US bills Australia for bombs.
May 27, 2003 10:30 PM   Subscribe

US bills Australia for bombs. This is the first time I have seen a 'user-pays' principle of modern warfare spelled out in this way. But then again Australia doesn't make a habit of going to war. 'The ADF will also be required to pay an undisclosed amount – believed to be up to $3 million – for satellite time and band width to connect the Canberra war room with command in the Gulf, and enable it to talk directly with SAS troops on the ground. "It was described as the first struggle in the war, to secure band width," said Derek Woolner, defence analysis director at the Australian Defence Studies Centre.'
posted by blue (21 comments total)
well, they are not charging for bombs, but rather bandwidht. There's a pretty big diffrence, although still pretty arse-y
posted by delmoi at 10:41 PM on May 27, 2003

Those boys down under need to wake the f**k up. The free trade agreement they're sucking up for is only going to be on terms favorable to the US, this is just one more warning sign. We only dig free trade when there's something in it for us, we're greedy little bastards.

I do find it somewhat embarrassing that we would charge them for the cost of munitions delivered on our behalf, but I'm not in the least surprised. The biggest kid on the block can make all the rules, even if he is a total a**hole. Yet another example of why I'm not exactly "Proud to be an American".
posted by ehintz at 10:50 PM on May 27, 2003

Well *someone* has to pay for Australia's bandwidth, and if it's not Australia, then it's the US.

Sounds like a pretty fair deal to me.
posted by mckayc at 10:58 PM on May 27, 2003

Canada's plan of staying out of the war is looking better and better.
Canada was left of the new list of countries that should be suicide bombed and now no bill from USA.
posted by Iax at 11:10 PM on May 27, 2003

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what your country can do for the US.

The aussies are tricked into going to war, gets short end of stick from world superpower - the more things change, the more they stay the same.
posted by spazzm at 11:19 PM on May 27, 2003

Uh, this sounds entirely reasonable. It was just about logistics. If Australia had crates of bombs sitting around the airfield and US planes needed bombs, they would have used those and the US would have paid Australia for them. And it was probably cheaper for Australian forces to just use the US bombs then bring their own. Sounds like fairly routine military accounting stuff to me...
posted by justin at 12:13 AM on May 28, 2003

ehintz, while no one is exactly proud that you're an American, it does entitle you to curse if you feel so inclined, even while bashing the government, and without the use of annoying asterisks to replace letters. Fucking asshole. See?

spazzm, the Australians weren't tricked, nor are they getting the short end of the stick, as it clearly states in the article:

ADF first assistant secretary of finance George Veitch said the bills from allies represented only a small component of the overall cost. "In the overall scheme of $645 million, it's a drop in the ocean."

Mr Veitch said the cost of the war was not as bad as expected. "We expected we'd have troops over there for a longer period of time," he said.

Partners in the "coalition of the willing" understood they would "pay their way", Mr Veitch said. "People pay for what they use ... it's whoever is best placed to provide the logistics support."

Relevant quote in bold, just for you!

War costs money? Shocking! Post it to Metafilter!
posted by David Dark at 12:25 AM on May 28, 2003

David Dark:
When I said "aussies" I meant "Australian voters, soldiers and taxpayers" not "George Veitch".
posted by spazzm at 2:38 AM on May 28, 2003

Considering how expensive bandwidth still is in Australia (fuck Telstra too, while we're at it!), I'd think our antipodean pals would consider this a bargain!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:06 AM on May 28, 2003

Yeah uh, the "billed by the U.S." thing isn't what you should be miffed about if you're going to be miffed. It's news insofar as it's sort of an interesting "oh, right, hadn't thought of that" tidbit, but nothing beyond that. So if you really think your countrymen were tricked, be angry that they were in the war at all, not about te fact that a small percentage of the Australian cost of making war will be paid for in checks made out to the U.S. DoD.
posted by kavasa at 3:44 AM on May 28, 2003

My question is whether they were billed for both making and recieving calls.
posted by srboisvert at 4:56 AM on May 28, 2003

If Australia had crates of bombs sitting around the airfield and US planes needed bombs, they would have used those and the US would have paid Australia for them.

There's a crucial element missing in that analogy, and that is most people see the war against Iraq as being the US's war, and that Australia's involvement was merely a (much unneeded and insignificant) assistance. This view itself isn't really that much of a distorted view, and is most likely closer to the truth than the technicality of the coalition agreement, so perhaps it is fairly understandable to think of the billing as being inappropriate.
posted by aki at 5:55 AM on May 28, 2003

Want to get out of the coalition of the paying? Try having your troops randomly "stumble" onto a large WMD depot - that'll get you off the hook pronto. A more lame move would be to claim that you were tricked into believing WMDs existence. No WMDs found, no dollars for you, pal. Simple, but it takes more balls than bombing the shit out of a country with no air force ... and no connection to the Bali bombing. Most likely, we'll see the bill settled soon enough and the fantasy will perpetuate itself.

(In other news, France and Germany looking smarter by the minute).
posted by magullo at 6:23 AM on May 28, 2003

This is the first time I have seen a 'user-pays' principle of modern warfare spelled out in this way.

Ever heard of Lend/Lease? Not only is it IraqFilter and NewsFilter noise (blah blah, Iraq bad, blah blah WMD, blah, blah Bush =AntiChrist), its not even news! Wow, the Australians used American equipment and now they are expected to pay for it, woo. I just hope they got a good deal on their rollover minutes. See if Rupert Murdoch was just allowed to buy the TV satellites I'm sure he'd loan bandwidth to the military in exchange for some choice footage for Fox news!

By the way, don't like Bush or Howard or Blair or any elected official, don't vote for them, not only that, don't forget to vote AGAINST them, convince others to do so as well, soon, problem is solved.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:32 AM on May 28, 2003

Maybe Australia should respond by billing the US for use of the Australian armed forces?

Hey, it's only fair - you pay for what you use.
posted by spazzm at 7:50 AM on May 28, 2003

Except, spazzm, that would be the elected Australian government that went to war, it may have been Bush at the helm, but it was a ship full of fools.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:29 AM on May 28, 2003

Gives a new spin to the
Coalition of the Billing!
posted by nofundy at 12:35 PM on May 28, 2003

Let's bill the USA for their military prescence in Australia!
posted by skinsuit at 5:49 PM on May 28, 2003

I hear you stavrosthewonderchicken - that is about what it costs for the average business to maintain a broadband connection for a year or so (well, perhaps a slight exaggeration).

... that we would charge them for the cost of munitions delivered on our behalf ...
They were not delivered on your behalf, they were delivered as part of Australia's contribution to the war effort. Like it or not, Australia made a commitment to the war and this is part of that obligation. Most likely, it would have cost as much or more to ship munitions from Australia than use what was already to hand.
posted by dg at 9:22 PM on May 28, 2003

Let's bill the USA for their military prescence in Australia!

You already do.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:00 AM on May 29, 2003

The billing discussion is pointless; better to question why Australia, of all countries, felt it necessary to participate in the occupation of Iraq. It's not like Iraq is a direct (or, hell, even indirect) threat to Australian interests.

Nope, I'd be more angry about the fact that a dumb, duty-dodging, unscrupulous Texan and his corporate ass-kissing buddies decided to whip you up into a frenzy with lies, accusations, and threats, and you fell for it hook, line, sinker, bucket, and copy of "Angling Times." You committed troops and resources to what is now amounting to the U.S. cementing its hold on the world's energy resources. The fact that you're being charged for it is just a very thin layer of icing on the screwover cake.

Put it this way - you went to war. What do you get out of the deal?
posted by FormlessOne at 7:54 AM on May 29, 2003

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