Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Peter Dutton’s war machine cult

Independent Australia, By Binoy Kampmark | 19 January 2022, The Federal Government has spent billions on defence equipment, ignoring issues such as the climate crisis and pandemic, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark.

THE OPERATING DOCTRINE of many a defence ministry is premised on fatuity. There is the industry prerogative and need for employment. There are the hectoring think tanks writing in oracular tones of warning that the next “strategic” change is peeking around the corner. 

Purchases of weapons are then made to fight devils foreign and invisible, with the occasional lethal deployment against the local citizenry who misbehave. This often leads to purchases that should put the decision maker in therapy.

Australia’s war-wishing Defence Minister Peter Dutton may be in urgent need of such treatment, but he is unlikely to take up the suggestion, preferring to pursue an arms program of delusional proportions. His mental soundness was not helped by last year’s establishment of AUKUS and the signals of enthusiastic militarism from Washington. 

Having cut ties with the French defence establishment over what was a trouble-plagued submarine contract, Dutton has been an important figure in ensuring that Australia will continue its naval problems with a future nuclear-powered submarine. 

Submarines are seaborne phallic reassurances for the naval arm of defence. Stubbornly expensive and always stressing celebrated potential over proven reality, they stimulate the defence establishment. The land-based forces, however, will also have their toys and stimulants, their own slice of make believe. And Dutton is promising them a few, including tanks.

This month, the Minister announced that Australia will be spending $3.5 billion on 120 tanks and an assortment of other armoured vehicles, including 29 assault breacher vehicles and 17 joint assault bridge vehicles. All will be purchased from the U.S. military machine. This will also include 75 M1A2 main battle tanks, which will replace the 59 Abrams M1A1s purchased in 2007 and kept in blissful quarantine, untouched by actual combat.

Reading from the script of presumed military relevance, Dutton declared that:

“Teamed with the Infantry Fighting Vehicle, Combat Engineering Vehicles and self-propelled howitzers, the new Abrams will give our soldiers the best possibility of success and protection from harm.” 

………….. To dispel any notion that this purchase simply confirmed Australian deference and obedience to U.S. military power, the Defence Minister also claimed that the new Abrams:
“…will incorporate the latest developments in Australian sovereign defence capabilities, including command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems, and benefit from the intended manufacture of tank ammunition in Australia.” 

In other words, once Australia finishes with these cherished, dear imports, adjusted as they are bound to be for the ADF, they are more likely to be extortionately priced museum pieces rather than operable weapons of flexible deployment…………

The last time Australia deployed tanks in combat was during the Vietnam War, that other grand failure of military adventurism. They were never used in Australia’s engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite being lauded as being a necessary vehicle in beating down insurgency movements…………………….

Critics of the purchase have included otherwise hawkish pundits such as Greg Sheridan of The Australian, who spent some of last year shaking his head at the proposed acquisition after it was announced by the U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency. The decision, he opined unleashing his talons, was one of ‘sheer idiocy’, an ‘anachronistic frivolity’. Tanks and other heavy, tracked vehicles would ‘never be of the slightest military use to us’……………………..

The tank fraternity, a gathering of near cultic loyalty, are swooning in triumph. As Peter J Dean, director of the Defence and Security Institute at the University of Western Australia remarked last year, their membership has never proven shy. Cults tend to show that utility is secondary to the importance of st https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/peter-duttons-war-machine-cult,15952

March 7, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war

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