Both Alan Ramsey and Mike Carlton are unhappy that additional Australian troops will be sent to Iraq. Curiously, however, neither mentions exactly why they are being sent, or what they will be doing. Mike? Alan? Schools and roads and water for people in Iraq! Schools and roads and water for people in Iraq!
The Age’s Tony Parkinson has a message for his Sydney Morning Herald friends:
What event, what change of circumstances, what new facts, might persuade the anti-war movement in Australia to think again about the nature of the epic struggle under way across the Middle East?
As far back as August 2003, I thought the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad might shake some of the misconceptions about the sort of people, the sort of ideology, driving the violent insurgency in Iraq. Sadly, I was wrong.
What about using ambulances for suicide missions? Beheadings and hostage-taking? Terrorist attacks on school buses? Did these not suggest a need to confront a poisonous ideology emanating from the heartlands of the Middle East? No, no and no again.
What about the passage of UN resolution 1546, which from June last year gave the coalition operations in Iraq unquestioned international legitimacy and obliged member states to do all in their power to aid the country’s post-Saddam reconstruction? Stubborn silence.
What, then, of the sight only a month ago of 8.5 million Iraqis voting in free elections? Did the symbolism of those purple fingers count for nothing among opponents of the war?
There had to come a time, surely, when the scales would fall from their eyes. There had to come a moment when they stopped chanting the mantra long enough to start listening to the authentic voices of liberation emerging in the Arab world.
Or so I thought. But no.
Instead we have anti-liberation fanatics like Margo Kingston writing that “the resistance is not only comprised of terrorists; it includes fighters attacking the occupying power” and “the Iraq project is dead”. She actually seeks excuses for Saddam Hussein: “I remember watching the weapons inspectors destroying missiles handed over by Saddam because they breached the length of travel limit in an extremely minor way. That seemed like the desperate act of a man desperate to avoid an invasion.”
Poor Saddam, forced to give up his missiles because of some teensy rules infringement. It’s so unfair.