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

Downer's 'last' stand? « Previous | |Next »
June 3, 2003

So Alexander Downer is standing firm on both the issue of Iraq's weapons mass destruction and the gap between intelligence advice about the threat posed by Iraq and the Government's war policy.

No surrender. Stand firm. That's Downer. Why? Because he is blocking any calls for a searching parliamentary inquiry. But the waters are lapping around his feet.

The implication of Downer's stand? Though the Bush administration beat up CIA intelligence advice and the Blair Government sexed theirs up, Australia did not. Everything was A1. It was all played straight as straight. Up the minute and totally convincing was the intelligence from the Office of National Assessment, and they did it with little in the way of resources too.

How come the Australian Government didn't inform the British and the Americans? Why keep it a secret? There was nothing to keep secret. Canberra didn't have much intelligence that was different.

Canberra basically relied on Washington for its cues and script. The boy from the Adelaide hills, who became a Minister for Foreign Affairs, looks more like a clown in a madhouse everyday. The reality of the situation is that Canberra was locked into a commitment to stick with Bush, come what may. That commitment was made quite early on. Canberra was ensnarred on an American geo-political strategy that ranked the weapons as a quite secondary pretext. Canberra was in a similar situation to London

For a bit of sanity on all of this have a look at Jack's post here at Catallaxy Files on the geo-political reasons for war. Jack and public opinion concur on this point: it has to do with hegemonial geo-politics. For Jack its cutting the ties with, and dependancy on, Saudi Arabia. For me it is the geopolitical consideration is US hegemony in the Middle East and identification of US strategic interests with those of Israel. Israel is the lynch pin.

For a bit more sanity read Andrew Sullivan's post. He concedes the possibility among others that US & UK intelligence was radically wrong - or politically manipulated for effect. Sullivan can concede this. Sullivan can avoid getting all tangled up like William Safire here at The New York Times with his line that "the crowd that bitterly resents America's mission to root out the sources of terror whips up its intelligence-hoax hype." Sullivan can sidestep this since he rightfully holds that the WMD's:

"....don't get to the heart of the matter. The fundamental case for getting rid of Saddam was not dependent on the existence of a certain amount of some chemical or other. It was based on a political and military judgement.... if you see the rise of Islamo-fascism as a broad and terrifying phenomenon, with clear animosity toward the West, you'll take a different view. If you believe that a chemical or biological 9/11 is on the terrorist agenda and that an avowed enemy of the West and ally of terrorists is capable of creating such weapons, you'll shift the burden of proof toward those who deny the danger, not to those who fear it. And barring clear evidence that the regime itself has changed its nature, you will prepare to get rid of it."

The key here is that the rise of Islamo-fascism is a broad and terrifying phenomenon with clear animosity toward the West. It is the clash of civilization's thesis--or Jihad v McWorld. Something along those lines is what Downer and Howard hold but won't say publicly. Why not? Because the logic of the argument from an Australian geo-political perspective is that it points a finger at Indonesia. Since that is too close to the bone so the Coalition Ministers duck and weave: they say Australia is not a terrorist target; deny that going to war with Iraq did not up the ante in hostilities towards Australia; then warn us about all the terrorist threats inside the country.

Since a bit of fresh air is now being let into the madhouse of the national security state how about a shift the rhetoric of Left-appeasing attempt to co-opt the UN to considering the UN as a countervailing power to US hegemony.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:17 PM | | Comments (1)


Riddle me this, Mr Pantyhose - how is what Indonesia is doing in Acheh right now different to what Saddam did to the Kurdish rebels, or even the Shiite, except perhaps in scale?