Strange Politics: Is Tony playing toy soldiers?

THE absurdity of our Prime Minister hopping on the phone to beg the US to let us help with air strikes in Syria has not gone unnoticed. But nor has it come as a bomb shell.

"You ask me to ask you. No, you hang up first."

That Australia might enter a new ill-fated war because our leader is in political strife at home has not brought the gates to Parliament House crashing down in an outpouring of civil disgust. We happy clams sit back and watch the bare old war chest get cracked open again.

Tony Abbott's weak half-denial he asked Obama to let us help bomb the bajeezus out of Syrian ISIS targets was not exactly convincing.

But the real problem is even the Defence's Joint Chief of Operations, David Johnston, says our participation "isn't a game changer" and will have "a zero-sum gain".

No extra bombers will be deployed from Australia. They will just be shifted from an already volatile situation in Iraq (we only have six in the whole country).

Abbott says he is still considering the request and will get back to us in a fortnight. That is garbage and he knows it. We are already committed just by virtue of the announcement - especially if Australia was its secret architect.

We will be dropping bombs in Syria. The PM last week said Islamic State were "evil terrorists" who did not respect borders, so "why should we?"

Syria is a separate country to Iraq, where the government invited the help of western armed forces to keep its security in check. The Syrian government has not given permission, and the UN Security Council will not grant that right due to the country's ties with Russia.

Our entry will be flouting international law, which might be fair enough in the name of self-defence if there were some thing to gain.

But even our most senior Defence personnel recognise our presence will make no positive difference and only spread our existing forces in Iraq even thinner.

At least the Howard Government's ill-advised arm-linking with the US in Iraq was done on a mutual basis of scratching a world superpower's mighty back.

If it is true our latest foray is the product of domestic political desperation to change the topic from gay marriage and the environment, our motives are as pure as pig swill.

The US needs our help like it needs a third armpit. But we are playing toy soldiers.

Strange Politics is a satirical column. Follow Chris Calcino on Twitter: @ChrisCalcino


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