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

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March 27, 2004

I guess the map mostly refers to the colonialism practised by imperial powers.

However, as it stands it is a spoof on a military conquest manual. The process used to be called pacification back in the days of Vietnam. It goes back to the Romans. They just lacked the technology of the tanks and guns to pacify the Jews in the first century. What they attempted to do was de-Judaize the independent kingdom; eg., they called it Palestine.

Leunig's satire ignores two things. First, the creation of a subservient adminstration in the conquered country is not mentioned. It is not just a case of barbed wire. Iraq, for instance, was cobbled together into a modern nation state through an odd hybrid of colony and monarchy in 1921 by the British Empire for its own purposes, with no attention to the desires of its inhabitants. It was founded on the violence of the British brutally putting down massive anti-British nationalistt revolt. As Juan Cole says

"The British brutally put it down from the air, slaughtering 9,000 Iraqis, both insurgents and civilians, and employing poison gas for the first time in Iraq. In the aftermath, London realized that it could not hope to rule the country by fiat, and that it needed a proxy government... the British installed [Faisal] as monarch in Baghdad in 1921....The British were faced then, as the Americans are now, with ruling a huge territory on the cheap .... To compensate for lack of troops, they relied on air power, conducting bombing raids from the sky against tribes that rebelled or refused to pay taxes."

The British Empire quickly discovered the limits to the use of high-tech weaponry and air power to effectively rule a conquered but insurgent population.

By the 1960s the Americans were calling the shots. Saddam Hussein was their proxy government in the Cold War: he was initially a block against Russian expansionism that was legitimised in terms of fighting the communists.

Secondly, Leunig ignores the role in legitimating the conquest that is played by the lapdog media, (or the subservient Fox News network), the hack commentary and the corrupt academics.

We have just lived through one of these legitimating events. Remember the peddling of the false spin that Saddam Hussein was the evil one behind 9/11; or that he was in cahoots with al-Qaeda? Remember the phoney case against Iraq----that Iraq was a significant threat to Australia? Remember those paranoid fantasies paraded as Truth (big T truth that cuts reality at its joints) by the national security state?

We are now living through a moment when the watchdog media are trying to find out what has happened. What they hit is a wall of secrecy. One the way to the wall they hear about, and often encounter, the use of state power to punish political enemies.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:09 AM | | Comments (6)


Not a spoof at all, Gary, but rather yet another example of Leunig's extreme anti-Zionist sentiment. This cartoon is clearly directed at what Leunig perceives to be Israeli policy. Of course, his acquaintance with Middle East history is lamentably poor, and his perception of current Middle Eastern events is profoundly warped.

Note, for example, Leunig's reference to he Israelis driving "them [the Palestinians] of their land." This argument is predicated on a mischaracterization of history on many levels. To adumbrate just a few, the majority of the land didn't belong to the Palestinians; the Arab refugee problem was created during a war the Arabs themselves began after rejecting the UN partition compromise plan of 1947; and so on...

But, leave it to Leunig to portray the situation in warped terms that depict the Israelis as devils incarnate.

He's a devout Christian, I hear. I wonder whether the detritus of 2,000 years of Christian anti-semitism is the subterranean motivation behind his virulent anti-Israel views?

Oh, and Gary, you really have to update your polemic. Your reference to "the lapdog media" makes you sound like a 1960s-era Maoist blathering on about the "running dogs of capitalism."

I do not see the words Palestinians or Israel mentioned in the cartoon.

What I see are your projections onto a text.

So inference is beyond your scope of comprehension?

Come on Gar', the context of the cartoon is obvious, especially when Leunig's more overtly anti-Israel corpus of recent work is factored into the equation.

Your process of inference is the problem.

You often attribute views to me that have little connection to what I say ie., have little textual support.

Texts are empty for you to fill in as you want. Projection is not inference.

'the majority of the land didn't belong to the Palestinians'

Balls. Just because they didn't have a nation-state, doesn't mean the land wasn't theirs. They lived there after all.

Israel was another imaginary nation until 1948 too... does this render it's current territorial aspirations out of the question?