January 16, 2004


Jim Nolan urges the Australian Labor Party to join the pro-war left:

While it was easy for Mark Latham to excoriate the Liberals' support for the US as part of the "conga line of suckholes", the arguments of the most successful social democratic leader ever - Tony Blair - have been quietly overlooked without any need felt for explanation or justification. Passionate articles making a case for intervention on humanitarian grounds by, to name just two, Jose Ramos Horta and Vaclav Havel, have been passed without comment.

Can we expect a vigorous debate on these issues at Labor's national conference or will it be more of the same lazy consensus that has persistently shrunk from confronting the real human rights argument for intervention in Iraq.

Tony Blair, Ann Clwyd, Jose Ramos Horta, Vaclav Havel, Barham Salih, Christopher Hitchens - now that's a "conga line" any self-respecting leftie should be proud to join.

Posted by Tim Blair at January 16, 2004 02:14 PM

Bush lied, people died. Blair Clwyd Horta Havel Slih Hitchens just aren't as smart as me, that's all. They were sucked in by that idiot Bush, who lied. Simple as that.

Gee I am so tired about hearing about how many people Saddam killed. Can't we just put him back in power already?

Posted by: Cyber at January 16, 2004 at 02:33 PM

Bush removed Saddam so he could have a go at killing millions of Iraqis!

Posted by: Some idiotic leftist at January 16, 2004 at 03:06 PM

Masquerading is fun.

Posted by: Marty at January 16, 2004 at 03:07 PM

No blood for human rights.

Posted by: Mike Hunt at January 16, 2004 at 03:11 PM

Mike Hunt
When I say your name, am I supposed to assume it's mine ? Or is it yours ?
Why would I want one anyway ? You can rent them real cheap.

Posted by: Ben Dover at January 16, 2004 at 03:27 PM

You can rent them cheap, but you can also get them for free at the pub on a Friday night.

Posted by: Mike Hunt at January 16, 2004 at 03:36 PM

But you get what you pay for - pay peanuts, get monkeys - pay Pina Coladas, get drunk sluts ...

Posted by: Ben Dover at January 16, 2004 at 04:12 PM

You right wingers are really into 'human rights' aren't you.
The same people who supported the Tampa decision really care about all the 'kids' in Iraq, don't you.
You know what guys? You keep telling yourselves it was all about 'liberation.'
Maybe one day you will actually believe your own bullshit.

Posted by: Jack at January 16, 2004 at 04:59 PM

Hey guys!
Jacks right! I never thought of it before, damn, how did I miss it ? It was so obvious!

Thank you Jack, Thank you - you've turned my life around. Without you I would have gone on being a snarling, drooling neanderthal right-wing death beast.

But now, thanks to you Jack - I'm a lefty, yes thats right - a completely retarded total idiot - just like you !


(...thats the word they use in Japan for guys like you)

Posted by: Arik at January 16, 2004 at 05:12 PM

they have kids in iraq? i thought saddam gassed all the little bastards! jack... i've never had to make a Tampon decision, i'm a bloke. i did once have to buy a pack for a girlfriend but there was NO decision involved on my part.

Posted by: roscoe. at January 16, 2004 at 05:14 PM

Tim Dunlop has collected quotes of politicians in the US and Australia (eg this saying (pre-war) that human rights wouldn't be sufficient justification for going to war, and he claims that politicians are now arguing that it was sufficient grounds to go to war.

(It's a thread Tim Blair's commented in, BTW)

Posted by: Andjam at January 16, 2004 at 05:19 PM

One good reason to talk about human rights is to shame the anti-war crowd, who claimed they opposed the war because of the great cost in human suffering it would bring.

If they cared about the cost in human suffering, they would have been the biggest supporters of the war - because it was by removing Saddam that the true human suffering in Iraq was brought to an end.

But ridiculing anti-war people for their obvious hypocrisy does not mean war supporters see human rights as the main justification for the war. The main justification is exactly what Bush said it was:

"Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq. A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth, will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States."

Posted by: Tim Shell at January 16, 2004 at 05:49 PM

Whoa, what about 'Saddam's rights'?

Saddam had the right to murder whomever he liked. Yet another example of the US trampling on the rights of others.

Posted by: nic at January 16, 2004 at 06:20 PM

Picture... (try not to laugh please)... picture Al Gore before the United Nations pushing for "serious consequences" and regime change et all in an attempt to finish what Clinton wanted but didn't finish in 1998. There would probably be a lot of politically opportunistic Republicans in the US that would be opposed to any war in Iraq who would start wearing tie-dye and asking to give peace a chance. But you know what? I wouldn't be one of them, and I'd support Gore even if it meant, you know, supporting Gore.

I would really like to know how many of the angry anti-war crowd who are trying to question the right's case for war and ignore the left's case would have supported a liberal administration's attempt to remove Saddam, or if they would have all conveniently switched sides as quickly as they jump to question the humanitarian case for the war.

Posted by: Sortelli at January 16, 2004 at 07:07 PM

"...I never regarded WMD as the main reason to go to war. The real reason to go to war was (1) to establish a military and democratic presence in the Arab world (which we've done); (2) to make an example of Saddam to intimidate other Arab leaders (which we've done); and (3) to cut off Saddam as a source of support -- both existing and potential -- for terrorists, which we've also done. The WMD was a nontrivial issue, and required for playing the UN game (which I always regarded as a mistake) but not, to me, the most important issue.

The WMD was an alligator, but the point of the exercise is to drain the swamp."
Glenn Reynolds

That is all.

Posted by: madne0 at January 16, 2004 at 10:04 PM

Saddam Hussein's big heroes and role models were first Hitler and later, Stalin. What great blokes - we all remember them with affection. Sure are a lot of "fuzzy utopians" (read: jackass "humanitarians") floating around the ozone layer. Yeah, they were the same crowd who supported Hitler as a progressive socialist advancing the German nation. Like PT Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute. Somethings just don't change, si?

Posted by: Yanqui Virago at January 16, 2004 at 11:05 PM

Tampons? My wife once sent me out to get her some of those and I came back with a package of Depends. She hasn't bothered repeating her request.

Posted by: Doc at January 17, 2004 at 12:08 AM

For the Yanks: the Tampa was a Norwegian container ship that rescued a floundering over-loaded boat of would-be illegal immigrants in the waters to the north of Australia. They effectively hijacked the ship, forcing the captain to take them to Christmas Island - an outpost of Australian territory - so they could claim asylum under our ridiculously generous "asylum" laws and appeals system.

PM Howard used SAS troops to take over the ship, load the illegal immigrants onto a navy vessel and take them to the Pacific island of Nauru, where their asylum claims could be processed under standard UNHCR provisions. Such strong and decisive action went down a treat with the Australian electorate, who are sick and tired of all the namby-pamby PC crap that surrounded these issues for years.

Howard showed again that he is a "Man of Steel", as GWB calls him. Sure as hell sounds better than "Stalin", anyway!

The problem with people like Jack, who like to wear their capital-C "compassion" like a big badge of moral superiority, is that they fail to realise that there are many more deserving *genuine* refugees that we should be resettling before people who just want a better life and are prepared to pay criminals and risk their necks to get it. A rationally compassionate refugee policy demands that we take a firm and uncompromising stance against asylum-rorters.

Some of these illegal arrivals are genuine refugees - fine, process their claims under UNHCR rules and, if they are fair dinkum, they can wait their turn for resettlement in Australia or somewhere else. In the meantime, they are safe from the persecution from which thay are, or claim to be, fleeing.

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at January 17, 2004 at 10:06 AM

Thanks, Bob. I'd wondered what he was talking about.

Posted by: Sortelli at January 17, 2004 at 12:30 PM

Thanks Jack. I do have concern for chidren. Australian children first and formost.

If someone, or some group wants to hurt or bomb innocent Australians in their place of recreation, home or work, just because they don't share a common fundamentalist belief, then I'm glad to see all the fury of our military, as well as the military of our allies rain down upon them.

If Iraqi or Afghani children are freed from the bonds of repression as a side effect, then that is an added bonus.

If said fundamentalists are not keen on leaded death raining from the sky - they need to keep their lunatics under control and within their own borders. If not - as clearly demonstrated - there are consequences.

Posted by: Gilly at January 17, 2004 at 06:59 PM

you are implying only the left were against the invasion of Iraq.
This is incorrect.

Rightwing christians in Australia were against it. Indeed the Sydney Anglican diocese put out a very impressive paper by Andrew Cameron on Just War and Iraq to show the war had no biblical support. (Christians aren't pacifists by the way.)

Moreover Owen Harries Australia's leading conservative international affairs intellectual showed up the shallowness of the pro-war line in his recent Boyer Lectures.

People on both sides of the political line were and are divided on whether Australia should have invaded Iraq.

Posted by: Homer Paxton at January 18, 2004 at 02:38 PM

Homer: all Christians aren't right wing. If the Australian Anglican church is following the trend of the English and American one, it's quite the leftish organization these days.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 18, 2004 at 11:56 PM