President Biden on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

I listened to this speech live in the wee smas earlier. Yes, he will be criticised, but it is the right decision – inevitable after the former guy’s Doha deal with the Taliban.

Good afternoon.

I want to speak today to the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, the developments that have taken place in the last week and the steps we’re taking to address the rapidly evolving events.

My national security team and I have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and moving quickly to execute the plans we had put in place to respond to every contingency, including the rapid collapse we’re seeing now.

I’ll speak more in a moment about the specific steps we’re taking. But I want to remind everyone how we got here and what America’s interests are in Afghanistan.

We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001, and make sure Al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again. We did that. We severely degraded Al Qaeda and Afghanistan. We never gave up the hunt for Osama bin Laden and we got him.

That was a decade ago. Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland.

I’ve argued for many years that our mission should be narrowly focused on counterterrorism, not counterinsurgency or nation-building. That’s why I opposed the surge when it was proposed in 2009 when I was vice president. And that’s why as president I’m adamant we focus on the threats we face today, in 2021, not yesterday’s threats.

Today a terrorist threat has metastasized well beyond Afghanistan. Al Shabab in Somalia, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Nusra in Syria, ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia. These threats warrant our attention and our resources. We conduct effective counterterrorism missions against terrorist groups in multiple countries where we don’t have permanent military presence. If necessary, we’ll do the same in Afghanistan. We’ve developed counterterrorism over-the-horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the direct threats to the United States in the region, and act quickly and decisively if needed.

When I came into office, I inherited a deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban. Under his agreement, U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, just a little over three months after I took office. U.S. forces had already drawn down during the Trump administration from roughly 15,500 American forces to 2,500 troops in country. And the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001.

The choice I had to make as your president was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season. There would have been no cease-fire after May 1. There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1. There was no status quo of stability without American casualties after May 1. There was only a cold reality of either following through on the agreement to withdraw our forces or escalating the conflict and sending thousands more American troops back into combat in Afghanistan, and lurching into the third decade of conflict.

I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. That’s why we’re still there. We were cleareyed about the risks. We planned for every contingency. But I always promised the American people that I will be straight with you.

The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.

American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong. Incredibly well equipped. A force larger in size than the militaries of many of our NATO allies. We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their air force, something the Taliban doesn’t have. Taliban does not have an air force. We provided close air support. We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future.

There are some very brave and capable Afghan special forces units and soldiers. But if Afghanistan is unable to mount any real resistance to the Taliban now, there is no chance that one year — one more year, five more years or 20 more years — that U.S. military boots on the ground would have made any difference.

Here’s what I believe to my core: It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not. The political leaders of Afghanistan were unable to come together for the good of their people, unable to negotiate for the future of their country when the chips were down. They would never have done so while U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan bearing the brunt of the fighting for them. And our true strategic competitors, China and Russia, would love nothing more than the United States to continue to funnel billions of dollars in resources and attention into stabilizing Afghanistan indefinitely.

When I hosted President Ghani and Chairman Abdullah at the White House in June, and again when I spoke by phone to Ghani in July, we had very frank conversations. We talked about how Afghanistan should prepare to fight their civil wars after the U.S. military departed. To clean up the corruption in government so the government could function for the Afghan people. We talked extensively about the need for Afghan leaders to unite politically. They failed to do any of that. I also urged them to engage in diplomacy, to seek a political settlement with the Taliban. This advice was flatly refused. Mr. Ghani insisted the Afghan forces would fight, but obviously he was wrong.

So I’m left again to ask of those who argue that we should stay: How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not? How many more lives, American lives, is it worth, how many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery? I’m clear on my answer: I will not repeat the mistakes we’ve made in the past. The mistake of staying and fighting indefinitely in a conflict that is not in the national interest of the United States, of doubling down on a civil war in a foreign country, of attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of U.S. forces. Those are the mistakes we cannot continue to repeat because we have significant vital interest in the world that we cannot afford to ignore.

I also want to acknowledge how painful this is to so many of us. The scenes that we’re seeing in Afghanistan, they’re gut-wrenching, particularly for our veterans, our diplomats, humanitarian workers — for anyone who has spent time on the ground working to support the Afghan people. For those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan, and for Americans who have fought and served our country in Afghanistan, this is deeply, deeply personal. It is for me as well.

I’ve worked on these issues as long as anyone. I’ve been throughout Afghanistan during this war, while the war was going on, from Kabul to Kandahar, to the Kunar Valley. I’ve traveled there on four different occasions. I’ve met with the people. I’ve spoken with the leaders. I spent time with our troops, and I came to understand firsthand what was and was not possible in Afghanistan. So now we’re focused on what is possible.

We will continue to support the Afghan people. We will lead with our diplomacy, our international influence and our humanitarian aid. We’ll continue to push for regional diplomacy and engagement to prevent violence and instability. We’ll continue to speak out for the basic rights of the Afghan people, of women and girls, just as we speak out all over the world.

I’ve been clear, the human rights must be the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery. But the way to do it is not through endless military deployments. It’s with our diplomacy, our economic tools and rallying the world to join us.

Let me lay out the current mission in Afghanistan: I was asked to authorize, and I did, 6,000 U.S. troops to deploy to Afghanistan for the purpose of assisting in the departure of U.S. and allied civilian personnel from Afghanistan, and to evacuate our Afghan allies and vulnerable Afghans to safety outside of Afghanistan. Our troops are working to secure the airfield and ensure continued operation on both the civilian and military flights. We’re taking over air traffic control. We have safely shut down our embassy and transferred our diplomats. Our diplomatic presence is now consolidated at the airport as well.

Over the coming days we intend to transport out thousands of American citizens who have been living and working in Afghanistan. We’ll also continue to support the safe departure of civilian personnel — the civilian personnel of our allies who are still serving in Afghanistan. Operation Allies Refuge, which I announced back in July, has already moved 2,000 Afghans who are eligible for special immigration visas and their families to the United States. In the coming days, the U.S. military will provide assistance to move more S.I.V.-eligible Afghans and their families out of Afghanistan.

We’re also expanding refugee access to cover other vulnerable Afghans who work for our embassy. U.S. nongovernmental organizations and Afghans who otherwise are a great risk in U.S. news agencies — I know there are concerns about why we did not begin evacuating Afghan civilians sooner. Part of the answer is some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier, still hopeful for their country. And part of it because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, a crisis of confidence.

American troops are performing this mission as professionally and as effectively as they always do. But it is not without risks. As we carry out this departure, we have made it clear to the Taliban: If they attack our personnel or disrupt our operation, the U.S. presence will be swift, and the response will be swift and forceful. We will defend our people with devastating force if necessary. Our current military mission is short on time, limited in scope and focused in its objectives: Get our people and our allies as safely and quickly as possible. And once we have completed this mission, we will conclude our military withdrawal. We will end America’s longest war after 20 long years of bloodshed.

The events we’re seeing now are sadly proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable, united, secure Afghanistan, as known in history as the graveyard of empires. What’s happening now could just as easily happen five years ago or 15 years in the future. We have to be honest, our mission in Afghanistan made many missteps over the past two decades.

I’m now the fourth American president to preside over war in Afghanistan. Two Democrats and two Republicans. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth president. I will not mislead the American people by claiming that just a little more time in Afghanistan will make all the difference. Nor will I shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today and how we must move forward from here. I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me.

I’m deeply saddened by the facts we now face. But I do not regret my decision to end America’s war-fighting in Afghanistan and maintain a laser focus on our counterterrorism mission, there and other parts of the world. Our mission to degrade the terrorist threat of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and kill Osama bin Laden was a success. Our decades-long effort to overcome centuries of history and permanently change and remake Afghanistan was not, and I wrote and believed it never could be.

I cannot and will not ask our troops to fight on endlessly in another country’s civil war, taking casualties, suffering life-shattering injuries, leaving families broken by grief and loss. This is not in our national security interest. It is not what the American people want. It is not what our troops who have sacrificed so much over the past two decades deserve. I made a commitment to the American people when I ran for president that I would bring America’s military involvement in Afghanistan to an end. While it’s been hard and messy and, yes, far from perfect, I’ve honored that commitment.

More importantly, I made a commitment to the brave men and women who serve this nation that I wasn’t going to ask them to continue to risk their lives in a military action that should’ve ended long ago. Our leader did that in Vietnam when I got here as a young man. I will not do it in Afghanistan.

I know my decision will be criticized. But I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to another president of the United States, yet another one, a fifth one. Because it’s the right one, it’s the right decision for our people. The right one for our brave service members who risked their lives serving our nation. And it’s the right one for America.

Thank you. May God protect our troops, our diplomats and all brave Americans serving in harm’s way.

124 thoughts on “President Biden on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

  1. NSW lockdown doesn’t look so strict when the list of shops allowed open is compared with NZ.

    New Zealand

    Food banks
    Service stations
    Self-service laundromats


    Supermarkets and grocery shops
    Shops that predominantly sell food or drinks e.g. butchers, bakeries, fruit shops and delicatessens
    Chemists and pharmacies
    Office supply shops
    Liquor shops
    Shops selling predominantly newspapers, magazines and stationery
    Shops for maternity and baby supplies
    Cellar door premises, but only to sell takeaway
    Hardware and building supplies
    Landscaping material supplies
    Rural supplies
    Timber yards
    Garden centres and plant nurseries
    Vehicle hire premises, not including the premises at which vehicles are sold
    Shops that predominantly carry out mobile phone repairs
    Service stations
    Post offices
    Restaurants and cafés, for takeaway only.

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Niki Savva examines Albanese’s chances for the upcoming election. She concludes discussing the PM’s unacceptability with many people with, “Morrison, who has a habit of allowing problems to become crises before mishandling them, is helping enormously with that.”
    Morrison’s rhetoric on Afghan refugees has to be treated with caution, explains David Crowe.
    Karen Barlow reports that Anthony Albanese has sounded a warning to the top of the Canberra bureaucracy, accusing the Morrison government of politicising the public service and refusing to guarantee the jobs of public service chiefs if the ALP wins power at the next federal election.
    The SMH reports that almost 4000 unlinked mystery cases are fuelling the spread of coronavirus in NSW with fears the state will hit daily case numbers of more than 2200 if the current reproductive rate is not reduced.
    The Age tells us that the soaring COVID-19 cases in NSW and predictions of worse to come have raised fears that no matter how hard Victoria locks down, driving transmission to zero and keeping it there might be impossible.
    Some of the most populated parts of Sydney and Melbourne could fall short of key vaccination targets despite rapid rollout of inoculations, potentially leaving hundreds of thousands of people in at-risk communities exposed to COVID-19. At last someone is looking underneath the glib “average” vaccination percentage statements.
    Scott Morrison has qualified his belief the nation will avoid a double-dip recession, saying the country’s economic fortunes hinge squarely on the success of the vaccine rollout, writes Phil Coorey.
    Alexandra Smith says that Berejiklian’s confusing message are vague promises mixed with dark warnings. Her conclusion is that “Perhaps it is time for Berejiklian to acknowledge that she isn’t cutting through. The problem may not only rest with a small minority of rule breakers, as she suggests, but rather the government’s strategy and how it communicates it.”
    Correctly, Deborah Snow explains how the NSW lockdown rules are open to interpretation. (Especially when Gladys talks about them!)
    Sarah Martin reports that almost 150 childcare centres across the country have been closed under emergency measures because of an “immediate risk” to children posed by the Delta outbreak gripping the country.
    Polly Dunning opines that Kerry Chant is asking too much of parents with young children.
    Rachel Clun and Mary Ward report that health authorities are working on a plan to vaccinate Australia’s children – potentially at school – as the Delta variant infects dozens of kids in Victoria and NSW and has even hit a three-year-old in Canberra.
    Carla Wahlquist tells us that experts are suggesting that many people are experiencing ‘behavioural fatigue’ as their emotional and financial resilience is worn down
    Afghans fleeing the Taliban deserve our protection, argues Greg Barns.
    It was the celebrated American war correspondent Neil Sheehan who used the term “a bright shining lie” to characterise the profoundly corrupt nature – moral, political, social, intellectual, strategic, military, religious – of the US’s (and, by association, Australia’s) disastrous invasion of Vietnam, writes Alan Stephens.
    Australia’s latest wage figures are terrible – and we can’t blame the pandemic, says Greg Jericho. It’s a grim outlook for wage earners.
    Today Chris Bowen will for the first time urge the Morrison government to adopt a more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target at a global summit this year, setting the scene for climate change to become a battleground at the next federal election.
    Andrew Clark explains how Paul Keating would rescue the economy right now.
    Tom Rabe reports that the head of the NSW corruption watchdog has warned it remains under the “control and influence” of the state government due to unresolved funding issues.
    Adele Feguson and Matt O’Sullivan reveal that a highly confidential report for the NSW government reveals that corporatising the state’s transport networks was deemed the best option to plug a multi-billion dollar budget black hole from a shell corporation it had created.
    Kevin Foster argues that Australia must admit its involvement in Afghanistan has been an abject failure.
    Peter Hannam writes that BHP would pay a bidder about $275 million to take the biggest coal mine in NSW off its hands even as prices of the fossil fuel soar to levels not seen since 2008.
    Work has already started to save some of Australia’s most precious historical records as the National Archives begins what could be a five-year rebuild of its resources and skills to ensure it can continue its vital role into the digital era.
    No longer a temporary COVID measure, the government’s super changes will most help wealthy tax dodgers, explains finance professor, Kevin Davis.
    Michaela Whitbourn tells us that Nine and News Corp are resisting a legal bid by federal Liberal minister Christian Porter to stop them using or reporting on secret parts of the ABC’s defence to his defamation claim, which is in the possession of the media outlets’ lawyers but not in the public domain.
    Peta Credlin is well and truly in The Australian’s culture warrior cohort.
    Alan Austin reckons Peta Credlin’s political opinions are worthless.,15412
    Dozens of Australians are still downloading vision of the Christchurch terrorist’s attack and manifesto along with other far-right extremist material, according to a counter-terror probe.
    The incel movement is a form of extremism and it cannot be ignored any longer, posits Laura Bates.
    NBN Co has finally hit financial targets after continually revising them to a point where they met its struggling business model, writes Paul Budde.,15414
    Tougher rules are needed to stop platforms like Google and Apple using their market power to push consumers into expensive payment options, according to competition regulator Rod Sims.
    This is the vital fertiliser that’s driving BHP’s multibillion-dollar bet.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    Cathy Wilcox

    Alan Moir

    David Rowe

    John Shakespeare

    Andrew Dyson

    Matt Golding

    Peter Broelman

    Glen Le Lievre

    Dionne Gain

    Effing Leak

    From the US

  3. An article from a different perspective. Written by a couple of Afghani’s one of whom is based in Australia.

    Monsters, Inc: The Taliban as Empire’s bogeyman
    The dominant narrative on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan erases the decades of imperial violence Afghans suffered.

    ……………………….The Taliban spin the ease in which it took over Afghanistan in the last days as a show of its popularity. Europe and the US spin it as Afghans are bad fighters who lacked loyalty and surrendered, abandoning their weapons and vehicles so willingly to the Taliban. Who will say that Afghans are simply tired of dying for a war that is not, and never was their war?

    We have witnessed in the flurry a curious turn to the earlier defences for the indefensible invasion and the “war on terror” that it initiated. A romanticised offering of the foreign occupation provides deceptive indicators of girls in school, women working (as if this alone indicates anything) or the joys of listening to music, fashion or skateboarding.

    Erased in this sentimentality is how Afghans have been subjected to layers of violence in the form of “humanitarianism”. In fact, the inaugural act of violence of the US led-war – the invasion in October 2001- has been portrayed as an act of care.

  4. Same here.

  5. If our Afghan staff were genuine security risks, why were they working with the ADF? Our vets are lining up to help with vetting. Thug Dutton & Marketeer Morrison stuffed covid, so they're testing a pre-election pivot to the politics of terror & refugees.— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) August 19, 2021

    This kicked off yesterday with filthy comments (as reported in that article) from both these failures about Afghans desperately needing evacuation.

  6. From The Monthly, today –

    Live with it
    The NSW premier continues her push for us to live with her mistakes, while pretending she is leading the way

    Leigh Sales might believe Israel is doing well but the reality is very different.
    A grim warning from Israel: Vaccination blunts, but does not defeat Delta


  7. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    David Crowe opines that to keep his re-election hopes alive, Scott Morrison has to put his authority on the line.
    More from Crowe who writes that a national deal is starting to fracture on the vaccination target agreed only weeks ago to ease lockdowns and open the country, with state leaders at odds and Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejecting calls to drive coronavirus case numbers to zero.
    Katherine Murphy details the ACT’s Michael Barr’s pointed attack on Gladys Berejiklian’s handling of the NSW Covid crisis.
    From vaccines to Afghanistan, Scotty does nothing, writes Michelle Pini.,15421
    In an op-ed in The New Daily, Anthony Albanese says the leadership requires action, not a do-nothing blame-shifter.
    Infectious disease experts Mike Toole, Brendan Crabb and Suman Majumdar argue why our COVID ambition must remain close to zero cases, even as we climb to high vaccination levels.
    The SMH reveals that almost 90,000 extra trips were taken on Sydney’s public transport on Wednesday compared to the same time last month, despite pleas for people to stay home as cases continue to climb one week before the lockdown is scheduled to end.
    And experts have warned pandemic fatigue may be setting in as mobility data shows movement at its highest levels during lockdown this year, days before a surge in new COVID cases.
    Brad Hazzard will sign a public health order in the coming days requiring compulsory vaccination after reaching an agreement with the state’s peak medical groups representing hundreds of thousands of workers.
    Caitlin Fitzsimmons tells us that new businesses in NSW are ineligible to receive targeted lockdown assistance if they don’t have any revenue history.
    The SMH editorial chimes in, saying financial assistance for NSW businesses and individuals still has some big gaps and payments are too slow.
    Victoria’s Premier insists Melbourne’s strict lockdown will get COVID-19 cases back to zero, but delta makes this year look very different to last year, says Jennifer Hewett.
    The Australian reckons it’s got the rundown on Berejiklian’s “roadmap to freedom”.
    Alan Kohler says that modern conservatism offers few answers for a pandemic.
    “Countries can cut themselves off from the world if they want to. They can remain in permanent lockdown and prioritise public health over every other form of endeavour. In effect they are creating hermit economies, isolated from the rest of the world – and they are condemning themselves to eventual poverty”, writes the London Daily Telegraph’s Matthew Lynn.
    Should we give up on COVID-zero? Until most of us are vaccinated, we can’t live with the virus, posits Professor Hassan Vally.
    Health experts warn the country may have to come to terms with living with the virus earlier than expected, as the mental health and economic costs of long lockdowns bite. But leading epidemiologists have stopped short of advocating an immediate exit from lockdowns when 80 per cent of eligible Australians have been vaccinated, with most arguing a reduction in cases will be needed first, say the AFR’s Patrick Durkin and Finbar O’Mallon.
    Economist Andrew Charlton predicts that we can expect a big summer bounce-back from our locked-down economy.
    Michael Pascoe writes that there is a bleak outlook for housing construction but infrastructure is set to soar.
    Henrietta Cook says that life insurance companies are weighing up discounts on premiums for customers who are vaccinated against COVID-19, while health insurers are offering reward points to those who have received the jab.
    The Morrison government wants to keep its own taxpayer-funded legal costs from the robodebt scandal secret despite no longer facing court action over the program, writes Luke Henriques-Gomes. They have no shame!

    Former NSW Auditor-General, Tony Harris, really has a go at the government’s lack of truth when it comes to its push to privatise the railway’s network, rolling stock and real estate.
    Election strategists will tell you that promising roads and train lines gives political parties the best chance on polling day, but Victorian voters should be wary, says Annika Smethurst.
    ‘Too little, too late’ is one of the Morrison Government’s defining characteristics, writes Abul Rizvi on its Afghanistan failures.
    Michelle Grattan says Scott Morrison’s Afghanistan response needs a boost in its compassion quotient.
    The editorial in The Age argues that our history shows we can do more for refugees.
    “Does Afghanistan pose a terror threat to Australia?”, asks Clive Williams.
    The American War Machine is big and brassy. Sound and light, chest-thumping, shock and awe. It is an extension of the American psyche. Bruce Haigh writes about its failure.
    Kate McClymont writes that controversial neurosurgeon Charlie Teo faces an anxious wait after appearing before a special hearing of the NSW Medical Council. Hearings before the “immediate action panel” are convened when allegations against a practitioner are of such seriousness that the health and safety of the public might be at risk.
    Uber drivers were involved in more than 500 serious incidents over 18 months including sexual assaults and crashes that put people in hospital, but the ridesharing giant failed to tell the regulator despite a legal requirement, writes Nick Bonyhady.
    Annika Smethurst tells us that the Greens will use the return of Barnaby Joyce to try and convince more progressive Liberal voters to reject the Coalition in one of the party’s most prized seats. With a federal election due before July, the Greens will make a bold pitch for the Melbourne seat of Higgins announcing NGO consultant Sonya Semmens as its candidate to take on Liberal MP Dr Katie Allen.
    It appears management experts Boston Consulting have managed to burn off millions in tax by paying large whacks to “consultants”, possibly themselves. Luke Stacey investigates how the US consultants have been trying to trick the Tax Office.
    Amid the constant drumbeat of news ranging from bad to catastrophic, Labor’s decision to implement the Turnbull-Morrison stage three tax cuts attracted only momentary attention, writes John Quiggin who says Labor is set to lose its progressive identity with small-target policies,15419
    Zoe Samios and Lisa Visentin report that Eric Abetz has asked the Auditor-General to examine the ABC’s decision to pay the defamation costs of star reporter Louise Milligan after she was sued by Federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming over a series of tweets alleging he had taken an “upskirting” photo of a woman.
    The Morrison Government is committed to reducing red tape. Charities have more work than ever to do during this time of pandemic. The Senate is being asked to disallow a new regulation which would impact unduly on all charities, making them liable to deregistration should any of their members or volunteers commit a simple offence. Gary Johns the ACNC Commissioner has not sought the regulation; Michael Sukkar, the Assistant Treasurer cannot explain the need for it; and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells cannot understand its scope, writes a concerned Frank Brennan.
    Nick O’Malley tells us that a top US official has said it would be “helpful” if Australia increased its emission-reduction goals in the lead-up to crucial United Nations climate talks in Glasgow in November.
    Origin Energy plans to turn off units at its coal-fired power station for extended periods in a bid to keep its generation business profitable amid surge of renewables, reports Angela Macdonald-Smith.
    “Why is life on Earth still taking second place to fossil fuel companies?”, wonders George Monbiot.
    Matthew Knott writes that the honeymoon is over for Biden as his Kabul excuses fail to convince.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    Andrew Dyson

    David Rowe

    Matt Golding

    Cathy Wilcox

    John Shakespeare

    Mark David

    Peter Broelman

    Glen Le Lievre

    Simon Letch

    Mark Knight catch up


    From the US

    • ‘Don’t Come Here By Sea!’ Posted on May 9, 2011 by patriciawa

      We’ve heard your stories one and all.
      Widow, orphan, soldier amputee,
      And how you strive to reach landfall
      Here beyond the Arafura Sea.

      You know that if you come by boat
      People smugglers charge a hefty fee;
      No guarantee you’ll stay afloat
      To journey’s end across the Timor Sea.

      If Tony Abbott now held sway
      He’d stop your boat. That’s his policy.
      He’d turn you round, have you towed away,
      Deaf to your cries, back to the cruel sea.

      A plan to lessen your suffering
      Has now come from the ALP,
      Anxious to find a buffering
      Between Oz and the surrounding sea.

      It’s been proposed by PM Gillard,
      Wherever your starting point may be,
      Boarding leaky boats will be barred.
      You may not risk your life at sea!

      There now will be an orderly queue
      For you to join, perhaps certainty
      That at last we might welcome you.
      Though for that, you’ll have to wait and see.

      Be patient. Understand you’re seeking refuge
      In a land already sanctuary
      To people whose anxiety is huge,
      Girt as Australia is by sea.

      Things here aren’t what they used to be
      When we had endless plains to share
      With those who came across the sea.
      So forget all that, and – ‘Come By Air!’

      Ten years ago and Australians of both political parties were ashamed of what happened then, and still are. Yet Morrison was so proud of his key part in stopping ‘people trafficking’ he still keeps a trophy boat in his office, boasting, “I Stopped These!” They were just boats to him, not refugees! Surely in his daily prayers it has occurred to him that those refugees were human beings; men, women and little children! What sort of god does he worship who after all these years hasn’t taught his ‘servant’ about helping those in peril and showing mercy to people in a panic fighting for a flight to safety? Does Morrison think he can capitalize again on that same suffering to retain power? There are dark days ahead for Australia if he succeeds.

  8. I am so very sick of people whining about closed playgrounds.

    I do understand the appeal of playing on rusty, germ-ridden equipment amid piles of dog crap used needles, condoms and general litter, I really do, but there are other things you can encourage your kids to do, like the ancient activity called “going for a walk”. Even toddlers can do that if you take a stroller for when they get tired – usually thirty seconds after leaving the front door. Maybe a walk to the nearest park (not banned yet) would be good. Who knows? They might see something interesting while they are not self-hypnotising on the swings or risking broken limbs on slippery dips and climbing whatevers. (Seriously, have today’s helicopter parents never realised how dangerous most council-supplied playground equipment is?)Things like butterflies, flowers or grasshoppers or maybe a friendly neighbourhood flasher providing some impromptu sex education.

    The problem is alternative activities like making an obstacle course or building a cubby house in the backyard are impossible now because (a) some parental effort is required and mummy and daddy are too busy sobbing about their lack of social life and getting stuck into the lockdown booze and (b) many residences do not have backyards. It’s hard to build a cubby in the yard when you live on the 14th floor of a tower block.

    Of all the problems we now live with not being able to take your kids to the playground has to be bottom of the list. I’m over whinging parents! Think of what parents are going through in Kabul right now. It makes your whinging seem over-the-top self-indulgent, doesn’t it.

    • Young mums really have no imagination of the scourge of childhood disease and its lifetime effects

    • Members of my age cohort who contracted polio died, we were babies

      My best friend before school age had moved from Sydney to Melbourne after her father died of polio

      A boyfriend had an older brother born in 1952 who contracted polio aged 2, Ian was put in the guards van of the train and sent to Melbourne to hospital. After his treatment the hospital would put him in the guards van and send him home to Numurkah. A story that always brings tears to my eyes. Young mums used to Ronald McDonald House can’t imagine that world.

      Ian has won the New York marathon.

  9. Good thread. The lies about the Afghan interpreters

  10. From Reclaim the News – 2 weeks old but this topic is ongoing.

    Scott Morrison says he is guided by his religious beliefs. Should we be concerned
    “It’s a miracle,’ some of the mainstream media declared when Morrison won the May 2019 election.
    He himself believed that was the case, so we’re told.

    Scott Morrison has made no secret of his Pentecostal religion. He is our first Pentecostal Prime Minister.
    But what are these beliefs that guide his behaviour? How do these beliefs impact his political approach? And what does it mean for Australia, particularly in these very uncertain times of fire, floods and plagues.

    We thank Emeritus Professor Philip Almond, PhD in the Philosophy of Religion Department at the University of Adelaide, for his insights on Scott Morrison’s religion – Pentecostalism.

    This is a must watch analysis of the influence religion has over our Prime Minister, and in turn the country; a secular nation since federation

  11. Not happy, Gladys!

    The mayor of Cumberland City Council, in Sydney’s west, is absolutely livid at the NSW government.

    Councillor Steve Christou told the ABC he had a phone call a minute before today’s press conference from the government informing him of the changes.

    He said the government had “lost complete control” and were acting like a dictatorial regime.

  12. Oh yeah?

    The Morrison government has warned state and territory leaders to ease restrictions when 70% and 80% vaccination targets are met or risk breaching a “deal with the Australian people” and losing economic supports.

    Scott Morrison warned leaders not to backtrack on the national plan to reopen ahead of a national cabinet meeting on Friday, while the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, reinforced the message by adding they “should have no expectation that commonwealth assistance will continue” at the current scale.

    • How will people react when their children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews who are too young to be vaccinated are in danger

      Unlike the 1960s when the announcement of the imminent arrival of number 4 or 5 or 6 was met with sympathy today’s families are small and every child is precious so the arrival of a rampaging virus that targets your children will alarm most families


    ‘ABV test’ threatens Australia’s mRNA vaccine push
    Robert Gottliebsen
    9:38AM August 20, 2021


    Sadly for the government and the nation, there are also signs of disintegration and panic deep in parts of government ranks. And that becomes dangerous for the nation when an election approaches.

    If we look beyond the current crisis, we are now dealing with the first generation of vaccines, with much better vaccines still to be developed. President Trump poured vast sums into US companies like Pfizer and Moderna, who took a lead in the so-called mRNA technology and didn’t allow their knowledge to spread like AstraZeneca in the UK. Australia’s CSL partnered with AstraZeneca using conventional vaccine technology but, even without the Trump money avalanche, we are catching up to the Americans in mRNA technology. A pilot plant is imminent.

    Vaccines are going to be important in every nation’s future and it is clear that we must have a strong, high technology-based vaccine development and manufacturing industry, or we will be at the whim of overseas vaccine players in subsequent generations of vaccines. Australia must develop the production and development capacity for mRNA vaccines and we are fortunate to have a global vaccine leader in CSL. The Victorian government has announced that it will help to establish a major plant when that is appropriate.

    Middle-ranking CSL people met with Canberra government officials and were told there would be federal government support for such a project – provided it meets the “ABV” test. In all its global research, CSL had never heard of the “ABV” test. And then it came out: “ABV” stands for “Anywhere But Victoria”.

    For CSL, it makes absolutely no sense to have plants and skills away from its technology and skills base in Victoria but if Canberra showers CSLwith enough cash, there could be a case. And “ABV” may encourage Canberra to split our vaccine efforts. The hatred of Daniel Andrews runs deep in Canberra, and NSW and Queensland is where money can be well spent to gain votes. Neither Morrison, Hunt, Frydenberg nor Cash were involved but if they succumb to the ABV infection, the nation is headed for a terrible period as we head to the election because vote-buying won’t stop there. CSL is an enormous Australian-based global pharmaceutical operation – it has never experienced anything like “ABV” anywhere else in the world.

    • So the chance for Australia to make its own mRNA vaccine is likely to be scuppered by petty political hatred on the part of this loathsome, incompetent sham of a government. Or bribing CSL to move interstate will cost taxpayers billions.

      Well isn’t that just wonderful!

  14. Well, one of the so called prime minister’s nick names has stuck. Saw Razz’s home nurse today and he called him ‘scot from marketing’. Then he went on a huge rant, he is as furious as we are with all the rorts, lies and corruption. It is very rare to have someone in the health system letting loose. Most of the people we have contact with in the health section have all alluded to the idiot/dud but not in so outright words.

  15. I’m aiming my pure rage right at Scovid and BinChicken,

  16. Maintain your rage

    Researchers have been deemed ineligible for critical career grants by the Australian Research Council as the result of a rule change that has been described as punitive, “extraordinary” and out of keeping with modern scientific practices.

    Researchers are devastated and angry after being ruled out for Australian Research Council (ARC) fellowships because of a new requirement that bans preprint material from being cited in funding applications, with several saying it spells the end of their careers in academia or Australian universities.

    Just to cut expenditure on grants

  17. The Taliban moving early on big issues.No word yet on the women…………..

    Taliban to allow men’s cricket

    The Taliban says it will not interfere with the Afghan men’s national cricket team, the country’s biggest sporting success of recent years, or stop the expansion of the flagship Twenty20 league,The,-Taliban%20says%20it

  18. Just resign, BinChicken. Just go away

    And isn’t this revealing!

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