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

Saturday's cartoon « Previous | |Next »
November 15, 2003


The cartoon provides a good counterpoint to the way John Howard's London Memorial speech sought to create moral legitimacy for the invasion of Iraq on the backs of a century of our war dead from WW 1 and 11. In this speech Howard says:

"With each year, our living links with the two great global conflicts of the 20th century gently fall away. Few are left who remember that moment 85 years ago, at this hour, on this day, when peace descended on a world still numbed by the magnitude of battlefield losses, and on an Australia changed forever by names such as Gallipoli, Lone Pine, Fromelles, Bullecourt and Pozieres.

So, too, the march slows for the World War II generations of Australians roused to action by acts of brutality against innocent, peace-loving people.

And yet there is a resonance to this memorial's message, inspiration in its example and a warning in its shadows that compels us to reach back across that void in time. In doing so, in recognising the many thousands of Australians who fought and died alongside their British allies, we affirm the enduring hope of a world set free from hate. In mourning our fallen, in numbers still difficult to comprehend, we also acknowledge the terrible power of those forces that would conspire against such a dream.

History's lesson is that evil will always dwell within the world - in the past represented by armies rolling across national borders, in this new century finding forms in acts of indiscriminate terrorism inspired by distorted faith. Such intent can be defeated by the willingness of decent men and women to put aside the comfort, safety and security of their own lives, to understand that militarism and totalitarianism and terror are creeping sicknesses that will inevitably spread if left unchallenged and unchecked, and by the willingness of nations to stand together in mutual defence of the common values which underpin the progression of man.

The young Australians we honour here comprehended those truths ..."

This image of sacrifice by Australian citizens is what Howard is invoking in his speech. It is a powerful image whose diverse meanings resonate through the emotional unconscious of the nation.
AustralianCulure1.jpgI would have thought that the war with Iraq had more similarity with Vietnam than the World Wars.

It was a war that divided a nation.

But then so did WW1 when Billy Hughes and his Labor Government tried to introduce conscription.

And then WW1 signifies that although Australia became a nation in 1901, its loyalties still lay with Britain. So the Australian government had committed itself to supporting the British war effort. That is exactly what it did with the Americans in Iraq.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:49 PM | | Comments (3)


Bill Leak's cartoon in the Weekend Australian is even better.

I reckon you were unconscious when you wrote that nonsense.

which nonsense would that be?

Do I infer that you are referring to the PM's speech?