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.

Friday, July 05, 2002


The very lovely Don Arthur has sent me an email about my discussion of the Enemy. He’s also put up a separate response on his site, which I’ll get to tomorrow.

As I see it, I'm still more at risk from the bad driving of overexcited Alan Jones listeners than I am from Islamic extremists.

Of course you are. You are also more likely to be killed crossing the street than by that gang of 20 young men coming up the pavement towards you. So you look both ways before crossing the street to get out of their way.

And I'm sure some of these deluded fanatics really do want to rule the world - but they won't.

Somehow this will happen by itself.
when crazies from the NRA used the red scare as a reason for more relaxed laws on gun ownership I wasn't conned.

Starting to reach a bit here, using Alan Jones and the NRA in one email. Personally, I think Alan Jones is a demagogue, I am on record as supporting the Australian gun laws, and I enjoyed Red Dawn immensely by ignoring the clunking subtext. Calling communism a “red scare” doesn’t address the fact that for a long time, they were the Enemy.
the very things people ought to be fighting to defend (civil liberties, tolerance of minorities) start to get eroded. People start to look for enemies in their own ranks.

Examples, Don. Examples. Unpopularity is not censorship. Civil liberties are not carved in stone, set for all time. They ebb and flow, according to circumstances. In wartime, we would not be having this conversation. Neither you nor I have ever had absolute freedom of speech, and we never will. Where are the attacks on minorities? I don’t see carloads of white boys cruising Lakemba looking for a fight. I don’t see anybody’s right to dissent diminished. If a commentator feels he will get in trouble for saying what he thinks, It won’t be from the gummint, it will be from those recalcitrant member of the viewing public that think he’s full of shit. And that ain’t censorship, that’s showbiz.

When a democratically-elected government puts laws into place to safeguard the commonweal, and those laws in some minor way limit the right of some citizens to do whatever the hell they please, then the independent judiciary will safeguard the rights of the citizens.
The west didn't defeat communism by creating a police state - it collapsed because the communists created one.

Actually, communism collapsed because it attempted to equal or better the military might of the west, using an economy that was one third as efficient. Without western resistance, the Russians would have rolled over Europe like army ants.

Security is not a given. A nation, a way of life, a household is not secured by the good will of the criminal class. It is secured by the will of the owners to resist the Enemy. That resistance can be delegated (police, alarm system, armed services), or it can be personal (sit on porch, get liquored up, fondle shotgun menacingly). But resistance must take place. Without resistance, without force of arms, without the will to defend what is yours, then alas and alack, someone will take it from you.

It is not fear-mongering to accept that there is an Enemy, and that they want what is yours. You do that every time you lock your house, every time you walk your kid to school. People are usually capable of analysing risks, and making fairly rational decisions. And the more people you have doing the analysing (democracy), the better the outcomes.

The biggest enemy is our own fear.

I can’t speak for the rest of you, but my biggest enemy is heart disease, followed closely by CIA mind-rays. I am not advocating a state of fear, or even a substantial alteration of our lifestyle. Actually, I think our lifestyle is one of our greatest weapons. It’s already defeated one set of communists, and will do the same for the Chinese sometime in the next ten years or so.

What is needed is an acceptance of the threat, a clear and open assessment of the measures needed to combat the very real possibility that we will be attacked, and then action to make sure it doesn’t happen. If we are required to carry the fight to the Enemy, I would prefer that it be done where they live, rather than where I live. A pre-emptive strike is justified to eliminate a threat deemed, by appropriate authority, to be sufficiently dangerous. Pretty much every snake in Australia is protected, but do you know any camper capable of tying his own shoes who will choose an agonising death on bush, ahead of Kill it! Kill it!?

What does the Space Shuttle have to do with a horse's behind? You'll have to read Bernard Slattery to find out. Priceless!

Thursday, July 04, 2002

It is time to talk to Australians about The Enemy.

A question has been asked: Why do they hate us? They hate us because we are Other. They hate us because we are not them.

Many people are fond of saying “The world changed on September 11.” I can’t say for sure if the world changed, but I know mine did. And if you live in a society that allows you to read this, then your world changed as well. Strangers who mean to do harm to me and mine have made their purpose clear, and their means unmistakeable. They want to kill or enslave me for no other reason than I AM. They want to do the same to you.

Let there be no mistake about this. They are coming, and there is no reason to assume they will stop of their own accord. Indeed, to cease their actions before death or success is to them a self-betrayal of a magnitude that we in secular society may never fully appreciate. The Enemy has changed your life without consent. You must accept that this has happened, and move on to the next step, managing the change. Dissent is not a goal, but a process that leads to an outcome. If you cling to your old life, if you insist that your rights have not been changed, then you will be left behind with the Wobblies, the flat-earthers and the dodo.

A group of religious crackpots has stolen your right to conveniently board an aircraft, or enter a sporting event. They have added more layers of fear and distrust to the world. You are less able to travel freely than you were before. This is not your fault, nor mine, nor the US. If you need bars on your windows, do you blame the guy who installs them? Or the thieving swine that made them necessary?

For those with media access, The Enemy has also stolen a big slice of something else: your audience. If I suggest a rape victim might have thought that outfit through a bit better, should I be surprised at the reaction of her family? If you make common cause with murderers, expect a similar outcome. Millions of previous admirers understand that the flipside of “enemy of my enemy is my friend” is “friend of my enemy is my enemy”. Millions of your supporters are asking how you can say what they are hearing. Many will never return, but you can follow them, and regain your place in their eyes.

Do not deny this simple fact: Australia is a target. Now. For the simple reason that we refuse to live by Shari’a law. If you are considering compromise, these questions will help you think through the consequences of your actions:

Does your wife vote? Work? Drive? Show her face? Her knees?
Are you a professed atheist? Catholic? Hindu? Wiccan? Druid? Presbyterian?
Agnostic? Methodist? Brahmin? Don't know? Don't care?
Are you gay? Bi?
Do you receive interest on your savings?
Are you clean shaven? Bare headed?
Do you like sex without marriage? Are you in a de facto relationship?
Do you send your daughters to school? Play sport?
Have you ever been to the movies? Watched television? Listened to music?
Have you ever danced? Looked at pornography?
Do you drink? Take drugs?

Do you believe in the death penalty? How about mutilation? Stoning?
Would you prefer to be tried by a jury, or by a self-appointed religious
Do you think laws should be passed by an elected legislature, or based on
the judge's interpretation of seventh century religious texts?
Should your leaders be elected by popular vote, or installed by a council
of religious elders?
Is it reasonable to bury gays alive under a collapsed wall?
Are men and women equal before the law?
How do you feel about summary beatings and executions by religious police?
Should religions other than yours be forced to pay additional taxes just
for the privilege of existing?
If your mother is raped, should she go to jail for adultery?

This is what the Enemy wants to bring to Australia. This is what they want
for your mother, sister, daughter, your gay friends, writers, musicians, artists. Every third-world dump you wouldn’t live in, every dictatorship you write your Amnesty letter about, every human rights violation your secret heart knows can’t happen here, will all be yours.

The “root cause” of September is utterly irrelevant, unless your desire is to surrender to The Enemy. It has nothing at all to do with Israel, Palestine, US foreign policy, or
the price of tea in China. They are driven by their interpretation of the
Koran that gives them the right to stamp out our secular democracy, and
replace it with an Islamic theocracy.

They are right-wing religious fundamentalist. There is no appreciable
difference between al Qaeda and abortion clinic bombers They have common
cause with fascists around the world and across time.

There is nothing you can do or say that will appease them. They want you to
live in an Islamic State, or dead. There is nothing in between. To quote
Christopher Hitchens, you can't compromise with people who think the
Taliban are too liberal.

The Enemy has made this a choice between them and us. Between the democracy that makes your dissent possible, and the dictatorship that never will. Between the superpower that guarantees your security, and the fascism that will take it away. Between the way you live now, and Afghanistan one year ago.

And if none of this moves you, then I want you to do one more thing: wait until late evening, and look at your daughter’s sleeping face. Remember what The Enemy has in mind for her. You are responsible for what happens to her, and nobody else. Now choose

Here's the thing: If a former Foreign Minister will casually lie to Parliament, for no reason other than personal gain, then what else will he lie about?

Will all the conspiracy buffs, US-haters, knee-jerk leftist apply full disclosure standards here?
In this morning's Australian, Greg Sheridan puts forward a strong argument about why Mark Latham is doing more harm than good.

Personally, I have a lot of time for Latham. His ideas about welfare and use of public resources are well worth reading. The bovver-boy bullshit is a bit obvious, and the whole "hater" identity is patently a grab for the vacant Keating mantle.

Latham needs to gather support from the Left in the ALP if he is to make a grab for the leadership after Crean fails at the next election. He know full well that anti-US rhetoric plays poorly in the electorate, where the US-Australia alliance enjoys overwhelming public support. His "arselicking" comments will not move one single vote in the election. He knows it, Crean knows it, Howard knows it. As Sheridan points out

The danger is that Howard will do to Labor on the US alliance and security generally what he has done to it so effectively on border control

Latham is "muscling up" all right. He is getting ready to make a run for the top job. Expect some change in his hardline stance on illegal immigration and/or mandatory detention soon

Does any one really believe that Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, or any member of his front bench, did not know that Gareth Evans lied
to Parliament over shagging Cheryl Kernot?

And if they managed to avoid knowing, when the entire press gallery was in on the affair, what does this say about their abilities as an alternative government?

I still believe the Australian press gallery follows the correct approach as far as Politician's private lives are concerned: that is, if it doesn't affect their performance, it's nobodies business. This has allowed us to avid the US situation, where Presidents are expected to be either monks or saints. It also has to be noted that this rule also serves the interests of the Press Gallery, as the number of affairs between lonely politicians and randy journalists will probably never be counted.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Reader Paul Beaver offers this solution to the concert from hell:

Listen to the wisdom of older and wiser heads

I have been roped into attending these damm things since I was the single
doting uncle of the first of the next generation of Beavers.

The solution is simple, it only requires careful study of the program (for
something less than a week's wage you can usually buy a copy of the program as
much as a week prior to the day of torture).

Then provided that you have nerves of steel, precision timing, and a
willingness to subvert a junior member of the family, the Method is simple:

Using the program and a few questions to the child doing the dead you can
find out the items that the young one is actually taking part in - YOU MUST

Now to quote Baldric "I Have A Cunning Plan".

Once you have seen the young one (and if you are really lucky your child
will tread the boards early in the first half and then not in the limelight
till the finale) You must create a diversion. This is literally Child's Play.
you have the performers sibling in the audience with you and at a subtle
signal, have them create a fuss (I find a few whispered demands to go to the
toilet will do the trick) Sigh heavily and inform the mother that you will
take the by now upset child to the loo.

Once out of sight make a break for the nearest cafe/milk bar/pub and use the
fluids dispensed there to make the time pass pleasantly. Just remember to be
back to see the young star in the finale.

Three points I leave for the apprentice to solve

1) how do you get the non-performing child to co-operate (I find that there
is no need to threaten, they don't want to be there themselves and if you
offer a bribe they will generally put in a better performance than anyone on
the stage)

2) how do you explain your child's need to go to the loo for what may well
be the better part of a week. (I prefer a simple lie - Dysentery. Typhoid
and malaria are notifiable diseases and the black death does not fit the
mission profile)

3) by the time the young accomplice is old enough to come into the pub and
enjoy ara cleansing ale with you they are generally too old to need to be
escorted to the loo.

This worked for me all the time I was single and forced to attend the niece's
recitals, and appears to work now that my own youngest is now on the stage.

Further submissions needed. Gala Parents Costume Extravaganza looms dangerously near.

Listen to this dimwit:

Who's the enemy now?
So a wedding party was blown to smithereens in Afghanistan, and it's not the first time, we hear!
It seems to me that with all the bombing going on, wayward or on target, the flip side of "terrorism" is "collateral". After all, both "good" and "evil" sides claim that the end justifies the means.
Ivor Gilhooly, Brighton-le-Sands,

So according to this cretin, any evil is excusable as long as you are clever enough to use the same form of words as your opponents.

Sooner or later one of these dills will notice that the WTC and Pentagon attacks used Boeing planes, and start crowing that all use of Boeing planes must be terrorism. Wake me up when they mention the Law of Gravity.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Concert last night at my eldest daughter’s school. That’s three weeks of my life I’ll never see again.

The latest trick for these do’s is to make sure that everyone’s kid features in the big finale number. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts half of the choir were lip-syncing at the end, held in place by the music teacher’s sadistic desire to see us all suffer along with her.

Last night’s soiree was an evening of Medieval music, Gaelic folk tales, and dance. Now this calls for heavy cocktail consumption. We’re talking Mescal with pineapple juice and a WD-40 chaser.

Now don’t get me wrong: I love to see my little girl on stage. My heart quite literally does soar when I see her up there, and hear her sing. But it’s hard to maintain school spirit after the fourth hour of experimental Japanese flute music.

After the first day of madrigals, my seat neighbour violently attempted to seize the 9-volt battery I had cunningly rigged to deliver wake-up shocks to my inner thigh. Luckily I was able to slash the back of his hand with the souvenir program. Apart from the writhing, this was the highlight of my evening.

Medieval dancing looks like Nurse Ratched has told the Obsessive
Compulsive Ward that they have to entertain her if they want to see today's happy pills. A dozen or so people wandering slowly about in expressionless unison. Repeat. I may have nodded off during their second week, but by this stage we were just hoping to make it to interval without having to chew a foot off. No wonder the English started the Crusades. It was all about dodging next Friday's social mixer with the King of France.

At interval I noticed the school canteen was doing a brisk trade in racehorse stimulants and pharmaceutical cocaine. These went well with the molten lava mini pies and tepid soup. A shady character asked if I was interested in tunnelling out, but I was afraid he might be working for the guards. Back inside.

Time seemed to be slowing to a standstill, but a quick check of the ski poles we had hammered into the glacier showed this not to be the case. One guy’s heart stopped from sheer boredom, and the orderlies thoughtfully dragged him outside before hitting him with the paddles.

By the end of the evening, most of us looked like we were auditioning for Unnamed Patient #3 in the theatrical revival of Awakenings. And we today we got the bad news: Hawaiian Variety Night.

Cheryl Kernot reminds us of a political truth that never fades:

A rat is a rat, no matter which way it swims.
Ever wonder why some countries don't ever seem to catch up to the West, despite abundant natural resources?

Which country can AFFORD a national public holiday for winning a soccer match, Germany or Brazil?
Brazilian striker and hair outlaw Renaldo has won the thanks of a grateful nation, and by government decree will be allowed to have sex with any man, woman, tree or beast of the field, until he dies, or misses a penalty shot.

UPDATE: Doesn't the "Golden Boot" award sound like something from a Simpsons episode?

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