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Issue #1740      July 20, 2016


On war

The ongoing commemorations marking battles in World War I continue, glorifying the carnage and death of the first global conflict fought for the division of markets. In Australia ANZAC Day commemorations this year took place in the growing shadow of the build-up of US military forces in Australia’s north. It is natural that families wish to recall the memories of the tens of thousands who have been killed and wounded in the succession of wars in which Australian servicemen and women have been involved.

This is what brings thousands onto the streets of cities and towns and attracts many tourists to visit Gallipoli and other former battle sites. Political leaders and the mass media, on the other hand, are clearly building up ANZAC with another agenda in mind.

Australia has provided soldiers for the Boer War, World War I, for the wars of intervention in Russia following the Russian Revolution of 1917, for World War II, the interventionist wars in Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. In all of these wars Australian forces were fighting for a foreign imperialist power or powers.

The media and politicians present all of these wars without any differentiation as to their cause or alleged justification. The Boer War was about establishing British colonial domination over South Africa. It was a colonial war and there was nothing glorious about it.

World War I was an imperialist war between Germany on the one hand, and Britain, France and Czarist Russia and their respective allies, on the other. It was a war between the ruling classes of these countries and there was nothing in it for the soldiers of either side. The landing on Turkish soil at Gallipoli was a part of this war and this particular landing was an unmitigated disaster. Did Australian nationhood really arise from this disaster?

World War II was a just war against German and Italian fascism and Japanese militarism. The defeat of fascism led to new socialist revolutions in a number of countries and to the collapse of colonialism. It became a real people’s war.

The wars in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, however, were all dirty wars that had the objective of imposing British (in Malaysia) and American (Korea and Vietnam) colonial domination. They were fought against the people of these countries who wanted nothing more than independence for their countries.

The primary objectives of the US in Afghanistan were to overthrow a progressive government and to establish US bases on the border of the Soviet Union. The war in Iraq began as a grab for the control of oil and part of the US’s plans for the Middle East. These include shoring up the security and power of the Israeli Zionist state at the expense of the Palestinian people and regime change where governments were not allied to US imperialism.

The driving force behind all of these wars and interventions is the never-ending imperialist drive for hegemony and profits. The profits of war are the most obscene of all profits, fuelled by death and destruction and poverty as government budgets are drained.

World military expenditure totalled almost $1.7 trillion in 2015. (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute –SIPRI). The United States remained by far the world’s biggest spender in 2015, with a total of $596 billion. Competition between arms producers has resulted in monopolisation of this industry. The likes of Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Boeing, Northrop Grunman, General Dynamics, Raytheon and BAE Systems strut the corridors of the Pentagon and defence departments and ministerial offices. In industry is notorious for its corruption and profit-gouging.

These are the same companies that the Australian government has committed to spending hundreds of billions of dollars with to fight the US’s next wars. Australia’s plans for $1 trillion in military spending over the next 20 years will only increase insecurity and heighten tensions in the region, the South China seas in particular. It also serves to escalate the arms build-up generating even more bloated profits for the military industrial complex.

As for the next war that Australia participates in for its master, US imperialism, it could be Russia, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, the island of Taiwan or Iran. What we do know for certain is that future Australia’s involvement in US wars will not serve the interests of Australia – its people or the economy. The Communist Party of Australia calls for peaceful co-existence between nations based on mutual respect and interests.

Next article – CPA calls for release of Han Sang-Gyun

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