Everybody knows about the illegal occupation of Iraq by the United States armed forces; fewer know that Australia’s armed forces play a supplementary role. Militarily speaking, the Australian state’s contribution is negligible; politically-speaking, it offers the US Administration a further pretext to speak of a ‘multinational’ occupying force rather than, say… oh, I don’t know… ‘US imperialism’?
In any case, despite massive public opposition to this, the current phase of the 15-year-old war between the U.S. and Iraq, the war has — to this point — proved to be relatively clear sailing for the HoWARd Government. But just a few days ago, Jacob Kovco had the unfortunate privilege of becoming the first Australian soldier to die in Iraq. To be precise, “The 25-year-old father of two was today [April 22] named as Australia’s first fatal casualty in the Iraq conflict”; his death appears to have been accidental (he shot himself while cleaning a pistol).
And while HoWARd refuses to say ‘sorry’ for committing Australian soldiers — on a fraudulent basis — to the illegal occupation, The Age reports that he did manage to ‘offer… his condolences to Private Kovko’s family. “We have people at the present time in many parts of the world and we especially feel for the family of that young soldier who died so tragically and accidentally in Baghdad over the weekend,” Mr HoWARd said during a public address in Nowra, on the NSW south coast. “We feel especially for his grieving widow and his two young children and his parents.”‘
A staunch advocate of death and destruction, HoWARd today [April 24] refuses to concede that the war has been a disaster. And, technically speaking, he’s correct. For the corporate sector — notably Halliburton — the war has been a massive windfall. For the men, women and children of Iraq, on the other hand…