Sunday, July 07, 2002


As promised below, it’s time to deal with some fallout from my post about the Enemy.

Why do I capitalise the Enemy? Because they are people, and people get proper noun status. I also want to point out that this is a very personal war effort. It is not so much about land, power, oil or lebensraum. It’s about some stranger telling me I have no right to live my life as I and my countrymen see fit.

Don Arthur writes that
Terrorism works because, like judo, it turns an enemy's weight and strength against itself.

WE better check that against the success rate of the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, The Japanese Red Army, and all the other tin-pot gangsters who tried and failed to impose their version of the communist religion on their fellow citizens. To make us more security-conscious is not success, it is reaction. If a reaction is all they’re after, then why isn’t Tora-Bora being hailed as an overwhelming al Qaeda victory? Because they lost. The entire theory of terrorism is based on the unwillingness of the Western powers to take the steps required to combat it. That the soft citizens of the West were unwilling to pay the price, in lives, money, inconvenience or liberties to see it through That we would always do only what was necessary today, and not address the real “root cause”. Well News Flash: if someone is shooting at me, the root cause of my danger is the guy with the gun! I’m in danger because he thinks it’s a good idea to kill me! I’m not repeat NOT interested in why; I am only interested in how I can stop him. Maybe, if I feel like it later, after I’ve dragged his sorry arse off to jail, then I might consider looking into the matter further. But I’ll tell you this for free: It will only be if I feel like it, and I don’t owe gun-guy a damn thing, and I owe his supporters, apologists and paymasters even less. They owe me.*

His main response post seems to suggest that American foreign policy and cultural supremacy is the problem, then
why would fearful Australians want to be more closely associated with the United States? Wouldn't Australians be safer if kept their distance?

Two simple reasons Don:
1. We Pay Our Debts. And we owe the USA big-time. Without them, we would be speaking Japanese now. And not the good Japanese with the DVD’s and the silly game shows. I mean the nasty, comfort-women, shrub-worshipping, cut your enemy’s head off type of Japanese. A lot of people in Australia make much of how much Australians owe to the East Timorese, and the Papua New Guineans, for the “fuzzy wuzzy angels" that carried wounded soldiers out of the jungles in world War Two. But who had more men killed? Who contributed more materiel? Money? Who saved our arse?

And since then, our nation’s security has been guaranteed almost entirely by the fact that anyone who messed with us, messed with the US. We got a cheap ride as far as our own defence was concerned. Australia could no more fight off an invasion by a serious enemy, than flap our arms and fly to the moon.

It’s time to step up.

2. Self-interest. If the US falls, how long before the Enemy comes after us? It might not be al Qaeda, or Babaloo Liberation Front, but it’ll be somebody, because there's always somebody. Stop them now, while the biggest, baddest military machine on the planet is working in our interests.

There’s this
Of course Wright is correct to argue that fanatics can't be negotiated with or appeased. But they can be isolated from those who might otherwise support them. And the conditions which gave rise to their hostility can be addressed to prevent the development of another generation of susceptible individuals and communities. Instead of fighting fire with fire, you deny it the oxygen it needs to spread.

You fight fire with firefighters. You get men and women who think it is sometimes necessary to lay one’s body between home and hell, and fight. You backburn pre-emptively to stop it getting to home and hearth. And if worse come to worse, you evacuate, and come back later to rebuild.

What you don’t do is make the fire trucks wait up a bit until you decide if the fire is caused by insufficient fuel reduction, arson, wilderness-worshipping greenies, incompetent park management or lighting strike. You send the trucks and the personnel out to do the job they trained for and hoped would never happen.

Demonizing the enemy and anyone who looks like him only perpetuates the cycle of hatred and mutual incomprehension that breeds terror.

What breeds terror, Don, is some dickhead who has managed to demonise me to the point that blowing up my children seems like a good idea. Period. Poverty doesn’t breed terror. Education doesn’t either, Ditto for racism, sexism, feminism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, vegetarianism or Gilhooley’s cow. Terrorists are terrorists because that’s what they are. Take away the ideology, plonk ‘em down in Sydney and they’d probably be gangsters. Or be the guy with the key to the office supply cabinet.

I have no interest in demonising anyone; I want them recognised, for what they are. Killers, fanatics and thieves. I want them stopped, well away from me and mine.

Don’s view of the world seems to be that it operates like liberal democracies. That if people could just understand each other fully, then we’d all get along.

The world is like recess in the third-grade, and the teacher’s absent. The school bully has decided that might makes right, and he wants your lunch money, and will pound the stuffing out of you for good measure. You’ve already seen him do it to the second-graders, and now he’s moving up the food chain, as it were. There is one big kid who you can persuade to help you, and teach this clown a lesson. You know that the bully will not be punished if he beats you up, today, tomorrow or ever. Is it better to be right, (hungry and bleeding), or protected (bully bleeding)?

*I don't count Don Arthur as any of these. He strikes me as a "worthy opponent", the lack of which is what I suspect makes a lot of us take up blogging in the first place. Oh yeah, and the money.

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