After 20 years, the result will be chaos and civil war

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

AFGHANISTAN

After 20 years, the result will be chaos and civil war

Tony Wright hits the nail on the head with his piece on the troop withdrawal (The Age, 16/4). Afghanistan, a country comprised of competing tribal and ethnic forces, is likely to descend into chaos and a civil war is likely to ensue. One only needs to look at Iraq for evidence of what happens when there are competing forces attempting to fill a power vacuum following a long war waged by international forces.

Afghanistan has known autocracy and dictatorships for much of its history; the notion of democracy where compromise, equality and pluralism are major tenets is a foreign concept. To believe that it will adopt democratic values and processes as well as uphold the political, religious and gender freedoms that the West has desperately tried to instil is to be wildly optimistic.
Joel Feren, East St Kilda

We have gained so little and lost so much

The Prime Minister praises “the brave young men who fought for our freedom, who were heroes”. I have no doubt that they were brave but let us not forget why we followed George Bush into this war. It had nothing to do with our freedom.

It is especially insensitive to talk about heroes when some servicemen are being investigated for alleged war crimes. Has he not read the Brereton report? This Prime Minister is yet to commit to creating a royal commission into veteran suicide (The Age, 23/3). So this war has bought no joy to us as a nation or to the country that we are now leaving in a ruined state.
Julie Carrick, Leopold

Australia must stop following its allies into war

There is no denying that many Australians made a great sacrifice in the war in Afghanistan over the past 20years – 41 dead, hundreds wounded, alleged war crimes and huge psychological impacts. The human and financial cost of $11billion has shown the folly of pouring massive military resources into a distant land to “restore democracy”.

We need to assess what that money and effort would have achieved through diplomacy and health and educational aid, and end the practice of blindly following our strategic allies into similar ventures. With another $270billion earmarked for military expansion in the next decade, a review of our global goals, and effectiveness in achieving these, is required.
Peter Allan, Brunswick West

Women will be left to the mercy of the Taliban

Australia will leave behind women who have been educated or who worked outside the home (and some who even learnt to skateboard from young Australians) at risk from the Taliban when our troops depart. Who is going to protect them?
Megan Stoyles, Aireys Inlet

We gave so much, only to lose in the end

Our hearts must go out to the victims of the Afghan conflict, including the combatants who were killed or injured. But it is well to reflect on the war itself. It is now only a matter of time until the Taliban takes power. Despite the effort and cost over two decades, we lost. When will we ever learn that military might does not win hearts and minds?

But then winning was never our objective, in a distant war that was never ours. Participation is the premium we cynically pay for United States’ protection against our “enemies” – who, in fact, would never be our enemies if we were truly a peaceful and independent nation.
David Perkins, Reid, ACT

Please, Prime Minister, cry for the other deaths

Oh please, Scott Morrison, your tears were breathtakingly transparent during your announcement of the withdrawal of our troops, and acknowledgment of the 41 military personnel who died in service in Afghanistan. Where are your tears for the devastated families of the 474 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991? Or don’t they matter?
Linda Grace, Mitcham

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

THE FORUM

The joys of ’twerking’

An ABC news feature seemed to suggest that the Australian Navy was moving away from its core values to become somewhat lightweight – “Navy dance footage under fire” (The Age, 16/4). To me, the steps were reminiscent of a complex Jamaican dance hall routine being performed by an amazing group of vital, skilled and joyous looking women. As a woman over 50 years, and a relatively new student of this dance genre, I can attest to its benefits for both body and brain. Bring it on.
Michelle Boldt, Brunswick

The Minister’s priorities

A bipartisan committee received approval from Australian Border Force on Wednesday to visit Christmas Island, including its detention centre, and Cocos Keeling Islands. However, according to Labor senator Kristina Keneally, who hoped to visit the Tamil family there, Peter Dutton has cancelled their RAAF plane.

Now he has put his foot down on the performance of Doll 101 Squadron at a naval ceremony, saying, “I have spoken to the great man, the Chief of Navy, but I have made it very clear that that won’t be happening again” (The Age, 16/4). Our defence minister has certainly prioritised issues well in his new portfolio.
Terry White, Lilydale

Jabs for the stranded

Scott Morrison says “the first goal would be to allow vaccinated Australians to travel overseas for important purposes such as funerals and business, but they would still have to undergo quarantine at home” (Letters, 16/4). If this idea is viable, an appropriate use for scarce Pfizer vaccines would be to vaccinate the Australians who are stranded overseas. We are a capable country, we can arrange this. These people could then return to Australia and quarantine at home. Not incidentally, this would eliminate much of the hazard to Australia associated with hotel quarantine.
Ian Black, Essendon

Preference for the living

So we might be allowed to travel overseas for a funeral. Scott Morrison, I would much prefer to visit my elderly parents in Scotland when they are alive than go to their COVID-restricted funeral.
Ali McLeod, Cremorne

Spreading COVID, 101

The definition of a superspreader event: fly thousands of people from all over the world to a country experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Let them mingle with one another for a few weeks, then send them home again, all around the globe, to vulnerable countries where most of the population has not been vaccinated. Hello, Olympic Games.
Linda Stern, Alphington

Keeping track of …

Danny Cole (Letters, 15/4) says the clinic where he had his AstraZeneca vaccination only gave him documentary confirmation of this when he requested it. Our clinic, where I work as a nurse, is giving our allocated 400 doses of AstraZeneca a week.

When our patients have their first vaccination, they are given an appointment for their second one 12 weeks later. They are also given a card stating this, including that they will get another card after their second vaccination. I tell my patients that if they want to get an official record, they can go to myGov website and find their immunisations on the Australian Immunisation Register.
Maree Plucinski, Frankston South

… our vaccinations

Danny Cole, in my case the vaccination was updated on the myGov and Medicare apps on my phone by 9pm on the same day. I also received follow-up messages on days one and eight, with another to come on day 20, checking on any side effects.
Bruce Bourne, Bentleigh

Too precious to discard

I attended my GP clinic yesterday for my flu injection. I was horrified to learn that they were throwing away the COVID-19 vaccine due to a lack of people aged 70-plus signing up for it. My husband and I, both 65, would love to have it and be done with it. There should be more flexibility for GP clinics so that their vials of vaccine can be fully used before their use by date.
Barbara Pallot, Camberwell

A serious safety issue

Over the past few years, I have written to the former roads minister, Jaala Pulford, my local MP Dustin Halse, the Opposition’s rural roads spokesman, Regional Roads Victoria, the Great Ocean Road Authority and VicRoads regarding the unacceptable level of rubbish on our roads (Letters, 15 and 16/4).

The responses were breathtaking. VicRoads’ environment department explained that if the issue was not related to safety then it would not be addressed. If significant debris on our roads is not a safety issue, then we have a serious problem. (As a former police officer, I am extremely concerned about this.) When will someone actually do something?
Graeme Arthur, Ringwood North

Rubbish? We don’t care

During a tour of Vienna a few years ago, one of the tourists asked the local guide why there was no graffiti. Her reply? “It is not allowed.” Judging by the disgusting state of many buildings, trains, walls etc in Melbourne and her suburbs, it is allowed here.
Chris Rhodes, Gisborne

Why teachers walk away

As a former teacher, and knowing so many other teachers who have chosen to leave the profession, it is disappointing to once again read the “think tank” approach to solving the problems in Australian education (Opinion, 16/4). The profession is full of top-class teachers who want nothing more than to be able to teach in an environment where their school’s highest priority is their students’ education.

Instead, teachers succumb to the pressures of red tape, data analysis and a lack of focus on learning within schools where the priority is more on glossy brochures and marketing an idealised image of the school. These genuinely committed teachers are not leaving the profession due to salary or career-path concerns.

You can attract the “brightest and the best” with money and promises of career path until the cows come home. Unfortunately until what lives at the heart of the education system returns to a focus on learning, and supports students and teachers the way they need to be supported, many of these shiny, new teachers will also inevitably choose to walk.
Claire Merry, Wantirna

When the egos rule

Greg Baum, “When is a wicket not a wicket? When it’s out” (Sport, 14/4) was a classic. With a little modification, mainly in terminology, it aptly describes what is going on in education today. I also suspect it applies to many other institutions where people of questionable ability and supreme self-confidence hold sway.
Ian Grandy, Nunawading

The danger for women

Your correspondent (Letters, 16/4) has “always believed that woman’s worst enemy is women”. She may not be aware that one women a week is killed by her current or former male partner and one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a man (ourwatch.org.au). I would respectfully suggest that these women would disagree with her statement.
Samantha Keir, East Brighton

Too cryptic? No, too easy

Oh dear, Carolyn Reynolds (Letters, 16/4). Cryptic crossword compiler DP was perfectly correct in his clue – “Captivate 1440, but with the first off” (Puzzles, 14/4). That is, 1440 is “ten gross” and with the “first off” (T), you get the answer, “engross”.
Harry Boughen, Eltham

Preserve our state

Visionary wanted. The job entails looking into the future and working out how to stop the urban sprawl. If we keep going as we are, we will have concrete, tarmacadam and buildings all over the best arable land in Victoria. Your job is to stop this happening. (No qualifications needed, just vision.)
Colin Hood, Carlton North

Clarifying our wars

Surely the Frontier War is our longest war.
Paul Leahy, Ballarat

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Politics

Ten out of 10 for Holgate. Another zero for Scott Morrison and his misogynistic mates.
Kay Haugh, Clunes

Tell us more about plans to privatise Australia Post.
Irene Morley, Seaford

ScoMo et al want to remove ″⁣underperforming super funds″⁣. Pity underperforming ministers aren’t removed.
George Djoneff, Mitcham

Holgate must be reinstated as CEO of Australia Post but at a man’s salary. She has proved her worth.
Fay Sheppard, East Brighton

What are the chances of Morrison saying ″⁣if he won’t stand aside, he can go″⁣?
Alan West, Research

Canberra bubble? Or Canberra swamp? I know which is more appropriate and it has no association with champers.
Matt Rennick, North Caulfield

The US say “jump” on climate change and Australia asks “How high?” How good is that?
Ray Jones, Box Hill North

Military objective? Political objective? How is our involvement in Afghanistan successfully completed? We sure learnt a lot from the Vietnam War.
Ken Foxcroft, St Leonards

Vaccinations

Why didn’t the federal boys just bring in the CWA? There’d be no mess ups then.
Meredith James, Glen Huntly

As a well-qualified 1b candidate, I’m looking forward to getting my jab in 2022.
Richard Hughes, Woodend

If Holgate had given Morrison a Cartier watch, he might have organised the vaccine rollout on time.
Ian Robinson, Cowes

Furthermore

There should be no hanging points in any jail, youth or refugee detention centre.
Diana Crombie, Malvern

Cringing at the use of a person’s first name, and considering this condescending and patronising (16/4), is the epitome of wokeism.
Martin Newington, Aspendale

My longstanding interest in social justice makes me a woke bloke.
Graham Cadd, Dromana

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