67 Australian SAS captured airbase defended by 1000

Photograph of Australian SAS troopers in Iraq with captured Iraqi aircraft

Why do we never hear about the real work of the Australian military overseas? I’ve written about this before, but I’ve just stumbled across another example. We should have heard about this!

According to a post at the Iran Defence Forum, where I snaffled the photo, 67 Australian SAS troopers captured an Iraqi airfield defended by over 1000 troops.

The Australian SAS captured an Iraqi airfield during the invasion with over 60 intact aircraft camouflaged and buried.

A MiG-25 Foxbat fighter was amongst the captured aircraft, and apparently it’s on its way to Perth to be displayed at the SAS base there.

As I said last time, surely you, dear Department of Defence, can tell enough of the story to inspire the kiddies without “revealing operational secrets”. Hell, I’d love to record this kind of oral history! You know where to find me.

The Straw Man and the Hallucinating Goldfish

Scientific American explains two media manipulation techniques, the “straw man” and the “weak man”. Know how to spot them and help fight the Hallucinating Goldfish.

In Getting Duped: How the Media Messes with Your Mind, Yvonne Raley and Robert Talisse write:

One common method of spinning information is the so-called straw man argument. In this tactic, a person summarizes the opposition’s position inaccurately so as to weaken it and then refutes that inaccurate rendition. In a November 2005 speech, for example, President George W Bush responded to questions about pulling troops out of Iraq by saying, “We’ve heard some people say, pull them out right now. That’s a huge mistake. It’d be a terrible mistake. It sends a bad message to our troops, and it sends a bad message to our enemy, and it sends a bad message to the Iraqis.” The statement that unnamed “people” are advocating a troop withdrawal from Iraq “right now” is a straw man, because it exaggerates the opposing viewpoint. Not even the most stalwart Bush adversaries backed an immediate troop withdrawal. Most proposed that the soldiers be sent home over several months, a more reasonable and persuasive plan that Bush undercut with his straw man.

The Weak Man tactic is a twist on this…

Continue reading “The Straw Man and the Hallucinating Goldfish”

Stay alert, ye nameless, toiling animals

Hindsight is wonderful. When we look back at, say, World War II, TV documentaries cover the rise of Hitler in a few minutes. It’s easy to forget that Hitler was head of the National Socialist Party from 1921, fully 12 years before he became Chancellor in 1933. And it was another 6 years before WWII officially kicked off with the invasion of Poland.

I’ve often wondered what that all looked like for people living it in real-time. And oddly enough, three articles in the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend got me thinking about how that relates to the big global issues today.

Continue reading “Stay alert, ye nameless, toiling animals”