13 Jul 2009

This article starts with a set-piece of Australian propaganda in the SMH. The scene is set: fog of war, accident, tragedy. The facts: Australian special forces killed an Afghan man. This fact is not in itself important enough to be newsworthy, however – Australians presumably kill Afghans all the time – but that this Afghan turned out to be an important Afghan, and ally of the Western occupiers.

The rest of the article actually is quite interesting, detailing a rather complex set of questions. The problem is the unwillingness of the Australian media to accept that the Australian military are engaged in the practices of bloodletting which has long been associated with imperialist occupations.

Compare indeed this article yesterday. The basic point of it is that an 'atrocity' – committed against enemy corpses – was committed by Australian troops in Vietnam in 1969. On the one hand, the 40 years that have passed allow an admission of what I haven't heard admitted in respect of Australians in the current conflict. Moreover, this doesn't insinuate Australian involvement in any illegal killings, only in the desecration of corpses, the implication being that all those corpses were killed legitimately in the conduct of war. I don't know if that's the case, but of course, Australians did kill civilians in Vietnam.