More Dispatches About a Distant War

A little over a week ago we asked the question, why are we at war? Since then, more volleys have been launched in the debate about the future of Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan. In the ABC’s The Drum, Kellie Tranter questioned the lack of detail of the Australian mission to train Afghanistan’s 4th army. “The voices we tend to hear from the Afghan people,” she writes, “aren’t singing songs of praise and thanks so much as asking that foreign troops leave their soil so that they can make their own efforts towards self-determination.”

In The Conversation, UNSW associate professor Ian Bickerton has called the Afghanistan conflict unwinnable, writing, “From a narrowly Australian point of view, there is little evidence that our interests would be better protected, or that Australia’s security would be better protected by a continuation of the conflict, or indeed that we have made Australia a safer place by resorting to armed conflict in the first place.”

And in a wide-ranging op-ed in The Australian, Major-General Jim Molan (ret) puts the conflict in the wider context of Australian alliance management and defence policy. Molan suggests that failing to pull our weight in Iraq and Afghanistan has put strains on our alliance with the US.

Kellie Tranter and Jim Molan will be speaking at the Intelligence Squared debate on Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan at the Melbourne Town Hall on July 28. Kellie will speak in favour of the motion, ‘There is no justification for risking Australian lives in Afghanistan’, alongside Raoul Heinrichs and Sonia Ziaee. Jim will speak against the motion, alongside Peter Singer and Eva Cox.

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