Dr Bill Snowdon (VIC) responds to Age editorial “Australia needs honest debate on Afghan war” 26Aug10 August 30, 2010

The Age: “Australia needs honest debate on Afghan war”, 26 August 2010

I commend your editorial (The Age 26/8) calling for parliamentary debate on Australia’s Afghanistan  policy. I urge you to go further and call for a debate on our overall Middle East policy of which Afghanistan is only part. This is particularly so when General Petraeus, the current US Commander in Afghanistan, stated in March of this year that the continuing Israeli-Palestine conflict was a challenge to US interests in the region, including its efforts in Afghanistan, and was fomenting anti American sentiment. He could also have said that it was challenging Australia’s interests in the region.

Like the US, both the Labor and Coalition parties have partisan policies in relation to Israel which they seem proud to admit. That is, they are unreasoned and biased. We saw the unbelievable spectacle of Prime Minister Rudd moving a motion in parliament to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel with no mention of the suffering and injustice that had been and were still being inflicted on the Palestinians by Israel. He was supported by the Leader of the Opposition but no debate was allowed. If this is the type of debate we will have on Afghanistan then we can forget about it.

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