helps to set the record straight.

Lest we forget...

The true meaning of Anzac Day

The following words by Peter Adams, written in April 2003, sum up for me, the true meaning of Anzac day:
Anzac Day, celebrated this past Friday in Australia, is a national day of honouring Australia's soldiers; in particular, those World War I soldiers who served at Gallipoli in Turkey.

This morning, in today’s post, I received two small stones taken from the beach at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. The sender asked that they be placed with the many other stones that comprise the Ancestral Midden section of the Windgrove Peace Garden. “My partner wept at Lone Pine, partly through anger at the senseless waste of young lives, and partly because of grief.”

Our political leaders today are basking in the glorification of war and will succeed for a short while in becoming miniature heroes hiding behind the cloak of another’s bravery. But behind their pomp and ceremony lies the horrific reality of the gassing, the wounding, the torturing and the killing of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of soldiering men and women throughout the world.

Lest we forget. This is the true meaning of Anzac Day.

Lest we forget that Australia's longest lived Anzac who died just last year, Alec Campbell, was a life long pacifist. Lest we forget the words spoken this last Anzac Day by World War I Digger, Marcel Caux: “War is so useless. There’s nothing gained by it”.

This afternoon I placed the two Anzac Cove stones on the Ancestral Midden and offered a prayer that someday the world will have politicians with the wisdom to understand that violence only begets violence and that a lasting peace will only ever be achieved through peaceful means.

August 23, 2004

Vale, Marcel Caux

Marcel Caux died peacefully in his sleep today, aged 105. He was a veteran of the First World War. This quote from an article in The Age (Melbourne) in April this year:
Mr Caux was opposed to Australia fighting foreign wars such as Iraq. "We learnt at Gallipoli what a mistake it was to fight other people's wars on foreign shores. We paid a terrible price there and in the Somme. We should only defend our own shores," he said. >> read more >>
Rest in peace, Marcel Caux.

Lest we forget...

August 13, 2004

The war on truth

We're apparently engaged in "war on terrorism." How can we wage war on "terrorism"? All war is terrorism. All terrorism is war. Conventional war is "approved" terrorism on a grand scale, and "terrorism" is "unapproved" war on a lesser scale. "Terrorism" as a tactic is actually justified the moment conventional war is waged against a population. And anyway, we're not waging conventional war against an entity called "terrorism". That cannot be done. We're waging conventional war upon a whole population. And only some of those people are "terrorists", the rest are innocent civilians, dismissed, cynically, as "collateral damage". The term "terrorist" is merely a convenient propaganda word used to disguise the fact that these are guerilla fighters or freedom fighters in their own right. We just don't want to acknowledge that they have a cause as valid as ours.

And now you can see what kind of trap we've gotten ourselves into: We're trying to wage conventional war against guerilla warfare. That concept failed for the US (and us) in Vietnam; it failed for the Soviets in Afghanistan. At present it's failing for the Russians in Chechnya; it's failing for the US (and us) in Afghanistan; it's failing for the US (and us) in Iraq; it's failing for the Israelis in Palestine.

It doesn't work. It doesn't work because it creates more patriots than it kills. It's a self-defeating concept - and always has been - unless we're prepared to commit genocide. Are we really going to try to wipe out entire populations/races/religions/ideologies from which guerillas emerge? Now that would be the road not just to another holocaust but to an endless series of holocausts. It would be the road to Hell itself. Whatever happened to "never again"? I'll tell you what: The warmongers have taken over again!

So, how do we defuse the threat of "terrorism"? Well, I'd say we start by telling the truth instead of spinning webs of deceit to hide our complicity in their brutalisation, oppression, exploitation, disposession and maltreatment.

The truth is that those on the receiving end of that baseball bat that is the globalisation of "US interests", feel their physical, religious, ideological, ecological, and/or economic sovereignty is being threatened. The truth is that they have many, many valid grievances. The truth is that we don't want to deal with their grievances no matter how valid they are. The truth is that the reason we don't want to deal with their grievances is because "it's not in our interests". The truth is that we've become corrupt. The truth is that "it's not in our interests" to admit that we're corrupt. And so we'll create more "terrorists" ad infinitum.

The truth is that "the war on terror" is in fact the war on truth.

P.S. If the warmongers wanted to wage war on war, they'd be waging peace. We here at Australian Veterans For Peace have not been contacted by any peace-waging warmongers yet. But we live in hope.

Gerry Binder
Vietnam veteran

August 08, 2004

Don't call me a hero!

By the time I got to Vietnam I had, over many years, been lied to and subjected to many layers of "education" by my government, my "news" providers, my religious leaders and my teachers. And I was never told that those wonderful war comics I had read as a child were actually preparing me to want to become a patriot too. I was stupid enough to believe all that stuff. I was ignorant. I did not know. "I was only nineteen." I had trusted them. And so I had no trouble at all in inventing my own grubby little "reasons" for wanting to go and kill people who dared to subscribe to an ideology which I did not then understand. And when I saw them dead I thought them no different from dead feral dogs.  Don't call me a hero!

Gerry Binder
Vietnam veteran

August 06, 2004

"War is a racket"

 Major General Smedley Butler was a  United States Marine Corps Major General (the highest rank authorized at that time).  Having twice been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, he was, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
Here is an excerpt from a speech he delivered in 1933:
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
You can read his much more detailed dissertation on this topic >> here >>

And if we transpose the names of the corporations listed above with those from the current batch of war profiteers and their entourage of "beneficiaries", including the usual suspects from the oil and gas industry, the informed reader will note that nothing much has changed.  It's "business as usual".  America is still running the biggest protection racket in history.  And Australia is still happily going along for the ride.  Apparently it's "in our interests" (as long as we don't mention the words "morals" and "ethics".)