Excerpt from ABC AM 16.05.15 ‘Pentagon backtracks on statement saying B-1 bombers to be stationed in Australia’
ELIZABETH JACKSON: After a day of confusion and diplomatic affront with China, the United States military has beat a hasty retreat from its own suggestion that it will station high-tech B-1 bombers here in Australia.
The Pentagon has issued an apology for the statement, which was made yesterday by its assistant defence secretary for Asia and the Pacific, saying that while it does plan to send a mix of fighter, bomber and tanker aircraft to Australia, the B-1 won’t be amongst them.
Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Pool has been explaining the situation to our North America correspondent, Michael Vincent.
JEFF POOL: During the May 13th foreign Senate relations hearing, ASD (that’s assistant secretary of defence for Asia Pacific) David Shear misspoke when he stated that B-1 bombers and surveillance aircraft will be placed in Australia.
We have officially since corrected the record with the Senate to read: “We will be operating a mix of additional Air Force assets in Australia on a rotational basis, including fighter, bomber and tanker aircraft.”
MICHAEL VINCENT: So when he said emphatically, “We will be placing,” that was wrong?
JEFF POOL: Yes. Yes, it was wrong.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Do you plan to put B-1 bombers in Australia on a rotational basis?
JEFF POOL: No, we have no plans at this time for that. …
Not once in the interview did either the Australian journalist or the American military spokesman refer to the response of the Australian government and people to the Americans’ ‘plans’ – whether they might or might not be approved, for example.
The latter are immediately understood as given, the former as irrelevant.
Think about what this implies in the near future for Australians as the agents of U.S. capitalism draw them and their land mass further into their ‘plans’ (to – unsuccessfully – contain China).