Thursday, July 5, 2007

Howard’s oil spill!

Surprise! Oil is and was a reason for our military presence in Iraq.

According to ABC News online, “Defence Minister Brendan Nelson says securing the world's oil supply is one of the Federal Government's considerations as it decides how long to keep troops in Iraq.”

This was reinforced by the Prime Minster later.

It’s good to know that it’s not just about selling wheat!

At the time of the 1967 Middle East war, I was discussing with my uncle the reasons for what appeared to be an insoluble conflict. He argued that there would never be peace in the region as long as there was oil. Not just so that the West could continue to control the supply of cheap fuel. To pay for the increasing imbalance of trade the US and its allies needed to sell something in return: Arms! Hence the need for a regional arms race based on selling increasingly sophisticated weapons systems to all sides. Remember the Iran-Iraq war?

A simple formula except that now it is not just the countries of the Middle East who are spending a large part of their national income on the military. Australia is nearing the top of the list.

How many times do we have to invade this part of the world in the name of liberating its people? The lighthorse has been replaced by the SAS but we are no closer to peace in the Middle East.

Minister Nelson accused Kevin Rudd of being out of touch on defence. As one of the bullyboys (as Mal Brough referred to his opponents recently) Nelson’s is not a soft touch. Perhaps the price of fuel is looming as an election issue. Another dose of fearing and loathing on the campaign trail.

Ironically, despite all the analogies, Iraq is not another Vietnam, it is Gallipolli without an honourable retreat.

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