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

at the pub: the politics of security « Previous | |Next »
March 16, 2004

Whilst Spain suffers dreadfully and changes its government the conversation in the Australian pub goes like this:

That's an educated guess of what a conversation would go like.

Over in the States they see things differently. Something strange is forming, as Tim Dunlop notes. The Spanish people have acceded to terrorism. Or terrorists have succeeded in toppling the Spanish Government as expressed here. Even Billmon sees it as "an unqualified success for Al Qaeda, and an unqualified defeat for the United States".

What happened to Spanish democracy on that account?

Meanwhile The Australian thunders away against appeasement. And "Munich" is never far away. Tim Blair runs appeasement whilst Mark Steyn plays around with the politics of fear.

'Appeasement'---it is such tired cliched public language. Spanish citizens can make a judgement that the conservative government of Jose Maria Aznar was wrong to join the US invasion of Iraq. Not everybody swallows Fox News whole. Maybe the Iraq war was unpopular in Spain and it become an unconscious emotional template in the election.

Do you remember all that stuff about moral clarity.

As Don Watson observes "Words are bullets. They are also good for smothering, strangling and poisoning..."

That kind of politics sinks deep, causes lots of resentment and becomes part of our political unconscious. Things twist around in the unconscious--look at the odd reaction by Howard and Ruddock to Keelty's truth telling that Australia could be at greater risk of terrorist attack as a result of its role in Iraq.

Michelle Grattan addreses the argument that the Iraq war didn't make Australia more of a terrorist target and that Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty wasn't worth listening to when it came to threat assessments.

Alexander Downer's remarks, "I think (Mr Keelty) is just expressing ... a view which reflects a lot of the propaganda we're getting from al-Qaeda", are shocking in their baseness.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:09 AM | | Comments (1)


Personally I think the govt has blundered by muzzling Keelty on this. It stands to reason our stance on Afghanistan, ET and Iraq has made us more of a target. To what extent is academic, given JI's attack on Australians in Bali. Howard should have fessed up as much and stated he won't be pulling out the troops, irrespective of further AQ attacks on us. Leaves any statement to the contrary, to the appeasers. If the opponents of the war in Iraq want to take the line that withdrawal will see us sweet with AQ, I say let em!