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

being an Australian « Previous | |Next »
April 26, 2007

According to conservatives I cannot be much of an Australian. I haven't been to Anzac Cove to feel the connection with the place. Though I am an Australian citizen I have never worn an Australian uniform, nor am I likely to. Nor am I persuaded that those whose sacrifice in war gave us freedom.They were fighting for the British empire, not defending Australia from attack.

So, according to the now conservative Brendan Nelson, the Defence Minister, I cannot be fully Australian. I do not grasp that the truths by which we live that are worth defending. I talk in terms of a war in Iraq not a war against terrorism, and about an imperial USA rather than the defence of freedom and democracy by bombing and torturing Iraqi civilians. Therefore, I am not a patriot is the neocon reasoning.

Alan Moir

I remember the chest-beating warmongers and the attack on Islam by conservatives. I remember the lies and spin about Iraq and the systematic attempts to conceal the truth about torture rather the values of courage and mateship. I recall government sources feeding falsehoods----Saddam had WMD's---to ink-and-paper journalists working at influential and prestigious media outlets in order to manipulate Australian public opinion about the Iraq war. We are dealing with myths here folks not truths.

Some our most prominent journalists were eager to be feed as chooks, and they then repeated the falsehoods uncritically. When it is discovered that what they were fed was a lie, they say nothing and continue to protect the identity of the spinners so that their sources will continue to leak to them.

I'm not sure that this is the light in the darkness that the Defence Minister talks about?

What I suspect is that unions, such as CFMEU, who routinely attack decisions to protect more old growth forests from logging, do understand and embody the Anzac spirit (values) the Prime Minister continually talks about. That kind of suspicion is a further indication that I am not fully Australian. The suspicion-driven hermeneutics leads to the conclusion that 'Australian identity' these days is a conservative construct. It is about patriotism, war and sacrificing my freedoms to ensure national security.

The neo-conservatives live in a mythic world. Saddam had WMDs. Radical Islamists are everywhere, and they want to impose sharia law on us and they want to kill us because they hate us, our values and way of life.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:13 AM | | Comments (4)


Gary, There is an interesting article by Marilyn Lake in the current edition of Dissent Magazine which discusses how the Dept of Veterans Affairs has been developing and aggressively promoting a pro miltary curriculum for use in ALL Australian schools and throughout Australia generally---no shades of grey or difficult interpretations allowed.

Is this the proper function for the DVA? Isnt it supposed to look after the physical, emotional and mental welfare of veterans. Isnt it a misuse of supposedly "scarce" resources to serve the real needs of traumatised veterans?

It is obvious where the directives for this project comes from.

Military correctness rules OK.

I see that the Lake's article in Dissent is not online. A pity. It looked interesting from your comments about the Department of Veteran Affairs sponsoring the teaching of Australian history to promote a seamless tale of nationalist military values.

I agree with you about the role of the Department of Veteran Affairs. We are seeing a concerted cultural campaign to get everyone scared; sell 'war is good'; that individual sacrifice in Iraq fighting for the Americans is noble ; that state scrutiny and surveillance of citizens is just about "national security"; that sterling discipline and tenacious commitment means docile citizens and inhibiting dissent.

The resurgence of Anzac Day is tied into history and the failure of the public schools to teach the conservative understanding of history. The reason for this is the academic left, who enjoy patronising the battlers.The leftwing have dumbed down education.They have trashed the sense of pride In Australia's proud history,

"They were fighting for the British empire, not defending Australia from attack."

Ummm, thats a fairly limited view and an uneducated one. You need to look back at Australia's history and where we came from. And what about PNG, Sydney Harbor and Broome? Where they just dropping by to say G'Day!

My forefathers and family gave and lost much, as did many. War is stupid, and not done for fun although never in history has freedom come without cost. Can I suggest taking the time to do a little reading, here is a start:

Thanks for the links. They are good ones.

Minister Nelson made his speech at Anzac Cove, and he referred to the military invasion of Turkey in that specific place. That campaign was around 1915. George Lambert's work is about Gallipoli and Palestine not Broome, Darwin, and New Guinea after 1942.

I have read no historical text that argues that Turkey was planning to invade Australia, let alone had attacked Australia. As I understand it Australia had federated into a nation state by 1915, and so it did not consist of a number of British colonies. The military campaign was run by Churchill.

WW 2, which you refer to, is a different proposition altogether. I fully agree with Curtin defying Churchill pulling the troops from Europe and Burma to defend Australia from Japanese attack.

The assumption of the post is an independent Australia. It is an assumption that conservatives attack. Thus Greg Sheridan in his The Partnership: The inside story of the US-Australian alliance under Bush and Howard says that the idea that Australia must have an independent foreign policy is one of our nation’s great moral hypocrisies. He says that to stand aside and to not become involved in a battle between two sides is effectively to condone the actions of both. He argues---according to John Roskam's interpretation-- that:

In the Second World War it would have been unimaginable for Australia to have done anything other than what it did. Similarly during the wars in Korea and Vietnam it was in our national interest to intervene. The same applies to our battle with radical Islamism.

Many contest that view of Vietnam. I would argue that Sheridan's statement misreads the war in Iraq. It was not a battle between good and evil, as Sheridan implies.