Saturday, September 28, 2002

MORE OF THE SAME.

Marian Wilkinson has a lot to learn if she wants to a) pass this off as Journalism; or b) continue in her self-appointed role of showing the world Why War Is Evil.

In what claims to be coverage of the Congressional hearings, those against an attack get eight grafs or more of quotes, and are described as
clearly itching to take a swipe at the armchair generals in the Defence Department.

whereas
the hawks in the Bush Administration are intensely impatient for the war to begin.

A one-sentence mention of “Other generals, some who supported immediate action” is all signage the pro-war military gets.

Intelligence is “vague and impossible to verify”, as if this was somehow an unusual situation in dealing with police states. When trying to make a political case, intelligence gets “strategically dropped”.
But as the chorus of concern grew louder this week, Mr Bush turned a deaf ear. The bottom line is that he and his most influential advisers believe the military campaign against Iraq will be a war of liberation that will quickly topple Saddam.

Get the little reference to “influential advisers”, with all the Strangelove bunker images. The Kurds don’t escape the treatment either. They’re not an oppressed minority, pulling themselves up by the bootstraps under US protection, providing many of the services Saddam’s Iraqis don’t get while living under the same sanctions . That’s because
A recent report on the Iraqi economy revealed that the key Kurdish party in the north has made massive economic gains from kickbacks on the illegal oil trade between Turkey and Iraq.

The only pro-war voice to get a quote is Colin Powell, but even he started from behind as he “tried to assure Congress and US allies”.

And as we have come to expect, not a single mention or defence of the policy of status quo. Sigh.

Margot Kingston has discovered public opinion. Or at least public opinion Lite. That’s the polling data you grab as it comes past when it backs your case. Then it’s the willathepeebul. If the polls don’t support your view, then it’s down to the ignorance of the electorate, and you sink the slipper into the Government for shameless populism, and berate their stubborn refusal to educate the ignorant masses to your viewpoint.

In Friday’s Granny, La Belle Margot gives her version of why we can’t go in to Iraq:
If Howard cannot turn public opinion around, he cannot send our troops to war. The legitimacy of Australians dying for us requires that the majority of us endorse the sacrifice in the national interest.

This piece has everything; Vietnam, “all the way with GWB”, sneers at “wedge politics”, swipes at immigration policy and appeals more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger:
a lack of majority support, would mean Australia had not taken a collective decision to spill the blood of young Australians in the national interest. The blood would be on Howard's hands.

The thought of Margot weeping over the blood of "our troops" at war on the side of the US is comical enough by itself, but there is more:
And some, convinced by Howard's demonisation of Muslim boat people and enamoured with Fortress Australia, ask why we should liberate "the ragheads".

Margot might like to enlighten us as to which polling organisation is using “ragheads” in their survey questioning; we can assume she got it from somwhere, as it’s not a term Margot comes into contact with often. I’m willing to believe she wouldn’t simply drop a sentence into a discussion on as important a subject as the “blood of young Australian” that didn’t have a solid grounding in fact.

And this is where her reliance on public opinion as a barometer of worthiness comes undone in her own columns. Because if polls are the way to go on Blood Questions, then we can rely on them for guidance on lesser issues.

Some of the other issue on which we can look forward to Margo reversing her stand:
· Asylum seeker protests: 75% disapproval;

· Mandatory detention of all asylum seekers: 56% approval;

· Military action against Iraq once the US makes a case; 54%

· John Howard as better Prime Minister: three to one in favour

· John Howard more trustworthy than his opponent;

We must have missed her column in October last year insisting that Prime Minister Howard turn back all asylum seeker boats. I can’t see how Kingston could write anything else, since such a policy, had it ever existed, would have carried a 56% popularity. If you’re reading Margot, pop the link in an email, hmm? While you’re at it, any chance of a look at your writings in 1992 when 75%
of Australians favoured the us of Australian forces against Iraq. Surely you would have been in the vanguard then? How about the non-UN approved incursion into Afghanistan (66% in favour)? One Nation thee times more entitled to win seats than the Greens?
Note: all unlinked poll data can be obtained here.

For Kingston, public opinion is an optional extra to be dropped or ignored when convenient. This column is a shameless appeal to emotion, prejudice and fear, with no policy alternative offered, little fact and less coherence.

Margot, for the record: Why is it right to go in with UN sanction, and wrong not to? Why does UN approval alter the reasons to go to war? Would you have said the same about East Timor? If not, why not?

Thursday, September 26, 2002

TIME FOR A SEA CHANGE
Ken Parish has had a change of heart on the war.
I am reluctantly forced to the conclusion that "regime changing" military action is going to be needed sooner or later, and the 1-2 year time frame for Saddam's likely acquisition of nuclear capability suggests that sooner is the better option.

Parish will provide some welcome thoughtful analysis.

30 days war, end to end.

OLD DUFFERS

Paul Kelly is the spruiking the letter from a group of oldsters making a new career of going wobbly.

At least one of them, former Prime Minister Robert James Lee Hawke, is a bit confused about what constitutes a good outcome. He is in no doubt about the risks:
If there is a unilateral attack, then I believe that weapons of mass destruction could be unleashed.

Since the attack is on Iraq, then the use of WMD is referring to an Iraqi response. Oddly, Hawke can simultaneously be certain of a WMD response by Iraq, but still raise doubts on the existence of the arsenal.:
The issue is whether Saddam Hussein has been able to weaponise biological material

Hawke goes on to defend his role as Prime Minister in the first Gulf War:
"I held long talks at that time with President Bush about going to Baghdad and we agreed that you couldn't do it. We acted in the war and in the limit of the war within the terms of the UN."

And hasn’t it worked out well for everybody involved? Saddam is still in charge, the Iraqi people are worse off than pre-1991. Terror is funded through the Palestinians and who knows where else. Saddam continues to acquire WMD, continues to be a threat to his neighbours, and a destabilising influence through the world.

Bob, there are few of today’s problems that can’t be sheeted home to the fact that the UN forces didn’t roll over Iraq when they had the chance. With hindsight, we can see that was a Mistake. It is not a move to be proud of.

Question: to all those who yelled for action in East Timor: what if the UN had turned us down? Should we have stood by or gone in regardless? How is this different?

I like it when someone else does the heavy lifting.
Read Vodka Pundit.

DEFENCE CONTRACTOR FEARS WAR WILL BOOST SHARE PRICE

Would you treat this with any kind of seriousness? Me either. So why does the UK Telegraph promote the views of a Saudi mouthpiece and former OPEC groin gouger?

The price of oil is fixed by the cost of pumping (two fifths of bugger-all) and the rate of pumping. Pump faster and the price falls. Break the cartel and the price falls.

Iraq has a bug piece of proven oil reserves, enough to affect pumping rates. Estimates vary between $US9 and $US12, once the Iraqis are free to turn on the taps. They will take the most profitable path between speed of revenue and maintaining a price. What they will not take into account is the bleats of the OPEC cartel. Iraq has a shattered economy to rebuild, and massive war debts to pay off. They are not going to give a fat rat’s arse what the Saudis say.

Yamani knows the House of Saud fears an Iraq free to set their own pump rate. He is simply defending the interests of the right-wing religious fundamentalists who pay his salary. There is no possible reasons to treat his views as anything other than those of a seriously rich lobbyist acting to enrich is clients.

Thanks to Team Stryker for the link.

THE PHOTO RECORD

Here’s an interesting take on the power of past war images from Big S Blog.
This picture was taken in the days immediately after Japan's surrender to the Allies. This picture became public, and spread alarm throughout the Japanese. Why? Because it showed that Japan had been defeated.

Now why do I bring up this picture? Because this is exactly the point that Steven [Den Beste] is trying to make. We need to inflict a serious, undeniable defeat on the both Islamism and Pan-Arabism. Saddam is a perfect example of low hanging fruit. if we defeat, and hopefully kill him, preferably in some sort of public manner, we will create a reaction in the Arab world something akin to what that picture did to the Japanese.

The questions from the Islamists about Bin Laden and the pan-Arabists about Saddam will be the same, "This was our hero, he was supposed to be able to fight the Americans, and instead, he was beaten and destroyed in a matter of weeks. Why?" When that happens, we will be able to change the pathology of Arab culture today, and that will make the world a far safer place.

While you’re there, use his link to an excellent photo essay.

A NOTE OF SUPPORT from Jennifer Hewitt in the Sydney Morning Herald.
There are no good options when it comes to Iraq. But can we at least avoid the sanctimonious pretence that doing nothing is so morally superior?

Contrast this with a letter published today from a cross-party collection of oldies who believe:
it would constitute a failure of the duty of government to protect the integrity and ensure the security of our nation to commit any Australian forces in support of a United States military offensive against Iraq without the backing of a specific United Nations Security Council resolution.


This still begs the question: What’s the alternative? If the UN backs our risk assessment and passes a Resolution, fine. But if they don’t, that does not change the threat assessment one iota. The risk and the threat remain exactly as they were before the vote. Who knows you crazy brother-in-law better; you or the cops?

As far as this letter is concerned, they should check back to see exactly who has shouldered a big slice of doing the work “to protect the integrity and ensure the security of our nation”. HINT: they weren’t wearing blue helmets.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

SHALL WE GATHER AT THE TABLE, THE BEAUTFUL, THE BEAUTIFUL TABLE.

20 year ago in IT, there was a saying: “no-one ever got fired for buying IBM”. Today many have taken the values this represents, and transferred it to international relations. “No-one can fault you for calling for caution/cool head/more negotiations”.

Large slices of sloppy thinking seem to be able to substitute talking for action, and status quo for change. There is an assumption that any negotiation is preferable to force, and thus represents the superior path. The negotiations are not required to lead anywhere; like children, trees and flowers, the negotiating table has an a priori worth that is not up for questioning.

Even stranger, this new form of negotiations, being an end to itself, is not required to have an “or else” behind them. Any suggestion of force as an alternative to talking is an admission of failure, of vulgarity. It would be a tacit acceptance that killing people and breaking things has a place at the beautiful table. Since this is unacceptable to a vocal minority, and in reference to the above axiom, it is safer in career terms to counsel caution.

For the first time if history, international diplomacy will be attempted without the threat of force to back it up. This is not performing without a net; this is performing without a trapeze, catcher, or a ladder to get back down.

I will quote from the Good Ship USS Clueless
There are three choices:
1. Do nothing
2. Act with UN approval
3. Act alone.

The Left is split between 1 and 2, depending on loopiness. Choice 2 is what’s known as outsourcing responsibility. You can appear to be reluctantly dragged into conflict at the behest of the International Community. And if the Community knocks you back, hey you’ve done all you can, not your fault.

There seems to be little in the way of thinking past Choice 2. Considering the amount of demands for “what happens after Saddam” plans, it is surprising the UN advocates have not spelled out their alternatives apart from ruling out Choice 3.

So here’s the question, plain and simple: What happens when Saddam tells the UN to get stuffed, and the Security Council will not authorise force? All negotiations are finished, all avenues tried, all diplomacy exhausted. There is no more talking left to do. What then?

Doing nothing is a policy. It has to be debated, dissected defended. If status quo is your preferred option, justify why it is a better choice. Show the world why it will produce a superior result than what has gone before. Explain why this time, more of the same doesn’t get more of the same.

There are risks to stasis, and those risks do not remain constant. Risks are cumulative. Assume the probability that Saddam has bioweapons as ten per cent. Given past form this is lowball estimate. He would have achieved the majority of this progress in the four years since he booted the inspectors out. This means he is doubling his capacity every year or so. With three to five more years of status quo, he could have a fifty per cent chance of having ebola, botulism smallpox and plague systems ready for action.

Thought Experiment.

Write down the names of six of your family and friends on slips of paper. Draw them one at a time at random, laying the names in a line.

Now imagine you have a revolver with one chamber filled. You put it to the first name, and pull the trigger; nothing. Dry fire. Then the next. Still dry. The next. Nothing.

You now have three friends left, and two empty chambers. The next will face a one in three chance of dying through your choice. Those are better odds than I described above. How do you feel about making the choice of who’s next, especially knowing that if this one lives, the next one goes to fifty-fifty.

You’re getting a glimpse into military contingency planning. Next time you think Bush and Wolfowitz are gun-totin’ cowboys keen to see if their shiny toys work, remember how you felt facing a three in one pick.

LITTLE DOES HE SUSPECT …

Sarge at Team Stryker has declared his hand too early.
If elected, I promise an end to all free elections and will declare myself Emperor of America and Lord Protector of Mexico and the Outer Realms. You will live to serve me and the Greater Glory of America.

Hee hee. He doesn’t suspect a thing. I’ve got the key to the office supply cupboard!


The New Republic thinks Bush is being deceptive by throwing attention to the UN, when the real deal is to promote the doctrine of self-defence.
Above all, it means clearly confronting the most serious critique of the administration's preemption doctrine: that Saddam can be deterred. The Bush administration has not adequately explained that Saddam is prone to recklessly underestimating America's resolve--which is part of the reason he wasn't deterred from invading Kuwait. And it hasn't adequately explained that while deterrence "worked" vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, there's no guarantee it would have continued to work had the USSR endured for another 50 years. (Even during the cold war, after all, there were some very close calls.) The United States relied on deterrence against the Soviet Union not because deterrence was foolproof but because we had no other choice: We could never have preemptively attacked the USSR; the costs would simply have been too great. But the United States can preemptively attack Iraq. Deterrence is no longer our only option, and it isn't our safest one.

And for the next twit that uses the Cuban Missile Crisis as an example of diplomacy:
1. The blockade worked because it was backed by the threat of big-time force.
2. Kennedy had to give up his missiles in Turkey.

Ever wonder how a clay pigeon feels about its lot in life? Robert Fisk will have the answer after the The Rottweiler is through.
This profound Fisking of Algore from One Hand Clapping. Although it is a shame he has ignored the commitment of Australia to the war on Iraq.
we do have a coalition in place for action against Saddam. Great Britain is obviously on board. So are Qatar and Kuwait. Turkey is supporting US military operations in the area now. Reports have said that Jordan has agreed at least to limited US operations from its soil. Israel will not openly ally with the US militarily, but intelligence sharing between the US and Israel is continuous and deep.
What makes a coalition? Three nations? Ten? Forty? What gets Al's goat is not the lack of a coalition, because there is a coalition. For Al, the coalition is made up of the wrong people.

But he’s on the money in questioning just what the hell a coalition actually is.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

This just in. The cheekily-named Uncle has launched the ABCwatch, to keep an eye on the communards we sad Oz-dwellers fund.

If he can do to the Collective what Biased BBC does for the Beeb, it will be a job well done.

Our Special Broadcasting Service is tonight running this program alleging CIA involvement in biological weapons, dirty deeds, and going off the promos on the teev, use of bio-weapons in Korea.

Having not seen the program, I can’t comment on the content. But I will say this: To all those who are willing to believe part or all of any of the various theories that attempt to explain why Bush is going in to Iraq, apply the same standards of proof to this program.

That is, uncorroborated testimony is worth less than the evidence collected by UN inspectors out of Iraq. If this program is your idea of proof, then you should apply those standards to deciding whether Saddam is a threat.

Patio Pundit has produced an FAQ on Iraq. I’ve added this to my arsenal:
5. North Korea and Pakistan have Weapons of Mass Destruction while Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria have supported terrorism in one form or another. If we don't address any of those threats, why should we fight against Iraq?
Each of those countries do pose a threat that needs to be addressed, but the threat from Iraq is thought to be the most urgent.

The important distinction between Important and Urgent. Basic management stuff really.

REQUIRED READING

Thanks to the good professor, I was able to read this piece by David Brooks.

The Fog of Peace is bloody good reading. Tight, well-argued, and focussed on the goal of debate.
For the peace camp, all foreign affairs is local; contempt for and opposition to Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld, et al. is the driving passion. When they write about these figures it is with a burning zeal. But on the rare occasions when they write about Saddam, suddenly all passion drains away. Saddam is boring, but Wolfowitz tears at their soul.

Brooks points out the almost total absence of forward-looking analysis by the anti-war movement. This is a feature of the Australian debate as well. In the same way as every “blame America” article included the obligatory paragraph about how terrible September 11 was, every anti-war article includes an acknowledgement that Saddam is a bad dude. But it stops there. The justifications seems to end at “Saddam is a butcher and a dictator, but Bush is from Texas. Texas!”

Take this piece from Robert Corr, who has raised motivation over action, and has a poor opinion of the Iraqi people’s ability to organise themselves a democracy.
No matter how much Bush rabbits on about pre-emptive self-defence or human rights or WMD, the end result will be more of the same for the people of Iraq. Sure, there'll be a new leader with a new moustache, but he'll have the same hand up his backside.
Go ahead: take out Saddam. But do it for the right reasons.

The lessons of Japan, Germany, Korea and Afghanistan have passed Robert by. The only possible outcome for this occupied country, one that even Corr will admit the USA has an extreme strategic interest in maintaining as a stable oil exporter, will be to suffer under the yoke of another “moustache” (spot of profiling, mebbe?) that will start the dictatorship again. They have neither the wit nor the will displayed by some of the most militaristic countries in the world, and institute the foundations of a liberal state.

James Morrow has own opinion on why weepers and worriers fear an Israeli response to an attack by Iraq.
the not-so-secret wish in the minds of all those who call for Israeli restraint that the only democracy in the Middle East would just lay down, play dead, and go away.


MOB RULE EXPECTED MOMENTARILY, PLEASE STAND BY

The UN is considering closing their office in Australia. In what will be a body blow to the Forces of Goodness and Niceness, budget cuts appear to have forced the withdrawal, even from known trouble spots like The Land of Oz. Progressive groups fear the imminent outbreak of lawlessness, environmental catastrophe, random shooting of immigrants, and armed incursion into Tasmania.
"The office symbolically is a constant reminder that Australia is a founding member of the UN and that Australia is a country involved and engaged in international issues,' the director of the UN in Australia, Juan Carlos Brandt, said yesterday. "It would be a sad development (to close down)."

Greens Senator Bob Brown says the UN presence was all that prevented the Evil Fascist Howard Government from wanton rapine and pillage. Without the constant reminder of our international obligations, Brown fears immediate ejection of all non-Aryan residents, and a return to “rum, sodomy and the lash”.

In what may explain the UN’s current financial woes, it was revealed that although the Sydney office cost $US300,000, the budget was set in Australian dollars to the tune of $AUS548,000,000, an exciting new exchange rate of .0054 US cents to the dollar. It is not known if this is an informal exchange rate available only to UN budget officers, or a shadow of things to come After The Fall.

Monday, September 23, 2002

ONLY THOSE WHO FAIL MAY BE ALLOWED TO COMPETE

Another gem from Carmen Lawrence, this time in her role as Opposition spokesthingy for Aboriginal affairs. This time she is undermining the future re-election of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chairman Geoff Clark, but her reasons are a little hard to understand. Lawrence does not appear to be disappointed in Clark’s performance as the highest elected indigenous official. Nor is she influenced by multiple rape accusations against Clark (although the police have declined to proceed). Lawrence does not mention the looming assault charges against Clark over a recent pub brawl.

So what’s the problem? Lawrence has her reasons:
"I was worried by the (Aboriginal affairs) Minister (Philip Ruddock) saying he thought Geoff Clark should remain in the job," she said yesterday. "That suggests maybe he's a little close to government and that's what worries me a bit about ATSIC as an organisation at the moment."

Now, call me crazy, but why is it a problem for the head of the peak indigenous body to be “a little close” to the Government? If Lawrence is really in the business of advocating the improvement of aboriginals, it should be good news that Clark is close to the source of all largesse and welfare payments to what is arguably the most disadvantaged groups in Australia.

Lawrence is revealing part of her true agenda: it is more important that aboriginal advocates be seen to be closer to the Labor Party, than it is for them to be successful in pressing their case. She wants to ensure that aboriginals do not progress under Conservative Governments, for fear of losing the votes of those who believe in the cause of aboriginal advancement. If Labor is seen to be no longer have the exclusive rights to aboriginal welfare, this will contribute to the further haemorrhage of votes from the left and right wings, already in disarray over issues such as immigration, environment and war on Iraq.

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL.

At the moment there are between 30 and 50 scared and angry Palestinians trapped in Arafat's house. They have been there for four or five days, and are without running water or air conditioning.

How fitting that the revolution ends not with a bang, not with a whimper, but because of body odour.
THE FAILURE OF IMAGINATION

Benjamin Netanyahu, fresh from actual
incidences of suppression of debate, has a featured editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
Sept. 11 alerted most Americans to the grave dangers that are now facing our world. Most Americans understand that had al Qaeda possessed an atomic device last September, the city of New York would not exist today. They realize that last week we could have grieved not for thousands of dead, but for millions.
But for others around the world, the power of imagination is apparently not so acute. It appears that these people will have to once again see the unimaginable materialize in front of their eyes before they are willing to do what must be done. For how else can one explain opposition to President Bush's plan to dismantle Saddam Hussein's regime?

This issue of the power of imagination is central to the debate on the war. Anti-war campaigners have to ask themselves: is US unilateral action preferable to an atomic attack on a US city. They might also like to nominate which city they are prepared to sacrifice.

The anti-war crew needs to answer questions before the potential victims. If you had known al Qaeda had a nuclear weapon they were planning to bring to the US, would you require UN approval before striking?

Thanks to Mike at Cold Fury for the tip.

PROLIFERATION IS PREFERABLE TO PRE-EMPTION

Left wing members of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition here in the Land of Oz have begun to display their serious colours, as the nation’s leaders debate what to do about Saddam.

Opposition frontbencher Carmen Lawrence wants a conscience vote:
"Typically," she said, "we think about conscience votes when it comes to abortion ... before life, in the eyes of many, has really begun. How much more important perhaps, when we're talking about the loss of life [of] living, human beings?"

There can be no question about Lawrence’s sincerity, and her desire to rely on hard evidence. After all, lack of hard evidence meant she was found innocent of perjury charges, despite a Royal Commission finding she was lying in sworn evidence, and the testimony of four Cabinet colleagues directly contradicting her evidence. She was simply too busy defending herself against the male political hegemony to express similar regret for the woman who suicided after her allegations. Lawrence has stated she wishes to save her concern for the living.

Inner city speed bump Tanya Plibersek has at least made her position clear:
she could not see herself "supporting war unless there was clear evidence Iraq had a nuclear weapon loaded and pointed at Tel Aviv".
"I would not support a US first strike and I would think twice about even United Nations action," she said.

Just so we have this clear: it doesn’t matter if the UN backs an attack; it is preferable for Saddam who she describes as
an evil regime, which has murdered its own people, which has used chemical weapons.

to acquire nuclear weapons and threaten Israel, un unrelated party, rather that take any form of action against Saddam.

Perhaps these people would be more believable if they could point to the same stridency of protests over the US attacks on Serbia. Personally, I’d like to see Carmen and Tanya commit to a speaking tour in the newly liberated Iraq, to explain their opposition. They could address the Kurds, the Shi-ites, and the parents of the inmates of Saddam’s special children’s prison. Without bodyguards.

Now that’s television!

Sunday, September 22, 2002

US GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO ACCUSATIONS OF "CHICKEN HAWK" DECISIONMAKING

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for coming. This briefing will only take a few minutes of your time. There will be a brief question period after.

Recently there have been criticisms of war policy being set by Members of Congress who do not have children in the Armed Services, and therefore have no business making decisions that might result in other people’s children going off to war. The Government has decided that these arguments have merit, and is prepared to resolve the question.

In response to these legitimate concerns, the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff would like to announce the return of conscription, to be applied only to the children of Members of Congress. In this way, we can ensure all decisions made that involve the disposition of forces will only be made by people with a stake in the outcome, albeit one generation removed.

Fortunately, it will only be necessary to impose the draft on the children of all Federal representatives, regardless of Party affiliation. These recruits will be constituted the Children’s Army. In practice, due to the relative size of Congress, we will refer herein to the Children’s Company.

Here are the new guidelines:
· All draftees will be required to serve, if qualified, in front-line fighting units, warships or fighter plane squadrons. Regardless of talent or training, all draftees must face the risk of actual death in combat.

· Since we cannot compromise the standards of the fighting units, any personnel that do not qualify for combat will be classified CH-1 (chicken hawk, first grade), and their parents removed from Cabinet level responsibilities upon notification. This will of course apply across the board to those Representatives unfortunate to have only girls, or children too young, fat, stupid, clumsy or otherwise unfit to serve.

· Candidates wishing to stand for office who have no children will be required to produce proof of fertility prior to standing. Upon election they will have a limited time to produce a child, or adopt one. Failure to comply will mean disqualification and expulsion.

· It will not be permitted for ambitious politicians to falsify the age, gender, mental capacity or physical ability of their children, in order to increase the chances of combat status and through it, Ministerial rank.

· To ensure Candidates and Members have something to lose, they will be required to demonstrate a minimum level of affection and regard for their potential draftee child. Receipts for gifts and video evidence of attendance at birthday parties will be sufficient. In the event of a dispute or challenge by an opponent, candidates will sit an informal knowledge test, answering questions about child’s middle name, deceased pets, marital status and sexual orientation.

· Cabdidates without children because of infertility will not be permitted to stand for election. Candidates choosing not to have children based on environmental concerns will be classified as Conscientious Objectors, and will be permitted to make decisions on first aid, hospital placement, and medical supplies.

· Independent, minor party or homosexual candidates may stand provided they undertake never form a Coalition with the party in Government, or exercise any real influence.

· Under the two-party system, serving children of Opposition and Government Representatives will be kept on ready alert, depending on who is in power.

· If multiple commitments are deemed necessary, the Children’s Company will be formed into cadres, and salted into front-line units in various trouble spots.

· Upon outbreak of hostilities, the Children’s Company will be the first to be sent fight. We cannot take the chance of peace breaking out before they face death or injury. The attack will take place prior to the commencement of any air war, naval or artillery bombardment that may risk breaking the enemy morale too early.

· Should any member of Children’s Company be killed, their parent will retire from politics immediately on notification of death. Parents of injured soldiers may excuse themselves from all votes until their offspring is fit enough to rejoin the battle.

· Childless Representatives willing to foreswear any promotion above entry rank may be permitted to substitute a nephew, stepson or adopted Third World child in place of immediate offspring. This will suffice in the event of rapid, unsought promotion.

· The term of enlistment in Children’s Company is limited to their parent’s term of office. Any recruit whose parent is defeated in an election will be stood down immediately on final declaration of the poll. Recruits found to have injured, slandered or killed their parents in order to avoid service will be expelled from the Company, and never permitted to serve.

· Candidates, or serving Members of Congress whose children are ineligible to serve, will not be permitted to solicit for adoption within serving combat units.

The US Government will be raising the possibility of other nations implementing what we see as the future of politics. Our Allies that feel themselves qualified to veto US foreign policy, despite their absence of American citizenship, may be permitted to donate their children to the Children’s Army, and become eligible for input and consultation. Our enemies through the years have already demonstrated their acceptance of the scheme, although their practice of drafting anyone but the children of the ruling elite will have to be substantially modified.

I hope you join me in wishing the future members of the Children’s Army all the luck in the world. Thank you for your time. Are there any questions?

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