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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Driving the wedge « Previous | |Next »
March 24, 2003

The war in Iraq has been going on for several days. And no attacks on Israel by the Iraqi regime. How come? Wasn't this Saddam guy meant to be itching to dominate the region with military force? Do you think, just maybe, that Iraq doesn't have the military capacity to do so? Or that Israel is the dominate military power in the region? Do you think that there is just a possibility that the Coalition of the Willing and Eager got their public account a bit screwed up?

Ken Parish has a good assessment so far here though it is a little light on the strategic role of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq's game plane. Lisa English over at Ruminate this asks the right question:"So, where are the weapons of mass destruction?" For the role of WMD, given that Saddam Hussein is boxed into a corner with few options, see Tim Dunlop over at Road to Surfdom.

There is another war going on. One is being waged within Australia around influencing public opinion in terms of domestic politics. The conservatives are attempting to use the Iraqi war as part of their wedge politics. Some quick indications.Miranda Devine says that the:

"Anti-war protests made some sense before our troops were committed, so those opposed to Australian involvement in Iraq could send a message to Canberra. But now they just appear to be the futile gesture of sore losers who don't care who they hurt. Protesters should understand they have lost the argument. Whatever your position on the war, the only outcome of continuing activism is to create more discord and division at a time when troops need to know they are supported at home."

Why is this part of a wedge campaign? Because no credence is given to the distinction drawn between being critical of the Howard Government and supportive of the troops as people who are putting their lives on the line for their country. Miranda is not engaging in public debate. This is clearer from Miranda's contempt for her fellow citizens.

" ...anti-war protesters appeared on our TV screens, fired up with their own moral virtue....whether baby boomers trying to relive their youth, anti-capitalist extremists or well-meaning pacifists, they...don't want to hear Iraqi people welcome liberation."

The "hate-filled protestors" will "react to the joy of the liberated Iraqi people ... with silence, most likely, having learned nothing."

I thought that the problem with the anti-war crowd was that there were too humanitiarian, so much so that they were appeasers. Who then is Miranda raging on about. Demons of her own construction?

Why not? Why are the "hate-filled protestors" not fully human? Christopher Pearson (Rebels as gullible as before, the Weekend Australian, 22 03 2002, p. 30) explains all in terms of gullibility. They are gullible because they "believe that the inviolability of Iraq's sovereignty is somehow of more consequence than Saddam Hussein's excesses or those of his regime."

There is no mention of the key role the UN plays in the anti-war account. None at all. Its not much of an argument from the neo-con in residence in Adelaide.

And gullible does not=inhuman, not by any stretch. Gullible suggests human, all too human.

These are such poor argument that they can only be interpreted as merely pretending to be argument in a public debate. They are really weapons used to probe the soft underbelly to drive the thin end of the wedge into the heart of the left. For the US see Tim Dunlop's Instaslur

Back to the other war. Images of wounded Iraqi civilians from Basra are beginning to circulate. And Saddam appears to be boxed into a corner in Baghdad trying to hold out as long as he can and with few options to play. That is not the action of a hegemonic regional power. It is the action of a weak power. Surely, we cannot say that the decade-long containment strategy to keep Iraq from being a hegemonic power actually worked, can we?

So what is Saddam up to then? This Iraq's David and Goliath tactics is one suggestion.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:14 AM | | Comments (1)


Letter to Senator Stott Despoja, Aust. Dems.,

I ask you use your position to lobby for the immediate termination of the Howard Government, via some sort of declaration that the Australian Democrats will join with the Greens to help convince the ALP to refuse to pass a budget for this illegal and immoral war.