"Afghanistan? Is that thing still going on?"
- Co-worker on the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan
Well, John Howard was looking to pull something out of the bag in the lead-up to the Federal election. Who knows if the death of an Australian soldier as a result of a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan yesterday will be the suprise twist he was after? It's hard to tell at this stage - the news was only confirmed early this morning, and the details are still filtering through. It has the potential though to get the people who think about these things enormously worked up - a reminder that The War On Terror is still a threat, and that we need Howard's safe pair of hands!
...and the whole thing is likely to slide right past the conciousness of the average voter. As the comment from my co-worker shows, Afghanistan is truly the forgotten front in the War On Terror - but for most, it barely registered awareness in the first place.
Anyway, I tried to formulate a suitable response to my colleague's query. "By Afghanistan," I replied, "Do you mean that thing, as in the landlocked Central Asian nation of nearly 32 million people, or that thing in the sense of the original front in the War On Terror, which is still being fought there?"
I was just met with a blank look, so simply said, "In either case, the answer is yes, that thing is still going on."
Anyway, it might be at least a mildly interesting distraction if the soldier's death does become an election issue. But you know, even if it does, I really don't think it's going to matter.