Thursday, September 20, 2007

Liberal Chief Of Staff : Australian Soldiers In Iraq Like Nazi Guards At Concentration Camp

As Liberal Party MPs, and their key staffers, try to deal with the reality that they are extremely likely to lose their seats, and their jobs, in the coming federal elections, the sheer desperateness of their position is showing itself in ever more vile and disgusting ways.

Peter Phelps, the chief of staff to a Liberal MP, attended a public forum where respected and distinguished Iraq War veteran Colonel Mike Kelly was speaking. Col. Kelly is running for the seat currently held by Phelps' boss in the coming federal election.

During the Q & A that followed Col. Kelly's speech, Liberal Party staffer Phelps grew angry as Col. Kelly refused to acknowledge his absurd claims that because Col. Kelly was a veteran of the Iraq War he was being hypocritical to hold the position that Australia should now withdraw its combat forces from the war zone.

Phelps is clearly so stupid, and ignorant, he doesn't comprehend that if you're already in the Australian Army when the federal government goes to war on another country, you do as you are ordered. Col. Kelly did the same as the many hundreds of other Australian soldiers who disagreed with the now vastly discredited case for War On Iraq put forward in early 2003 by prime minister John Howard, when Howard followed US President Bush into invading, occupying and allowing chaos to reign in Iraq.

Just because an Australian soldier didn't think the war was right, or necessary, didn't mean he or she had a choice about serving.

Col. Kelly refused to be baited by Phelps, who was told to shut up by other locals who wanted to ask Col. Kelly more relevant questions on local issues. Phelps kept going, seething with anger, and then asked Col. Kelly if his role in Iraq was like that of the Nazi guards at the Belsen concentration camp during World War 2.

Phelps has now apologized to Col. Kelly, but only after the despicable incident was raised in federal Parliament. In short, Phelps was shamed into apologizing, or forced to do so by his boss. Phelps insulted Col. Kelly, and every other veteran of the Iraq War, last week. He had more than five days to apologize. He refused to do so until today.

Despite his belated retraction, Phelps clearly believes what he said.

In a letter to Col. Kelly, Phelps referred to his comparison between Australian soldiers serving in Iraq, and Nazi guards at WW2 death camp, as "a partisan political point."

From AAP :

Col Kelly was keen to move past the row today but reiterated his pledge to run a clean and fair campaign.

"From the start of this, I made a commitment to play the ball and not the man, and focus on the issue," he said.

"I call upon all candidates to run a clean campaign and let's hope we can go that way from here."

Col. Kelly can have his dream of taking part in a clean election campaign, but furious, pathetic soldier-hating Liberals like Phelps will make sure that is one of the dirtiest campaigns ever seen. The Liberals are desperate, and scared, and their actions will become only more explosive, abhorrent and vile as the reality of their fate causes further panic.

Labor backbencher Michael Danby, the only Jewish MP in Parliament, described the comments as offensive not only to the Jewish community but to former and current Australian military personnel.

"I felt sick to my stomach sitting in federal parliament hearing some of these comparisons," Mr Danby said.

"Dr Phelps has attempted to equate an Australian who served in Iraq with someone who was a Nazi concentration camp guard at Belsen.

"This is deeply offensive not just to the Australian Jewish community but to all of our World War II diggers and airman who fought to defeat Nazism.

"It's also an astonishing attack on our servicemen in Iraq."

It's not the first time the Liberals have insulted Australian veterans. And it won't be the last.

Liberals like Phelps are following the example set by their leader, John Howard, who said the thousands of World War 2, Korea and Vietnam veterans who voiced their dissent against the War On Iraq, in early 2003, were giving "aid and comfort" to Saddam Hussein.

Around the same time, John Howard was busy doing all he could to supposedly ignore more than a dozen memos, letters and reports that flowed through his office warning him that the Australian Wheat Board was funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to the Saddam Hussein regime.

Liberals, like Phelps and Howard, don't care if they're being hypocrites, or spitting blood in the faces of Australian veterans with their crude and shameful insults. They only care about winning, nothing more.