The report of the NSW inquiry into the state’s 2019-20 bushfires, which took nearly 40 lives, has been released. The Commission was conducted by former deputy commissioner of the NSW Police, Dave Owens, and Mary O’Kane, chairwoman of the NSW Independent Planning Commission. The report made 76 recommendations, including the use of high-tech bushfire detection devices that can identify fires through heavy smoke, fog and dust, better coordination of emergency services in NSW, improved clothing and equipment for fire personnel, establishment of a national emergency warning system across all states, a national fleet of fire-fighting aircraft, and improved telecommunications facilities in bushfire-prone areas. While the inquiry called for all its recommendations to be adopted, it provided no costing of what could be an extremely expensive wish-list, nor did it prioritise…
The gruesome suicide attacks at Kabul Airport carried out by an ISIS group that inexplicably was able to get through several Taliban checkpoints to get to the airport, have forced the Western allies to accelerate their withdrawal, inevitably leaving many desperate and vulnerable people behind. The utterly unnecessary capitulation by the Biden Administration to the Taliban has drawn attention to the unreliability of the United States to countries like Australia that depend on the U.S. security umbrella, and the risk to America’s allies, particularly Taiwan, which is being threatened by Beijing. There are, however, other unexpected consequences of the American withdrawal, particularly in light of Joe Biden’s promise that America would evacuate from Kabul International Airport anyone wishing to leave.
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was the inevitable consequence of the recent decision by U.S. President Joe Biden to abandon Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, which killed about 3,000 people. The absurdity of Biden’s decision was evident in the fact that at the time of the decision, the United States had only 2,500 troops left in the country. Yet this small number was sufficient to convince the Afghan Government, its security forces and the Taliban that the U.S. remained committed to defending the people of Afghanistan.
by Greg Sheridan Allen & Unwin, Sydney Paperback: 384 pages Price: AUD$32.99 Reviewed by Peter Westmore