Environment issues vital to poll

Queensland Poll date announced. The Premier has called us Queenslanders together to vote on 9 Spetember and the Greens PR machine swings into gear. I acknowledge that environmental issues are important to a few greenies but the rest of us would like too see something done about water and health. The Greens want us to stop mining that actually is understaking the state’s development and of course the lungfish has been hoisted up the evolutionary feed chain to take on more importance than us humans. Can’t build a dam here..It’s a lungfish habitat they say and I say…can’t the lungfish simply swim on over to the edge of a dam and go walkabout like all good lungfish do? It is so predictable – government announces a plan to construct something, almost anything, and the greenies trip over themselves finding some small animal, insect or fish in the vicinity.
“We need to understand that increasing our reliance on coal and building more dams (such as the proposed Traveston Dam), is simply killing Queensland.”

Long Tan

I never thought I’d live to see the day. In todays Australian the Vietnamese have admitted Australia won the Battle of Long Tan. With several hundred Vietnamese versus 18 Australians dead; with the fact neither the North Vietnamese Army nor the local Viet Cong never ever engaged Australians in major battles after that day and with their plan to annhilate the Australian Task Force by attacking the base with a 2,500 man regiment stopped dead by 108 Aussie infantrymen from Delta Coy, 6RAR; one wonders why anyone could ever think differently. But communists do think differently. As I recall at the time the communist forces claimed they had wiped out an Infantry battalion, 21 tanks (there were none at the battle) and as an aside, had sunk HMAS Sydney (for the fourth reported time) “For 40 years they have lied about Long Tan,” said former platoon commander Dave Sabben, as he stood at the spot where he and his troops repulsed Vietnamese soldiers. “They have never conceded they had their arses licked. [I’m sure Dave would’ve said ‘kicked’] Instead, they lied to their own people about what happened here. I find it offensive.” Now, 40 years on, Sabben and Buick – who commanded Australian troops during the battle – have returned to Long Tan, east of Ho Chi Minh City,[they mean Saigon] for a final showdown with the enemy.
The two Australians greeted their Vietnamese counterparts with warm handshakes in the plantation, near the memorial cross to the 18 Australians who died in the battle. After some small talk, the crucial question was posed to the Vietcong commanders: who won the battle of Long Tan? Nguyen Minh Ninh, former vice-commander of Vietcong D445 Battalion, thought carefully before answering – and then dropped a bombshell that exploded 40 years of official history. “You won … tactically and militarily, you won,” he said. His answer stunned Buick and Sabben. It was the first time a Vietnamese commander had ever admitted the truth about Long Tan.
The photographer claims the picture of Bob Buick, long time mate, and the ex 2IC of D445 Battalion, was taken at the site of the battle. With nary a rubber tree in sight and with pavers down on the ground I would suggest the pic was taken at Xa Long Tan, the village, not the battle site. I was at the site less than two years ago and it is well into the rubber plantation. I well remember seeing vague fleeting images of rubber tappers moving though the trees invoking bad memories. In 2004 I went back to Vietnam and visited the site at Long Tan. I wasn’t at the battle but the scene is now a ‘must do’ for Vietnam Veterans. As an infantryman with some experience I tried to explain how the soldiers would have felt;
We gaze at the cross deep in thought and I try to think of words to describe the events and feelings on that day. It’s not easy. Sometimes thoughts and feelings don’t translate easily into words. But try and imagine this. You are walking alone in the bush and someone fires a rifle towards you. You hear the crack-thump associated with close shots and you feel targeted and frightened. The rifle round makes a loud noise that startles you. Now put yourself in D Company’s shoes and try and imagine a couple of hundred people firing multiple rounds all seemingly targeting yourself. The noise is incomparable. There is no similar noise effect anywhere in the world that simulates hundreds of auto rounds coming towards you. While this crescendo tears apart your senses, friends are dying around you. The noise continues for hours, you are running out of ammo, you know the RAAF will have trouble resupplying due to the torrential rain and the talk amongst you is that this is it. You know that half the platoon is dead or wounded- the screaming is always a give away. You can see you are being attacked by assualt forces numbering in the hundreds and you only have maybe fifteen fit soldiers still able to fight. So what do you do. Run? Roll over and adopt the feotal crouch? Just lay there and scream for your mother or father? No. You make a stand and fight. It’s the difference. It’s what good training sets you for. It’s the essence of being a ‘Digger’ There are only two memorials to foreign armies in Vietnam. One at Dien Bien Phu where the French threw tactics out of the window and paid for it and the other is at Long Tan where D Coy held the thin green line and by doing so wrote themselves into history books.
My full report of that trip is here If I was amazed to read the Vietnamese had finally acknowledged D Coy kicked their arse at Long Tan, I was stunned to read in the Australian editorial that it was their considered opinion that our presence in Vietnam has been vindicated.
It has been more than 30 years since the fall of Saigon. Although this newspaper opposed the war in hindsight, the history of Vietnam under communist rule seems to vindicate the effort. Ho Chi Minh’s Stalinist regime was monstrous, even as it was lionised in the West. Vietnam still struggles under political and economic repression. But by stemming the totalitarian tide that was sweeping southeast Asia at the time, Australian and US troops may have saved countless millions.
Thirty eight years ago, I, as an army NCO was well aware that all Stalinist regimes were monstrous and that if anything, Ho Chi Minh’s regime would be worse – the Australian finally gets the picture and agrees publically. Maybe, just maybe all those never-to-be-forgotten friends didn’t die in vain. The left of course will always see things differently which happens when you live in a country, Australia, and believe in the wonder of communism and hoping and working for the defeat of your own troops. It is to these people that I address the following: It is a myth that the Free World Military Forces lost the Vietnam War. Called the American War by the Vietnamese the Communists lost at Tet 68 when they had their arses handed back to them on a plate. The South Vietnamese rebellion that the North had banked their money on didn’t eventuate and when Nixon released the dogs of war in the form of B52s a year or two later, they were forced to the Peace Talks in Paris. Agreement was reached, all beligerants withdrew; the US and Australia went home and the North Vietnamese pulled back north of the DMZ. The war was over. Two years later the North Vietnamese, rearmed by the USSR who wanted warm ports on the Pacific rim, invaded the South. That was the tragedy that was Vietnam. Millions were subject to execution and/or retraining camps and those Southerners who could, escaped by ship, by boat, almost by air mattress if that’s all they could find. Thousands more died on the seas but they considered that risk better than living under Ho Chi Minh. Anything would be better than that.

Tour de France washup

Being an insomniac I took to watching the Tour de France and started doing so the night Landis hit a wall and lost buckets of time. I checked in the next night and was, like every other viewer, impressed by his comeback. He produced one of the most memorable rides in Tour history when he stormed to victory in stage 17 by almost six minutes. Having cycled a bit myself, but only to work for fitness, I was impressed with the competitors as they went through the Alpine regions. Tough guys, I thought…way tougher than me. Being impressed with the Landis come-back and the other mountain-ascending tough guys you can imagine my dissappointment this morning to read that Landis has failed a drug test taken on the very day of his comeback; the day he won stage 17 in such a determined manner. The day that clinched his Tour de France win.
Landis’ Phonak team has revealed that the 30-year-old tested positive for excess levels of testosterone after winning stage 17 of this year’s race.
Landis’ defence is a bit too hopeful to me;
Landis says he “can’t be hopeful” about the B test but hopes to prove he has naturally high levels of testosterone.
Sometimes I am so bloody gullible. When watching the race, drug enhancement never entered my mind and yet the Tour has been plagued with drug issues for years. I knew that but it didn’t click. The TV has stolen some of my life again. I should stick to web surfing and learning facts I never knew instead of watching TV and confirming facts I already know. Another fallen idol.

Truth in jest

Not often I find something worth quoting at Tim Dunlops “How Howard lied today” blog but a comment by tim g rates a mention.
Here’s my prediction: when we eventually have a nuclear holocaust and the only surviving life forms are cockroaches, the cockroaches in the Middle East will start fighting each other. 

‘Miracle’ of psalm book found in bog

DUBLIN: The accidental discovery of an ancient book of psalms – found last week when a construction worker drove the shovel of his backhoe into a bog – has been heralded as a miracle by Ireland’s archeologists.

The book, of about 20 pages, has been dated to AD800-1000 and is the first discovery of an Irish early medieval document in two centuries, according to Trinity College manuscripts expert Bernard Meehan.

I do like this;

The book was found open to a page describing, in black-letter Latin script, Psalm 83, in which God hears complaints of other nations’ attempts to wipe out the name of Israel.
There’s an opening for some religious nut to start another conspiracy theory here…better than Nostradamus…it’s a message from God……the end of the world is nigh. You can take it from there guys.

Bad move by Israel or Poor assessment by Sheridan?

Greg Sheridan in todays Australian devotes about two thirds of his Bad Move by Israel article to the wonders of Lebanon and the Lebonese and how hard done by they are. I don’t think any of this is news to the western world and I’m sure most of us feel sorry for Lebanon. I know I do.

But he loses me when he blames Israel on their selection of Lebanon as the theatre of war as if they had a choice. He uses and old Lebaonese journalist aquaintence, Daizy Mir, as his sounding board;

Now Mir is devastated by what’s happening in Lebanon: “Israel is fighting a war against Syria and Iran and it’s using Lebanese territory. This kind of tactic has never worked. All it’s going to do is make things worse. It’s not going to get rid of Hezbollah. The people in control (of Hezbollah) know how to move around and they’ve set this up.”

The exact reverse is the case. Hezbollah has chosen the playing field. They sited their rockets in Lebanon and fired them at Israel from there.

What should Israel do? Send an email saying

“Look Hezbollah, it’s not fair on Lebanon that you site your weapons in their country and then attack us. Would you consider setting the war scene somewhere else?”

Hezbollah would reply –

“We know it’s unfair attacking you from Lebanon, that’s why we do it. It forces you to attack us there to save your people and then we can arrange for Lebanese civilians to be close to the rocket sites so when you do attack, other Arabs and western media can portray you as baby killers. It always works…it’s a part of our tactics…Fighting Terrorist Wars 101, Ch 4, Manipulation of western media. Haven’t you learnt this yet.

Israel has learnt this but are forced to defend themselves anyway and the western media choose not to learn it, they won’t even read the manual.

Sheridan apparently doesn’t even know the manual exists.

However, his last paragraph does touch on the root cause, almost as an afterthought;

None of this remotely excuses Hezbollah, which bears the lion’s share of the blame for this situation. Its leaders probably calculated on and wanted tough Israeli action for a multiplicity of political and strategic reasons.

and ends with this;

Israel certainly has the right to defend itself. But the gains from its actions are very uncertain, while the cost is certain. And enormous

The media just can’t bring themselves to say Israel certainly has the right to defend itself without slipping in the royal rider


As in, see how fair and balance I am; I mention Israel has the right to defend herself BUT she is still wrong.

Don’t like the civilian casualties?

Talk to Hezbollah.

Dual Nationality

25,000 Australians, 10,000 Britons,an estimated 40,000 Canadians, most of the 25,000 Americans there,1200 Belgians and about 1000 Danes all living in Lebanon with dual nationality. About 100,000 Lebanese, out of a population of 3.8m, have voted for the security and social standing of their country by having a Plan B for life’s little problems. But what annoys me is that 25,000 Australian’s have done the same. I’m also annoyed that we have immigrants who select Australia as a destination because they can come here, do absolutley nothing and get given, free of obligations, considerably more money than they could have earnt back home working long hours. It’s not the type of committment I would look for in aspirational Aussies. I do not agree with dual nationality in any way, shape or form and I believe the people who choose to come to Australia should have sufficient committment to their new country and sufficient competancy in English so as to fascilitate gaining employment. Just in case anyone is in doubt of my thoughts, I’ll state them in one line. No committment, no language competancy, no welcome!

Lawyers for the Terrorists

I note at Larvatus Prodeo that their understanding of the War on Terror is all about legal interpretations of obscure points of law. The war to them is being fought in the courts but the innocents being killed and the military and Intelligence organizations trying to stop these deaths are fighting in a different theatre. Every time a terrorist is caught these lawyers cue up in their thousands to do their best to defeat the efforts of those doing the actual fighting. It’s as if they are defending Jihad Jacks right to change the world through force. Why? From The Age
In an interview, Thomas said he did not like al-Qaeda’s methods but said he trained with them for jihad (holy war) and “to make America change its ways”. This could be done only by force, Thomas had said. He said he had been at close quarters with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and had been told that bin Laden wanted an Australian to work for him in Australia locating military installations. Thomas said he had been told to return to Australia to work and create a cover. He said he had heard of a plan to bring down a jet with the Pakistani president on board and a plan to break a detainee out of Guantanamo Bay. He had been given $US3500 and an air ticket home to Australia. Thomas had falsified his passport to make it appear he had not been in Pakistan before the attacks of September 11, 2001, Ms Morrish said. He had been arrested trying to leave Pakistan in January 2003 with a falsified passport.
I don’t see the problem. If he admits to the above then lock him up. But the lawyers want him free claiming evidence;
…. was allegedly based almost entirely on evidence extracted under torture in a lawless Pakistani military prison without the presence of a lawyer.
Torture has been so devalued over the period of the waging of this war that every interview in CSI Miami and/or New York could be classified as ‘evidence extracted under torture’ let alone the antics of the police in old shows like Homicide. As I understand it, the quote from The Age wasn’t extracted under ‘torture’ in Pakistan by some S&M Specialist; it is a record of interviews conducted by Australian agents. Defence say Jihad wasn’t acting voluntarily;
Jihad Jack’s senior counsel,Lex Lasry, QC, said an interview conducted while Thomas was held in custody in Pakistan in March 2003 should not have been allowed into his Supreme Court trial. He said Thomas was not acting voluntarily when he gave the interview and he had no access to a lawyer, in breach of the Commonwealth Crimes Act.
Commonwealth DPP says he was;
Wendy Abraham, QC, for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, said Australian Federal Police agents tried to get a lawyer for Thomas but were thwarted by Pakistani authorities. She told the Court of Appeal that police informed Thomas he had a right to a lawyer but one could not be provided. He was given a choice about whether to take part, Ms Abraham said.
He agreed to the interview …he admitted his involvement with al-Qaeda. Good enough for me.

Al Jazeera: fair and balanced

Lateline, the ABC late evening news flagship carries a report from Matt Brown in Lebanon under the headline; UN condemns Israeli offensive
MATT BROWN: Almost every night these southern suburbs of Beirut have been under attack. Now, rubble piles on rubble. The families are gone, but the signs of their ordinary lives are still here to see. On a tour of this former Hezbollah stronghold, UN humanitarian relief coordinator Jan Egeland called for Israel and Hezbollah to stop the fighting. He also condemned the Israeli bombing campaign that’s reduced this suburb to rubble. JAN EGELAND, UN HUMANITARIAN RELIEF COORDINATOR: And I would say that this seems to be an excessive use of force in an area with so many civilians. REPORTER: If it’s an excessive use of force that makes it a war crime?
I could see Matt almost pleading with Egeland to agree and say ‘yes, it does make it a war crime’ but he didn’t and in an obvious case of very selective reporting Matt Brown didn’t mention any other comments attributable to Egeland during his visit to Lebanon. However AL Jazeera does. They report Egeland in full under the headline; Hezbollah blamed for civilian deaths
Egeland was speaking to reporters at the Larnaca airport in Cyprus late Monday after a visit to Lebanon on his mission to coordinate an international aid effort. During that visit he condemned the killing and wounding of civilians by both sides, and called Israel’s offensive “disproportionate” and “a violation of international humanitarian law.”
He also addressed the root causes of civilian casualties
[He].. accused Hezbollah of “cowardly blending” among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel. The militant group has built bunkers and tunnels near the Israeli border to shelter weapons and fighters, and its members easily blend in among civilians.
More balance at Al Jazeera than at the ABC…amazing!
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