October 13, 2003


Was The Age duped? A letter to The Age from US Embassy public affairs counsellor Susan R. Crystal suggests that something is amiss:

Your article "Bush program ruffles feathers" referred to an alleged White House briefing memo about President Bush's upcoming visit to Australia. The White House issued no such memo nor was the memo itself on White House stationery. We do not know who wrote the memo, but we do know that the October 8 White House statement announcing President Bush's trip to Asia is the only official document released by the US Government on the visit.

In reviewing the alleged briefing memo, I counted four references to Prime Minister John Howard before one obviously mistaken reference to "John Major". It is clear that whoever wrote this report knew that John Howard was the Prime Minister of Australia and just made an inadvertent error.

Finally, I would like to note that, contrary to what the article stated, President Clinton also visited Australia and addressed a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament.

Interesting. According to The Age, the alleged briefing "gets off to a shaky start by identifying the Australian Prime Minister as John Major" -- yet Crystal writes that the Major reference came after four mentions of John Howard. As is the case so often these days, I’m more inclined to believe the government than the press (and I'd believe Zelda the carnival fortune teller before The Age, which, you’ll recall, recently published Alison Broinowski’s Dowded-up version of a Richard Armitage speech).

On a semi-related topic, excitable commenter Jack Strocchi writes to remind us of the blame mail run by The Age last year after the Bali bombing:

We are paying in blood for John Howard's arse-licking, ignorance and xenophobic bigotry.

That was from Bob Ellis. Haven’t heard much from Bob lately. Is he in Gitmo? And from Fraser Nock:

Assuming that Islamic fundamentalists are to blame for the horror in Bali, I am angry with the US for helping to foster a global environment where such acts are deemed necessary.

He blames Islamic fundamentalists, but is angry at the US. Carlo Canteri wrote:

I explicitly place the responsibility at the feet of Howard and Downer. They may as well have pushed the button themselves.

Judith Maher was even more to the point:

Prime Minister, I blame you.

Have these monsters evolved at all in the last 12 months? Not much. Here’s John Forth in today’s Age:

What happened in Bali? A terrorist bomb exploded in a neighbouring country - not Australia. Many people were killed and injured; a significant number happened to be Australian citizens. End of story, more or less. It seems to me that most of the response is essentially media and Government-generated hype. An example of collective self-indulgent narcissism.

Nice. Real nice.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 13, 2003 04:57 PM

I'd personally like to see these tuggers try delivering that load of crap to a group of the survivors. I'm sure the eloquent Jake Ryan would offer up some valuable insights on the effect of being blown up and laying blame. He would, like any rational person, lay the blame at the feet of the bombers.

This whole "we're to blame, we're so evil" shtick has run paper thin but the stupid among us still keep it up. It's shaming to have such people among the population.

Posted by: Jake D at October 13, 2003 at 05:15 PM

Yes, let's have a live television debate, Monday Conference-style, between the sneering commentariat/letter writers and some of the innocent bystanders who were injured in the pre-meditated, murderous terrorist atrocity.

Suggestions called for moderator.

Posted by: ilibcc at October 13, 2003 at 05:29 PM

Tim, I am American and I don't get ozzie TV. But you need a show. I know you could rise to the challenges presesnted by the new medium, and after practicing for a while you would be such a FAVORITE among the Mark-Steyn-reading set of thr world that your presence as an opinion on world TV would be guaranteed.

I mean, how often does Fox news et al say "Here is our opinion from Down Under...".

Come on mate...

Marc Siegel

Posted by: Marc S at October 13, 2003 at 05:40 PM

What year was this "new medium" invented in? 1927 or thereabouts?

Can anyone keep up with all this modernity happening all over the place?

Posted by: Pod at October 13, 2003 at 05:50 PM

Does anyone know how I might get hold of the original memo so I can wave the numerous correct references to John Howard in a few people's faces?

Posted by: William Bowe at October 13, 2003 at 05:54 PM

On the subject of Bali - there's been a nice poem by Bruce Dawe doing the rounds lately - I think I first saw it in The Australian - but you can find a copy in Miranda Devine's latest column, HERE.

Posted by: TimT at October 13, 2003 at 06:03 PM

The absence of empathy is supposed to be one of the main psychological qualities of a sociopath. Whether that applies to any of these letter writers or not, I don't know but I do know there's no point arguing with them.They deserve to be ignored.

Posted by: gaz at October 13, 2003 at 06:13 PM

'End of story' for him perhaps. But then again, his kith and kin's remains aren't scattered around the vicinity of what once was the Sari Club.

Narcissistic arsehole.

Posted by: Mick at October 13, 2003 at 06:23 PM

What happened in France? An invasion in a neighbouring country - not Australia/US/Canada/UK etc. Many people were killed and injured; a significant number happened to be Australia/US/UK etc citizens. End of story, more or less. It seems to me that most of the response is essentially media and Government-generated hype. An example of collective self-indulgent narcissism.

John Forth, The Age, 1942

Posted by: ilibcc at October 13, 2003 at 06:37 PM

Major 'gaffe' was minor slip

That is the title given to the letter by the Age. That seems to imply that the letter writer is tyring to explain away a mistake when if fact she is denying that memo all togeather. The quotes given in the article should have rang warning bells for the AGE.

* "the Aussies are looking forward to having Mr and Mrs Bush stay in their capital".
Would the White House every refer to the President in such an informal manner.

*"You have a better chance of being struck by lightning than getting mugged here,"
If this was being written from the prospective of a person in the US to US journalists wouldn't it have said "...getting mugged there" instead of here.

Of course when something proving your own belief that Americans are all stupid falls in your lap you don't dig too hard.

Posted by: Robin Wade at October 13, 2003 at 06:47 PM

And the winner is:

As usual the SMH.

With this lot of myopic,masochist,self loathing shite.

"No one can diminish the pain of the victims of the Bali bombings, or that of their relatives and friends. Any senseless slaughter and maiming of innocent civilians leaves the same legacy of pain, regardless of who inflicted it or where. It has been inflicted on Australian Aborigines, on Palestinians, on Japanese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Afghans, Iraqis and countless others by acts perpetrated by governments and organisations of many nations. Ultimately the ones responsible are those who order the acts of war and those who carry them out".

David Lyons, Hallidays Point, October 12.

Check this c@nts selective victim list.

Then again it was probably edited by the Smh.

Posted by: dave at October 13, 2003 at 07:40 PM

I read David Lyons' letter with interest. I guess the European Axis Powers are part of the "countless others". Would a jury of your peers convict you, if you took an axe handle to such people?

Posted by: gmc at October 13, 2003 at 07:58 PM

Unlike many people, you take time to read an article --carefully. Good on you. It would be a better world if more people did the same.

Posted by: Gadfly at October 13, 2003 at 08:28 PM

LGF mentions an article by Jake Ryan, Guilt lies only with the killers.

Posted by: Andjam at October 13, 2003 at 08:38 PM

But Dave, David Lyons of Hallidays Point is clearly referring to acts of violence on Australian Aborigines by other Aboriginal tribes, by Jordanians on Palestinians, by Russians on Japanese, by Chinese on Vietnamese, by Japanese on Koreans, by Russians on Afghans and by Iranians on Iraqis. This demonstration of even handedness by the SMH and David Lyons is symptomatic of the chronic failure of the media to comprehend the unremitting evil of the US, Australia and the UK.

Posted by: Marko at October 13, 2003 at 08:58 PM

hey - great article by Jake Ryan.

But you people really are quite stupid. Some actions do have consequences... and if you know your action will result in a potential response that is bad, then it is not always responsible to take such an action. This is not rocket science. It is not unreasonable to suggest that previous actions taken by western governments may have increased the tendency for some people to take violent actions against the west. I don't believe the provocation was sufficient to justify the Bali bombing - but I'm not so stupid as to not notice the link.

It is not sufficient to simply say a bad thing happened to a good person. Sure - that is true. But bad things happened to some innocent (and good) Germans during WWII. It does not necessarily follow that those actions shouldn't have been taken. And trying to understand the reasons does not make somebody a sociopath.

The reaction on this blog is another indicator of the right-wing following the left-wing in prizing emotion over rational thought. No wonder rationalism is attacked when there are so few rational people left in a debate.

Posted by: John Humphreys at October 14, 2003 at 12:39 PM

John Humphreys,

Did the innocent Balinese deserve to be incinerated too? What about the other Asians and South Americans?

So using your argument I could have a (semi)legitimate claim to mass murder people from other nations because their government or religious leaders have done or said things I don't like.

Personally I find comments by Malaysia's PM to be deeply offensive to Australians and Anglos in general. Am I now justified in hunting down some poor Malaysian tourist and topping him?

No of course I'm not. Nobody would condone that, but it seems when it's members of the Religion of Peace then they get all these folks standing up to protect their right to murder.

I don't call that fair, I call that racism against both Anglos (evil by nature) and ROP's (too primitive to be held to account).

Posted by: Huddo at October 14, 2003 at 01:53 PM

"But you people really are quite stupid. Some actions do have consequences... and if you know your action will result in a potential response that is bad".

Hey fuckhead. Ain't you a typical sanctimonious
lefty with a "It's all fault" mentality.

Perhaps you are the stupid one with a humanity
based on a circle jerk of what action comes first.

Well here's a few actions and reactions
for you.

Hitler= Churchill.
Cancer= Chemotherapy
Taliban=US armed forces.

11/09/01.=Time to get serious with terrorist
physcopaths whose greivances have
legitimacy only when based on a
medievial vision of Islam.

Now,John,fuck off and give your next lecture
at uni.

Posted by: dave at October 14, 2003 at 03:51 PM

Well said John!!!!

There's nothing quite
as rational as tossing
an ultra rational:

"You people are stupid"

Into the viewpoint you have
brought to the debate.

Although we won't mention
short skirts and rapists.

Why is it that people like
yourself see every vile
action as having a rational
thought process behind it?

Who are you? Martin Bryant's

Posted by: Heavy at October 14, 2003 at 04:12 PM

Given today's lax jail conditions, he could be Martin Bryant.

(Pace, John, I'm saying 'could be'!)

Posted by: pooh at October 14, 2003 at 06:51 PM

Well, looking at it rationally, the openly and repeatedly stated aim of the Islamist extremists is the overthrow of the West and the subjugation of the entire globe to "the peace of Allah". They say that is the purpose of jihad for all proper Muslims. It has nothing to do with Palestinian grievances or any other current shibboleths. It is a long-term project with the aim of world domination.
And you can bet nuclear weapons will be part of the endgame, as Iran's alarming and sinister conduct shows (even the UN is crapping itself). Not to mention the pro-militant nuke-armed security establishment of Pakistan, and so on.

It really makes absolutely no difference what appeasements are offered. Only mass conversion to Islamic rule will do.

I think it is clear what the response of the rest of us ought to be.
That rational enough for you, John?

Posted by: Dave F at October 14, 2003 at 09:17 PM