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

fighting terrorists in Afghanistan « Previous | |Next »
February 18, 2008

According to the new Defence MInister Australians are fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan to prevent it from becoming a failed state. If it becomes a failed state then western civilization collapses as the terrorists will take it over and we will all be doomed. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has rejected suggestions that his country was in danger of becoming a failed state.

All that Australia asks, says Joel Fitzgibbon, is that NATO shares its war planning and intelligence with Australia, and that Australia is at the table when makes its decisions to take up the fight against the Taliban enemy. Australia is not even a member of NATO.

Disagreements over Nato's mission in Afghanistan are intensifying as the US and the UK criticise some countries( Germany, Italy and Spain) for not providing troops prepared to "fight and die" against the Taliban. Australia is also calling for France and Germany to deploy more troops in southern Afghanistan and to take the fight up to a resurgent Taliban.

Afghanistanwoes.jpg Steve Bell

What is not being questioned by the ALP is the conservative's 9/11 mentality of waging an apocalyptic War of Civilization against the Uniquely Evil Enemy. The grand narrative is one of Right wing warriors defending Western Civilization from the greatest threat it has ever faced; there has never, ever been a war like the one they are waging; and none of the old rules apply. Fitzgibbon's call for more resolve feeds into, and is structured by this grand narrative.

There should be a questioning of this narrative should be, as the conservative mentality within the grand narrative is an expression of what Richard Hofstadter described as the paranoid style in his 1964 Harper's essay,The Paranoid Style in American Politics:

The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms -- he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point.

Shouldn't this paranoid style with its eternal orange alerts be replaced with more strategic accounts of Australia's national interest. Instead of accepting delusions shouldn't we be asking, how is Australia's national interest actually threatened by the Taliban in Afghanistan? In what way is it threatened? What sort of threat is this?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:35 AM | | Comments (5)
Comments

Comments

Gary,
the ALP has been so bullied since 9/11 by both the Howard and Co and the Bush administration, that they have become the little Americans. They have bought into the whole conservative scenario--grand narrative--- and they only make an exception in Iraq.

Allowing for the fact that "the Taliban" is code for, or conflated with, the Pashtun National Resistance, who conveniently are Sunnis, or at least Muslims, the problem is to get an alternative narrative into the Australian political discourse.The 9/11 framing is irrelevant to the history of Afghanistan.

Nan,
Mark Steyn speaks for the warriors defending western civilization against Islam. He appears in the January 08 issue of the IPA's Policy magazine arguiing that Howard stood up to threat posed by Islam and the loss of civilizational confidence.

Wmmmb,
Don't you find it strange that the libertarians around the IPA who stand for open society, free markets and small government are also neo-cons defending western civilization from Islam?

Gary,

Since I tend to steer away from economics, I had not thought about the strange contradiction between advocacy for small government and a large global military machine, with the apparent need for wars against belief systems.There appears to be a disconnect in this, and other stated goals, between ends and means. It is something for me to think about.

It occurs to me that Teddy Roosevelt could at last see the short comings in market economics, while advocating wars of aggression, until his son was killed in the First World War.