US Army Major Exposes American Warfare's Giant Open Secret

Authored by Major Danny Sjursen via,

All of the wars waged by the United States in the last 70 years have had one thing in common...

On September 1, 1970, soon after President Nixon expanded the Vietnam War by invading neighboring Cambodia, Democratic Senator George McGovern, a decorated World War II veteran and future presidential candidate, took to the floor of the Senate and said,

Every Senator [here] is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave.…

This chamber reeks of blood.… It does not take any courage at all for a congressman or a senator or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed.”

More than six years had passed since Congress all but rubber-stamped President Lyndon Johnson’s notoriously vague Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which provided what little legal framework there was for military escalation in Vietnam. Doubts remained as to the veracity of the supposed North Vietnamese naval attacks on ships in the Tonkin Gulf that had officially triggered the resolution, or whether the Navy even had cause to venture so close to a sovereign nation’s coastline. No matter. Congress gave the president what he wanted: essentially a blank check to bomb, batter, and occupy South Vietnam. From there it was but a few short steps to nine more years of war, illegal secret bombings of Laos and Cambodia, ground invasions of both those countries, and eventually 58,000 American and upwards of 3 million Vietnamese deaths.

Leaving aside the rest of this country’s sad chapter in Indochina, let’s just focus for a moment on the role of Congress in that era’s war making. In retrospect, Vietnam emerges as just one more chapter in 70 years of ineptitude and apathy on the part of the Senate and House of Representatives when it comes to their constitutionally granted war powers. Time and again in those years, the legislative branch shirked its historic—and legal—responsibility under the Constitution to declare (or refuse to declare) war.

And yet, never in those seven decades has the duty of Congress to assert itself in matters of war and peace been quite so vital as it is today, with American troops engaged—and still dying, even if now in small numbers—in one undeclared war after another in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, and now Niger… and who even knows where else.

Fast forward 53 years from the Tonkin Gulf crisis to Senator Rand Paul’s desperate attempt last September to force something as simple as a congressional discussion of the legal basis for America’s forever wars, which garnered just 36 votes. It was scuttled by a bipartisan coalition of war hawks. And who even noticed—other than obsessive viewers of C-SPAN who were treated to Paul’s four-hour-long cri de coeur denouncing Congress’s agreement to “unlimited war, anywhere, anytime, anyplace upon the globe”?

The Kentucky senator sought something that should have seemed modest indeed: to end the reliance of one administration after another on the long-outdated post-9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) for all of America’s multifaceted and widespread conflicts. He wanted to compel Congress to debate and legally sanction (or not) any future military operations anywhere on Earth. While that may sound reasonable enough, more than 60 senators, Democratic and Republican alike, stymied the effort. In the process, they sanctioned (yet again) their abdication of any role in America’s perpetual state of war—other than, of course, funding it munificently.

In June 1970, with 50,000 troops already dead in Southeast Asia, Congress finally worked up the nerve to repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, a bipartisan effort spearheaded by Senator Bob Dole, the Kansas Republican. As it happens, there are no Bob Doles in today’s Senate. As a result, you hardly have to be a cynic or a Punxsutawney groundhog to predict six more weeks of winter—that is, endless war.

It’s a remarkably old story actually. Ever since V-J Day in August 1945, Congress has repeatedly ducked its explicit constitutional duties when it comes to war, handing over the keys to the eternal use of the military to an increasingly imperial presidency. An often deadlocked, ever less popular Congress has cowered in the shadows for decades as Americans died in undeclared wars. Judging by the lack of public outrage, perhaps this is how the citizenry, too, prefers it. After all, they themselves are unlikely to serve. There’s no draft or need to sacrifice anything in or for America’s wars. The public’s only task is to stand for increasingly militarized pregame sports rituals and to “thank” any soldier they run into.

Nonetheless, with the quixotic thought that this is not the way things have to be, here’s a brief recounting of Congress’s 70-year romance with cowardice.

The Korean War

The last time Congress actually declared war, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, the Japanese had just attacked Pearl Harbor, and there were Nazis to defeat. Five years after the end of World War II, however, in response to a North Korean invasion of the South meant to reunify the Korean peninsula, Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman, decided to intervene militarily without consulting Congress. He undoubtedly had no idea of the precedent he was setting. In the 67 intervening years, upwards of 100,000 American troops would die in this country’s undeclared wars and it was Truman who started us down this road.

In June 1950, having “conferred” with his secretaries of state and defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he announced an intervention in Korea to halt the invasion from the North. No war declaration was necessary, the administration claimed, because the was acting under the “aegis” of a unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution—a 9-0 vote because the Soviets were, at the time, boycotting that body. When asked by reporters whether full-scale combat in Korea didn’t actually constitute a war, the president carefully avoided the term. The conflict, he claimed, only “constituted a police action under the UN” Fearing that the Soviets might respond by escalating the conflict and that atomic reprisals weren’t out of the question, Truman clearly considered it prudent to hedge on his terminology, which would set a perilous precedent for the future.

As American casualties mounted and the fighting intensified, it became increasingly difficult to maintain such semantic charades. In three years of grueling combat, more than 35,000 American troops perished. At the congressional level, it made no difference. Congress remained essentially passive in the face of Truman’s fait accompli. There would be no war declaration and no extended debate on the legality of the president’s decision to send combat troops to Korea.

Indeed, most congressmen rallied to Truman’s defense in a time of… well, police action. There was, however, one lone voice in the wilderness, one very public congressional dissent. If Truman could commit hundreds of thousands of troops to Korea without a congressional declaration, Republican Senator Robert Taft proclaimed, “he could go to war in Malaya or Indonesia or Iran or South America.” As a memory, Taft’s public rebuke to presidential war-making powers is now lost to all but a few historians, but how right he was. (And were the Trump administration ever to go to war with Iran, to pick one of Taft’s places, count on the fact that it would still be without a congressional declaration of war.)

Vietnam and the War Powers Act

From the start, Congress rubber-stamped President Johnson’s Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which passed unanimously in the House and with only two dissenting Senate votes. Despite many later debates and resolutions on Capitol Hill, and certain strikingly critical figures like Democratic Senator William Fulbright, most members of Congress supported the president’s war powers to the end. Even at the height of congressional anti-war sentiment in 1970, only one in three members of the House voted for actual end-the-war resolutions.

According to a specially commissioned House Democratic Study Group, “Up to the spring of 1973, Congress gave every president everything he requested regarding Indochina policies and funding.” Despite enduring myths that Congress “ended the war,” as late as 1970 the McGovern-Hatfield amendment to the Senate’s military procurement bill, which called for a withdrawal from Cambodia within 30 days, failed by a vote of 55-39.

Despite some critical voices (of a sort almost completely absent on the subject of American war in the 21st century), the legislative branch as a collective body discovered far too late that American military forces in Vietnam could never achieve their goals, that South Vietnam remained peripheral to any imaginable security interests, and that the civil war there was never ours to win or lose. It was a Vietnamese, not an American, story. Unfortunately, by the time Congress collectively gathered the nerve to ask the truly tough questions, the war was on its fifth president and most of its victims—Vietnamese and American—were already dead.

In the summer of 1970, Congress did finally repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, while also restricting cross-border operations into Laos and Cambodia. Then, in 1973, over President Richard Nixon’s veto, it even passed the War Powers Act. In the future, that bill stated, only a congressional declaration of war, a national defense emergency, or “statutory authorization” by Congress could legally sanction the deployment of the armed forces to any conflict. Without such sanction, section 4(a)(1) of the bill stipulated that presidential military deployments would be subject to a 60-day limit. That, it was then believed, would forever check the war-making powers of the imperial presidency, which in turn would prevent “future Vietnams.”

In reality, the War Powers Act proved to be largely toothless legislation. It was never truly accepted by the presidents who followed Nixon, nor did Congress generally have the guts to invoke it in any meaningful manner. Over the last 40 years, Democratic and Republican presidents alike have insisted in one way or another that the War Powers Act was essentially unconstitutional. Rather than fight it out in the courts, however, most administrations simply ignored that law and deployed troops where they wanted anyway or made nice and sort of, kind of, mentioned impending military interventions to Congress.

Lots of “non-wars” like the invasions of Grenada and Panama or the 1992-1993 intervention in Somalia fell into the first category. In each case, presidents either cited a UN resolution as explanation for their actions (and powers) or simply acted without the express permission of Congress. Those three “minor” interventions cost the 19, 40, and 43 troop deaths, respectively.

In other cases, presidents notified Congress of their actions, but without explicitly citing section 4(a)(1) of the War Powers Act or its 60-day limit. In other words, presidents politely informed Congress of their intention to deploy troops and little more. Much of this hinged on an ongoing battle over just what constitutes “war.” In 1983, for example, President Ronald Reagan announced that he planned to send a contingent of troops to Lebanon, but claimed the agreement with the host nation “ruled out any combat responsibilities.” Tell that to the 241 Marines killed in a later embassy bombing. When combat did, in fact, break out in Beirut, congressional leaders compromised with Reagan and agreed to an 18-month authorization.

Nor was the judiciary much help. In 1999, for instance, during a sustained air campaign against Serbia in the midst of the Kosovo crisis in the former Yugoslavia, a few legislators sued President Bill Clinton in federal court charging that he had violated the War Powers Act by keeping combat soldiers in the field past 60 days. Clinton simply yawned and pronouncedthat act itself “constitutionally defective.” The federal district court in Washington agreed and quickly ruled in the president’s favor.

In the single exception that proved the rule, the system more or less worked during the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf crisis that led to the first of our Iraq wars. A bipartisan array of congressional leaders insisted that President George H.W. Bush present an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) well before invading Kuwait or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. For several months, across two congressional sessions, the House and Senate held dozens of hearings, engaged in prolonged floor debate, and eventually passed that AUMF by a historically narrow margin.

Even then, President Bush included a signing statement haughtily declaring that his “request for congressional support did not…constitute any change in the long-standing position of the executive branch on…the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution.” Snarky statements aside, sadly, this was Congress’s finest hour in the last 70 years of near-constant global military deployments and conflicts—and it, of course, led to the country’s never-ending Iraq Wars, the third of which is still ongoing.

Approving Enduring and Iraqi “Freedom”

The system failed, disastrously, in the wake of 9/11. Just three days after the horrific attacks, as smoke still billowed from New York’s twin towers, the Senate approved an astoundingly expansive AUMF. The president could use“necessary and appropriate force” against anyone he determined had “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Caught up in the passion of the moment, America’s representatives hardly bothered to determine precisely who was responsible for the recent slaughter or debate the best course of action moving forward.

Three days left paltry room for serious consideration in what was clearly a time for groupthink and patriotic unity, not solemn deliberation. The ensuing vote resembled those in elections in Third World autocracies: 98-0 in the Senate and 420-1 in the House. Only one courageous person, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, took to the floor that day and spoke out. Her words were as prescient as they are haunting:

“We must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target.… As we act, let us not become the evil we deplore.”

Lee was simply ignored. In this way, Congress’s sin of omission set the stage for decades of global war. Today, across the Greater Middle East, Africa, and beyond, American troops, drones, and bombers still operate under the original post-9/11 AUMF framework.

The next time around, in 2002-2003, Congress proceeded to sleepwalk into the invasion of Iraq. Leave aside the intelligence failures and false pretenses under which that invasion was launched and just consider the role of Congress. It was a sad tale of inaction that culminated, just prior to the ignoble 2002 vote on an AUMF against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, in a speech that will undoubtedly prove a classic marker for the decline of congressional powers. Before a nearly empty chamber, the eminent Democratic Senator Robert Byrd said:

“To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences.… As this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war. Yet, this chamber is, for the most part, silent—ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.

“We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events.”

The evidence backed up his claims. Late on the night of October 11th, after only five days of “debate”—similar deliberations in 1990-1991 had spanned four months—the Senate passed a so-called war resolution (essentially a statement backing a presidential decision, not a congressional war declaration) and the invasion of Iraq proceeded as planned.

Toward Forever War

With all that gloomy history behind us, with Congress now endlessly talking about revisiting the 2001 congressional authorization to take on Al Qaeda (but not, of course, the many Islamic terror groups that the military has gone after since that moment) and little revisiting likely to occur, is there any recourse for those not in favor of presidential wars to the end of time? It goes without saying that there is no antiwar political party in the United States, nor—Rand Paul aside—are there even eminent antiwar congressional voices like Taft, Fulbright, McGovern, or Byrd. The Republicans are war hawks and that spirit has proven remarkably bipartisan. From Hillary Clinton, a notorious hawk who supported or argued for military interventions of every sort while she was Barack Obama’s secretary of state, to former vice president and possible future presidential candidate Joe Biden and present Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Democrats are now also a party of presidential war making. All of the above voted, for instance, for the Iraq War Resolution.

So who exactly can antiwar activists or foreign policy skeptics of any sort rally to? If more than 70 years of recent history is any indication, Congress simply can’t be counted on when it comes time to stand, be heard, and vote on American wars. You already know that for the representatives who regularly rush to pass record Defense spending bills - as the Senate recently did by a vote of 89-9 for more money than even President Trump requested - perpetual war is an acceptable way of life.

Unless something drastically changes: the sudden growth, for example, of a grassroots antiwar movement or a major Supreme Court decision (fat chance!) limiting presidential power, Americans are likely to be living with eternal war into the distant future.

It’s already an old story, but think of it as well as the new American way.


peddling-fiction Mon, 01/08/2018 - 23:17 Permalink

Another secret: War is also a convenient way to make a blood sacrifice. All our leaders are in on this, one way or another. Ephesians 6:12 could not be clearer to state who really rules on Earth. So it comes as no suprise that our leaders must submit to these principalities. This is the simple reason why our world is so unjust and crazy.

Uncoy BullyBearish Tue, 01/09/2018 - 13:30 Permalink

The link goes to Benjamin H. Freedman's 1961 speech at the Willard Hotel which covers Israel and the origins of both World Wars, from the  Jewish perspective (Freedman was born, raised and educated as a Jew). The speech is much easier to handle in written form as it's very long and there's a lot of sections which require close reading. Freedman wasn't much of an orator, but he's an excellent researcher, including original research.

If you haven't read Freedman's speech and have an interest in history, you owe it to yourself to read it in full, whatever side of the Palestine-Israel issues you fall.

In reply to by BullyBearish

willspeaks JSBach1 Tue, 01/09/2018 - 05:32 Permalink

To call you a Mental Midget would be far too generous.

Israel benefited from the Korean war how? Vietnam?, Nicaragua?,

Seems I remember Israel being showered for about a month with rockets during the first Gulf War. Some benefit there?

As distasteful as this perpetual war, MIC complex is to me, you elders of Zion idiots with your little circle jerk of up votes are every bit as stupid as any Neocon ever was. Useful idiots like you are who charismatic pied piper dictator types target for day labor.

Hey, 1 year, two months. To quote a great 20th century philosopher, "What a Moroone"  

In reply to by JSBach1

Head_Shots_Work Brazen Heist Wed, 01/10/2018 - 14:13 Permalink

They aren't signing up to fight in most cases. They are signing up because they want to eat. With mid and low level jobs being erased by our overseas outsourcing and mechanization, they have few options left. And who is pushing those economic changes? That's right - the corporatocracy and military industrial complex that owns this country. It's just what we've become. 

In reply to by Brazen Heist

Uncoy willspeaks Tue, 01/09/2018 - 13:39 Permalink

You have a good point about the invasion of the Philippines and the Mexican-American War, as with some of the South American and Asian excursions. Americans managed those early wars off their own bat. But already from World War I, the massive participation of the USA in huge wars was in support of bankers, who for the most part were huge supporters of the Zionist project. America has almost always fought on behalf of capital. Benjamin H. Freedman 1961 Willard Hotel speech is required reading from someone who lived through those times and could reference the original documents and even speak to witnesses and participants (which we can't do from where we sit in 2018).

The wars in the Middle East have indeed been on behalf of Zionist Neocons who have always been in close contact with Israel. This we can research ourselves via archives of The Project for the New American Century and Benji Netanyahu's ravings.

In reply to by willspeaks

JSBach1 willspeaks Wed, 01/10/2018 - 22:47 Permalink

Look...a simpleton wakes from his hybernation and decides to open his mouth, which is far ahead than his eyes can see. It's too late for this thread, but I will roast next time you blather nonsense.

It's people like you who fail to both see far ahead of their own limited eyesight, and fail comprehension when they strain their limits of raisin of a brain.

In reply to by willspeaks

uhland62 J. Peasemold G… Mon, 01/08/2018 - 23:41 Permalink

The Vietnam War started with PREVENTING elections, not promoting them.

In the 1954 Geneva conference, elections were agreed for 1956, but US military advisers prevented them and then escalated the situation to war so the weapons factories could keep producing. Twice they dumped more US equipment into Vietnam than they could ever use. Even we in Australia are still paying for the damage, i.e. Vietnam Vets and build more and more facilities for the new crop of vets who is damaged mentally and physically. 

It makes many of us very angry and the only thing we can do for us is cut that umbilical chord to the US. Enough costs, enough of the trickeries and deceptions. 

In reply to by J. Peasemold G…

J. Peasemold G… uhland62 Tue, 01/09/2018 - 00:35 Permalink

Even we in Australia are still paying for the damage, i.e. Vietnam Vets and build more and more facilities for the new crop of vets who is damaged mentally and physically.

Uhland I have nothing if not the highest admiration for what your country has done for the USA and the UK in wars all the way back to the early 20th century.

Your armed forces and intelligence gathering services would always perform at a higher standard than that of your allies, no matter how misguided and often incompetent direction was imposed upon you. You did your job well.

I agree with you that the poor treatment and lack of recognition of the services has blighted not only Australia but other allied countries in most confilcts. I have to say with shame that the UK's ill treatment and management of Australian forces in WW1 was beyond anything yet seen, colonial cannon fodder to protect the 'sound' British troops. And again in WW2. And Korea. And again as colonial lab rats for the nuclear detonations in the North West and Southern Australia. And then the USA pressure via the UK to commit to Vietnam, "All the way with LBJ" I believe was the catchcry of the period. And still today Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria you will find your people defending what could best be described as the indefensible. And you support 'Joint' in name only Communications Facilities that share the minimum required information and from my recollection pay $1 peppercorn rent per year. Marines in The Northern Territories. It is ongoing.

You are no doubt aware that the USA will not do the same for you, nor the UK for that matter. Were your country to be attacked the USA and UK would move to protect their interests but would under no circumstances directly engage your attackers in a theatre of war. Apply pressure, make diplomatic noises, rattle the sabres but no direct action. The treaties you have are not tested and the USA does not consider them legally binding. The USA will wait until your country is invaded, depleted and close to collpase, and only then take military action to 'heroically' rescue you from dispair, and in so doing claim the great southern lands as an annexed colony of the USA, much like Hawaii.

You are correct that the connecting cord needs to be cut, as it is not a lifeline but a chain that restrains the 'convicts'. Can't let the lower classes build a nuclear industry of their own. Can't let them get too big for their boots. Keep them in debt buying useless military hardware, delay and sabotage their submarine builds. Cripple their over the horizon radar systems and steal the IP. Forced the shut down of the post war flourishing space launch facilities and demolish the sites.

As a student of history and an outsider it makes me ill to recount what you have been through and can only hope that your future leaders have the gumption to correct the mistakes of the past and set your country to rights.

The physical and mental scars may heal with time but their effects are far more long lived.


J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock

In reply to by uhland62

moobra J. Peasemold G… Tue, 01/09/2018 - 00:53 Permalink

No you're wrong. When Australia put troops into Timor the yank ships in the lineup meant that Aussie troops coming ashore didn't have to recreate "saving private Ryan". The Indos choked because of the US presence even if there were no yank grunts going ashore. Plus the amount of US intell provided would have been enormous.

Make no mistake. The Indos had some fucking serious man power in Timor and the yanks backing us made a huge difference. 

This is the very reason we will always send a battalion here and there to add our our pissie firepower to the mix. No matter what Aust govt comes to power if the yanks ask then we pull out a map and go.

It's very fucking lonely living amongst billions of Asians and defending a continent with the equivalent of a single US army division.

In reply to by J. Peasemold G…

Setarcos moobra Tue, 01/09/2018 - 02:00 Permalink

There is no threat to Australia.  Never has been.  Yes the Japs bombed Darwin during WW2, perhaps just because they could, or maybe revenge, but no country - not least Indonesia - has ever had any interest in invading.  As it is our present population of about 23 million is too many for the available water and habitable land.  Don't you think that other countries know this and that there's nothing to gain by invading, not when resources can be bought.  Don't you know that 2-4 centuries ago the Dutch, Portugese, French and others surveyed Australia and decided not to bother, for obvious reasons.  Don't you know that the only reason that the British gave it a shot was because of losing the N American penal colonies and needing somewhere to send convicts crowding hulks on the Thames.  But for that and expendable convict labour to get the place somewhat habitable, Australia might never have been colonised, or not until a lot later with better technology.  Anyway no one has ever threatened Australia.  "The Commies are coming" was 50-60s political theatre, likewise the BS about some threat from Indonesia.  Our pollies love to grossly over-inflate their (lack of) importance on the world stage and dupe the masses like you apparently.  Australia never ceased being a colony, for all practical purposes.

In reply to by moobra

moobra Setarcos Tue, 01/09/2018 - 03:43 Permalink

So in an era when China simply decides that the Sth China Sea "is theirs" and international courts should go fuck themselves, you believe they would never have any such interests in a continent of only 23 million that supplies most of their iron ore, coking coal and other minerals? Lets not mention the uranium possibilities.

You believe that even though the chinese have to face up to the US navy to exploit the south china sea, they would hesitate with Australia and it's "army" and the tyranny of distance.

You believe that China would never benefit from parking a few dozen gas and oil platforms in the Timor sea, running as many trawlers as it likes through our fishing zones and just walking into a few islands since they appear to be "empty". 

You seem to think that in an era when we exploit the arctic wilderness and North sea for energy, Australia is a bit too "hot" and far away to be a real prize. 

You are an idiot leftie who seems to have no idea of reality. Yes, walking into europe with tanks is off the table these days, but a slow surge of chinese presence in our territorial waters and resource zones is quite possible and we have nothing to defend it but 23 million people with (like you) no balls. 

You seem to think this is 1770 when Australia was valueless but that is far from the case now. 

In reply to by Setarcos

August moobra Tue, 01/09/2018 - 02:04 Permalink

>>>It's very fucking lonely living amongst billions of Asians and defending a continent with the equivalent of a single US army division.

A long term existential dilemma.


Do what you can to keep the Indonesians friendly. 

And for damn sure develop a nuclear force de frappe, for the same reasons the French did. 

America may indeed remain your ally... but will they, in fact, exchange Los Angeles for Darwin?

In reply to by moobra

moobra August Tue, 01/09/2018 - 04:07 Permalink

Damn straight. We need nukes as of yesterday. However as the poms are discovering, keeping the technology base to maintain and service a nuclear deterrent is getting beyond those societies (like Australia) that have chosen to dig up shit, sell each other houses and finance rather than actually manufacture anything. The latter requires a real technological base that we have lost. Hence, Sweden can build subs while Australia is hard pressed to fix the flashlight needed to find its own arsehole.

In reply to by August

J. Peasemold G… moobra Tue, 01/09/2018 - 03:32 Permalink

Moobra I appreciate the benefit of your experience, and there is no question that the additional firepower and presence of USA vessels alone would have shaken up the Indonesians, irespective of how much intel was gathered.

The motivation for the USA backing you up is a complex question and I would think that the treaty would have very little to do with it. Moreso the USA and UK interests in Indonesia of natural resources including oil and gas, palm oil and other agricultural products and the imports of US and UK goods would be of greater concern. Add to that the strategic influence in the region and the pressure on claims for undersea mining rights would have been a strong incentive to the USA presence. Into the mix add some jawboning from the Australian politicians to add legitimacy to dropping the treaty and the case would be even stronger for the additional help. This was not a direct attack on the Australian mainland, it was a UN sanctioned international force lead by Australia into East Timor which from the time of the Indonesion invasion in 1975 and ongoing occupancy had been under the 1979 Timor Gap treaty with Austrailia.

You can also look at how Shultz vowed to end the ANZUS treaty with New Zealand on 27th June 1986 over the refusal of New Zealand to allow nuclear powered ships to dock at its ports. "The United States no longer felt bound to come to New Zealand's defense under the 35-year-old Anzus treaty". So it would be reasonable to assume that for any reason the USA deemed it could result in a declaration that the treaty with Australia in the same way would not be respected. As the Lowy Institute pointed out in a commentary 14th August 2017

... the treaty is not an automatic trigger for military assistance on either the part of Australia or the United States. Articles III and IV of the treaty stipulate only a commitment to consult and for each party to "act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes".

Notable too is Turnbull's equal emphasis on Australia's expectations of US military support if the situation was reversed. Again, if there was a naked and unprovoked attack against this country, the Americans would have little option but to invoke ANZUS and come to Australia's aid. But Turnbull's formulation perpetuates a simple-minded insurance premium view of the relationship – the idea that just because Australia offers Washington unflagging support at every turn, its great ally will return the favour come what may.

Thus when the Australian leaders repeatedly asked the US for military assistance in the event of possible armed conflict with Indonesia during the Confrontation episode in the early 1960s, they never quite got the response they were looking for. As John F Kennedy put it bluntly when asked if Washington would be automatically engaged under the terms of ANZUS, "this is not what the United States thinks."

And on your other point I agree that the tyranny of distance no longer protects your country and your biggest concern for a land based invasion would (however unlikely) come from Indonesia. But if I were to speculate you might find that the Indian and Chinese immigrants and their descendents when they each reach 10% or more of your population (currently approx 1/2 million of each born overseas in the total of 24 million, and not including current descendents) that the ANZUS treaty or alliance may no longer be as relevant. ANZINCH or ANZCHIN perhaps?


J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock

In reply to by moobra

moobra J. Peasemold G… Tue, 01/09/2018 - 04:02 Permalink

The minor party in any agreement can always be fucked when the agreement is invoked. That;s life. But ANZUS at least provides some veneer for some support, leaving all of us and potential enemies wondering its real worth when push comes to shove. Still it is WAAAAAAY better than no agreement at all.

I would REALLY hate to be rattling around this continent relying on a defence supply line from the fucking French or poms or germans or (vomit) the russians. Fuck. The lunatic French bombed the Greenpeace ship in NZ and any rash protest from us at any time on anything could cut our spare parts to zero.

Nevertheless the cocksuckers in Canberra continue to buy spanish gunships and frigates and now french fucking subs!

In reality our commitment to ANZUS is worth the money. We lose about as many troops in combat as we lose army personnel killed in car accidents. In the meantime, the military gets real training and tests inter-operability with the yanks. Better to have a functional small army than an untested small one. 

I agree that the changing population mix will asian-ise australia but the result may be more fucking australian than asian. Our doctors are largely asian and adopt our ethics, practices and values. A surprising number of chinese immigrants hate china.

My point is that the chinese are always opportunistic and will economically colonise africa if it can and can also slowly breach resource borders around australia just like the south china sea.

I doubt the australian navy would contest anything against a few chinese cruisers and subs.

ANZUS may not help in this process but our navy would feel a shitload safer with a US carrier group on exercise than doing it alone.


In reply to by J. Peasemold G…

heavens-door peddling-fiction Tue, 01/09/2018 - 01:47 Permalink

One more open secret: after all the Hero Troops are done destabalizing the country and killing many of the men.  Their bosses send in the "private contractors".  One of their jobs is to kidnap as many little boys and girls as they can while killing and raping their mothers, since the Hero Troops already killed their fathers, their remaining families have no one to protect them.  Yes they sometime kill and rape the children as well, but not as often because their bosses might get angry.

Many of the "private contractors" do take one or two of the children for their own sex slave uses, but as long as they 'keep up the numbers' their bosses don't care, besides it increases morale.  

BTW all of this is happening under the watchful eye of whatever US military base that was newly built in the region.  These "private contractors" need a safe space to come home to after all.

Just like US fighter pilots are being used in Syria as the de facto 'Air Force' for ISIS, everytime US Troops go and invade a country they are just the first wave of terror for the population of that country.  They are acting as de facto cover for their pedo human trafficking bosses. 

If you gleefully supported all these invasions, most of you did, your hands aren't clean. 

In reply to by peddling-fiction