By John Pilger

Expatriate journalist and film-maker John Pilger writes approximately his native land with life-long affection and a passionately serious eye. during this absolutely up to date variation of A mystery nation, he can pay tribute to a bit recognized Australia and tells a narrative of excessive political drama.

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Sixty three Warrant Officer Conway used to be the 1st of 494 Australians to die. millions have been maimed and another way scarred. For the Vietnamese, the ‘disproportionate expenditure’ amounted to no less than 1,300,000 humans killed, untold hundreds of thousands maimed and their as soon as bountiful land devastated. In April 1965 Menzies introduced that Australians will be conscripted and despatched to Vietnam. ‘The takeover of South Vietnam [by the NLF]’, he acknowledged, ‘would be an immediate army chance to Australia. It needs to be noticeable as a part of a thrust by way of Communist China among the Indian and Pacific Oceans. ’64 there has been no ‘thrust’ by means of China and no ‘threat’ to Australia. younger Australians have been to be pressured to struggle and die in a rustic whose humans have been resisting an invasion through a superb energy made up our minds to implement its neighborhood dominance. In looking a pretext, Menzies didn't confine himself to a ‘thrusting’ China. For numerous months prior to his declaration Australian officers in Saigon had badgered the South Vietnamese regime to ‘request’ Australian average troops. that they had failed. The regime in Saigon knew not just that the inhabitants could oppose the presence of overseas armies, yet that this might be a present of propaganda to the NLF and compound the problems of pursuing a ‘Vietnamese peace’. at the afternoon he had meant dramatically to notify Parliament of the South Vietnamese ‘request’ for Australian aid, Menzies was once in a fury. He had no affirmation, no piece of reliable paper to cite and wave. in addition, ‘some bastard within the cupboard’ had leaked the scoop that Australia used to be to ship troops to Vietnam. sixty five while Parliament again after the dinner adjournment Menzies’s good fortune was once in; he used to be passed a letter from the South Vietnamese leading Minister, Dr Phan Huy Quat, confirming the Saigon Government’s ‘acceptance of a suggestion’ of Australian troops. Menzies stood up and lied ‘request’ were got. He made no point out of an ‘offer’. The facts of his duplicity used to be now not tabled in Parliament for 6 years, until eventually presently sooner than the final Australian soldier used to be withdrawn from Vietnam. That this episode must have handed into the general public area with out severe problem turns out slightly credible. Neither the hard work competition nor the paperwork nor the intelligentsia nor the media sought out the reality. aside from maverick voices, there has been approval or there has been silence. ‘Throughout the war’, wrote the peace campaigner Alex Carey, one that did converse out, ‘our leaders punished or intimidated any division of international Affairs pupil or diplomat who dared to query the Vietnam dedication, or supply proof opposed to the myths in which it used to be justified. ’66 within the mid-1960s, with reviews of coups in Saigon at the entrance pages of yankee newspapers, President Johnson looked as if it would falter in his campaign to ‘stem communist aggression’ in south-east Asia. there has been alarm in Canberra. Australian officers in Washington lobbied the management virtually each day. Why, they requested, had the President ‘gone quiet’ at the battle?

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