Edition 84, August 2021
Editorial - ANZUS needs a review

By AWPR Acting President, Dr Alison Broinowski

For 70 years, Australians have been confident that the ANZUS Treaty guarantees our security against attack. Many believe the US protected Australia against Japan in WWII, which it did not. The Treaty of 1952 contained no such commitment.

President Nixon’s Guam Doctrine of 1969 set new limits on what the US was willing to do for its allies, stating that “the United States is going to encourage and has a right to expect” that military defence will be handled by nations themselves.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage reaffirmed this in Sydney in 2003, telling Australians that the international system is ‘yours to protect and defend’.

In recent statements, American leaders have suggested that Japan and Australia should defend themselves against China.

In September, on the anniversary of the signing of ANZUS, we can expect the familiar claims about the benefits of the Alliance for Australia to be repeated. But each can be disputed:
  • Intelligence: it was wrong about Saddam Hussein’s WMD and wrong about the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • Joint Facilities: it makes Australia a target of attack in US wars and erodes our independence in foreign and defence policy.
  • Access in Washington: all US allies have access, some more so than Australia, which has been described as an ally that ‘always agrees to everything’.
  • Defence against attack: this is not guaranteed by the Treaty. Any such defence would prioritise US combat elements hosted at bases in Northern Australia.
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Feature Article: ANZUS 70 years on - then and now

By Andrew Farran

Earlier this year, talk of war was front and centre of political debate, with Australia’s leaders beating the drums of war over China. So it is apposite, on the 70th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty, to revisit how it came into existence and scotch the widespread misinformation about what the Treaty demands of Australia.
It was the Australian government under Prime Minister Robert Menzies and External Affairs Minister Percy Spender, particularly, who sought in the late 1940s and early 1950s a close alliance relationship with the United States. The US were not all that keen; the Military in particular were disinclined to share their plans with a relatively minor power which at best might be a strategic convenience.
As the historian Peter Edwards has reminded us, that all powerful US General at the time, Douglas MacArthur, regarded Australia as a safe, land-based aircraft carrier but had asserted that merely holding similar democratic values, or the consanguinity of race, wasn’t enough, without strategic assets, to warrant a military guarantee to anyone.
Further uncertainty re-emerged in the region with the Communist
Party’s victory in China in 1949, and when war broke out in Korea in 1950, with the north’s invasion of the south.
Both the US and Australia saw the potential of an alliance as being more than a strategic convenience. Both sought stability and security for a region that not many years before had been embroiled in the greatest military struggle ever seen in the Pacific area.
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Afghanistan proves that sending us off to war needs a better, broader debate 

By AWPR Acting President, Dr Alison Broinowski

There is no stronger evidence of the need to completely overhaul how Australia goes to war than the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan.

Yet former prime minister John Howard declares he would do it all again.

At present the power to take us to war lies solely in the hands of the prime minister, with the Parliament having no say whatsoever. But transparency and accountability to Parliament are critical if disasters like the Afghanistan war are not to be repeated.

Legislation is before the Senate to address once and for all this key issue of war powers, but both major parties are refusing to debate the bill. This is the third time since the war began that legislation has been introduced, with attempts in 2003 and 2014. Both times the Coalition and Labor opposed the bill.  
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Afghanistan - 18 years of lies and obfuscation  
Written in 2020, our in-depth 3 part series on Afghanistan exposes the deceit that formed the backdrop to the invasion of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan Part 1 
In December 2019 the Washington Post created an international sensation when it released the results of its three year legal battle with the US government for access to top secret information about the Afghanistan war. Through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, the Post secured material generated by an internal review of the war, called Lessons Learned. The documents include records of interviews with hundreds of military leaders, diplomats, aid workers and Afghan officials. They tell a story that ‘violently contradicts’ what the US government and three successive US presidents have told Americans, and the world, about Afghanistan.
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Afghanistan Part 2
In part 2 of our series we have collected quotes from Australian prime ministers and other senior politicians, along with military leaders, covering the length of the Afghanistan war to date. These are interspersed with private remarks, as revealed by WikiLeaks cables, and the occasional candid public remark. Together these show that, in general, the same long-running deception of the public occurred in Australia.
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Afghanistan Part 3
In this final part of the series we examine some of the background to the invasion which is almost always overlooked but which casts a very different light on the whole ill-conceived strategy.

In response to the suicide attacks on the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001, the US issued an ultimatum to Afghanistan’s Taliban regime to hand over Osama bin Laden and the other Al Qaeda leaders or else the US would invade the country and hunt them down. The Taliban refused, so the US invaded. Somewhere along the way it lost sight of its original objective and embarked on a larger and much more ambitious strategy of eliminating the Taliban regime altogether and reshaping Afghanistan into a form much more to its taste.
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Michael West - War Powers Reform 

Not content with way mainstream media reports the issue, Michael West Media is looking closely at the position of each MP and asking them to go on the record.

Are they happy with the fact that the Prime Minister alone can decide to take us to war without any reference to them, the parliamentarians?

View the latest article and video.
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"No Australian who has ever fallen in our uniform has ever died in vain, ever"
The PM and the AWM 

By Dr Sue Wareham

Prime Minister Morrison’s recent statement to the ABC that “No Australian who has ever fallen in our uniform has ever died in vain, ever” is glib, facile, devoid of any content and oblivious to the catastrophe in Afghanistan and to Australia’s role.   It is little more than an arbitrary assertion – that Australia’s wars, by definition, bring good outcomes – that would absolve our leaders of any responsibility and accountability for disastrous outcomes from these wars.
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