Saturday, August 20, 2016

In which the pond heads off with the armchair generals to fight the last war, or the war before that ...

If it please the chair, before moving on to usual matters, the pond begs an indulgence to celebrate the many who are called, and who must be honoured for their services to "Johnny One-Note" writing, but bore the pond to tears and so are routinely ignored ...

The pond thanks the chair, and if it so pleases, will now move on to the standard order of Saturday business.

Waiter, wheel out the Polonius kraken, stirring from a deep slumber to re-fight the last war ...

Hmmm, the arras-hiding wise one is most modest this day.

The pond would go much further. Surely the time is right to celebrate the ongoing triumph of the South Vietnamese Catholic-inspired dictatorship that has ruled these last forty years in that happym country, thanks in no small part to the triumph of American and Australian military forces. We did not lose in Vietnam!

What's that you say? Which planet does the pond live on, what alternative reality does it inhabit?

Well the pond only drops in occasionally from Planet Janet and Planet Polonius to marvel at people unable to grasp the twilight zone of the fifth dimension ...

Eerie music if you will Rod, there is a fifth dimension of history beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as Polonial space and as timeless as infinite Roman wisdom. It is the middle ground between words and their meaning, between Polonius and superstition, and it lies between the pit of indignation and the summit of his capacity for outage. This is the dimension of historical revision. It is an area we call the Polonial zone.

Now let us not argue about the definition of "invade" and "invasion" and such sordid matters.

The Gulf of Tonkin incident provided a most reasonable excuse to take a stand, as every delusional knows, so there's no need to get technical ...

Oh okay, it could be said that Polonius routinely offers infringement by intrusion, but truly he's welcome at the pond, an invited and honoured guest, and besides the google splash cut back a little bit on the baldness of the reptile splash ...

You see, it was certain other people that didn't regard the invaders as invaders, which means they couldn't have been invaders performing an invasion ...

Ah, to have been trained by Jesuits in the fine art of casuistry .. and so to the main course, because a meal delayed is an appetite enhanced ...

There's nothing like pedantry, is there, so presumably it's not impolite to note that the GG didn't get around to declaring an end to Australia's participation in the war until January 1973 and a platoon of troops actually stayed until June 1973 guarding the Australian embassy in Saigon (AWM it here).

Never mind, there's nothing like bunging on a do, and then when it fails in an epic way, taking credit for ending the do ... no doubt Napoleon's troops felt much the same way on the march back from Moscow ...

And then it's on with the usual farrago of nonsense and dissembling that went on when, way back when ... as, blinded by BA Santamaria's fanatical anti-communism, Polonius marched off to war ... from his armchair, no doubt made of much the same leather as used for Ming the Merciless's furniture ...

Personally, the pond is still fighting the war before that, you know, the war that was going to end all wars, and taught the world how to build a completely useless fort against acknowledging what actually had happened ...

But to return to later follies, it's time to catch up on Polonius's coulda, shoulda, woulda won, except for the Yanks and the Russians and ... 

And what exactly was Australia doing in that useless bunfight, exposing good people to death and unwarranted abuse back home for following orders given by politicians under threat of prison, as their marbles popped up, but all ultimately for no particular purpose or benefit?

Well it turns out it wasn't about Vietnam at all, it was all about saving Singapore!

You see, the cunning armchair warriors ranted and railed,  and no doubt ordered another dry sherry or perhaps a decent vintage port to sip on while resting on leather and organising the most remarkable military feint that has ever been produced, at least since Hannibal marched across the Alps ...

Yes, the war was fought in Vietnam to save Singapore.

Now some might think that around this point that it becomes clear enough that Polonius has jumped the shark, nuked the fridge and howled at the sectarian moon one too many times.

One might object to Tim Bowden complaining about the behaviour of news executives and attributing it to their Catholicism. After all, there were also radio people of the Alan Ashbolt kind, and good old Talbot was staunch, despite having schooled at Newington ...

Following the Australian Liberal landslide in the 1966 Federal Election, Duckmanton officially rebuked ABC's deputy general manager, Clement Semmler, for protesting against Australia's involvement in the Vietnam war, saying, "You're letting the side down. After all, the ABC has a duty to support the government in this matter." (Independent obit here wot wot).

But Bowden going on about the internal politics of reporting in the ABC doesn't seem to actually have the foggiest to do with Ming the Merciless launching the war.

As for Santa himself, he apparently wasn't much of a believer in holy crusades of any kind:

During World War II, Santamaria gained an exemption from military service. In 1972 Arthur Calwell, a leading Catholic Labor politician, confirmed that Santamaria had "dodged" war service after Mannix had approached him to gain the exemption. When asked, Calwell stated "I want to put the record straight because apparently the Department of Defence cannot find any of the records, nor can the Department of Labour and National Service." Santamaria and two other men (Maher and K. W. Mitchell were, argued Mannix, "members of the Secretariat of Catholic Action and that their work was equivalent to that of a minister of religion." 
Calwell said 'I regret my part in it... I want the country to know that these three men who have been pestering and opposing and demonstrating against the Australian Labor Party for the last 30 years were people who dodged military service'. He reflected on the Vietnam War and noted that all three supported it and "conscription of men for military service", adding "I regret that these people who benefited from our generosity did not beget any children who went out to fight in the war in Vietnam. Their sons were exempted, all of them, because they were employed in reserve institutions as were their fathers."
Santamaria denied the allegation that he had ever sought an exemption and stated that 'if Mr Calwell repeated his statement outside of parliament he would take appropriate action'.
Calwell moderated his statements regarding Maher, but not on Mitchell or Santamaria. In May 1972, previously missing records were found confirming Calwell's version. (wiki here for the footnotes).

Never mind, it's good to know that the crusademanaged to produce a soft dictatorship in Singapore and a thoroughly corrupt government in Malaysia, and that life in Vietnam is now splendid, as they make do with the left-over chemicals and unexploded munitions, and besides, what's a few civilian casualties, because all wars have civilian casualties, and now if you don't mind, and though it's terribly early the pond will retire to its leather chair for a jolly good dry sherry ... wot wot ...

Ah complexity, subtlety, nuance, diplomacy and understanding the legacy of colonialism and the behaviour of the French ... when blind irrational adherence to transubstantiation is the only way forward ...

Enough of all that. Waiter, a vintage port if you please ... here no invasions, no invasions here.

Ah if only Ming the Merciless had won and banned the Commies, none of this would have happened, and Australia would have turned back the hordes.

Is there any hope, you might now be wondering, for poor old prattling Polonius, clutching after all these years to his Santa heritage, still in him as deep as what happens when a Jesuit gets hold of a child before the age of seven?

Of course there is. Cathy Wilcox has offered a tidy little cartoon of hope and joy ... and more Wilcox here ...


  1. But, but D.P. Ming DID ban the Commies! I read it in the Australian a few weeks ago. So of course we won Vietnam and get to define how Long Tan is commerated too.

    1. Well, he sorta did, GH - at least the Lib/Counts passed a law banning the Communist Party which caused them commies to have to go underground for a little while. Until the appeal to the High Court had Menzies' little effort thrown out, that was.

      Then Menzies got up a referendum - which everybody, even the Prattler, calls a referendum - to change the Constitution to allow Pig Iron Bob to do his worst. But that was lost on the votes of Australians.

      Strangely the referendum was opposed by the Young Liberals on the grounds that it would "restrict freedoms of speech and association."

      My, my, how times have changed us all.

  2. But, butt DP, we know that fixed-minded anal retentives simply don't ever get the distinction between denotation and connotation, and the Prattler is a great example.

    But having some single-minded attributes of my own, I'd like to point out yet again how the Right Wingnuts change the subject. Consider what he records Tim Bowden as saying:

    "At that stage the (ABC) news executives were mostly old newspapermen, a lot of Catholics, and they saw the war as a holy crusade."

    Which the Prattler immediately tries to turn into a matter of "anti-Catholic sectarianism" and he starts going on about Menzies and McEwen, Arthur Calwell and such like - none of whom were in any way at all "(ABC) news executives".

    So we have a small passing remark about "(ABC) news executives" turned into a lecture on who wasn't a Catholic or who didn't support the Vietnam exercise if he was. Am I beginning to get through here ?

  3. Ah!!! The Polonial zone.So warm,dark and timeless...the natural home of the reptiles of delusion. Bit smelly though,I mean,some of these old bastards have been in there for decades. A top read DP.Ta.

  4. I must have missed the details of Gerard's own Military Service... Or perhaps he had to stay home to write an angry letter to Robert Manne?

  5. DP-"And what exactly was Australia doing in that useless bunfight,"

    Ming was promised a meat contract with the USA.

    "exposing good people to death and unwarranted abuse back home for following orders given by politicians under threat of prison, as their marbles popped up, but all ultimately for no particular purpose or benefit?"

    The thing was an obvious war crime from start to finish, and in support of a bunch of USA serving criminals posing as a government of a supposed country. FFS!Obvious to me prior to 12 years of age. Obvious as I ran up an ASIO file for various anti-war activities by 14, including one front page ASIO / NSW plods embarrassing episode (they had to shut down that operation), and aiding conscientious objectors in hiding. For fuck's sake Dorothy, War crimes and Nuremberg, individual responsibility: the arseholes that went to Vietnam still deserve more abuse than they got - hero bloody baby burners.


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