Attila the Pun
Sunday, May 16, 2004
no hostage to reason

Paul Sheehan continues the Sydney Morning Herald's fine tradition of Howard hatred today.
He starts with the Budget:

"He denies it is a profligate budget, but then he has repeatedly asked the Australian public to believe the unbelievable. This has a cumulative effect, and now he must survive the collateral damage of the mayhem of Muslim rage."

Unfortunately for Nick Berg, he was unable to survive the mayhem of Muslim rage. Then onto Iraq and Afghanistan:

"What on earth was Bush thinking when, having routed the Taliban in Afghanistan but not yet stabilised the country, he moved on to subjugate and occupy Iraq, an even bigger and ungovernable tribal society? Is there no limit to his insularity?"

Is there no limit to journalistic arrogance? I know these people are paid to write as though they know what they are talking about, but we were told about how the Taliban would take months to fall, and the harsh Afghan winter, then onto the unbeatable Saddam and the Stalingrad seige of Baghdad. And none of it was correct. Now every anti-war journalist is attempting to grab any piece of bad news (of which there is plenty) from Iraq in order to claim what a disaster the entire operation was. Then we have this:

And then there is the disaster known as Palestine, the fulcrum for the globalisation of anti-Semitism

And this is Howard's fault how?

Thinking like a terrorist, Sheehan assumes that Western countries will baulk at some imagined level of casualties:

What will happen to their political support if more Western soldiers keep coming home in coffins? Five more American soldiers died over the weekend, bringing the death toll to 44 for the month, 785 for the war, plus 59 British military dead, and 50 other allied soldiers, an allied military total of 894 dead.

Every dead allied soldier is a tragedy. The ghoulish fascination that some commentators have with the total number of deaths is a disgrace.

Sheehan then makes more assumptions about the Australian electorate:

What if more Westerners are butchered on video for broadcast on the internet? What if the three young Japanese civilians, cringing on television, had been burned alive as their captives had threatened? What would happen to Howard's standing if another three innocents are actually burned alive, or an Australian is beheaded for the cameras, or a bomb goes off in Town Hall station? How much collateral damage can he sustain before some of the blood sticks?

You and your SMH buddies would do your best to make the blood of any innocents 'stick', and would probably take a perverse pleasure in doing so. Outside media circles though, I think you will find that the 'butchering' of more Westerners will provoke the same feelings among the bulk of the population as the murder of Nick Berg did - revulsion, and white hot anger. Not anger towards Howard however, but towards the animals that perpetrated the foul deed. Sheehan likes to go on about Bush's 'insularity' (it gets mentioned twice) but I think he needs to consider the media's insularity. Various things that are taken as gospel, especially in the fairfax press, are not reflected in the rest of Australia. The ongoing decline of their circulation figures is a testament to this.

Even more transparently disingenuous was his nostrum that Australia was not in greater danger of terrorist acts because it was America's most loyal surrogate. Australians, he argued, were already a target and scores had been massacred in the Bali bombings well before the invasion of Iraq.

Sheehan's reply to this "disingenuous nostrum"? Nothing, he completely ignores it, and goes back to the Budget. Why? Because what Howard said is true. Australia was a target prior to Iraq. Officially because of our actions in East Timor (which, as usual, is not mentioned by an anti-Howard journo), but mainly because we are a rich Western nation.

"Islamic mayhem might just help Howard rather than finish him"

Once again with the 'mayhem'. It isn't mayhem Paul, it is terrorism. Cold blooded murder. Not perpetrated by Howard or Bush, but by islamic terrorists.

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