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rethinking the war on terror « Previous | |Next »
July 5, 2007

Maybe, just maybe, there will now be a shift in reporting the war on terror in Australia. A shift that would develop the theme of linkage between the radicalising effect of events in Iraq and Afghanistan (in particular) and jihadist's operations against Britain, the US and Australia.

This linkage used to be called 'blowback':

ClementA.jpg
Clement

'Blowback' interpreted the linkage in terms of definite connections between Australian security policy's close affinity with the George W Bush administration and the kind of threats to life and security made evident in the bombings in Indonesia and the UK.

Maybe the alleged linkage of the Indian Brisbane doctor Mohamed Haneef to the UK bombings provides a good opportunity to open up the debate about Australia's involvement in the war on terror. That debate is sorely needed in the media. After all, this perception of linkages is widely shared among citizens, even though it is continually denied by the governments of the three countries.

We need to start becoming smarter in how we understand Australia's place in the world of nations. After all, our state health departments are plugged into the global economy through the recruiting hundreds of young overseas-trained doctors a year, without quality testing of their knowledge or clinical expertise, so as to plug service gaps in our hospitals and medical services.

We cannot work on the assumption that Indian doctors are suspect terrorists--part of what conservatives are wont to call ideological sleeper cells. That places them all under the category of Islamic "targets"that are under suspicion and surveillance.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:26 AM | | Comments (8)
Comments

Comments

Gary,
it was Chalmers Johnson's book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, that helped popularize the term to characterize global reaction to the Bush administration's neocon policies in and out of the Middle East. Johnson says:

In a broader sense, blowback is another way of saying that a nation reaps what it sows. Although individuals usually know what they have sown, they rarely have the same knowledge on a national level, especially since so much of what the managers of the American empire have sown has been kept secret. As a concept, blowback is obviously most easily grasped in its straightforward manifestations. The unintended consequences of American policies and acts in country X lead to a bomb at an American embassy in country Y or a dead American in country Z.

"Blowback" is the first volume a trilogy that includes 'The Sorrows of Empire' and Nlemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.' This trilogy forms a perspective on the rush of events in the past decade, a perspective that is sadly lacking in our mainstream media.

Nan,
what we now have with blowback is a collision between national security(fighting terrorists) the economy (outsourcing to India) and health (overseas trained doctors). A mean collision.

Nan,
the assumption of The Australian is that during the past six years the Islamic terrorist threat has moved from being almost entirely external in origin to something much more significantly dangerous - home-grown.

It rightly says that Britain now faces a growing network of dedicated Islamic terrorist cells deeply implanted among local Muslim communities over much of London, the Midlands, the north of England and central Scotland in particular.

The Australian then implies or infers that something similar is happening in Australia, the West must fight back; and it then launches into the standard cultural wars diatribe about left multicultural appeasers, moral relativism etc etc.

If so, (I would dispute inference) then I would bet my last dollar that our Security Services (including ASIO) are ill-equipped to deal with the threat. They would have a lack of language specialists and officers of the right ethnic background, along with little or no knowledge of the culture, habits or beliefs of Muslim Australian citizens. This leaves them bereft of the vital intelligence and understanding needed to fight this new form of terrorism.

Presumably Australia relies on the UK for these skills and knowledge. But what if MI5 is in a similar position to ASIO?

Gary,
Australia cannot rely on the US for knowledge and skills about the culture, habits or beliefs of Muslim Australian citizens because it's policy is one of rendition. For example Mamdouh Habib, 49, an Australian citizen, who was caught up in the rendition system after being arrested near the Pakistani-Afghan border shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

Terrorism is here to stay and it is my belief that if a few are falsely named occasionally by mistake is bad luck.

Les,
that justification is classical utilitarianism---the greatest happiness for the greatest number. How far do you want to go to sacifice the minority to ensure the security of the many? Surveillance? Breaking the law? Rendition? torture? Incarceration in a camp? The gulag? Death?

Or it doesn't matter cos the end justifies the means?

Surveillance is S.O.P

Death to convicted Terrorist. Yes I'll go along with that.

Who was the first to publically name Dr Ali?

Les
Your comment:
"Death to convicted Terrorist. Yes I'll go along with that." evades the issue.

It's the sacifice of innocents for the security of the majority that is the issue. I presume that you are happy with rendition, torture and incarceration in a camp to ensure the security of the majority.