I want to write something about what’s going on in Ferguson, but haven’t had the time to develop a real understanding in order to do so.
However, this weeks “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” sums up most of my thoughts about it.
One analogy I will add is this:
Anyone who has plays shooter games knows knows that it’s no fun walking around unarmed when you’ve got an assault rifle in your inventory. There is a good reason the police are meant to be a ‘civilian’ force, not a military one.
If you give people dangerous toys to play with, especially when they are in positions of power, people will likely end up hurt. Excessive force is a likely result when you arm police to the teeth to approach low-level threats.
This is in addition to 190 Australian Federal Police already committed to ‘Operation Bring Them Home’, a reference to MH-17 victims.
That’s a lot of Australian lives at risk amidst a civil war on the opposite side of the globe. I sincerely hope none get caught in the cross fire. But what if one does?
How are the SAS meant to respond then?
The Dutch Prime Minister has rightfully cautioned of the need to “weigh the geopolitical ramifications” any deployment will have, noting “this is not an area where this would remain without consequence”.
The Netherlands have committed to send 40 unarmed investigators, and are considering an additional 40 under an agreement signed with Ukrainian President Poroshenko.
But agreements signed between the Ukrainian President and Foreign Ministers of Australia and the Netherlands have yet to pass the Ukrainian Parliament, which is in disarray after the governing coalition collapsed two days ago.
My first thought this morning was “Fuck. This can’t be real”.
But it was. Almost 300 civilian lives lost after Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 was shot out of the sky as in eastern Ukraine. Who shot the plane down remains unclear.
Immediately, I could hear Tony Abbott beating the war drums in my head.
I knew he would blame Russia. I knew the media circus would come out accusing Russia before long too. Fear sells, and what’s more scary than a Russian aggressor?
Who cares about establishing the facts first, right?
Strategically, it makes no sense for the separatists in Eastern Ukraine to shoot down this plane. There is no ‘strategic win’ for them in this situation. It also makes no sense for Russia, what could they possibly have won by blowing up this civilian aircraft?
It is a sad state of affairs when the neither the Prime Minister nor the leader of the Opposition encourages giving the public a chance to debate on whether or not to allow thousands of foreign troops to be stationed on Australian soil. If ever we needed our opposition leader to challenge the governments decision making, it is right now.
Any deployment of foreign troops on Australian soil casts doubts over the nature of Australian sovereignty. It also makes us question if we truly are ‘democratic’ enough to allow the people legitimate alternatives to existing policy. Perhaps we are not as democratic as we should be, especially when the opposition continually claims the government MUST call snap elections at every minor policy decision; but says nothing the ONE time we really need them.