Retired infantry officer. Conservative by nature and politics; Happily married and father and grandfather of eight. Loves V8 powered Range Rovers, Golden Retrievers, good books and technology and think there should be open season on Greenies. Born in the mid forties and overdue for servicing but most parts still work.

A fine week of sport

A fine week of sport nears its end as NZ and Australia do battle where it matters – on the sporting field. Early this week NZ beat us at Netball. What the hell is Netball, foreign readers might ask. It’s a womens sport not unlike basketball except a rule exists, primarily aimed, it would seem to me, at ruining the girls knee joints. The rule dissallows more than one step to be taken after catching the ball. To do this in full flight is a sight to terrify ‘medical bill paying’ parents. I was down in NZ some years ago and while there Australia beat the Kiwis at netball. They went into mourning with people crying on TV and headlines surrounded in black. Our cousins take their sport seriously. The real battles though, are fought on the football field. Last night the Kangaroos walloped the Kiwis with five unanswered tries (touchdowns). Way to go guys. However, tonight is THE test. Rugby Union (the game they play in heaven) is the real core of the Kiwi/Aussie relationship. No quarter asked and none given; every Bledisloe Cup match is undeclared war and games are national events with feelings running very high. If we loose tonight, tomorrow I’ll be unreconcilable, not so much from the loss but from from knowing I will have to endure weeks of “we beat you” statements from the other side of the ditch. I’ll also be $10.00 lighter as I have a standing bet with an ex Kiwi mate. Many years ago we bet $10 on a game and the All Blacks won. I thought it would be fitting to pay him with a NZ ten dollar note. It turned out more than fitting as the currency exchange rate favoured Australia and he ended up with $6.60 purchasing power. Since then it’s been…”$10 on the game?” “Yep! But make it Australian dollars please! Outside of the potential of Buddha saying for the gazillionth time…”Go you good thing”, it promises to be a great game. Update: Bugger!

It’s hard to get a

It’s hard to get a bottom line on the Middle East and Terrorism but we need to keep trying, if for no other purpose but to stem the flow of pointless caterwauling from the left about LIES, Niger yellow cake, Bush is dumb, Bush stole the election, WMDs don’t exist, Iraq is worse off, Quagmire, Vietnam, Guerilla War blah blah blah! It’s not just about Iraq, stupid. It’s the whole area. Look at it – from Bali to the eastern shores of the Mediterranian terrorists are creating mahem indicating, surely, that one single fix in Iraq is simplistic. The media’s emphasis on the trivia of day to day events in Iraq is disingenius at best. With the Taliban in Afghanistan neutered and largely routed (or rooted) the centre of the eastern reaches of the Bali- Mediterranian line is starting to stabilize. In the Middle East, with Iraq in the centre of a squabbling bunch of ego-based countries that deprive their people of the wherewithall to prosper and educate themselves, Iraq’s neighbours are now faced with the problem of a stable democracy in their midst. Iran is doing her best to stop the democratic process in Iraq with the Mullahs fighting what appears to be a loosing battle. Watch Iran – with Iraq stable and heading towards prosperity, the Iranians will clamour for more of the same. Saudi Arabia, to the south, has suddenly discovered how to pursue terrorism on its own soil. For many years, a joke, they have just found a cache of 20 tons of bomb making supplies. It’s no longer a joke. Soon, with a working democracy next door in Iraq, the House of Saud will have trouble keeping the peasants down. For years the Princes have raped the soil and spent their oil revenues on stables of Range Rovers; 100 million dollars expeditions to the pleasure spots of London but little for their people. They have paid lip service to fighting terrorism but now will have to face reality. Syria, to the north-west will be under similar pressures. Is Bush dumb? I don’t think so. I learned long ago to judge people on outcomes rather than presentation, and all I see is the world heading towards more democracy. Did he steal the election? I don’t think so. The US has laws, they were tested and Bush announced the winner. Gore won the popular vote by maybe 300,000 votes but thats not the point. More to the point maybe; Gore won 670 counties and Bush won 2,434. I’m not an expert on the US rules of law but this article explains the process fairly succinctly. WMDs don’t exist. Why then didn’t Saddam prove it – thats what the WMD issue was all about. Niger boring Yellow Cake. Get over it folks! The only time intelligence is 100% accurate is after the event. I know, I’ve played the game. If the Intel people were conned, they were conned – big deal. No one went to war based on boring old yellow cake. They went to war for a hundred reasons, most of which we’ll never know, but they all come under the heading of making the world a more secure place for our children. Quagmire, Vietnam, Guerilla War are just words the Left throw around to cloud the waters – and don’t think alot of this isn’t about the US elections in 2004. How long is too long before Iraq settles. Time unquantifiable – but every day, in some small way, Iraq becomes a better place to live. ‘Too long’ may prove to be ‘if it isn’t sorted’ by the elections. In a nutshell – plant the seeds of demoracy in a fertile field and slowly choke the weeds. Original thought – No! Like all of us, my opinions are based on reading and assessing the compilation of the thoughts of many. This article at Flipping Turtle was a primer for this post. I don’t think Bush is dumb but I do think he needs tell us, in words of one syllable, what his strategy is. STRATFOR, a US strategic assessment site has a piece entitled U.S. Strategy: Perception vs. Deception Their penultimate paragraph says it all. This is a much more complex war. That increases — not decreases — the need for strategic clarity among the public and the troops. The United States is not randomly in Iraq, and it is not there because Hussein was a butcher or because he might have had WMD. Those are good reasons, but not the real reason. The United States is in Iraq to force Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran to change their behavior toward al Qaeda and other Islamist groups. The United States already has overwhelmed the Saudis and is engaged in threatening Syria and Iran. This is visible to everyone who is watching. That is why the United States is in Iraq. It might or might not be good strategy, but it is a strategy that is much better than no strategy at all. Read more

This time 33 years ago

This time 33 years ago I was flying into Brisbane airport as a last leg of a 8,000 mile voyage from the jungles of Vietnam to the wedding alter at Brisbane. Today, my wife Joan has passed another milestone of tolerance and patience by having endured my presence and many absences over these years. It has often been said of marriage “You get less for murder and there is no time off for good behaviour” – but I’m happy and would do it again.

An article in the National

An article in the National Review Online by Denis Boyles delves deeper into the BBC/Kelly affair than I have. I picked up the link from Bargarz and will use it for amplication of my point earlier in the week. All through the war the BBC’s attitude was plainly anti-war and tended to insult those who couldn’t or woudn’t subscribe to their anti US/Bush stand. To quote Denis Boyles; The executives running the Corporation already had decided the war was unwise, unjustified, wrong, and they were determined to report it that way. According to the Guardian, as early as last March, the BBC was ordering journalists “to reflect significant opposition in the UK (and elsewhere) to the military conflict” in their dispatches. That had been important, because for the BBC, no matter who won the shooting match in the deserts of Iraq, the war itself must be seen as illegitimate, phony, bogus. Like many other news organizations and journalists who believed the same things, once the fighting ended, the BBC had begun their bizarre obsession with parsing sentences and phrases, angry, mindless players in a pointless game of gotcha. The thing that gets up my goat about the BBC and their mirror site, the ABC, is that they give voice to the opinions of just a few. While the people repeatedly elect the party of their choice; the tax funded media fronts for the left wing ignore them and talk only to the small minority of the population who share a hatred of the Howard/Bush/Blair view of the world. I believe the news should report facts as they happen with no left or right wing embellishment and that current affairs programmes should be balanced with guests/commentators from both sides of the political spectrum. I certainly didn’t vote for the ABC and resent them suggesting what I should think. Read more from Denis Boyles

Subsequent to my previous posting

Subsequent to my previous posting on Helpem Fren I got a heads up from Slats about Mary-Louise’s background. A bit of Googling tells me she is married to Joses Tuhanuku who was a minister in the national government of the Solomon Islands in the mid 1990s and for many years has been a trade union leader in his country. He is now studying at the ANU at the National Centre for Development Studies. In no way am I critical of this and I’m not suggesting anyone was trying to keep the matter hidden. I just thinks it’s important to know where people are coming from when they comment on an issue. It is only fair we should listen to the locals as they describe the background to the current problem. Not only fair, but I might add educational – for me at least. Read it all but note the speach by Mary-Louise’s husband Joses. It appears to be a time honoured case of the white man coming and all things changing. Well in light of the fact that white men of the time did come and that things did change and are changing now then we need to address todays problems and not dwell on their causes. In another mention, Joses comments on the role Australia should take. I note he doesn’t suggest we send over troops but I get the feeling he will find that acceptable. The Role of Australia 1. Australia can make a difference in the South Pacific Region. 2. Australia should take a more bold and decisive approach in the current situation in Solomon Islands. Whether Australia likes it or not, it is impossible for Australia to shy away from problems or leadership in the South Pacific. 3. Australia needs to have good people on the ground, to guarantee sound and accurate understanding of the situation back in Canberra. 4. Australia, and others who are already participating in the IPMT, should jointly send a police contingent under the auspices of the Commonwealth to assist the RSIP in implementing the TPA. 5. The current crises in Solomon Islands and Bougainville are feeding off each other, and therefore finding lasting solutions to both, can only be achieved if they are dealt with simultaneously. The full text is here Links to date are mostly from 2001. As I said background. Joses is the leader of the Solomon Islands Labour Party SILP and in the current Parliament (elections held 2001) the SILP has 1 seat. Yes. ONE seat. Why then is Joses’s hit rate on Google so heavy. I don’t know but he appears everywhere in seminars in Australia and in DFAT, ANU and ABC sites. Mind you the same sources says – note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions. Whatever, he is the darling of the ABC and that in itself is cause for some concern. Curiouser and curiouser, to quote Alice. I look foward to developments as Aussie infantry and constabulary impact on beautiful downtown Honiara and surrounds.

Australian foreign policy long held

Australian foreign policy long held back by politically correct Prime Ministers, Politicians, Academics and inward looking press matures as we head off to the Solomons to help stabalize the trouble pacific nation. The operation is called ‘Helpem Fren’, pidgeon English for ‘Helping Friend’. I know most of you could have worked that out – but some… The force consisting of; 1500 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, 105 Kiwis, 123 members from a Fijian Rifle Company (don’t mess with these guys either, Harold) with contributions from Tonga, Samoa and PNG, 120 personnel from a Kiwi rifle company in reserve. Come on cousins – lift your game!, 155 Australian Federal Police, 25 Kiwi police, and 90 Australian Protective Service personnel (to secure the bad guys when they’re caught.) I hope there are a lot of Provos (Military Police) going as if this lot ever got leave together………. The rebels have been told not to resist and thats good advice. Its one thing to terrorise locals but another matter to terrorise a rifle company from the Royal Australian Regiment – our Infantry force. I know, I’ve commanded such a company and at times they terrorised me. Yes. It is a small force but that’s what the commander of 275 Regiment said of D Company, 6RAR when he figured he had them surrounded at Long Tan in August 1966. A couple of thousand Vietcong couldn’t overcome D Company’s 118 men and he lost several hundred troops finding out. Communist Divisions and Regiments have been stopped in their tracks by Aussie rifleman so the Solomon Islands’ most prominent militant, Harold Keke, obviously a keen student of Australia’s military history, has stated he is willing to disarm. If he doesn’t I’m sure he can be accomodated. The local hoodlums are becoming uneasy Spy planes, known as UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) will be used to track the rebel forces and gangs of thugs which have terrorised the Pacific island nation. Meanwhile Mary-Louise O’Callaghan reporting from Honiara, tries to put a bad spin on Prime Minister Howards actions. Mary-Louise has a go at Howard; Queried about his idea of “pooled regional governance”, Howard yesterday demonstrated just how steep his personal learning curve might be. “I can’t for the life of me see how that’s got anything to do with colonialism. I think it’s got a lot to do with common sense,” he said. Who would ever suggest that “pooled regionnal governance” and “colonialism” were one and the same. Sending troops, police and billions of dollars of aid at the invitation of the Pacific Forum could hadly be interpreted as “colonialism”. I think Howard’s learning curve is a lot flatter than Mary-Loiuse’s. Read her article in the box here. It is generally positive but we need to exorcise the word colonialism from our media before fools start quoting it back. The article about Howard’s new Pacific solution is here I receive daily Defence Media emails and will keep you posted on our adventures on the North-East Frontier.

Tanya Streeter created history yesterday

Tanya Streeter created history yesterday when she shattered one of the world’s most extreme sporting records. Holding her breath for 3 minutes and 38 seconds, the 30-year-old Streeter descended 122 metres into the ocean off the British West Indies and resurfaced under her own power, breaking the previous freediving records for men as well as women. “There was a time when even submarines couldn’t go as deep as I went,” she said. Her husband Paul freedived 20 metres to accompany her on her final stretch. The wuss.

Good news to start the

Good news to start the day. US forces in Iraq have killed Hussein’s two ‘animal’ sons in a battle in the northern city of Mosul. “We are certain that Uday and Qusay were killed today,” Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez said at a news conference in Baghdad today. “The bodies were in such a condition where you could identify them.” The deaths of the sons could have a major impact on the Iraqi resistance, which has been mounting about a dozen attacks a day against US occupation troops. I trust the left will applaud with the rest of humanity and thank the US for their continued fight for the rights of the Iraqi’s.

This article in the London

This article in the London Times raises several questions and answers none. The left wing antics of the BBC and some ineptidude of Government bodies has left a family bereaved by the apparent suicide of Dr David Kelly. Dr Kelly, an expert on Iraq and its WMD programmes tabled a report to Defence that the BBC claimed was then tarted up . The BBC used an interview with Dr Kelly as a base for their claim that the final report was embellished to lend support to the case for the War. In an inquiry, Dr Kelly stated that he didn’t recognise his words in the beat up leaving all to ponder the veracity of Gilligan, the senior BBC journalist and the Governing board of the BBC as they refused to name their source. Apparently principles of journalism are selectively applied. It is worth emphasising that Dr Kelly had no doubt that Saddam Hussein had the intent and expertise to develop Weapons of Mass Destruction. His concern was whether the nature of this programme was correctly represented and his personal mission was to return to Iraq to find evidence of those weapons I can understand why the BBC procrastinated in identifying their source as he still believed their actually was WMDs and this definitely dosen’t fit the BBCs ideology. Update: BBC staff are panicking but more than half of the press try to pass the ball to Blair. Well they would, wouldn’t they? Update #2: I will keep updateing the Kelly case so we can watch the Media and left-wing commentators continue to try and sheet the blame to Blair, rather than with the BBC where, considering all reported evidence to date, the blame should reside. This article from FrontPage, a US news service, reflects on the facts. The final chapter in this story hasn’t been written yet so I’ll wait for a final call.
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