The Guardian • Issue #2066

Talisman Sabre 23

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2066
Rally to ‘Cancel Talisman Sabre 23’ held at the Sydney Town Hall on July 19.

Rally to ‘Cancel Talisman Sabre 23’ held at the Sydney Town Hall on July 19.

Talisman Sabre 23

Talisman Sabre 23 came to Australia amid a blast of PR media showing big war machines whipping through the seas along our coast or churning up the dust in our countryside plus the usual gallant soldiers rushing up beaches looking serious.

The reality was very different.

First there was a large pile-up on the Bruce Highway, the main north-south road along the Queensland coast. A truck loaded with a US tank caught fire after a collision. The fire spread to the tank which exploded. Six people were injured, and the highway was blocked for over a day.

The exercise, which began on 22nd July and was billed as “the biggest ever,” continued to generate bad news when an ADF helicopter crashed into the ocean and killed four servicemen. 

Behind the bad news is worse news. The Talisman Sabre war games are part of a tapestry of giant US military exercises all over the globe. So far this year there have been exercises in Europe, South Korea, Philippines, and now Australia.

The US is sending a clear message that it is preparing for the invasion of Russia, China, and North Korea. The war games are about aggression and intimidation, not defence or disaster response.

With a massive 30,000 military personnel involved, the main partners, Australia and the US, were joined this year by NATO states France, United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany as well as Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga.

The biennial exercise is used to develop interoperability and to strengthen military partnerships across the region.

While the macho footage of troops rolling across deserts, light forests and jungles or storming up beaches was diminished by the tragedy of four dead pilots, nevertheless countries including Germany and Japan, took the opportunity to showcase weapons and hawk for buyers.

Party members and others organised a rally against Talisman Sabre on 19th July in Sydney to highlight the issue of military exercises in this country.

As the world experienced its hottest ever July, the military was not deterred, It just kept on practicing for war, continued to burn up fossil fuels and turned its back on the need for global cooperation to bring the worst elements of climate change under control.

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