Being a Prime Minister is a serious business. And Tony Abbott has some serious decisions to make.
Chief among them is how many young Australian lives he’s prepared to sacrifice to divert attention from his failing domestic policies.
Abbott’s rush to war in Iraq is clearly designed to distract from his failings at home. His budget is regarded as the worst in living memory, and his descent in the polls has defied all modern trends.
He is a deeply unpopular Prime Minister who, it’s apparent, will do almost anything to maintain his grip on power. Tony Abbott was a wrecker in opposition. It should surprise no-one that he is a wrecker in office.
Only the most rabid xenophobes – and Labor and Liberal politicians – deny this. The Left knows it, the conservatives know it, Abbott’s own party knows it, and Abbott himself knows it.
If Abbott and the Liberals – with the support of Labor – decide to expand the aerial assault against ISIS to include ground troops, then young Australians will almost certainly die. According to experts, that is almost inevitable.
Over the weekend, The Australian led with a story that revealed some of the nation’s top defence experts warning that an aerial bombardment of ISIS alone will not defeat them. It will simply lead to a stalemate.
“The Islamic State terror group cannot be defeated by airstrikes alone and a substantial ground campaign will be needed to avoid the war against the jihadists grinding to a stalemate, say the nation’s most senior military experts,” The Australian reported.
“As Australian F/A-18 Super Hornets prepare to attack militants in Iraq for the first time in the next few days, senior strategists have warned that the coalition of Western and Arab nations may be unable to dislodge Islamic State from cities and push them back into Syria.
“Australia, the US and other allies have steadfastly refused to consider providing combat troops and Iraqi forces have repeatedly been routed in their confrontations with Islamic State militants.
“The experts, contacted by The Australian, include: David Kilcullen, the nation’s top counter-terrorism expert; Peter Leahy, the former leader of the Australian army when it was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Peter Jennings, the head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank and the advisory team for the government’s new defence white paper.”
Let’s not forget that only a month ago, our ‘war in Iraq’ was described as a ‘humanitarian effort’. Now it’s a war. And it’s entirely possible we will eventually send troops to the front line.
What is certain is that Abbott will continue to shift the goalposts to suit his own political need, he will continue to beat the drums of war, and he will continue to foment anger and bigotry in Australia.
If he can get Australians hating Muslims, then Australians have less hate for him.
On that front, there is other expert advice as well – a great deal of it – which says that joining an assault on Iraq, whether by air or ground, will only serve to make Australians less safe.
There is also expert advice which reveals that the marginalization of young Muslims in Australia, and western aggression against Muslims internationally, is the quickest way to breed homegrown terrorists.
And yet, we go to war, and our leader seeks to marginalize Muslims even further.
It’s clear that we cannot rely on Labor to find any moral courage on this issue – Shorten is as gutless as Abbott is opportunistic.
So, unfortunately, it will come down to whether or not, within the Liberal Party, there remains sufficient people of good conscience to remove a man who is prepared to sacrifice the lives of young Australians, and to make his nation less safe.
That’s the decision the Liberals have to make. And if they do care about this nation as much as they claim, they had better make it soon.
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