What happens next

In this entry, contributors continue to explore the ramifications – military, economic and cultural – of the new York bombing. I begin with a piece by Christopher Selth, who believes that the financial markets are beginning to realise that it signals the end of naive global capitalism.


Then, Paul Keating’s extraordinary admission that global capitalism in its present form can’t survive (so the protesters at Seattle and after had a point after all!) and pieces from Nick Cocks, Alan Kerns, Emma Ryan, Deepak Chopra, Cathy Bannister, O.L., Andy Horsfall.


Christopher Selth


I have been travelling in Europe during this time of crisis. It has been illuminating and disturbing to witness the varied responses to the horror of the attacks on New York and Washington. It is with this experience I read with interest the piece you included by John Wojdylo in Terror unlike movies. I agree with much he has reported and many of his views, particularly with respect the CNN coverage. On other fronts, however, there are deep issues which I feel are avoided in his analysis.


I do not think it is adequate to analyze the dynamics of Islamic fundamentalist extremism in isolation, no matter how sophisticated that analysis is. I agree that these acts cannot be tolerated, but to characterise them solely as the product of sophisticated extremists misses the key point. Why is the audience these extremists play to so fertile?


There is a deep centered anger about the inconsistencies and injustices of global capitalism that are more than just the ravings of extremists. I was in Covent Garden during the 3 minute silence. Behind me, a man of Indian or Pakistani extraction held a series of conversations on his cell phone. It was hard not to feel that this was not an act of terrorism, at the most personal, small level, flouting our moral expectations. I was angered. But I also understood that the problem was deep, and broad.


Some of your readers made reference to Marx. Marx is very relevant here, and I do not come from a background that would seen as traditionally marxist. I was a senior fund manager, a primary witness to global capitalism. Speaking with some of my associates here in London there is a perception, which I strongly share, that this terrorism reflects the end of imperialism, of naive global capitalism. That is what financial markets are trying to digest, Tony Blair refers to the end of an era. Paul Keating is now talking about this. (MARGO: I publish the Herald report on Paul Keating’s views under Christopher’s piece. )


The West’s involvement in the region is reasonably well documented, even though its moral implications do not seem to be widely understood by the man on the street. The West supported the Shah of Iran and other totalitarian regimes in order to fight the ogre of communism and guarantee the supply of oil, even when these regimes flouted the democratic rights the West so grandly espouses as the basis of its moral superiority.


The support of the creation of the Israeli state was in part to assuage Western guilt at complicity in the holocaust, and the strength of the Jewish electorate in the United States. The fate of Palestine was a side issue which the West saw for a long time as not of its concern.


The endless, morally ambiguous partnerings driven by the Kissinger-driven philosophy of my enemy’s enemy is my friend as evidenced by the support of Sadam Hussein by the US, to fight Ira n, and US support of the Taliban to fight Russia, has seen the West create its current foes.


The rule of law has been applied selectively. UN Security Council motions have justified the bombing of Iraq, but have not produced an effective censure of Israel. The basis of these inconsistencies is the tendency, throughout history, of the establishment to reinterpret history, and morality, to justify its own actions.


On a personal level, I firmly agree that the action in New York cannot be tolerated but it is not enough to dismiss the actions of the terrorists as nihilistic or insane or immoral. These people are the disenfranchised. Why should they confront the West on the West’s terms?


The rules of contract and law, which are the basis of western capitalism, look like locking 75% of the world population in poverty for the foreseeable future. Why are the acts in New York any more morally reprehensible than what happened in Rwanda? In Kampuchea? In Sri Lanka? The only reason why the west is involved in the Muslim world at all is the presence of the oil that drives our economies.


What we are witnessing must be interpreted on one level as the end of acceptance of the rules of the game by the 75%. That is why there was dancing in the streets in many parts of the world inhabited by the have nots. A friend of mine was in Cairo last week. It was clear that the anti western sentiment was not just held by extremists.


Yes, we must track down the perpetrators of these acts, but if we do not face up to the new reality, that the desperate of the globe will play by their rules, not ours, to change the global playing field, this struggle will go on indefinitely. The planet could resemble a giant Beirut or Northern Ireland.


We must finally face up to the legitimate concerns of the underprivileged, and not dismiss them as just the way things are, whilst we continue to enjoy our consumerist society and our superficial support of liberal humanist ideals when they suit us. It is time to be positive, and fight to make the world a better place.




By Tom Allard



Published in the SMH on Wednesday, September 19


Former prime minister Mr Paul Keating called yesterday for a complete recasting of global political institutions such as the United Nations and Group of Eight (G8) and greater support for poor countries in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States.


Former prime minister Mr Paul Keating called yesterday for a complete recasting of global political institutions such as the United Nations and Group of Eight (G8) and greater support for poor countries in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States.


Mr Keating condemned the attacks and agreed the terrorists had to be dealt with, but said the US should step back from plans for a missile defence shield and invest more in rethinking the global political architecture.


‘In the end, there’s got to be a guiding light in the way the world is managed and that guiding light just can’t be about the bounty of the world resting with the foremost industrial nations and the rest running up the rear,’ he said.


He said the world was saddled with political institutions that are relics of World War II, which were inappropriate for the 21st century and excluded the highly populated developing nations.


Resentment toward the US in the developing world is as much a result of poverty and low living standards as US foreign policy, analysts have observed.


Mr Keating singled out the UN Security Council and the G8 grouping of the world’s industrialised economies as targets for reform. He said it was absurd that countries such as Italy, Canada and Britain were in the G8 club while nations such as China and India were excluded.


�The more the world co-operates, the better off we will be,� Mr Keat ing told a Property Council of Australia conference in Canberra yesterday.


Mr Keating raised the spectre of a more isolationist US and urged it to drop the controversial and expensive plan for a missile defence shield, which would protect the US against rogue states and terrorists.


�The problem about limited nuclear defence and shields is no& ;#45;one wants, even us, the US cocooned behind some kind of shield while there’s a Mad Max world outside,� he said.


�The answer has to be to make this world better by dealing with these problems at source.�


He said the risk of attacks lay not with nuclear weapons being lobbed into the US via intercontinental ballistic missiles �with a cheerio note for CNN� but in ‘surreptitiou’ attacks aided by new technologies.


Neverthe less, Mr Keating said the world’s nuclear arsenal about 10,000 weapons was a Cold War hangover and needed to be addressed. He noted that an inventory of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons revealed an unexplained absence of ‘fissile material and weapons’.


Nick Cocks in London


The policy to end poverty and oppression in underdeveloped countries is called variously, capitalism/democracy/freedom. It has been defended and promoted since 1945. If anyone can come up with something better before we go after bin Laden and his cohorts, please let the relevant authorities know about it.


Alan Kerns in Cairns, Queensland


I agree with John Wojdyla about the importance of fear in human affairs and its capacity to engender blindness. It is also the source of all prejudice and all conflict and violence. Is fear the cause of John’s apparent blindness to the crucial reality that the social system (society has been taken over by the economists!) now dominating virtually all of humankind is profoundly unfair, profoundly dishonest, profoundly arrogant, and profoundly improvidential?


Is John unaware that the wind in bin Laden’s sails – or of other such leaders if he is extermina ted, or should that be martyred – comes from the sheer selfishness of this dominant system?


Since the US is the dominant player in the system -the Mecca of competitive capitalism -it is the natural focus for the complai nts of the victims of the system. As the dominant world power, the US is also a natural prime target for competitors for world dominance -such as Osama bin Laden would appear to fancy himself, if John’s analysis is correct. Competition -. w in at all costs -breeds competitors. I agree that bin Laden appears to be made of the same stuff as Hitler, Stalin, and other fear-driven ruthless leaders. I agree he should be stopped from progressing to more power.


But far mo re important is to deprive such abusive powerful leaders and movements the fertile ground which suits their growth. They grow in circumstances of mass unfairness. If we want to prevent the rise of abusive rulers, the only sure way of doing so is to remove unfairness as an issue among humankind. John is silent on this issue. So, too, are the elites and their agents who currently dominate humankind -who seem to require the same sort of ground to thrive as the bin Ladens of this world.


The re are no quick fixes. When all is said and done, there is only one way to earn good will. By being genuinely worthy of trust. Trust is the antithesis of fear.


Given our side’s thoroughly deserved reputation for speaking with a forked tongue, it would probably take some considerable period of rigorous honesty before they will risk trusting us. More important in this process would be our actions. If we want to earn their trust, we must start actually dismantling the existing unfair institutions of social interaction, and go about establishing new institutions that are fair, honest, and unequivocally directed towards the common good of the present and future generations. Anything less would be just bandaids on a malignant cancer.


I use the terms we, our, us, they, their, and them in the preceding paragraph because, like it or not, we are fellow travellers with those who control the dominant system, who minister grotesque unfairness to the disadvantaged masses of the world. The quoted death tolls from deprivation are mindand#45;numbing. Genocide is not too strong a word. Whether we like it or not, our leaders minister this system in our name. That makes us responsible. If we lived in a genuine democracy, maybe we could do something about it.


Emma Ryan in Leichhardt, Sydney


Is it just me, or are we heading for a change in the world that will shake Western Civilisation perhaps to its knees?


With all of the events in the last weeks, the chain of events seems to be heading for a massive domino effect that threatens the way of life we have taken for granted, from trickles of refugees and our unconscious fears of the unknown entering our country unannounced and unidentified to the massive terrorist attacks on “icons” of the America’s and Capitalist culture.


How many more were to follow? The White House must have also been part of the plan, and was a chain set up to follow in other countries also depending on the USA’s reaction?


Imagine the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, Versailles Palace, Eiffel Tower, the Hague, Parliament House Canberra or our beloved Harbour Bridge: all in the same scenes of destruction. Does our “unequivocal” support of the USA, regardless of their approach in this matter, make us all fair game in the West for what may follow?


And now the collapse we are witnessing as a biproduct of this act of terrorism: in industries, companies, paper traders, insurance, advertising, those supported in this day and age by sponsorship money, the world tourism trade. This attack has the potential to bring the world to its knees in ways that go far beyond the physical remains of blasted buildings and innocent lives lost.


If the global airlines collapse, or come to a standstill from the war that is about to start, how far will that domino effect go? Hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel operators, transporters, advertisers, large and small businesses will suffer-fr om primary production, distributors, to retail and customer service and beyond. How far will the repercussions be felt?


Can we survive if we can no longer rely on the Stock Market to support our economies? Can we keep our jobs and way of life if the airlines stop their flights all over the world? How will this affect our farmers, our imports and exports?


I have never lived during a massive global war so perhaps these things will work themselves out, but I have studied history, and it would seem this kind of war will cripple us in ways not seen before, because our world is now so dependent on globalisation and paper money.


Countries like Afghanistan have lived like this for a long time, and take their strength from their faith in Islam-to the point of fighting for it to their deaths, but how do we cope in the West if this also becomes our reality? And for those who do not have the solace of faith in religion, whose faith is in our way of life, our humanity, and our freedom, where can they turn for comfort if the world becomes a warzone?


I fear for the future, as it would seem we are witnessing now the seeds of what is to come, and there can be no victors.


Deepak Chopra


The Deeper Wound


As fate would have it, I was leaving New York on a jet flight that took off 45 minutes before the unthinkable happened. By the time we landed in Detroit, chaos had broken out. When I grasped the fact that American security had broken down so tragically, I couldn’t respond at first.


My wife and son were also in the air on separate flights, one to Los Angeles, one to San Diego. My body went absolutely rigid with fear. All I could think about was their safety, and it took several hours before I found out that their flights had been diverted and both were safe.


Strangely, when the good news came, my body still felt that it had been hit by a truck. Of its own accord it seemed to feel a far greater trauma that reached out to the thousands who would not survive and the tens of thousands who would survive only to live through months and years of hell.


And I asked myself, Why didn’t I feel this way last week? Why didn’t my body go stiff during the bombing of Iraq or Bosnia? Around the world my horror and worry are experienced every day. Mothers weep over horrendous loss, civilians are bombed mercilessly, refugees are ripped from any sense of home or homeland. Why did I not feel their anguish enough to call a halt to it?


As we hear the calls for tightened American security and a fierce military response to terrorism, it is obvious that none of us has any answers. However, we feel compelled to ask some questions.


Everything has a cause, so we have to ask, What was the root cause of this evil? We must find out not superficially but at the deepest level. There is no doubt that such evil is alive all around the world and is even celebrated. Does this evil grow from the suffering and anguish felt by people we don’t know and therefore ignore? Have they lived in this condition for a long time?


One assumes that whoever did this attack feels implacable hatred for America. Why were we selected to be the focus of suffering around the world?


All this hatred and anguish seems to have religion at its basis. Isn’t something terribly wrong when jihads and wars develop in the name of God? Isn’t God invoked with hatred in Ireland, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, and even among the intolerant sects of America?


Can any military response make the slightest difference in the underlying cause? Is there not a deep wound at the heart of humanity? If there is a deep wound, doesn’t it affect everyone?


When generations of suffering respond with bombs, suicidal attacks, and biological warfare, who first developed these weapons? Who sells them? Who gave birth to the satanic technologies now being turned against us?


If all of us are wounded, will revenge work? Will punishment in any form toward anyone solve the wound or aggravate it? Will an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and limb for a limb, leave us all blind, toothless and crippled?


Tribal warfare has been going on for two thousand years and has now been magnified globally. Can tribal warfare be brought to an end? Is patriotism and nationalism even relevant anymore, or is this another form of tribalism? What are you and I as persons going to do about what is happening? Can we afford to let the deeper wound fester any longer?


Everyone is calling this an attack on America, but is it not a rift in our collective soul? Isn’t this an attack on civilization from without that is also from within? When we have secured our safety once more and cared for the wounded, after the period of shock and mourning is over, it will be time for soul searching. I only hope that these questions are confronted with the deepest spiritual intent.


None of us will feel safe again behind the shield of military might and stockpiled arsenals. There can be no safety until the root cause is faced. In this moment of shock I don’t think anyone of us has the answers. It is imperative that we pray and offer solace and help to each other. But if you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world.


Cathy Bannister


I have just listened to historian and novelist Tariq Ali on Late Night Live (Phillip Adams, Radio National). For those who didn’t hear it, it was frightening stuff. His claim that if Pakistan allows the US to use its land and air space to attack Afghanistan, that it might precipitate a civil war in Pakistan, is terrifying.


There is huge support for the Taliban in Pakistan; somewhere between 20-40% of the Pakistani Army are Taliban and bin Laden loyalists. (This is from a Pakistani bull etin board:http://www.pakwatan.com/main/df/comments.ph=p3?topicid=162). If the Taliban manages to get their claws into Pakistan, they get access to nuclear weapons. In that case, they would undoubtedly use them.


For those who missed it, this article of his http://www.solidarity.freese=rve.co.uk/campaign/tariqali.htm ) covers much of the background. It was written two years ago, but suddenly has become extremely relevant.


Tariq Ali claims that there is only one way to deflate the Taliban. It would involve the US:


* forcing Israel to give Palestine a proper state with self determination and real land, not just barren slivers;

* ceasing to prop up morally bankrupt regimes (like the Saudi monarchy) at the expense of the average citizens;

* stopping the sanctions against Iraq; and

* insisting that Pakistan stop funding the Taliban, which would cause the regime fall over very quickly.


The hope is that seeing all these actions, the Middle East would stop casting the America as the enemy, and the regimes would hold less thrall over the dispossessed. I hope he’s right. That would mean that there is one way out.


Could someone with knowledge about the rise and fall of various fascist regimes please compare and contrast? What were the social circumstances of the fall of Pol Pot? Idi Amin?


Here’s a Guardian article from an ex-MI6 man who he lped teach the Taliban guerilla tactics, on why a ground war would be lunacy: http://www.guardia=n.co.uk/wtccrash/story=/0,1300,554371,00.ht=ml


bfSteve Taylor


Since the WTC attacks I have watched and read with interest the mountain of comments in favour and against any sort of American military response. The comments themselves reveal a wide rift between right wing “let’s get them” demands for action to left wing “don’t do anything, because it might cause more trouble” pleadings.


I suppose the only thing that occurs to me is that while I realise America has a lot to answer for in terms of its foreign policy, I don’t believe that country has ever resorted to such blatant acts of outright terrorism against a defenceless civilian population as has been perpetrated on its own citizens last week.


Further to this, I think the question needs to be asked, “When is a country justified in defending its sovereignty and bringing to justice the perpetrators of violence against its citizens?” Yes, we can all postulate about all the horrors which might unfold in the event that the Western world takes a stand and says enough is enough. The costs will be enormous, both monetarily and in human terms. Yet I have a feeling that if a stand isn’t made now, the world will become a much worse place in the future.


Personally I believe it is time for western democracies to stand up for the fundamental freedoms which we all believe in and if necessary, to die for those freedoms. If the Islamic and/or Muslim answer to this is to issue “Jihads” and threaten all out war then as far as I’m concerned we should have a world war and rid the world of this vermin once and for all.


Of course I will be branded a racist, right wing bigot and any number of other labels but luckily Australia still allows me to express my views and I believe that they are likely to be shared by a majority of people.


The ‘do-gooders’ and ‘politically correct speakers’ have so overwhelmed

everyone including the public media that it appears to me that anyone expressing a view which doesn’t conform to their ideology is simply shouted down, branded a right wing racist or ignored.


I wonder what these same people’s response would have been when Hitler set off on his path to conquer the world. I wonder at what stage they would have changed their minds (if ever?) and called for military action to stop him?


I believe the freedoms which we in the Western world have taken for granted for so long are now seriously under threat from any number of sources. I believe it’s time for Western nations to stand up for these same rights which have been won on the backs of countless wars and sufferings and to put a stop to this threat, once and for all.


It would seem that the Afghans and a lot of Muslims feel they have nothing left to lose by going to war against the West. If this is the case, then I believe there is minimal risk attached to a sustained, massive and encompassing military invasion to wipe out this threat, once and for all. Jihad that!


O.L. (name withheld on request)


I have always advocated and promoted the necessity of maintaining and upgrading a strong defence force and an intelligence network and the recent events in New York and Washington underlines the necessity of doing so. I have not been opposed to the prospect of Australia developing a nuclear weapons capacity -as we unsuccessfully sought to do in the 1950s -for reasons of self-preservation and defence. I would be the first to advocate that the US needs to retaliate for the uncon scionable and savage terrorist attack on not only the United States, but also the world.


Yet I have some serious concerns about the agenda and methods that the Bush-Cheney Administration will promote in order to do so.


P resident Bush’s statements in recent days have become increasingly cliched and jingoistic and this worries me greatly. Recently he conjured up unfavorable images of the Christian crusade against the Islamic world in the 1200s and -even though he pr obably didn’t intend it to be an inflammatory statement -this is unhelpful to the moderate Islamic states that have join ed the US in countering the terrorist threat.


He has also engaged in “cowboy rhetoric”. His “dead or alive” comments and his pledge to destroy all evil doers may gain sympathy at home, but has the potential to see him portrayed as insensitive internationally. Moderate Islamic governments throughout the world are already having enough problems convincing their people about the necessity to support US retaliation without such potentially provocative comments.


Another thing about his rhetoric that concerns me is that he is creating unrealistically high expectations through his statements. His recent statements about the upcoming conflict representing a battle between “good and evil” and his pledge to “rid the world of evil doers” seems to me slightly extreme, and I hope that he inserts a caveat into any further statements he makes about what the upcoming conflict represents.


The reality is, however good Bush’s intentions may be, the distinctions between “good and evil” are very hard to make in an international context and I sincerely doubt, unless this conflict is going to be Armageddon, that it will eliminate the world “from all evil doers”.


The Bush Administration and the US must recognize that Islamic nations will only continue to endorse the “international coalition against terrorism” if it remains clear that it is an offensive against terrorism and not a battle between Christianity and Islam. Even if moderate Islamic nation-states wanted to continu e supporting the US and her allies in such a context, the fundamentalists in each of these nation-states would most like ly prevent this outcome from eventuating.


The US has also got to make sure that any future military initiative targets directly those responsible and does not eventuate in widespread civilian casualties or target the wrong groups of people. Such a negative outcome would probably do the evil-doers a lot of good and attract a lot of people to their cause. In fac t Osama is probably hoping that the US goes in hard

and acts before evaluating the consequences.


The new “covert assassination” program now being discussed sounds like a good idea in principle. It would mean that those responsible -as opposed to innocent civilians-are targeted and punished. Yet the US cannot expect quick results through such a p rogram. It should be worth considering that such a program to kill Saddam Hussein existed in the mid-1990s and it took p ainstaking intelligence planning and the recruitment of people on the ground. And for all this, the plan was discovered and the whole intelligence organization fell apart.


It will take years for the intelligence organizations to infiltrate terrorist organizations and be in a position to carry out these assassinations. How many times did the CIA try to kill Castro? Or how many times have they tried to target Quaddafi? The failure of the CIA to eliminate these targets -all very deservin g ones -is not due to any inadequacies on the part of US intelligence but rather because of the complex, secretive and v ery effective security networks that these leaders have around them.


Furthermore the US should be very cautious to make sure that any future military initiatives do not serve to prop up Islamic fundamentalist governments throughout the world or destabilize current moderate Islamic regimes. The Taliban is already threatening to launch an “Islamic jihad” against the United States and this may gain it a level of fundamentalist endorsement that will enable it to survive.


Fundamentalist organizations from Pakistan and elsewhere could also make sure that this despicable regime survives by providing a kind of renegade army to defend it in the event of attack. The moderate Pakistani regime of General Pervez Musharraf is in immediate danger of collapsing if it continues to provide support to any military initiatives that the US engages in.


While I praise General Musharraf for his courage and determination in supporting the US against terrorists, my main fear is that there could be an backlash among Islamic fundamentalists and that they will somehow instigate a coup against General Musharraf. If such a coup is successful the new Islamic fundamentalist government will have access to nuclear weapons and this is very frightening.


There could also be a surge of support for Islamic fundamentalism in Asian nation-states such as Indonesia. Already Indonesian Vice President Haz Hazmah has threatened that there will be negative consequences for US-Indonesian relations if military initiatives against Afghanistan are forthcoming. The prospect of our nearest neighbor turning into an Islamic fundamentalist state is also very frightening.


Just as frightening are the prospects for Islamic fundamentalist governments to once again rise within the context of the Middle East. There is already a significant and, in some cases, overwhelming surge of support for Islamic fundamentalism there and future US military initiatives may increase it. The Egyptian government of President Hosni Mubarak is already very vulnerable to the threat of Islamic fundamentalism and the collapse of Islamic moderate rule here would deprive the US of a key ally.


The Saudi Arabian kingdom -that has several potenti al backers of Bin Laden within in its ranks -is another nation particularly vulnerable to a surge of Islamic fundamenta lism. The potential collapse of this kingdom would deprive the US of key military bases in the Middle East and would also leave crucial oil supplies in the hands of fundamentalists. King Abdullah -a moderate voice in the Middle East -is alr eady in a very dangerous position because of Jordan’s geographical position in relation to Iraq.


The rise of an Islamic fundamentalist government in Jordan would deprive the US of the last bastion of influence within the Middle East. Israel would be isolated and the US would be obliged to defend it. This would further antagonize fundamentalist governments in the Middle East and the potential for full-scale war in this region is also frightening.


The US and her allies are now in a very difficult position. What has happened in the previous week is truly beyond evil and barbaric. The individuals and nation states that masterminded this attack deserve nothing less than severe punishment, but the predicament that the world faces in providing a response is a truly complex and frightening one.


And for those Americans whom have somehow gained the mistaken impression that I am anti-American, this could not be further from the truth. I have always looked up to America as the land of the free and the home of the brave and my heart is aching for you all right now. May God Bless You and May God Bless America.



Andy Horsfall


When I failed history at school I consoled myself with the notion that the study of history was irrelevant to modern life and mine in particular. Maybe it should be compulsory in every course and in every workplace, because we run the risk of repeating some tragic history.


John Howard’s “All the Way with LBJ” style of politics is highly dangerous, simplistic, flawed and opportunistic. And Kim Beazley’s “uuuhh, uuuum, well I suppose so” support of this is well uuuuh uuuum dangerously ditto.


For starters the USA track record of military involvement isn’t exactly Grand Final winning material;


1. It may not be reported in the mass press but since the major conflict of the Gulf War USA/UK warplanes fly daily lethal missions in and around Iraqi airspace killing mostly innocent civilians who don’t have the democratic luxury of choosing their leaders. Wasn’t that war fought to defend the free, the righteous and so on? How’s our score going: 3,810 days later the now named one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth seems well ensconced in his palace in Bagdad. Of course hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, particularly children, have faired less well. But hey, this is war and a war about 9,000 kilometres away. About as far as our Australian collective conscience.


2. Waging war against a Sudan pharmaceutical factory; well that worked. I notice George W Bush has the atrocities of the free, innocent etc etc etc high on his agenda; as did Bill when he swiftly pulled out the US troups from Sudan when someone whispered that his advisers had been mistaken when they told him that Sudan had large oil deposits. Bummer.


3. Israel/Palestine: The USA track record on this one is particularly effective in defending the innocent, free etc etc etc etc. How ungrateful the Palestinians are; look at what the USA have done to resolve their plight.


4. South America, El Salvador and Nicaragua are particularly pleased that the USA are defenders of the free, innocent etc etc. Look at the help the USA gave to these countries in achieving democracy and freedom!


5. Vietnam. The big one. The lies, the atrocities and more bombs bombed than in WW2. What a success in defending the free, innocent etc etc etc. I don’t think it was cold war politics that stopped the USA invading North Vietnam. I think it was something to do with a very large country just to the north that would have taken a very militarily dim view of the USA invading North Vietnam. Also the USA didn’t seem to mind Ngo Dinh Diem’s anti-democratic and highly repressive policies and atrocities in South Vietnam and they bombed the @#$% out North and Sou th Vietnam and Cambodia as well just for good measure.


6. Libya. Reagan was going to rid the world of another international terrorist; Colonel Gaddafi. Remind me again who the leader of Libya is at the moment?


7. Afghanistan. Who supplied the arms and money to the Islamic fundamentalist groups during the 80s of which Osama bin Laden was a member? Not the USA surely? In fact, who supplies the vast majority of world demand

for armaments? Yep the free and innocent USA, with the UK and France competing fiercely for the balance. Yes, Russia and China are big suppliers too but look at the numbers and see who supplies the mostest.


8. Iraq/Iran war. I’m sure the parents of their long dead 15 year olds can understand grief, particularly when this war was funded, armed and extended by ‘super power’ concerns for the free and innocent.


So even if you agree with military involvement don’t you think we (Australia) should be asking a few pertinent questions before “All the way with GWB”.


A couple of other questions:


1. If Osama bin Laden is killed/captured do all the boys and girls wearing black go home from the match saying ‘The best side won on the day’?


2. What is the USA’s definition of terrorist? Will they more hastily aim to resolve the Irish issue and the illicit supply of arms from the USA? Will they address the issue of the thousands of home-grown militia in the USA who are armed to the teeth and have “pre sumed links” with terrorist acts such as the Oklahoma bombing?


3. Will the USA, France, UK and Australia stop supplying arms to ‘suspect’ sources?


4. If the USA, France and the UK turned off the armaments export tap would this help reduce armed conflict?


5. With whom do we wage war? Haven’t all countries and groups condemned/denied responsibility including the Taliban and Yasser Arafat? I can’t remember a time when there has been such a unilateral condemnation of acts of violence?


6. Does this unilateral condemnation of violence therefore deserve a highly violent response. Could this horror be used to galvanize most of the world into non-violent solutions and completing isolating and drying up all perpetrators?


A few final remarks for the rabid frothies and the Tampa-isms; I think you’re onto somet hing with the possible link between asylum seekers and terrorism. No, Really.


We should strengthen our immigration laws and keep them out. How cunning of those vile terrorists taking months trekking dangerous border crossings, hiding for months sometime years in holding camps in countries such as Indonesia, risking life and limb in a leaking boat to the Australian shores and then months even years in a detention centre at Villawood or downtown Woomera to perpetrate horrible things on Australian society.


Silly me, I just thought a terrorist could just get a business or tourist visa and be here, in Australia, in a few hours or so. But I suppose when they fill out the inbound passenger card section “Occupation” and they write “terrorist” our intrepid boys and girls in customs and immigration would sniff ’em out.


Wake up Australia. Complex problems don’t have simplistic solutions unless you want violence to beget violence which is what is going to happen if we don’t find non-violent solutions. I’m not sure the poor victims of the New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania horror would want u s to embark on a protracted rampage of violence on their behalf.


But I’m sure fanatics and fundamentalists of all races and religions are salivating with glee at the prospect of western powers bombing and killing. What a fanatic’s recruitment drive that would be.

Leave a Reply