"Kevin Rudd has made a heartfelt tribute to the special forces men serving in Afghanistan during a lightning pre-Christmas trip to Tarin Kowt... 'When you are out there in this godforsaken part of the world, doing your stuff, you need to know back home the nation is behind you', Mr Rudd told the assembled troops... He said the Australians were making progress. 'The fact that you are out there, pushing the enemy back, step by step, mountain ridge by mountain ridge, that's progress', he said." ('The nation's behind you', Patrick Walters, The Australian, 19/12/08)
What a twerp the man is. In referring to Afghanistan as "godforsaken," this "prissy, precious p..ck," as Alan Ramsey has called him*, is voicing a typical colonial conceit: that Afghanistan's condition is a given, and that, along with our imperial master (and fellow mercenaries), we not only bear no responsibility whatever for its godforsaken state, but are really there on some kind of divine civilizing mission, or as retired major general and "counter-insurgency expert" Jim Molan characterises it: a "humanitarian" mission, one of our "responsibilities as a rich citizen." (Turn the tables on the Taliban, SMH, 19/12/08)
Historically, Afghanistan has been cursed by foreign military intervention and meddling. The current US involvement there began with the American jihad* of the 80s, and escalated in the wake of 9/11, when the Bush/Cheney regime chose to misrepresent an act of terrorism as an act of war,** trash international law, and launch an illegal armed aggression against Afghanistan, precipitating its current humanitarian catastrophe. And we, that is to say the former Howard government, ("As miserable a bunch of thumb-sucking sooks, layabouts, boneheads and delusional revisionists as ever you could find. Hopeless. Nobody more pathetic than the Toad," to quote Ramsey again), just couldn't resist joining the conga-line of suckholes which formed to aid and abet this US aggression. Rudd, of course, inherited our place in the Afghan conga-line, but, typically, just can't bring himself to relinquish it - which is why our troops are still doing their bit (or as Rudd calls it, "stuff") to ensure Afghanistan's godforsakenness.
[*Forget policy, the aim is to channel imagery, SMH, 28/4/07; **See my 27/2/08 post Bush's Taxi to the Dark Side]
And forget the bullshit about "pushing the enemy back... mountain ridge by mountain ridge." What kind of "stuff" are we really up to in Afghanistan? A recent Australian Defence Department (ADD) report featured on the ABC's Lateline program (26/11/08) suggests that Australian SAS are operating in Afghanistan essentially as storm-the-house-and-blow-away-anyone-inside death squads, or, as the report puts it euphemistically, "disrupting Taliban leadership or improvised explosive device facilitators." (See Australian SAS Units Function as Death Squads in Afghanistan, James Cogan, 11/12/08, informationclearinghouse.info)