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February 22, 2003

Good Journalism + some realism

This is an interesting piece by Robert Fisk on the relationship between the moral strance of the academic anti-war left and ordinary people. Conservatives will enjoy it immensely.

Is there an alternative narrative for the anti-interventionist option to the current moral one implicit in the above story? We non-interventionists need one given the PM's view, that though he respected people's right to demonstrate, protesters ought to understand the consequences of their actions. John Howard says:

"I mean, we are all accountable for the actions we take and people who demonstrate and who give comfort to Saddam Hussein must understand that and must realise that it's a factor in making it much more difficult to get united world opinion on this issue, which in the end is the best guarantee there is of finding a peaceful solution if there is a peaceful solution to be found".

The alternative narrative, which has been adapted from AirStrip One, would go something like this. From the point of view of Australia's national interest, there is no evidence that Saddam is a threat to Australia. Why not? Basically he doesn't have the means of delivery to land his missiles on Sydney and Canberra. So clear evidence needs to be provided of Iragi regime intention to threaten Australia, such as supplying al-Qa'eda with chemical weapons. No such evidence has been provided by the Australian Government to date.

So, from the point of view of Australia's national interest, we have no reason to attack Iraq. Crudely speaking , Iraq is not our business since Iraq's weapons can't reach us. If the Iraqis hate their oppressive regime then it's up to them to change it--- in assocaition with the governemtns of the neighbouring nation-states. It is not up to Australia.

So why is Australia going to war so far from home and for what purpose? Thats a question you can imagine an Iranian women asking an Australian journalist in Tehran. The journalist evades answering, mumbling to himself----its not an easy question to answer. (Tony Walker, 'Iraq: The View From Iran', Australian Financial Review, subscription required, Feb. 22., 3, p.22-23.)

The only national interest reason that I can find for going to war with Iraq is to stay on side with the Americans. They have a treaty obligation to defend us in the unlikely event we are ever attacked. It is the Americans who have strategic imperial reasons in the Middle East region and the interest of empire triumphs over national sovereignty. That strategic imperial interest targets Iraq and Iran as the enemy and aims to remake an Islamic Middle East in accordance with the global interests of an imperial US.

Is staying on side of the Americans the reason for Australia going to war with Iraq. We are fearful of a future militant Islamic Indonesia and we need them to come to our aidin such an event. Indonesia is the Other. If we do not help the Americans now they will not help us tomorrow. So the Howard Government is strident in its war talk and follows the lines of the neo-conservative hawks in the Bush Administration.

Is insurance a good enough reason? Or does that smack too much of a utilitarian calculation? Or is it simply realism: that the interest of empire triumphs over national sovereignty and Australia is being dutiful and compliant.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at February 22, 2003 01:12 AM

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How about this for reasons: HIH, OneTel, Enron, failure of economic rationlism, New World Order, Hubbert's Peak of Oil etc. etc. Oh, and somewhere on the list, Saddam's chemical warheads that point at Israel.

Posted by: ausyankee at February 23, 2003 02:46 AM

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