Kevin Rudd’s Iraq Policy ‘at risk’

The news today presents an article entitled “Labor Iraq Policy at risk as US considers downsizing Jordan base”. The meat of the article is says US training bases in Jordan could be downsized or closed, endangering the Labor party’s plan to pull Australian forced out of Iraq and send them to training Iraqi security forces in Jordan instead.

Unfortunately there are many complications in this policy anyway. Travelling to Jordan from Iraq is not as easy as it sounds with new Visa restrictions – even if it is to train to become a security guard  More importantly there are already several hundred thousands Iraqi’s displaced in Jordan; many of whom are there under expired visas.

I have a suggestion for Mr Rudd and I say this not as an opponent to his policy but merely as someone who truly wishes for a successful policy for easing the strain on the already stressed Middle East. Especially the Iraqis.

I believe some Australian forces should pull out in exchange for a humanitarian mission like those we have sent to our own neighbours, like Indonesia after the Tsunami for instance. But even these shouldn’t go to to Iraq. They should go to Jordan to process and transfer displaced Iraqi’s into secure living circumstances, where THEY can plan how to bring some political solutions to Iraq’s problems.

This would also bring some relief to Jordan’s over-worked immigration and policing ministries and to the dedicated UNHCR staff there. The mission could quite easily obtain UN approval and as such possibly get emergency workers for UNHCR brought to Jordan.

On the other hand the Australian troops could be placed along the Jordanian border, where they could build high-quality temporary accommodation to host those refugee’s who are refused entry, or deported from Jordan (they could possibly set a few of these up at other borders too?)

There are many low-risk jobs that need to be done. What we need is for the international community to step up and start taking responsibility for not preventing the US invasion in the first place, and the only way to do that is to become part of the solution to this huge problem.

An Inconvenient Truth

What a name and what a book (haven’t seen the film yet). As some readers may know I have been on a holiday on the other side of Australia (the beautiful Gold Coast) for two weeks (got back Saturday night shortly before midnight). Before we left I spotted Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” in book form at the airport book-shop. I picked it up, flipped through and bought it. There was no iffing or butting about it. The book is an invaluable source of information with a level insight and research I have rarely seen in any discussion of Global Warming.

The book also has a personal “Al Gore” touch to it- relating the experiences of Al Gore and his family to attitudes about environment, human interaction and global changes. It’s amazing how an event involving a person or people close to you can cause an emotion or realisation which has across-the-board impacts on your life views. Al Gore describes how situations in his life have brought him to appreciate and understand the environment more, to fear losing places and a lifestyle dear to his heart, to want and be able to make a difference all of his own in the fight against global warming.

After winning Presidency and then losing it again during the Florida votes scandal, Al Gore did not relegate the rest of his years to fighting against the Bush family, republicans or any other personal vendetta. He asked himself (my interpretation) “Well, What CAN I do now?” Continue reading An Inconvenient Truth

Lebanon – why don’t people care?

So Lebanon is being invaded by Israel, or should I say bombed? Or should I say “turned backward by 20 years”? Yet who really seems to give a rats ass? Who here in Perth, Western Australia even gives 1/10th of a shit? Other than our large Lebanese population, or someone whose’ relatives are stuck there on a holiday- it seems like no one.

The news here concentrates on the evacuation of Australian citizens who are terrified by bombs falling all around them. Oh poor them. They are in a protected international zone where Israel would never dare drop a bomb, and Hezbollah are not that stupid; while they have some international attention and even limited support they will make the most of it. They will try their best to impress.

They will turn people against Israel by both inflicting damage on the Israeli Defence Force, and by showing the world the damage Israel is inflicting upon the Lebanese civilian populations and infrastructure. Continue reading Lebanon – why don’t people care?