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a funny ole business « Previous | |Next »
July 17, 2004

Politics is a funny old business. Consider the big picture stuff.

The foreign policy arguments have all been about Iraq. They have been about the ALP following Spain and pulling its troops out of Iraq. The debate has not been about the intelligence used to justify war on Iraq being wrong; or that the intelligence used to justifiy the war was not what the Coalition politicians claimed it to be. The Coalition's case for going to war was deeply flawed, yet it was the ALP in the firing line, not the Howard Government for seriously misleading the public.

What was really being debated was the alliance with the US. But no one openly said so. It was all code. Secret men's business on SS Australia, so to speak.

CartoonLeak8.jpg
Bill Leak

The consensus is that with Beazley coming in from the cold Howard's assault on on the ALP's anti-Americanism and its national security creditionals has been blunted, whilst resisting the embrace of an unquestioning acceptance of Washington's decsions to reshape the world to further its own interests. The unquestioning pathway is the one taken by the Howard Government and it leaves no room for Australia to develop its own independent foreign policy.

We should remember that in putting the case for war to Australians, the Howard, pretty much repeated US and British claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be used by terrorists. It was this that constituted a substantive threat to Australia's national interest, and constituted the compelling justification for war. The moral imperative of changing a clapped-out regime in Iraq was explicitly rejected by Howard as an adequate justification for war before the war began. It was otherwise after the war, of course.

Yet Howard's credibility problem is not an issue in Australia, as it is for Bush and Blair.

The reality of politics in our daily lives is not this shadow boxing within the big picture politics. We citizens vote on the basis of small picture politics and not because of our involvement the war in Iraq. Our politics is more fine grained and concerned with little things, such as being able to pay the mortgage, having a job, being able to see the doctor, desiring affordable health care, safety on the streets, etc etc.

Yet we citizens are dismissed as being selfish: only concerned with what's in our pockets. Our concerns about community, values, or culture are see as a mask that we citizens wear to look good to pollsters because we do not want to appear to be selfish.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:04 PM | | Comments (0)
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