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

ugly Australians « Previous | |Next »
September 11, 2004

The neo-con line on "international" terrorism is that we will stand firm against the evil ones. It's a simple and glib message. But we do need to put 'international' into question here. The neo-cons are now running together the school siege in the southern Russian city of Beslan and the bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. The enemy is one and the same. It is a global battle that is being fought on the fronts of Jakarta, Beslen, Iraq and New York.

Remember Philip Ruddock's attempt last week to play the fear card by putting Labor on the side of people smugglers and the child murderers in Beslan? The neo-cons are about fanning the embers of fear.

NewsVH2.jpg

Within the words "international" or "global" lies a problem. What the Chechens want in their fight with Russia is an independent Chechnya, which is quite different from what Jemaah Islamiah wants in Indonesia. Nor are the Chechens and Jemaah Islamiah working together as one organization. Iraq is different again, as is the now forgotten Afghanistan. The global war is a fiction constructed by a hegemonic US nation-state that seeks to knock off any possible threat to its global power.

Australia should give that a miss and focus on the realities in the region we are a part of, and belong to. As Hugh White observes "Australia faces its biggest risks, and can do most to combat the problem, in our own neighbourhood - which happens to be one of the epicentres the global phenomenon." That is a more sensible approach than launching off into paranoid hysterics.

For the muscled-up, neo-con Murdoch press the enemy is Islamic fundamentalism that must be hunted down and rooted out. There can be no quarter in the struggle against evil. The Australian thunders:


"Our enemies in the war on terror want a world where religion rules, and the only godly government they will accept is one of their own construction. "


So we must fight the terrorists to defend our democracy and values in order to stop the new tyranny of religious fascism everywhere.

It is hysterics.

The tragedy is that it is innocent Indonesians who were killed not Australian military personnel. Yet The Australian thunders away at what the Indonesians must do:


"The Indonesian Government has no choice other than to fight the war on terror with all its resources. To attempt to appease JI in any way serves no sensible purpose. It will not stop the terror attacks, and with every bombing the number of tourists and investors in Indonesia drops. This is exactly what JI wants. The prospect of a prosperous and democratic Indonesia, where ordinary people have a greater say in deciding their own destinies than clerics, horrifies the fundamentalists."


The Indonesian Government under President, Megawati Sukarnoputri has been too soft. It needs to muscle up and get tough. Us tough guys will have to sort them out quick and smart. Given them a bit of spine.

You could say there is a lack of sensitivity to the Indonesians shown here. The tone is an intimidating one. We should remember, it was Indonesians who were killed not Australians. It is they who are suffering from the effective strikes of terror not us Australians. It is they who have to live, deal with, a radical political Islam within their own society.

We have more hysterics from the Catallaxy mob. Consider this:


"Thirdly, we must consider the policy implications. It is clear that the terrorists are getting closer to our homes in their strikes. We must face facts that one day they will strike a devastating blow against us, probably in the near future. If we want to avoid the worst we will have to take more precautions. This means sacrificing some of our hard-won liberty and hard-earned property in order to strengthen our defences. We must bear in mind Jefferson's warning against the claims of terrorists and tyrants alike: Eternal VIGILANCE is the price of liberty."


It is Indonesians who have been killed not Australians. It is their liberties that have been placed at risk, not ours. It is drawing a long blow that bombing an Australian embassy in Jarkata means bombs going off in Sydney. This is the classic conservative tactic of fear mongering being deployed when Australians are being drawn into somebody else's civil war.

We should take a deep breath and look at the photos again. It's Indonesia not Australia. JI is killing Indonesians. Blowing up Australia's embassy is an instrument to further JI's own goals within Indonesia. JI is not seeking a war with Australia.

NewsVH3.jpg

More photos here.

We should be concerned to help Indonesia defend its democracy from JI's terrorist attacks and forget about Iraq. Leave Iraq to the Americans. It's their mess. It is the US who wants a military presence in the Middle East (to switch their bases from Saudi Arabia to Iraq) not Australia. As Hugh White says we in Australia, who have such a huge stake in the success of building a stable, fair and democratic society in Indonesia, have done so little to help. We talk and do more about helping to build democracy in Iraq than in Indonesia.

That is lopsided. It is way off beam.

Our national security priorities have been set by Americans not Australians. It is time we changed them so they reflect our own national security interests. Let us bring troops home from Iraq and focus on our region. It is about time we gave due weight to what is happening in our region. It is an epicentre after all.

update

Chris Sheil agrees. He gives it an ALP inflexion--doing a Curtin. Tim Dunlop concurs. The ALP enclave in the bloggosphere has got it right. Curtin clearly understood where our national interests are. They need not, and often are not, the same as the global interests of imperial powers.

15 September
THe sentence in the above post that reads "The tragedy is that it is innocent Indonesians who were killed not Australian military personnel" has been interpretated by Tim Blair as implying that Gary Sauer-Thompson on his “web log” says that he wants Australian troops to die."

This has been expanded by others to say that my views are that "Australian citizens employed to defend their country are fair game for murderous terrorists and their death would be acceptable, and that it is only the death of Indonesias that are a tragedy."

Both statements are a misinterpretation of a poorly worded sentence; a misinterpretation that is based on taking that sentence out of the context of the post. As I wrote in the comments thread below the post does not advocate that the death of Australian personnel are acceptable or fair game for JI.

Any such interpretation is explicitly rejected by me as a grotesque distortion of what I wrote. My concern in that post was that the tragedy of the Jarkata bombing was that innocent Indonesians were killed by JI. All attempts to suggest a moral equivalence between Indonesian civilians and Australian military personnel is rejected.

The context of the post was its argument against was the tendency to create fear by overblowing what had actually happened. It was not a bomb attack in Australia that killed Australian civilians. I also offered an interpretation of that JI bomb: it was aimed at what was taking place in Indonesia.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:40 AM | | Comments (29) | TrackBacks (2)
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» http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/philosophy/002280.html from philosophy.com
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Comments

Comments

A really good, sensible piece. Too good to get a run in anything mainstream.

'With us or against us'? I'm part of the 95% of human beings against them, but still they prevail.

What we need now is a political outlet for this feeling, a party which promises to downgrade diplomatic relations with the US and Israel if they don't come back to the human fold. Continued intransigence ought to consign them to the same outer galaxy that al-Quaeda inhabit. It sounds surreal but we have to get aggressive about moderation, we have to reach the bulk of other countries' populations, who feel the same way we do, to wit: stop this chest beating idiocy and sit down, stop shouting and start talking.

A Howard defeat would be nice, but it's Bush that really has to go. If he doesn't, the US alliance will dwarf everything else in the next four years and I fearlessly predict eventual disaster for the Libs if they adhere to it as cravenly as they have.

Glenn,
I'm afraid that you are right about the reception of this judging by the reactions to the previous blowback and neo-con post.

See the reactions here and here.

However, the latter has since retracted and deleted the link.(see comments.) So some hope.

But they do not engage with the issue of blowback, even though they think that it is wrongheaded.

On the other empire matters, I too reckon Bush needs to go before the half-crazed, its an endless war warriors lose their grip on power in the imperial capital of Washington.

I am reminded of a remark/ comment made by Colin Powell to the secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before the war in Afghanistan was even planned. Upon hearing that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were already campaigning for an invasion of Iraq, Powell exclaimed, “What the hell, what are these guys thinking about? Can’t you get these guys back in the box?”

That's where the neo-cons need to go. Put right back in the box. Then lock the box in the cellar.

I wouldn't worry about the blair/Wickstein knee-jerkery; you expect that. Criticism from that quarter is almost a guarantee you're on the right track.

In any case, the heroic denial of what's glaringly obvious is too much, even for the modern Australian National Party, if not the Libs; witness the endearingly dumb John Anderson ('deep voice, furrowed brow, pained but serious expression') make a dog's breakfast of the Howard Downer Ruddock position that we're safer now on our adventures with George than we were before we embarked on them. Jeez, Bush more or less admitted the increased threat himself the other day (before denying it again the next day) Even Rupert is apparently drawing the line on this one.

But not our homegrown dittoheads, who parrot the party line even after sections of the party have deserted it. Someone from head office should get on the blower to the little tims and tell them 'time to change tack troops, we can't say we're safer any more, we just have to emphasise that despite this, we have to continue to 'stay the course' and 'finish the job', and that danger and death are part of the price we pay for doing the right thing.'

And after the overture, the full orchestra will swing into action.

'But they do not engage with the issue of blowback, even though they think that it is wrongheaded.'

It's radioactive for them because it is so obviously common sense. It's very hard for them to spin such a truth.

As for Powell, he's going to want to hope that if history is written by the winners, his side wins. He may not be a neocon, but he like Tony Blair was something worse, a neocon facilitator... one of the few people who could have stopped the juggernaut but failed. Circumstances weren't propitious for heriosm (can they be?) but these guys were crippled by personal weakness.

Still, he's probably OK, the weiners will probably be the winners and so history will airbrush him into a pantheon I wouldn't piss on.

I wonder if there's any outcrops of black stone, obsidian say, around Mt Rushmore. They should really carve Powell's out of Yellowstone.

So its a pity Australian Military personel didnt died, eh? Does that include our peacekeepers in East Timor?

I have to confess I am very disgusted by your attitude.

No wonder Mr & Mrs Average hold "intelectuals" in such contempt. It is going to take more than anti-howard, anti-neocon sneers to get them on side.

Happy to have disgusted you Niobe. Unsure how we've done so, but making sense doesn't appear to be a forte of yours, nor indeed of Howard and the neocons you apparently support. Where did anyone wish for Aust service deaths? The accusation tells us more about you.

Make a point and we'll debate it; these two sentence idiot haikus belong over at Spleenville.

The tragedy is that it is innocent Indonesians who were killed not Australian military personnel.

Where did anyone wish for Aust service deaths?

Please explain?

Which part of "The tragedy is that it is innocent Indonesians who were killed not Australian military personnel" do you not understand?

This says more about your equivication in the face of bigotry.

Oh grow a brain. You're perfectly happy it was a few nameless brown Muslims are you? The act was aimed at US and if anyone was to die as a result of it, then it would have been preferable for a few of US to die rather than innocent Indonesian passers by.

You wingers are like ambulance chasers looing for evidence of lefty bad faith. It exists, but yours dwarfs it. Get off your high horse and open your eyes.

At least the "wingers" can read, Glenn. GST's post expresses clear regret at the fact that Australian service personnel weren't killed, and one doesn't need to be a Tim Blair poster to be offended and sickened by this.

Glenn, I'm not happy at all.I'm pissed that terrorist elements got so close to our embassy to do this. I'm angry that a large amount of innocents were injured or killed for no reason. I'm disgusted with your equivalence. As for Gary's assertion, well, let's just say he's got some explaining to do. Particularly to the ex-service community.

Sorry, why did I say Glenn? I meant Rob, didn't I? That's Robert Schaap of Canberra Uni? Just checking. It's good to see such an outspoken opinion from a committed pluralist communications lecturer. Of course, that would mean absolutley nothing to most of the voting population so I'll just shorten it to it's generic form. Wanker.

Of course, there is no sign that the anti-war crowd here or anywhere have even now grasped what is playing out before their uncomprehending and hate-filled eyes.

The true nature of the global jihad has never been more apparent. Even if one puts the latest act of mass murder in Israel, Indonesia and the slaughter of the 12 Nepalese workers in Iraq to one side, the appalling child murders in Russia can no more be laid at the door of the Iraq war than can the French hostage crisis.

Time to wake up boys.

Hm,
I would say that Tim Blair has taken my sentence out of context. The context is two paragraphs.

The sentence quoted by Blair is:

"The tragedy is that it is innocent Indonesians who were killed not Australian military personnel:

The first paragraph reads:

"The tragedy is that it is innocent Indonesians who were killed not Australian military personnel"

Then there is a quote about The Australian newspaper thundering away at what Indonesians must do. Then we have this paragraph:

"You could say there is a lack of sensitivity to the Indonesians shown here. The tone is an intimidating one. We should remember, it was Indonesians who were killed not Australians. It is they who are suffering from the effective strikes of terror not us Australians. It is they who have to live, deal with, a radical political Islam within their own society."

The post is saying that my sympathy is with the innocent Indonesians. Their death is the tragedy.

It does not say anything about Australian military personnel.

So how does Tim Blair construe this? He says:
"I was very upset to read the following comments by Gary Sauer-Thompson on his “web log” about how he wants Australian troops to die.."

The post does not say that at all. It is about innocent civilians from a nation-state that has no role in the Iraq war being killed by JI.

The post 's next paragraph goes on to say that it is Indonesians who have been killed not Australians. It is their liberties that have been placed at risk, not ours. JI is killing Indonesians. Blowing up Australia's embassy is an instrument to further JI's own goals within Indonesia. JI is not seeking a war with Australia. We should be concerned to help Indonesia defend its democracy from JI's terrorist attacks.

This is construed as Australian citizens employed to defend their country are fair game for murderous terrorists and their death would be acceptable. and that it is only the death of Indonesias that are a tragedy.

So Tim Blair is up to hand his usual dirty tricks. You pull a quote out of context then make it say something different. It stirs up his readership. They read it, get all fired up and then attack the enemy without even bothering reading the original post.

They trust Tim Blair.

But as the above account shows you cannot trust Tim Blair for truth in politics.

The post does not show that the death of Australian personnel are acceptable or fair game for JI. Any such interpretation is explicitly rejected as a grotesque distortion.


It's pretty clear to me, unless you use English as a third language, that you would have preferred the casualties to be Australian personnel. While I would always prefer military to civilian casualties in any action, your relish in the prospect of body-bags coming home in a RAAF C130 is beyond reprehensible. Fortunately you act for another political non-entity who will soon dissapear to well diserved ignomy- I hope you enjoy your irrelevance.

PB
It is clear that you did not read my post. Hence your diatribe.

We are seeing a lot of ugly Australians in these comment links engaged in slim and smear.

Hey GST!
Do everybody a favour and buy a SIG SAUER.
Load it with UN approved, Geneva Convetions abiding ammunition and turn your head to pulp.
I say head as it's obvious you don't own a brain you worthless snivelling cunt.

Allah akbar!

There's some charmers out tonight. What would your mothers say? Wash your mouths out with soap and water.

Step 1. Jump on a badly expressed statement in a blog - god knows there's plenty of it around, much of it in this thread.

Step 2. Ignore the fact that it is contextualised immediately after and insist on taking the wrong meaning

Step 3. attempt to raise a pogrom.

Step 4. Ignore the explanation in clear english which you are then given.

Step 5. keep on crapping on.

And the last I heard, everyone on the internet had the right to choose any name they want...

Abdul,
your comments condemn themselves, yourself and your position.

A poorly worded sentence on my part gives rise to hate, and a desire to exterminate people you disagree with. There is very little rationality in those comments.

Funny isn't it The closeness of the mentality of the RWDB sect is to JI. Two sides of the same coin really, don't you think.

Can't say I've blown too many humans to bits for their sinful drinking and cavorting lately, but I've been having these blackouts. I did read your post, and besides being the usual blame everyone bar the purpetrator bullshit, the statement about casualties is clear; if you have worded it badly, you should correct it. Failure to do so infers you support the sentiment.

'GST's post expresses clear regret at the fact that Australian service personnel weren't killed'

Bullshit. The thought being expressed was 'it's dreadful that innocent Indonesians were killed in an attack on Australian interests. The regret is that those killed weren't the intended target; NOT a fervent desire to see Australian blood spilled. That is offensive and wrong, but typical of the sort of hysterical reaction we've come to expect from the right lately.

You guys are in it up to your scrawny necks, having supported and still supporting an illegal and immoral war and all you can do to desperately deflect attention is this sort of semantic hairsplitting, conducted more in hope than expectation.

Gary does express himself clumsily at times, we all do. But his unintended solecism pales in comparison to your assiduous bad faith.

What's your preferred hangout on the net? Perhaps we ought to trawl it for racist or violent content and compare it to GST's over the long haul. How confident would you be?

' one doesn't need to be a Tim Blair poster to be offended and sickened by this.'

But it helps. Tell me, if you actually asked Gary 'do you regret that no Australians died in the bombing' and he said 'no, that's not what I menat' would you accept that? Or would you insist the original offence holds and the apology's a crock? If you choose the latter, my analysis is correct. What really matters is intent - Gary, I'm fairly sure, didn't intend that impression to be conveyed. Find one example in the acres of prose he's produced in recent years that might indicate a tendency to this sort of thought. Good luck. It is precisely because he is such a reasonable bloke that unreasonable ticks like blair harry him, looking for chinks, as they do with Dunlop and others. It's pathetic.

'I'm disgusted with your equivalence... let's just say he's got some explaining to do'

What a bunch of hall monitors. Before it was popularised by the Rove doctrine, exactly how often would you have used the term 'equivalence'? Anyway I'd rather be responsible for some equivalence than share responsibility for the crime of Iraq and the untold damage it has caused and will continue to cause. Jeez, if I had a hand in that, even if only to the extent of cheering from my lounge room, I too might go looking for moral equivalence on the part of those who correctly opposed this crazy imperialism. It's all you guys have got.

CB

I'm a lot of things, but I'm not Rob Schaap, though always flattered to be in the same breath. I've posted a few things at his site is all, and I admire the man's work. One reason I don't post there so much any more is illustrated by your comment - my own convictions are controversial and rather strongly held and although I'm sure Rob holds a good many of them, I don't want him to have to cop my ordure on top of his own. I really should take that weblink off my sig.

'their uncomprehending and hate-filled eyes'

Took the words right out of my mouth.

'Even if one puts the latest act of mass murder in Israel, '

Bing! Do you mind terribly if I add Palestine to your list?

'Any such interpretation is explicitly rejected as a grotesque distortion.'

There you have it - horse's mouth. Good enough for you? Nosiree! This is fun! A pile-on! Stacks on Gary! Gotcha!

'It's pretty clear to me, unless you use English as a third language, that you would have preferred the casualties to be Australian personnel'

It's pretty clear to me that you'll believe what your prejudices want you to believe, no matter how wrong it is. Long as you're happy.

' your relish... is beyond reprehensible'

You relish that reprehensibiity though, don't you? Where would you be without your faux outrage boys? And by the way, I don't see much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the Indonesian people who actually died from you guys... don't you care? Huh? Huh? (I'm enjoying this faux outrage stuff, it makes me feel righteous!) How do you like the equivalence coming back at you?

It's a bit like when you fellows dutifully chip us 'antiwar left' types for not evincing enough outrage about Saddam's atrocities. Two can play at that childish game.

'who will soon dissapear to well diserved ignomy- I hope you enjoy your irrelevance.'

Why are you all so bitter? What's the main component of your resentment? And who would you gang up on if we weren't around?

And what David said - if I'd read to thread's end, I could have saved myself the bother.

PB,
you write:
"I did read your post, and besides being the usual blame everyone bar the purpetrator bullshit, the statement about casualties is clear; if you have worded it badly, you should correct it. Failure to do so infers you support the sentiment"

In the coment thread 6 above yours I wrote:
"The post does not show that the death of Australian personnel are acceptable or fair game for JI. Any such interpretation is explicitly rejected as a grotesque distortion."

Why is that not a rejection of the sentiment you claim I express. Glenn Condell read and noted it. Why do you pretend it was not said?

I can only infer that you did not read what I had written.

It's a disgusting comment and I'd like to hear you make it at an RSL club. Houdini all you like about out of context and one little badly expressed expressed sentence (I fuck one little goat...), there's a simple way to save yourself further justified abuse. Apologise.

Scott Wickstein and PB are neo-con's? Oh! and its a pity Powell denied making that comment GST but that wont stop you repeating it.

Gary. I'm clearly not making myself clear enough to you or Glenn Condell. If I see you on the street, I'm going to come over and knock your teeth down your throat. That's because of what you said. What you wrote was not clumsy, it seemed fairly clear to me. Don't weasel out of it now because you are scared of the repurcussions of your bile.
Glenn. Your a lying sack of shit. You linked your comment signature to someone else, an act on about the same level as Gary 'Just one goat' Thompson's. Have no doubt gentlemen, those in the ex-service community are well aware of GST's statement, clarification or not. Trying to say it was pulled out of context means that he wasn't clear enough. All I read were equivocations, half-assed opinions and rhetoric based on fuck-all.
Time to join the real world Gary. The one where people put bullets in your head if you think differently to them, or chop your head off, or drag you behind cars on fire, or hang you etc.
I'd be referring to the 'militants, insurgents etc' You know, the one's that just want us dead regardless. It'd help a whole lot if you offered to fight for Australia, but you don't have the guts.

Slatts,
I do not see an argument for your claim that your interpretation of my post is better than mine. All that I see is personal opinion wearing the mask of dogma.

There is no need for me to apologize because I do not accept your interpretation of my post. It
is a misrepresentaton of what I wrote.

To persuade me otherwise you will have to make an argument that your interpretation is more truthful than mine.

I look forward to seeing such an argument.

CB,
all that you offer is bile and abuse not an argument. It is bile wrapped up in violence.

It strikes me that you post is an expression of a guncarrying rightwing fascism, US style.

There is such a thing as truth.All you do is claim that you have a hot line to truth and that everyone who disagrees with you is wrong and should be taken out.

What you big gun fascists (RWDB) need to remember is that you live in a democracy and that you need to argue your case in public, not shoot people.

So far I only see assertion. eg., you write:

"All I read were equivocations, half-assed opinions and rhetoric based on fuck-all."

Where is your argument to suport that claim?

Or are you going to thrust a gun in my face to settle the conflict?

It's a pity you weren't blown to bits you fucking coward

'If I see you on the street, I'm going to come over and knock your teeth down your throat.'

Will you really. What's your actual name Chief Bastard?

'You linked your comment signature to someone else'

Read what I wrote you unhinged juvenile.

'Time to join the real world Gary. The one where people put bullets in your head if you think differently to them, or chop your head off, or drag you behind cars on fire, or hang you etc.'

That's your world pal, not ours.

' but you don't have the guts.'

Do you have the guts to tell us who you are Sheriff?

'To persuade me otherwise you will have to make an argument that your interpretation is more truthful than mine.

I look forward to seeing such an argument.'

Don't hold your breath Gary; they're not interested in truth. They have that American preference for narrative of a violent and self-agrandising kind.

'It's a pity you weren't blown to bits you fucking coward'

Another brave Anony Mouse. I wonder if you'd take the hypothetical opportunity to debate Gary (or me) on national TV about this (or anything else for that matter). Not fucking likely is it?

More intelligent rightwingers please.

"'It's a pity you weren't blown to bits you fucking coward'

"Another brave Anony Mouse. "--Glenn Condell"

Despite the Pajamahadeen operatives having proof neither murph or the Chief are 'anonymous', GST dribblers say its what we FEEL that's important.