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

the mask of naivety « Previous | |Next »
June 12, 2003

I haven't read much of the work of Pamela Bone, an associate editor of The Age. For some reason they never caught my eye. But this piece needs a response. Pamela Bone says:

"Thomas L. Friedman is right. The humanitarian reason was the one on which the war coalition should have relied. Indeed, in not relying on it they probably underestimated their publics. Many people who initially opposed the war simply did not know the extent of the atrocities carried out by Saddam's regime. Now, as the stories of torture and disappearances are told, as the graves of thousands of executed Iraqi people are found, everyone does know."

The humanitiarian reason for invasion wasn't the reason for the US invasion because the primary reason was, and still is, about global power: US power in the Middle East. It is global power that is now being expressed in terms of empire.

And the left did not take the high moral ground. Some sections of the left, including public opinion, took the position that that Australia had no geo-political reason for invading Iraq. The grounds or reason for this position was that the repressive dictatorship in Irag (however bad) represented no threat to Australia's national interest. So there was no reason to invade the country. Australia did so to pay a premium on an insurance policy--- for future US backing for Australia's pre-emptive action in its own region.

Check this piece out by Peter Cosgrove, wgho is in charge of Australia's defence forces. Cosgrove's text talks the language of national interest and so highlights the humanitiarian mask that is so lightly worn by our federal politicians.

That national interest argument was never really addressed, nor even engaged with. And it is still not addressed by Pamela Bone. It is as if geo-political national interest concerns are too grubby to address.


This article, which tackles Thomas Friedman is courtesy of Glenn. It is by Martin Shields who says:

"In a democracy, the informed consent of the people depends upon citizens' free access to the truth. If Friedman is right that the administration's weapons of mass destruction "imminent threat" was primarily a political cover story, then Americans were urged to make the most solemn of all judgments -- the decision to go to war -- primarily for reasons more synthetic than authentic. Now, after the fact, supporters of the pre-emptive war argue that it is OK if even for demonstrably wrong reasons the United States did the "right" thing.

As the duplicity and deception of Vietnam and Watergate remind us, the credibility of an American leader is indeed perishable. A leader who misleads his countrymen reaps the whirlwind. The leader's punishment is the people's mistrust. Mistrust breeds cynicism; cynicism breeds alienation. That could harm the United States more gravely than any "unmanned aerial vehicles" from Baghdad."

This issue is what Pamela Bone misses.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:26 AM | | Comments (3)


Bone is obviously a good German; she's symptomatic of the media's preference for tidying up after their superiors rather than confronting them.

The best refutation for Bone's assertion that Friedman is right is Mark Shields' article 'Tom Friedman is wrong' -

Thanks Glen.
I've updated the post.