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Schooling

 

Found this at The Corner via Instapundit, which is Aussie Prime Minister John Howard's response to a question from a reporter, who asked if Tony Blair felt that his decision to be part of the Iraq operation was to blame for the recent London bombings - i.e., are y'all bringing this on yourselves?

PRIME MIN. HOWARD: Could I start by saying the prime minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it. My first reaction was to get some more information. And I really don't want to add to what the prime minister has said. It's a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here.

Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

PRIME MIN. BLAIR: And I agree 100 percent with that. (Laughter.)

It's idiocy to even ask the question in the first place because it's woefully ignorant of the facts, but at least PM Howard was in an educational mood. I hope reporter Paul was listening.

 


Tags: politics | terrorism
by Brett Rogers, 7/21/2005 2:43:58 PM
Permalink


Comments

The "did y'all bring it on yourselves" question is not only ignorant, it's kind of offensive. Nobody really asks for a terrorist attack, or actively seeks one out when taking any sort of action.

But, we have declared "war on terror" and sadly the battles are fought on city streets. Is it retaliation for policy? Maybe. I hardly want to climb into the head of a terrorist to figure it out. Does it matter? Not at all.

This quote amuses me. "And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq. "

Of course it did. Which is all very well and good, but wasn't the point of the operation in Iraq to help prevent acts like the bombing in London, and as a measure to fight the war on terror? It's beside the point of your post, but it struck me as another politician using 9/11 to defend himself.

I'd just like to know how we can find Saddam Hussein in a spider hole in the middle of nowhere, but can't seem to find Osama Bin Laden or figure out how to cut off a few more tentacles of Al-Quaida. New Yorkers have been wondering. The citizens of Madrid are probably curious. Now Londoners are a little nervous to go to work in the morning, and probably aren't real pleased with policy in Iraq, not because they don't agree with spreading democracy or building schools, but because it doesn't really seem to be helping the terrorist issue much, and that was the premise that the operation was based on.

 

 

Posted by Bella, 7/22/2005 1:03:31 PM


The point of Howard's statement is that the battles were being fought on the streets before a war on terror began.

Locating and killing terrorists is the only way to stop terrorists, as the re-emergence of the failed terrorist bomber who tried again and was shot dead by the London police shows.

The war on terror is not a war that can be won; it can only be reduced. Which it has. The increasing inefficacy of the bombers (from 9/11's thousands of dead to Madrid's hundreds of dead to London's tens of dead) shows that they are weakening. It's working. Is OBL captured? No, and frankly, I don't think it matters much because he's only one cog. You go with what you get, and huge numbers of al-Qaeda and others have been detained or killed.

Will the terrorists strike big again someday? Of course. But the more we hunt them down, the less they will damage us. So we should.

 

 

Posted by Brett Rogers (http://www.beatcanvas.com), 7/22/2005 1:53:20 PM


The increasing inefficacy of the bombers (from 9/11's thousands of dead to Madrid's hundreds of dead to London's tens of dead) shows that they are weakening.

Does it show that they are weakening, or that they got lucky in NYC or Madrid? In my opinion, no bomb that kills somebody is ineffective. And I don't think OBL's power as a figurehead can be denied, so I think catching him, especially when you consider the moral and psychological power of doing so, would be pretty helpful.

While the terrorists of Al-quaida seem to be weakening in your opinion, they seem to be getting ballsier, in mine. Terrorism is an act of cowardice, no matter what, but to have the gall to bomb major metropolitan cities like Madrid and London takes a lot of nerve...or maybe cockiness would be a better word. The terrorists are definitely working on a psychological front as well, and that front is just as powerful as the death toll. Think about how we hear about terrorists killing 50 or so people in the middle east all the time and barely blink anymore...but in the middle of London? No more or less atrocious, but definately a bigger blow to the worldwide psyche. London is supposed to be safe and civilized. The continental US was supposed to be sacred. They aren't.

But we're digressing for a change.... :-)

 

 

Posted by Bella, 7/22/2005 3:22:09 PM


I absolutely agree that capturing OBL would be a good symbolic victory, but only symbolic. Since theirs is a battle of faith, OBL is not the true figurehead for the terrorists, but Allah and Muhammed. I don't know that his capture would knock much wind out of their sails.

As for ballsier, I don't know how one tops 9/11 for cockiness. Four airplanes hijacked and two flown into the most famous financial landmark in the world and one into the Pentagon... compared to London, it doesn't seem like it takes much cahones to strap a bomb on one's body and run out into traffic in a crowded city. If anything, they appear more desperate and unsophisticated. Which is good, and implies that the response to hit them running was spot on.

More of hitting them on the run, please.

 

 

Posted by Brett Rogers (http://www.beatcanvas.com), 7/22/2005 4:42:38 PM


I got no problem with hitting them on run. I just think your arguement that they are getting weaker doesn't hold water, and I don't really believe they are 'on the run'. Yes, NYC was cocky. And it worked, and if it hadn't they probably never would have risked something like Madrid, or London, who, after decades of IRA bombings, was probably better equipped to deal with terrorism than NYC was on 9/11.

I keep waiting for the inevitable, "Bella, you ignorant slut..." since we've been playing Point/Counterpoint all week. So-- I hug you and conservatives everywhere now, for you are all my fellow humans and share this planet, no matter how many times we have to remind ourselves of it. :-) Now....start a Willie Wonka thread or something, would ya?

 

 

Posted by Bella, 7/22/2005 5:31:07 PM



Why is it when we do something to someone it might be called a hate crime, but when someone does something to us it's called terrorism?

 

 

Posted by Anonymous, 7/26/2005 2:32:02 PM



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