HSC History exam 2057

Friday, April 13, 2007, John Howard: “They know this surge, if it works, could represent a turning point”.

At what point in the Iraq civil war did the then prime minister of Australia make his highly qualified statement? What would his use of the words “if” and “could” have indicated to listeners at the time? On listening to the archival recording of his statement, would you say Howard’s voice expressed a lack of conviction? Did the US surge of early 2007 in fact become a turning point and if so, in what direction did the war turn?

Discuss.

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Posted in Howardia, Iraq, War
27 comments on “HSC History exam 2057
  1. Bill Posters says:

    Only tangentially related: how old has Howard started to look in the last few weeks?

    Enough to make one feel sorry for him.

  2. zoot says:

    Never

  3. woulfe says:

    how old has Howard started to look in the last few weeks?

    Terrible, but not just in the last few weeks. I reckon we can date the dodderiness from when he let the TV cameras into his lounge room for us to see him watching the World Cup soccer last year. You could almost smell that ageing-parish-priest aroma coming from the trakky daks.

    I’m just praying he lasts long enough to make that concession speech later this year.

  4. Anthony says:

    “You could almost smell that ageing-parish-priest aroma coming from the trakky daks”.

    Good god, who are you woulfe? You’ve destroyed whatever pleasure I once got from life.

  5. Graham Bell says:

    Suz:
    This is a very puzzling question ….. for a start, the question is in English …..

    Why would the colonial administration of the former “Australia” allow a university entrance examination in 2057 to be conducted in the language of a long defunct regime and spoken only in private by a small and dwindling number of older minority ethnics?

  6. suz says:

    Ah Graham, English is the dominant language of the Internet and will retain its supremacy via that arena, I believe.

    However, I agree with you that it’s a puzzling question, especially if you read Howard’s sentence before that one: “This surge has got to be broken and be made a failure if the terrorists are to win in Iraq and they know what’s at stake.”

    I think he’s been spending too much time with GWB.

  7. j_p_z says:

    “English is the dominant language of the Internet and will retain its supremacy via that arena, I believe.”

    Well it’s pretty much gonna have to be via the internet, because it probably won’t be through anything in the more old-fashioned way.

    ‘Burn everything except Shakespeare.’
    — Thornton Wilder

    ‘Eh, on second thought, burn Shakespeare too. Worked in Alexandria after all…’
    — colonial governor of Former London, 2057

  8. John Greenfield says:

    Suz

    Clearly you are a long way away from how History is taught nowadays. The question would more likely be “Did Bree deserve to be re-admitetd to the Big Brother House in Series 4/5?” OR “Was ‘turkey-slapping’ an act of subversion in 2006? Or was it more collective individuation? Please SMS your answer.”

  9. suz says:

    Au contraire John, I am currently studying tertiary history.

  10. Hal9000 says:

    I think it’s a fair bet that history will record ‘tipping point’ and ‘turning point’ as having become unfashionable in the course of the Iraq war, just as ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, ‘body count’, ‘free fire zone’ and the like were stricken from the list of politico-military approved terms by the Vietnam conflict. ‘Freedom’ and ‘democracy’ have been so exsanguinated of meaning by the Bush II administration it’s hard to see whither they are going as words usable in debate. At least Howard prefers ‘lifestyle’ and ‘our way of life’ as descriptors of what the fighting is alleged to be about. In a perverse way that’s perhaps more honest, although it elides, in typical Howard fashion, who ‘we’ are, and whose lifestyle it is that needs to be defended.

  11. Katz says:

    Mohammed Goes to the Mountain: the Role of John Howard in the Rise of Islam in Australia.

    Prime Minister John Howard was usually chose his words very carefully. However, by April 2007, Australians had stopped listening to his pronouncements about the course ofthe war on Iraq. Moreover, most Australians by that time knew that Bush’s strategy in the Middle East had failed. Howard was merely enunciating that they already knew.

    However, unnoticed at the time, but subsequently seized upon as Howard’s “Damascus Road Moment”, Howard’s apparent throw-away comment marked the beginning of perhaps the most extraordinary spiritual journey in Australian history. For it is now agreed that it was at that moment that John Howard began repudiating his identity as a narrowly conservative, but secularist politician and began rehearsing for his new and much more influential role in his remarkable public life: as the Islamic Mufti of Australia.

  12. suz says:

    Katz, you get a high distinction for that answer!

  13. The yanks have a saying, “If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.”

  14. Graham Bell says:

    Suz:
    1. Sorry but by 2057 – and probably by 2017 – Chinese and Arabic will be the dominant languages on the Internet; if English gets much of a look-in at all it will be only thanks to the Indians. Once the Anglocentric countries have lost their political, military and economic dominance – and perhaps for some, their existence – how long do you think their cultural dominance will last?

    2. If by 2057 the Commonwealth Of Australia ceases to exist then why would high-school examiners [or their equivalent] have any interest whatsoever in the musings and mumblings of one of the many unremembered rulers of that defunct regime.

    That one particular ruler, the one whose unplanned military adventures caused the collapse and defeat of his regime, uttered something-or-other may be of passing interest to researchers into arcane colonial history but there is no way in the world that anyone would waste valuable time translating it from English into the Official Language and then having students study it.

  15. Leinad says:

    I’m sure the Singularity will have occured by then, It can do my homework for me.

  16. John Greenfield says:

    Graham Bell

    Sorry but by 2057 – and probably by 2017 – Chinese and Arabic will be the dominant languages on the Internet

    You would do well to check out the direction of Arab and Anglophone migration. I think English is quite safe from Arabic as the lingua franca. Chinese will naturally rise, but at the expense of French and German; not English.

    Please withdraw from this course and take World History 101 next semester.

  17. Graham Bell says:

    John Greenfield:

    That’s a delightfully optimistic fantasy ….. but we are talking about the world in in 2057 [and I mentioned 2017], not 1997.

    If you would be so kind as to enrol in Primary School History, you will learn all about what happens when empires collapse.

    I did not say that English would disappear from the internet ….. Indians would certainly keep it going ….. but it would no longer be a dominant language at all, any more than is Dutch, Turkish, Mongolian or and other language of a former imperial power now..

    Chinese is not growing at the expense of French or German at all but of English.

  18. At what point in the Iraq civil war did the then prime minister of Australia make his highly qualified statement?

    At the point just a few days before Moqtada al-Sadr withdrew from the coalition Government ruling Iraq, making it easier for that Government to put pressure on his militias and therefore convince previously armed, but moderate Sunnis to come to the negotiating table.

    What would his use of the words “ifâ€? and “couldâ€? have indicated to listeners at the time?

    That he was uncertain that it would work.

    On listening to the archival recording of his statement, would you say Howard’s voice expressed a lack of conviction?

    I don’t see how this question could possibly be considered relevant to a History examination, unless it relates to data on how the Australian people regarded his tone of voice, and how that affected national policy.

    Did the US surge of early 2007 in fact become a turning point and if so, in what direction did the war turn?

    Yes, it was directly related to the peace deal signed between the warring factions in early 2008 that allowed the Iraqi Government to take full control of the country and tell the USA to remove its forces, as they were no longer needed.

  19. suz says:

    On listening to the archival recording of his statement, would you say Howard’s voice expressed a lack of conviction?

    I don’t see how this question could possibly be considered relevant to a History examination, unless it relates to data on how the Australian people regarded his tone of voice, and how that affected national policy.

    David, the examinee is simply being asked to give their own opinion on this matter, in much the same way that historians analyse Hitler’s speech-making, including use of his voice (no, I’m not likening Howard to Hitler).

    I heard Howard make this statement in a radio interview and was gobsmacked by how unsure he sounded.

  20. Katz says:

    Howard uttered these famous words when it became clear that his most fervent supporters were … Maoists. Little wonder Howard sounded so disorientated. For the only thing that Howard had ever shared with Maoists was an appalling dress sense.

    Meanwhile in Iraq things continued to go very badly for the strange menage of Maoists and Methodists. Well might the Popular Front claim that al Sadr had made a blunder by withdrawing from the regime of al Maliki. However, the Popular Front were in denial of the fact that Sadr himself initated the split only one week after the huge demonstrations in Najaf.

    In Najaf, unprecedentedly:

    over a million Iraqis, holding aloft thousands of national flags, marched, chanting, “Yes, yes, Iraq/No, no, America” and “No, no, American/Leave, leave occupier.” The demonstrators arrived from all over the country in response to a call by Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shiite cleric, to demand an end to foreign occupation on the fourth anniversary of the end of Baathist rule in Baghdad. Both the size of the demonstration and its composition were unprecedented. “There are people here from all different parties and sects,” Hadhim al-Araji, Sadr’s representative in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya district, told reporters. “We are all carrying the national flag, a symbol of unity. And we are all united in calling for the withdrawal of the Americans.” The presence of many senior Sunni clerics at the head of the march, which started from Sadr’s mosque in Kufa, a nearby town, and the absence of any sectarian flags or images in the parade, underlined the ecumenical nature of the protest.

    Moreover, opinion polls conducted since then show three-quarters of Iraqi respondents demanding the withdrawal of the Anglo-American troops within six to twelve months.

    Far from being reactive and defensive, al Sadr has taken the initiative. He is no longer merely a sectarian figure. Rather he represents a voice of multi-faith Iraqi nationalism, and the vision of an Iraq utterly inimical to the designs and desires of the Coatlition of the Willing.

    Little wonder Howard sounded like a distraught and defeated man.

  21. Moreover, opinion polls conducted since then show three-quarters of Iraqi respondents demanding the withdrawal of the Anglo-American troops within six to twelve months.

    Which poll was that, please? The two polls I’ve studied closely in the last few months show that a majority of Iraqis want US forces to stay until the security situation improves.

    If you have a link to the actual poll results, and not merely a media report of it, that would help to check the reported figures.

  22. Graham Bell says:

    Suz

    I heard Howard make this statement in a radio interview and was gobsmacked by how unsure he sounded,

    Eventually reality intrudes into even the best-constructed fantasy.

  23. Leinad says:

    The Sadr split is rubbish. His ministers were in nothing positions and he’s still voting in the UIA bloc. Christ, the histronics around here…

  24. Graham Bell says:

    [[translated from the quaint and almost extinct national-minority language, English]]:

    You will lose points in the 2057 exam if you keep referring to eastern Great Araby and to Jumhuriya Islamiya an-Najafiya by the old-fashioned term “Iraq”. You will lose points too if you call the Third Campaign of the Start of World War III, the “Iraq War”.

    You will gain points if you mention that The Surge was inexplicably delayed for four years and that the Civil Affairs programs and Political Warfare operations were never implemented by the losing side [[no matter what rumours your grandmothers might have heard when they were young girls]].

    You will gain marks too if you use at least two lines for the blessed honorifics of The Glorious and Ever-Merciful True Servant of Allah, The Caliph, whenever you speak of His Greatness in your exam paper. [He should be mentioned at least three times]. Since the story of how Bush The Incompetent came to a sticky end is so well known to all kindergarten students, there is no point in retelling it in your exam paper. Arcane historical trivia, such as the name of the ruler of the former Australia who caused the collapse of his country’s economic and military power, has no place in your exam paper either.

  25. Nabakov says:

    Ancillary questions:

    Discuss to what extent the symbology and terminology of the Sino-Indian Stratosphere-based Water Resources Control Initiative was influenced by HG Well’s concept of “Wings Over The World” in “Things To Come.”

    Draw parallels between the current debate over the People’s Republic of Antarctica shipping grain to the Southern States and previous sanction-busting attempts in the late 20th century and early 21st century.

    Islam, Christianity, Elvisism and Judaism still retain some appeal as chiliastic cults despite the Ursa Major transmissions of the late ’40s. Why do you think this is? Points will be deducted for referencing the Minogue doctrine without appropriate supporting data in mp9 format.

    Multiple choice.
    The Circumlunar Republic’s statement of self-determination draws mainly upon:
    – the former USA’s 1776 Declaration of Independence;
    – the EU Frankish Administration Zone’s 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man;
    – New Tasmania’s notorious “Fuck the rest of youse, we’ve got the H20” manifesto;
    – Greater Korea’s Chaebol Juche corporate mission statement; or
    – that bloody appalling “Free Siberia” networm.

    NB:
    All test interactions are SQUID monitiored. Access to approved Mumbai Treaty technologies like GoogleThink TM is accepted but do not attempt to enter data on both sides of your personal wetware at once. Strict penalties apply, up to and including public genomic shaming.

  26. torbroke says:

    Hmmm … FASOC would be about finished its crystal ball viewing by then. JSF online and the fighter jocks would still rule. We will have ceremonial horse cavalry SABREing the ungodly.
    Or most likely the bioMIC will have removed most of the poor and the poor will have removed us, by becoming us.
    The business council of Aust. Inc, will have achieved its 50 million serf target. As a grad of UNE (“the experience that stays with you” – until therapy, some have added) ( it’s true! Painted on the side of minibuses! ) what’s an exam? In Chinese?
    Or an outbreak of mass democracy might civilise the known world.
    I’m actually hoping that the Dalai Lama will give up the nice guy routine and sock it to China with his superpowers.

  27. Nabakov says:

    I’m actually hoping that the Dalai Lama will give up the nice guy routine and sock it to China with his superpowers.

    Best counterfactual history line on this thread so far.

    “And in other news today the National People’s Congress of the PRC was last seen apparently and involuntraily levitating to an undisclosed location in the Taklamakan Desert. We now return you to King Harry’s deathbed watch. The blood sugar levels are not looking good.”

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