Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has signed up Australia for another US war on false pretences. Australia’s history is now tainted with the stigma of support for genocide. Michael West with this anti-war oped.
What an epic disaster this is. Australia has just joined a war on the wrong side, the genocide side. Without so much as an address to the nation or a vote in Parliament – merely a press release – the government of Anthony Albanese has committed Australian personnel to join the bombardment of the Houthis in Yemen.
It is a majestic irony that the Houthis, who have been blockading ships destined for Israel in the Red Sea, have clearly stated they will end their blockade if Israel calls a ceasefire in Gaza and stop the genocide.
Yet overnight, as Day 100 in the mass slaughter of Palestinians passed, and the IDF killed another 125 Palestinians, including 5 in the West Bank and wounded 265, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was rabbitting on in ludicrous self-justification about “the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness”.
No, he would not stop the killing until Hamas was destroyed and the hostages were released, he claimed. As if anybody, except the most hardened Zionist nutter, could believe a word he says. ‘Babies beheaded’, ‘mass rapes’ of October 7, ‘we don’t bomb hospitals’ or ‘safe zones’. ‘The most moral army in the world’.
No dystopian nightmare, yes it’s real
The lies from the extremist government of Israel are daily, mammoth, and daily reproduced in world media, shamefully, with no apologies, let alone clarification, when proven false.
Even as they were rightly dragged before The Hague last week on a genocide rap by South Africa – a case which stacks up both on action and intent – they were still bombing civilians and refugee camps; their war crimes so blatant, so vicious, so prolific, so racist as to be almost beyond imagination. Almost.
What a paradox it is that the decision by the government of John Howard to commit Australian troops to the Invasion of Iraq recently notched up its 20-year anniversary, yet the Cabinet deliberations which led to this tragedy – a million dead, the rise of ISIS and a spate of Islamic terrorism which endured for years – remains a secret.
The media lapped up the lies of the war lobby then, too, just as today. Saddam Hussein’s non-existent ‘Human Shredder’ was splashed across the front pages – without a pic, of course, because there was no human shredder. Just like the 40 babies beheaded on October 7 by Hamas. It didn’t happen. Neither were there ‘weapons of mass destruction’, the ultimate pretext for war before that was abandoned in favour of ‘nation building’.
From all the way with LBJ to let’s go with Genocide Joe
But that has not stopped ‘Genocide Joe’ Biden from parroting the claim, or for that matter, any number of reckless Australian politicians in the pro-war camp.
To those who would advocate that the action against the Houthis is moral, there is just no response to this. It is bizarrely immoral. To those who claim it is in our interests because of the need to free up commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, yes, that is a valid claim.
Even on commercial grounds, grounds of realpolitik, however, it does not stack up. Why commit Australia to the Red Sea when we are already signed up for AUKUS, a deal which is transferring billions of dollars from the Australian public to US and UK shipyards? We have already committed to allow US bases on our soil and to dispose of US and UK nuclear submarine waste.
Surely, we can stick to our role of ‘US deputy sheriff’ in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Surely that is a big enough task for the alliance without putting this country on Team Genocide. Would the Bali Bombings have occurred, and hundreds died, had Howard not signed up for ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’, the Invasion of Iraq?
Again, another Australian government has made this country a target for Islamic terrorism.
To those who would say, ‘it’s just a handful of people’ marching off to fight the Houthis in Operation Prosperity Guardian, or whatever silly name they have allotted this latest folly, the Vietnam War began that way too. Before it escalated. If it is a meaningless contribution, why do it at all?
To those genocide apologists who would claim we should still back ‘our friend’ Benjamin Netanyahu for the sake of the ‘global rules based order’ think about this. The Israel war lobby has given rise to antisemitism around the world. They have shot themselves in both feet. This is squarely the fault of the Zionists themselves, the failure of Zionist leadership in Australia to rein in their man Netanyahu.
Media collusion in genocide
Although yet in denial, and still claiming Israel is the victim, Israel is acting in ‘self-defence’, it is patently clear that the craven failure of world leaders and media to stand up to the Zionist lobby and remove Netanyahu and his racist cronies from power has come at a high cost for both the Palestinians, the Jews and everybody else.
Governments cannot go to war without the support of media, and media in this country has abjectly failed – as thousands of muzzled Australian journalists will attest. Since October 7, a slew of top-flight journalists have either been sacked or left the ABC in disgust. Helen Tzarimas and Tracey Holmes were first, more recently Antoinette Lattouf was pushed out for a completely reasonable public interest tweet and the latest to depart on principle is Nour Haydar.
This is a serious talent drain for the national broadcaster. A loss for public interest. And how many, many more would be gone if they did not have mortgages to pay and financial commitments? My guess is scores. Those with journalistic principles who remain are locked in by cowardly and corrupt management which simply cannot stand up to the constant henpecking of the Netanyahu lobby. SBS coverage has been even worse than ABC.
This genocide in Gaza – 70 years after the Holocaust, where the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews – is a watershed moment in human history. It has divided the world, pitted people against their governments. Yet world leaders watch on, feebly, as the slaughter passes daily. And the press cheers it on – well, the Murdoch press does, and the rest of the mainstream cower, their coverage pathetically, almost criminally biased.
The good Jewish voices can only be heard on social media. Jeffrey Sachs, Gideon Levy, Max Blumenthal, the Jewish Voice for Peace – and in Australia, the likes of publisher Louise Adler and journalist Anthony Loewenstein. Yet, like anybody decrying Israel’s war crimes, they are subject to horrific abuse on social media, their voices drowned out by the Zionist lobby and the hordes of anonymous trolling bushwhackers on Twitter.
Until the Israel war lobby in this country stands up to Netanyahu and demands an end to the slaughter of innocent Palestinians, the situation is unlikely to change. No doubt, in private, the more moderate elements must be viewing events with some dismay. For the sake of their own people, they need to display common sense, if not courage.
Never again, should mean never again.
Michael West established Michael West Media in 2016 to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. West was formerly a journalist and editor with Fairfax newspapers, a columnist for News Corp and even, once, a stockbroker.