March 26, 2004 | Peter

Whose Decision?

Ah, John Howard, what a funny guy… I presume that was a joke when he said all those Coalition parliamentarians calling Latham an ally of Al Quaida were doing it on their own, and so forbid he should intervene. I can only imagine how the phones would be steaming if they had actually done something like that to one of the most authoritarian Liberal leaders in a long time.
It ‘s always good to see the old traditions wheeled out again. So, just like the bad old Cold War days, any alternative to government policy is aiding the enemy, eh?
It’s actually a bit deeper than that. Worldwide, conservatives have never quite got used to the idea that democracy means that on occasion non-conservative and even leftish political parties will be elected to government. Conservatives tend to identify the country with themselves, so even non-conservative governments are somehow suspect. This was all a lot easier when communism was the big bogey, because they assumed a direct escalation from legitimate right/conservative politics to dubious centrist politics to definitely suss left politics to outright treason. So much neater than when so many conservatives supported those upstart fascists who made such a mess of the world.
So when would Australian military personnel come home? If we don’t decide when, the US will. The Bush administration is keen to get US forces out before the coming presidential elections, but Iraq seems a long way from anything like peace. Most likely US troops will go home when US domestic politics decides, like a lot of other places where the US has left without leaving peace behind.
And finally, what is democracy if it is not about making decisions on when, where and why a country’s armed forces fights? If we stay in Iraq because, as Howard claims, it would encourage the terrorists if we leave, then they are calling the shots, not us. And after all, isn’t it democracy that all the fighting is supposedly about – against the terrorists, and now we know there are no WMDs, in Iraq itself?

Posted by Peter at 12:41 pm | Comments Off on Whose Decision? |
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