January 23, 2004

MANHATTAN SNEER HOUND

Maureen Dowd in the New York Times:

Can you believe President Bush is still pushing the cockamamie claim that we went to war in Iraq with a real coalition rather than a gaggle of poodles and lackeys?

Reader Matt F. writes: ďI didn't know that poodles were eligible for service in the Australian SAS. Please clarify.Ē That line confused me, too, Matt. As far as I was aware, the only role for poodles in our SAS was as occasional target practice (they're cheap and speedy). Letís see if US Army Officer Jason Van Steenwyk, currently in Iraq, can help:

I wonder how many of these soldiers she's had the privilege of looking in the eye? I've met and worked with soldiers from the UK, Australia, New Zealand (Hey, Maureen, how come you don't bother mentioning these in your list? Can it be you're stacking the deck?), Poland, the Ukraine, Romania, Azerbaijan, and Denmark.

I've also met Fijians. Those guys ride around in swivel chairs with machine gun mounts on the backs of pickup trucks guarding Iraqi Currency Exchange convoys. Their role is absolutely vital, their job dangerous as hell, and they are as tough as two-dollar steaks.

Further, Maureen, believe me -- the ANZACS are not poodles, nor lackeys. Nor do they represent a government who is.

The rest of Dowdís column is such a mess I doubt whether the SMH or The Age, which sometimes run her pieces, will pick it up. Pity. Australian readers might then ask of Maureen and her craven NYT friends: ďWhy do they hate us?Ē

(In fact, thatís a question you can ask Daniel Okrent, recently appointed as the NYTís reader advocate. Email him here.)

Posted by Tim Blair at January 23, 2004 10:42 AM
Comments

Too bad Maureen doesn't do TV appearances -- the way her writing seems to be going, she could provide the female background vocal harmony to Howard Dean's YARRRGGHHHH from last Monday in Iowa.

Posted by: John at January 23, 2004 at 10:49 AM

The New York Times has two wacko pundits, Dowd & Krugman. And now conservative Brooks has been sounding disturbingly schmaltzy of late.

I think itís way past time for an investigation of the air & water at the NYT offices.

Again & again, a pundit decides what feelings are correct, & proceeds to try to will or manipulate himself/herself into feeling them. Is there a chemical that does that?

Posted by: ForNow at January 23, 2004 at 10:54 AM

(Itís too late now from the viewpoint of good writing, but I meant, not a chemical that influences feelings, but one that induces people to try to force or manipulate themselves into having feelings that they intellectually believe are correct.)

Posted by: ForNow at January 23, 2004 at 11:01 AM

Sure is FoxNow, it's bound up with lacking afew squillion grey cells which means below average synapses and all the chemical reactions involved:she's all but brain dead it can be conjectured.

Posted by: d at January 23, 2004 at 11:05 AM

Who is the more unhinged, Margo or MoDo? Are they both on drugs? Do they belong to the same union?

Posted by: Aaron at January 23, 2004 at 11:24 AM

She is a rocket surgeon: An intelligent person with no common sense.

Posted by: gettothepoint at January 23, 2004 at 11:29 AM

Well, what is the correct word for a nation that follows the policy of another country without independent consideration, solely in order to ingratiate itself with that country?

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 11:31 AM

Mork, that would be America under Carter.

Posted by: gettothepoint at January 23, 2004 at 11:34 AM

MoDo is pond scum without any of its redeeming qualities.

Posted by: Cracker Barrel Philosopher at January 23, 2004 at 11:34 AM

Hey Mork,

Not sure what the term for a "nation that follows the policy of another country without independent consideration, solely in order to ingratiate itself with that country", but I would call a country that comes to the aid of an another that is fighting a just war: FRIEND.

Posted by: JFH at January 23, 2004 at 11:46 AM

Bravo JFH. A grand salami.

For our Aussie friends (and British friends and Italian friends and Spanish and Japanese and . . . .) - A grand salami is a grand slam in baseball. You guys probably know that since baseball is big down there. Home run with the bases full (3 on) - scores four runs.

Hey, Australia. Us Yanks once again: Thanks for your help. It won't be forgotten. Dammed straight it won't be forgotten.

SMG

Posted by: SteveMG at January 23, 2004 at 11:56 AM

Why does this Dowd woman have a job? She is always wrong, can't write for toffee and was caught out using an ellipsis that completely changed the sense of the relvant utterance. Yet those twats at the NY Times still let her rant. I'm all for free speech, but you have to wonder why the NY Times thinks that anyone takes this stupid woman seriously.

To borrow a phrase from the late great Anthony Powell: she's so wet you could shoot snipe off her.

Posted by: Toryhere at January 23, 2004 at 12:00 PM

I have a few ideas as to why the concept of "friend" seems to be so alien to Mork. Anyone want to hazard a guess?

Posted by: Slartibartfast at January 23, 2004 at 12:00 PM

Cripes--or crikey, as you say down there--how many times do I have to tell you? There is no "Maureen Dowd." It's a joke played on the readership by the NY Times editorial staff. "MoDo," as we fans like to call the construct, is a parody of stereotypical flibbertigibbet women writers.

You don't think the Times, problem-ridden as it may be, would actually hire someone so ditzy, do you? Ergo, MoDo is just a little practical joke the Times plays on us.

If you doubt me, just ask yourself: has anyone ever seen "Maureen Dowd" and Margo Kingston in the same room?

Posted by: Alex Bensky at January 23, 2004 at 12:01 PM

Sure, SMG. Try telling that to the Australian farmers whose cheaper products are shut out of US markets by tariffs and quotas and have to compete with heavily subsidized US farm produce in foreign markets.

In US/Australian relations, the US always acts in its own interests, and always will.

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 12:03 PM

The concept your looking for Mork is SOLIDARITY.

Posted by: LB at January 23, 2004 at 12:05 PM

Mork asked:

"Well, what is the correct word for a nation that follows the policy of another country without independent consideration, solely in order to ingratiate itself with that country?"

Answer:

Uh, I think you are referring to the Democratic platforms position on how the United States should act towards France, Germany, and Russia.

Posted by: Narniaman at January 23, 2004 at 12:05 PM

what a stupid bitch. nuff said.

Posted by: Oktober at January 23, 2004 at 12:07 PM

There has been much chatter about American contempt for allies. I guess little Maureen proves some of that true. I guess it's only fake allies we're supposed to respect.

Posted by: David at January 23, 2004 at 12:08 PM

Here is a copy of the email I'm sending to the NYT.
-------------------
Mr. Okrent,

I was rather surprised to read Ms. Dowd was comparing members of the coalition to poodles. I was curious what other experts of Ms. Dowd stature would have to say on this topic so I asked my poodle for his opinion. This is what I heard in reply, "bark, bark, Bark, BARK, bark, grrrrr, grrrrr, bark, pisssssssssssss, bark, bark, Bark, BARK, BARK, BARK"

Please let your publisher know my poodle has business with your paper every time Ms. Dowd's column appears. My poodle seems to find this relationship satisfactory and I hope the publishers feel their paper is being properly used.

Tom

Posted by: Tom (American Voter) at January 23, 2004 at 12:18 PM

Tim, took your advice. Emailed Danny Okrent asking him to respond to the people who helped him get a job & use his influence to hire a real "columnist".

Posted by: janD at January 23, 2004 at 12:25 PM

Your arrogance is astonishing, Mork.

Posted by: BradDad at January 23, 2004 at 12:29 PM

Sure, SMG. Try telling that to the Australian farmers whose cheaper products are shut out of US markets by tariffs and quotas and have to compete with heavily subsidized US farm produce in foreign markets.

Sorry Mork, I've seen plenty of Australian produce in my grocery stores, and most of it's decent. But a lot of it spends so much time on a boat getting here that it's kinda box-shaped when it gets on the shelves, y'know?

Posted by: rosignol at January 23, 2004 at 12:34 PM

It continually amazes me that so many people in the "West" want us to fail in Iraq and Afghanistan and anywhere else where we are trying to root out terror groups. Our success, so it seems to me, is critical to our survival as Western societies. Why do so many of our own people hope we fail? A study of these commentators would surely provide enough material for a whole conference on mental disorders.

Posted by: John Elliot at January 23, 2004 at 12:39 PM

Just remember that the NY Times is also the paper who hired thugs in Baghdad to keep the Bad Guys away from their Baghdad offices. The NYT definition of "Bad Guys" has been "any Iraqi" so that their hired hands were *also* keeping legitimate owners of buildings and property around the Times' offices out of *their* buildings, too.

The female personage who hired the thugs has since been replaced. No word yet on whether the thugs were demoted, too.

In addition, the Times has had a couple of fairly bad plagiarism scandals, so all in all, their little ombudsman dude must be scurrying around like crazy, stamping out this and that fire.

Aside to the Aussies: Good on you. Much appreciation. And to everyone else who pitched in, too. It's just that Australia is *soooooo* much farther away to have to travel to do a friend a favor. Especially when compared with, oh, say, someplace like Canada.

Posted by: NahnCee at January 23, 2004 at 12:44 PM

Mark ó I've got a bottle of Bloody Good Red Australian Shiraz on my table now. I can drive twenty minutes and be at a restaurant that will serve me a kangaroo steak. Fosters is a wonderful beer and you can make the cans look like motor oil and hide'em for field exercises. I don't hold "Xanadu" against you. What more do you want?

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at January 23, 2004 at 12:46 PM

New Zealand troops in Iraq?

Peace activists think they are.

Evidence NZ isn't as bad as France.

Posted by: Andjam at January 23, 2004 at 12:47 PM

Thats a pretty big call Andjam. Richard, thanks for the sentiments, but sooner or later you will realise that Fosters is just like Corona in Mexico, we only export it to dopey for'n places. We'd never dream of drinking the shit ourselves. We keep all the good stuff in the country.

Posted by: Todd at January 23, 2004 at 12:55 PM

Can't vouch for the agricultural products - and really, France, the US and other western countries SHOULD be ashamed of themselves for their farm quotas - but all I drink is Australian wine. There is a ton of selection over here in Chicago (the Midwest).

And echoing other comments, you Aussies are okay in our books. Thanks.

Posted by: Earl Camembert at January 23, 2004 at 12:58 PM

Richard: currently, the U.S. imposes prohibitive tariffs or restrictive quotas on imports of the following products that Australia produces more cheaply than the U.S.: sugar, beef, milk, milk powder, cheese, butter and cream. Each of these is a major Australian export commodity.

In addition, farm subsidies result in U.S.- produced corn, wheat, rice and soy beans being sold into export markets at around half of what it cost to produce them ... in may cases, these products compete directly with Australian exports.

No U.S. administration or Congress has ever taken a decision that is contrary to U.S. interests ... or even contrary to its own domestic political interests, because it assisted Australia. If you think I'm wrong, try to name one.

That's what makes Australia a lackey, and not a friend.

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 01:02 PM

Let's see, if I recall correctly, Ms Dowd was all over Trent Lott for his comments that were considered to be an endorsement of predjudice. She was one of the people calling quite loudly for his resignation.

In this case, I believe we should loudly call for the resignation of Ms. Dowd. She is a public figure, in as much as she writes a widely distributed column read the world over. She has made predjudicial remarks about a sizeable amount of the world's population. Yes, I think the calls for Ms Dowd to resign should be very loud and very insistent indeed.

Posted by: Teresa at January 23, 2004 at 01:03 PM

Just noticed that her guess at Bush's American Macho steroid pusher is Russell Crowe. Later the inspiration is Mel Gibson. That seem a bit weird to anyone?

Posted by: David at January 23, 2004 at 01:05 PM

Mork, *every* nation in the world acts in what it considers to be its own best interests. For some reason, you just can't stand the fact that Australia considers its alliance with the U.S., rather than France or Germany, to be in *Australia's* best interest.

Posted by: david at January 23, 2004 at 01:10 PM

Actually, MoDo didn't call Australia a poodle - she hid you guys by dowdifying Bush's list of 17 (+17). She omitted Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Hungary,* then listed the other twelve "poodles and lackeys." (I would like clarification - is Italy a poodle or a lackey? What about Spain? Which countries are not poodles or lackies?)

* The first 4 were the first 4 in Bush's list, but Hungary is right in the middle. I have no idea why she omitted Hungary, which I imagine should be at least as poodlerific on her scale as Spain or Poland.

Posted by: J Mann at January 23, 2004 at 01:13 PM

I'm sure that all the Brit, Aussie, Polish, Fijian, and other soldiers in Iraq would be less than amused to be called "American lackeys" to their faces. MoDo wouldn't last 5 minutes over there.

And as an American, I'm grateful for the friendship of Australians, even if I don't always agree with their politics. I'm sure many Aussies don't like our politics either. :)

Posted by: Anne Haight at January 23, 2004 at 01:13 PM

Mork:

The US farm subsidy system is a mess. It runs counter to overall US interests and not just those of agricultural exporters like Australia.

We support America not because the give us money - that would make us lackeys - but because they are our friends. And they are our friends because what they are doing is right.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 23, 2004 at 01:16 PM

Is Maureen Dowd a poodle or lackey in her New York social climbing?

Posted by: perfectsense at January 23, 2004 at 01:18 PM

Anne - we love American politics! It's so funny!

YEEEEEEAAAAARRRRGH!!!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 23, 2004 at 01:18 PM

Poodles don't climb well, not even socially.

Maybe she's a cross between a monkey and a poodle - a moodle. That would make (ahem) perfect sense.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 23, 2004 at 01:19 PM

Mork asks: Well, what is the correct word for a nation that follows the policy of another country without independent consideration, solely in order to ingratiate itself with that country?

Couple of different words for that. Try using Belgium or Germany.

Posted by: MB at January 23, 2004 at 01:20 PM

Ork to Mork: You're an ass. FARM SUBSIDIES is the reason why Australia is the U.S.'s "lackey?" Surely you could think of some better examples than that. (How about, just for laughs, the Australian citizens being held in the Gitmo dungeon, despite the Aussies' entreaties to their American friends?) You couldn't think of any other support for your contention because you're a fool who makes silly, indefensible statements and then tries to argue backwards. Come out from behind the plough sometime, hayseed, and try to support your bigotry with reasonably relevant facts. Dork.

Posted by: Sam at January 23, 2004 at 01:21 PM

Mork does have a point; U.S. agriculture subsidies do hurt Australian farmers (along with American consumers and taxpayers; it's a gift by American politicians to the farm state vote). Even if we wouldn't import much in the way of Australian wheat, for example, our subsidies and export credits artificially reduce Australia's export market. But every wealthy nation on Earth except Australia pulls that kind of crap; it's not a special American sin.

On the original point, however, the correct answer is "nonexistant". No country does that. The independent consideration might be

"I'm not sure if it makes sense to invade Iraq, but dammit, you know how much trouble Indonesia could cause us if the U.S. decided to write us off? Going along with them will save us trouble in the long run even if Bush is an idiot."

On the other hand, it might be "State-sponsored terrorism is a direct threat to the security of Australia, and Hussein's Iraq is a state sponsor of terrorists. The Australian people will be safer if he's deposed, and thank goodness the U.S. is going after them, because we can't invade it on our own."

But everybody does an independent consideration of their interests.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at January 23, 2004 at 01:23 PM

Mork obviously hasn't been paying attention to Ozzie wine sales.

Beating the "allies" you so admire. Leaping Lizard Shiraz and Merlot quite tasty and affordable!

Posted by: Sandy P. at January 23, 2004 at 01:31 PM

Pixy - that's naive. We participate in America's military adventures because we think it buys us protection. Same reason we went to Vietnam (the Cabinet papers for that decision, made by John Howard's political hero, Robert Menzies, are public, and they leave no doubt what the motive was, if you care to look it up).

The idiocy is thinking that sending troops makes any difference to the way America would behave if we were threatened. We keep buying insurance that we paid for long ago.

David - of course nations act in their interests (although in the case of farm subsidies and quotas, it is not the national interest that is stake, but the administration's political interests).

That's why it's both futile and unnecessary for Australia to behave like a lackey to the United States. US intervention if Australia were under threat would be based on interpretations of the US national interest, NOT because Australia sent troops to Iraq.

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 01:32 PM

I'm not sure why Maureen Dowd ever had a column, let alone why she continues to. Such dismissal and contempt of a country simply because... well, they aren't France. I mean that's what it all boils down to, if the French army (such as it is) were there, Mareen would be ecstatic about the Diplomatic powers of George Bush and the righteous cause of freeing women from fundamentalist oppressors.

It is kind of sad though, when you think about it. It's almost like a child with hands over her ears crying "La la la la la!" hoping the bad world will go away and be like her fantasy land. PResident Bush? No, he's a moron, a pretender, an evil genius capable of the most byzantine plots, no he's Alfred E Newman. Coalition of the Willing that has more member nations than the previous Gulf War? No, those nations don't count, they aren't the "right" nations and who cares about places I've never been to. I hear those Australians are every bit as macho and manly than those icky Middle Americans from flyover country like Wyoming. They simply are "window dressing" to quote John Edwards.

Tell it to the dead soldiers from Italy, Spain, the UK and the USA, Ms Dowd.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at January 23, 2004 at 01:33 PM

US intervention if Australia were under threat would be based on the interests of the people of the United States, who, with exceptions like Dowd, consider the Aussies friends.

Posted by: scott h. at January 23, 2004 at 01:52 PM

So, Mork, are you saying that removing the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Ba'athist regime in Iraq is:

(a) An "adventure"?
(b) Not in Australia's own interests?

(Apart from the obvious fact that these actions were in the Afghan's and the Iraqi's interests.)

And that being a reliable ally makes no difference in America's assessment of its own interests?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 23, 2004 at 02:00 PM

Evidently Mork considers himself and others who think like him as the only rightful deciders of what's in Australia's best interest. This is in opposition to say, a government democratically elected by the voters of Australia. I suggest that Mork try really, really hard to figure out how democracy works, then attempt to get his views supported in the next election (which, unlike Iraq and some other countries not only occurs as scheduled but actually lets opposing viewpoints be expressed and voted for.) Otherwise, I'd say his best bet is moving to Indonesia, or, if he's really brave, Saudi Arabia or Iran. (I'm betting even a twit of his proportions is totally unwilling to move to North Korea, where he would probably fit right in.)

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at January 23, 2004 at 02:08 PM

The madness at the New York Times can be attributed to sick building syndrome? Why hadn't I thought of that before?

Posted by: Graeme Thompson at January 23, 2004 at 02:15 PM

Mork: several decades ago the US had a large textile manufacturing base. This manufacturing has mostly been shipped overseas because it is vastly cheaper to do so.
Imagine the US lifts all import restrictions and stops the farm subsidies. Its very obvious that most US farms would be out of business in a few years. I can't see a more dangerous situation than the US depending on other nations to feed us. Yes, the system hurts everyone in the short term, but in the long term it ensures our independance.

Posted by: Pete at January 23, 2004 at 02:16 PM

MZZ Dowd seems to have her countries mixed up. I only know of French Poodles. At one time they were good hunting dogs. Now that they are all prettied up and perfumed they aren't worth a damn. We intend to win this war, the french don't know how to win, just whine and pee all over their dowager's feet. (mzz dowd)

Posted by: hal at January 23, 2004 at 02:28 PM

--The idiocy is thinking that sending troops makes any difference to the way America would behave if we were threatened.--

You don't know us very well, do you? How long did it take US to get there in WWII? 6 weeks tops w/full contingent?

We stayed out of the Falklands, Britain really didn't need our help. And you really didn't need our help in East Timor, you're adults, you can handle that, but, one reason Australia is a target now is East Timor. You've got big things brewing in your backyard and you can't do it alone. They're not going to leave you alone. Bali was an easier target.

Posted by: Sandy P. at January 23, 2004 at 02:29 PM

Pixy: I supported Australia going to Afghanistan because it was a legitimate expression of collective action in defense of a nation that had been illegally attacked. In addition, Al Qaeda seems to have chosen Australia as a target, and so it was clearly in Australia's interests to see it stopped. For these two reasons, fighting in Afghanistan made Australia safer.

Although I supported the U.S. going into Iraq (at the time, at least, I'm not sure whether I would if I knew what I know now), I did not think Australia should be involved. Iraq posed no threat to Australia whatsoever. And while America is large enough to disregard international law at will, Australia depends on the rules of international conduct for its security and a good many other things as well.

If going to Iraq made it more likely that America would respond if Australia were threatened, I can see the case for going. But it's just not credible. Hell, the U.S. would defend New Zealand if it were attacked, despite all that's happened in the last 10 or 15 years. We are in no danger of being abandoned.

Given that, Australia's involvement made us less, rather than more safe.

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 02:33 PM

Sandy - in fact, the U.S. did provide a lot of valuable assistance in East Timor (including a pretty specific threat to the Indonesian military brass that if they started to interfere with the peacekeeping force, the Marines would come straight in).

But, as always, this was based on U.S. assessments of its national interest (which places a high value on stability in the Asia-Pacific).

That strategic imperative is Australia's guarantee, not whether or not we send troops to this engagement or that.

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 02:42 PM

As an American, let me apologize to the good people of Australia and our other coalition allies for the ignorant pukes we have elected to staff our OpEd pages. We've done better choosing our President, however, and most of us are humbled and grateful for the troops who have put their lives on the line beside our own. Some of us know that what is going on in Iraq is a credit to all of those who are participating. The rest are Democrats like QraziMoDo.

After Monday night in Iowa, I keep thinking someone needs to refashion Kipling's "Gunga Din" into the ballad of Howard Dean. Go for it.

Posted by: ast at January 23, 2004 at 02:52 PM

Wait a sec... (for Mork)

"Iraq posed no threat to Australia whatsoever."

Perhaps not immediately, perhaps not next year. But it's incredibly naive to think Saddam wasn't going to emerge as a huge threat down the road. Not to mention that Saddam did support terrorists, there's absolutely no denying that he felt no qualms giving money and assistance to them. It would just have been a matter of time, given the status quo a year ago, before Saddam screwed up someone and it's impossible to say who he'd target.

And your last post has me confused now. You're saying that Australia doesn't need to help America because the U.S. would protect her regardless? Umm, with friends like that, who needs enemies?

Posted by: Dan at January 23, 2004 at 02:55 PM

Sandy -- actually, the United States provided a great deal of assistance to Britain in the Falklands war, including logistical support, signals intelligence, and the use of shared facilities.

Posted by: John Nowak at January 23, 2004 at 03:07 PM

You're saying that Australia doesn't need to help America because the U.S. would protect her regardless? Umm, with friends like that, who needs enemies?

Put it this way: why should Australia ever do anything contrary to its own interests in order to assist the United States, when the United States would never do anything contrary to its own interests to assist Australia?

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 03:08 PM

Dan, you've summarized Mork's position well, but you need to add a sanctimonious and cynical tone to be spot-on.

The thing is, I believe the US would help Australia, even if she weren't with us in Iraq and Afghanistan. We'd do it because it would be the right thing to do. Just as I believe we'd help out France or Germany in the future even though they're against us now.

And I believe Australia would help us (are helping us) because it's the right thing to do. (By right, I mean moral and appropriate not a self-serving calculation of interests and costs.)

Posted by: Polly at January 23, 2004 at 03:17 PM

Mork seems to be living in a mental universe where perfect realpolitik is the goal.

Unfortunately...

1)Bismarck's system of realpolitik in Europe worked fine, as long as a genius like Bismarck ran it. Depending on genius is a fragile strategy.

2)Nations are composed of people who are as people are-- not strictly motivated by a ruthless notion of national interest. I've little doubt that more than a few wars were started because the local leader got up on the wrong side of the bed on a critical morning.

3)Reliance on gaming the system can be corrupting of the spirit,and ultimately bring the system down.
Let's say Mork's Plan takes over. The Aussies currently have a self-image as honorable friends which is reinforced by the respect they get from around the world. Instead, they bank on their reading of US strategic interest, and they do not act as honorable friends.
Their mirrors begin to condemn them, and their courage begins to decay. Oh they are still brave, but not as their fathers were before them. And when a test comes, as it always does, they are less than they might have been.
And when the US intervenes to help them, it knows they are not honorable, and so it doesnot trust them with thier share, and so all are weakened.
And when this attitude is carried worldwide, and all try to game the system, eventually the US has not the strength to solve all the problems, and neither the will for its courage and honor have decayed as well under teh wilting poisen of a simplistic realpolitik.

Tadeusz

Posted by: Tadeusz at January 23, 2004 at 03:17 PM

Mork:

The United States, as rich and prosperous as it is, does have limited resources. Your attitude of "every nation for itself" may seem viable in the short-term, but is suicide later.

If the U.S. had truly acted unilaterally in Afghanistan and Iraq, it would be less able to render aid and assistance to a nation in need, whether it be Australia or New Zealand. The governments of the other members of the Coalition realize this. They also realize that if every nation decides to let the U.S. act alone in all its decisions, at some point the U.S. populace will raise a collective middle finger to the rest of the world in their times of need. Like Dan said, with friends like that, who needs enemies?

Oh, and if the United States is large enough to "disregard international law at will," then so are its *true* allies. This means Australia, the U.K., and the rest of the Coalition. "International law" is what kept a murderer and a tyrant in power until December 13, 2003.

Posted by: david at January 23, 2004 at 03:23 PM

Well, we're going to disagree about whether the Iraq war was in Australia's best interests at this point I think.

And we're falling into philosophy now... Is there such a thing as a selfless good deed? (I seem to remember a Friends episode on this score also...)

i.e. The terrible earthquake in Iran just recently. The U.S. sent relief to the victims. Did we gain anything out it? Of course we did, some international kudos, good will of the Iranian people, a step closer to establishing relations, etc...

Should we have done it even if we gained nothing? Absolutely. Would we have? I don't know. My suspicion is we would have, but it probably would have been thru 3rd parties so we didn't appear to be weak or some other political crap.

Posted by: Dan at January 23, 2004 at 03:31 PM

Although I supported the U.S. going into Iraq (at the time, at least, I'm not sure whether I would if I knew what I know now), I did not think Australia should be involved. Iraq posed no threat to Australia whatsoever.

It is true that Iraq had no plans to invade Australia.

It is also true that Iraq actively promoted terrorism and was doing its best to develop weapons of mass destruction (although it now seems that its best wasn't much).

It is also true that Iraq was suffering under an oppresive regime that killed vast numbers of Iraqis.

Now, obviously it's a good thing to remove this regime.

You appear to be arguing that since we have no direct interests in that region, it is best left America - because they can afford to ignore the complaints of the supporters and enablers of Saddam Hussein and we can't.

And that we should, by failing to back our allies in the campaign to liberate the Iraqis from this brutal dictatorship - that we should curry favour with exactly those countries enabling and supporting that dictatorship?

You are right that America would defend New Zealand if it was attacked, even though New Zealand has effectively withdrawn from the ANZUS treaty. So would Australia. And America would defend Australia even if we didn't actively support America at this time.

But that doesn't mean we should ignore our responsibilities and leave everything to the Americans.

As for our actions making us less safe - all we have done is advanced ourselves up the list of countries the Islamists want to destroy. We were already on the list. Every non-Islamic nation is. By taking part in our own defense, we have called attention to ourselves.

You would rather we hid under the bed?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 23, 2004 at 03:33 PM

Dear Australia,

Maureen Dowd sneers at everyone and everything. She is a nitwit. Please do not take it personally.

Best Wishes
United States and also Texas

Mork, maybe the Aussies are cooperating with the Americans now a) out of a true, independent sense that there was enough at stake for their involvement and b) participating fully in this action/adventure, they could earn some influence with America in the short term.

It's by acting in such a manner that the US would be much much more willing to come to any aid that's necessary than if, say, Oz had spluttered and moaned about diplomatic solutions that were never going to be achieved.

Anyway, last week, I bought a bunch of Brit pals a round of beer, even though not one of them supported the action. I didn't care - I was honored that despite all of that, their lads nevertheless on the ground and doing bang-up jobs, and at the very very least, this American thanked their people for their aid and sacrifice.

I need to gather up some Aussies and do the same for them.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at January 23, 2004 at 03:47 PM

Sam:

(How about, just for laughs, the Australian citizens being held in the Gitmo dungeon, despite the Aussies' entreaties to their American friends?)

First of all, Gitmo isn't a "dungeon". Second, I'm willing to give my government the benefit of the doubt that if Aussie citizens are being held there, it is because they were captured as enemy combatants in a war zone. If that is the case, they do not deserve any special treatment just because they are Australian citizens as opposed to Syrians or Saudis.

Posted by: Anne Haight at January 23, 2004 at 03:49 PM

How's it going, Mork? So doing the right and honorable thing isn't worth Australia's while, eh? I guess the Battle of the Coral Sea wasn't worth it, either? I mean the U.S. lost a great aircraft carrier, the Lexington, and for what? So future generations of Aussie's wouldn't have to speak Japanese and eat rice for breakfast?

We're just hurting ourselves by subsidizing our farmers and farming corporations. Australia is smart enough not to do that and as a result you have the most efficient farms on the planet. Contrary to Pete, we don't need these subsidies for food security. The free market will handle our nourishment needs quite nicely until Al Gore's globally-warmed oceans flood Iowa.

Anyway, to all the right-thinking Aussies and all of our coalition partners - many, many thanks. Ignore cracks like MoDo. And stop sending that piss Fosters over here.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at January 23, 2004 at 03:57 PM

Oops, Aussie's? I mean Aussies. Must be that Fosters.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at January 23, 2004 at 03:59 PM

Mork..

Democracies tend to have less destructive "self interests" than non-democracies.. It just so happens that our crudely selfish interests, have beaten back fascism, rebuilt broken countries,fed billions,and created technological breakthrough after breakthrough.. Our "self interests" have the odd by-product of making lives better... It should not be a surprise that a vibrant democratic, capitalistic Australia would have those same "interests"

Which side are you on? Or is it your "self interest" to be a screeching little bitch?

And yes. Farm subsidies are wrong.
Is that what you put on your anti-war posters in Sydney? Mork?

As far as food exports go, you have the Asian market open to you in ways we can only dream of here in the US.. Japan at this very moment is buying up as much Ausie beef it's freezers can hold. (Thank you mr mad cow)

Posted by: Arvin at January 23, 2004 at 04:00 PM

Is there such a thing as a selfless good deed?

Dan - I think we might end up finding that invading Iraq was a selfless good deed, in that it was good for most of the Iraqi people, but didn't provide America with benefits anywhere near commensurate with the cost ... but we won't know that for years.

Pixy - two quick points. First, I agree that Iraq won't make us more of a target for Islamic aggression than we were (East Timor did the trick there, and good on us). The diminished safety I mean is more in the sense of the impact of our role on the international framework that we (as a small country) rely on to manage our international affairs, and which we depend on to a much greater degree than the U.S., which can intimidate any rival. I'm not necessarily talking about a direct military threat, but more things like the countless maritime issues where we rely on the law of the sea convention and international tribunals to enforce our rights, or the economic issues where we rely on institutions like the WTO. But it's a pretty diffuse threat, so difficult to argue about in anything but the abstract.

As for "our responsibilities", well, that's really only an issue if we were actually doing anything that the U.S. couldn't do for itself. Our role in Iraq was as a token, and its real significance was as political cover to (unsuccessfully) disguise the reality of US/UK "dualateralism". It's hard to reconcile that role with lofty talk of "our responsibilities".

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 04:17 PM

3)Reliance on gaming the system can be corrupting of the spirit,and ultimately bring the system down.
Let's say Mork's Plan takes over. The Aussies currently have a self-image as honorable friends which is reinforced by the respect they get from around the world. Instead, they bank on their reading of US strategic interest, and they do not act as honorable friends.
Their mirrors begin to condemn them, and their courage begins to decay. Oh they are still brave, but not as their fathers were before them. And when a test comes, as it always does, they are less than they might have been.
And when the US intervenes to help them, it knows they are not honorable, and so it doesnot trust them with thier share, and so all are weakened.
And when this attitude is carried worldwide, and all try to game the system, eventually the US has not the strength to solve all the problems, and neither the will for its courage and honor have decayed as well under teh wilting poisen of a simplistic realpolitik.

Tadeusz


Sub 'France' for Australia, and it sounds like a depressingly accurate description of the last decade or two...

Posted by: rosignol at January 23, 2004 at 04:33 PM

Orson calling Mork... Orson call Mork... come in Mork. (Wonders how many Yanks will get the reference...?)

Put it this way: why should Australia ever do anything contrary to its own interests in order to assist the United States, when the United States would never do anything contrary to its own interests to assist Australia?

Hmmm *coughMARSHALL PLANcough* What was in it for us?

Or how about earthquake assistance in Iran after the country freaking held our citizens hostage in 79 which was the even that caused a break in relations? What's in it for us?

Or how about *any* of the times there has been a natural disaster around the globe and American cargo planes filled with relief goods land? What's in it for us?

Why the hell are we concerned about North Korea developing nukes, after all their nukes could never hit us. They could however hit South Korea and Japan. But really what's in it for us?

Or the fact that we are still in Europe almost 60 freaking years after WWII defending the Europeans. That allows the EU the luxury of not having as large standing armies as they would otherwise need. What's in it for us?

How about the US stationing troops in Australia during WWII? What was in it for us?

For a bonus question: Aside from Canada (NORAD and all that) name any foreign country who has actually stationed troops in the US since the 1800s.

Oh and we can't forget Lend Lease. (It looks like you have.) That was against the wishes of most of the freaking US when it was freaking started you clueless idiot.

Your right Mork we never ever do anything as a country just because it is the right thing to do.

Posted by: cannon at January 23, 2004 at 04:45 PM

The problem is that Mork can't imagine that someone might do a good thing for someone else because it also benefits the donor, indirectly. He sees every interaction as exploitation, and cannot imagine co-operation. He might as well be a cannibal.

Posted by: John Nowak at January 23, 2004 at 05:06 PM

you don't want to mess with a country that got its start as a prison colony. I sure as hell wouldn't mess with their SAS. I've even heard Delta Operators say that their little 'poodle' organization was based on the British and Aussie SAS organizations.

I don't think the Aussies are 'lackeys' looking for American favor. It seems to me they also know a little something about being victims of terror (as I recall more than 200 Aussies perished in the Bali attack) and are looking to do what they can to neutralize the dangers of islamic fundamentalism.

God bless 'em. I'd visit more often if it didn't take a hundred frickin' years to get there on a plane from the States.

Posted by: Diego at January 23, 2004 at 05:21 PM

Hi.

What Tadeusz said.

On 10 September, 2001, we were fast friends with the Americans. John Howard was in America, celebrating and reaffirming 50 years of ANZUS. Don't worry about us, mate, we'll stick through thick and thin - that was our message.

The extent to which that message started to change on 11 September and 12 September when the bills came due was the measure of our cowardice. Thanks to John Howard, and adequate popular support, the meter read zero. May it remain thus forever.

I like Americans, but this isn't about Americans. It's about us.

Posted by: David Blue at January 23, 2004 at 05:32 PM

Cannon - I deliberately limited my comment to the US doing things for Australia - I don't dispute America has at times exhibited an extraordinarily broad concept of its self interest, resulting in great generosity ... although almost always in situations where benificent inclinations and strategic interests coincided.

The Marshall Plan is one such sitation: seriously, do you not understand why it was in American interests to have an economically powerful western europe in the post-war period?

The problem when, like Australia, you aren't strategically important and are already an ally, is that there is never any coincidence between long-term self-interest and short-term generosity. Hence, the U.S. never has anything to gain by doing something for Australia, and so it never does. The U.S. would do MORE for Australia if Australia were LESS co-operative, because then it might figure that its behaviour could influence our behaviour.

(BTW - If you think America stationed troops here in WW2 for Australia's sake, rather than its own, you need to look at a map of the south pacific.)

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 05:33 PM

"America would defend New Zealand if it was attacked, even though New Zealand has effectively withdrawn from the ANZUS treaty. So would Australia. And America would defend Australia even if we didn't actively support America at this time."

Rubbish. Nor should America. America should act in its own best interests; as they always have and as every nation always has. We, Australia, went to Iraq because in my view it was in our long term interests to do so; same reason that both the US and Australia fought in WW2. If the politicians in NZ had half a brain they would see it is in NZ's best interests to support the US also.


Posted by: John Elliot at January 23, 2004 at 05:46 PM

We, Australia, went to Iraq because in my view it was in our long term interests to do so

Are you the Prime Minister, John, or are you just missing a couple of commas?

Posted by: Mork at January 23, 2004 at 05:50 PM

For the better part of a year, or more, Maureen Dowd and the rest of her ilk have been decrying President Bush's diplomatic skills and efforts. Now she calls the 34 nations of the "Coalition of the Willing", publically, "Poodles and Lackeys".

Yeah, tell me again Maureen how you are sooooo much better at diplomacy. What a joke of a human being.

To all the Brits, Aussies, Poles, Spanards, Japanese, and the rest, thanks for your help and support. Maureen is, well, obviously a moron. And a joke.

Posted by: Ben at January 23, 2004 at 06:06 PM

Mork:

Yes, the United States acts in its own interest. So do the governments of most countries, since that is their job. (Admittedly, some countries seem to act in ways that are inimical to their own interest---Iraq's Hussein would seem to be one.)

But you seem to have envisioned this idea that, somehow, if the US acts in its own interest, then that somehow denigrates or cheapens any benefits that another country might accrue.

Do US arms sales to Australia benefit the US? Of course, or at least it benefits the arms manufacturers. But it also benefits the US military, of course, b/c it makes it easier to work w/ the Aussie military.

Now, by your lights, that's somehow bad for Australia. Yet, as we've seen in Europe, those militaries most capable of interoperating w/ the US, are best able to undertake the more advanced forms of warfare. Advanced C4ISR, advanced sensors, advanced communications, advanced weaponry---leading to fewer casualties. Is that to America's benefit, Australia's, or both? Is it really somehow "better" for Australia to buy, say, Russian or French systems, be less able to interoperate, and wind up taking more casualties?

Moreover, in the larger scheme, one has to wonder how well the US stacks up. Take, for example, Great Britain. One would think that the center of the Empire, looking at the same map of the South Pacific, would have concluded that saving Australia was worth something. Where were those three divisions in the dark early days of '42? Oh, that's right, in North AFrica, despite a specific commitment by the MoD and Churchill's gov't to provide them back in event of emergency (e.g., in the early days of '42, when the ABDA line had been broken). You seem to have forgotten that we took up what was supposed to be Britain's responsibility. Altruism? No, but also not necessary.

Ah, you say, but it's obvious that the US would come to save Australia. Why? Are you familiar at all w/ the debates at the time w/in the US Chiefs of Staff? MacArthur wanted an advance up from Australia, via New Guinea, but the USN was firmly of the opinion that an advance across the Central Pacific was faster and smarter.

Had Australia "chosen," somehow, not to accept US aid, are you seriously suggesting that we would have diverted as much to the Southwest Pacific as we did, rather than simply settling on an advance across the Central Pacific? I think you have very little understanding of what the US was thinking at the time.

Yes, you could be more grudging w/ your support, more obstreperous, more niggardly. You could, in short, be France. But notice that Americans don't make jokes about the Aussies---we respect them, we like them. The French? I leave that to peruse coments in the blogosphere to see how they're viewed.

And to those Australians who are, IMO, more sensible than your Orkian counterpart, let me just say that we value you very much --- as friends, as comrades, as allies, as fellow democrats. We have our differences, as any two people will---but we also believe that, unlike w/ some others, we can and will settle our differences, and do so w/ good will, both going in AND coming out.

Posted by: Dean at January 23, 2004 at 06:15 PM

I am ten times more worried of a Poodle behind a screen door then I am of a hound sitting on the porch. It's sort of like Doud wanted to say our coalition is made up of countries who dare not oppose American interest.
That doesn't wash. Russians aren't on board, but we are not holding any grudge about it. Most all of South America isn't. We are not tossing ultimatums at Bolivia. New Zealand being involved is news to me, but I haven't heard of any harbored ill will when they weren't. Koreans Japanese and China have been missing from Iraq, we still do a business with them.
Considering the negative ramifications for acting in self interest of their respective countries regarding Iraq, I must assume that Italy Spain Poland Bulgaria Hungary etc. have compelling reasons to join the coalition. They all are in the bad graces of Germany and France. Italy was thrown into a day long power outage by their French power company. The New Europeans are all threatened with being left out of the Union of Euroean countries .

The risks faced are only for joining the coalition, rather then not.
How does that make them lackies?

Posted by: Papertiger at January 23, 2004 at 06:22 PM

Ok Morky old boy. Your right...:

The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was an alliance organized on September 8, 1954 by representatives of Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States.

Established under Western auspices after the French withdrawal from Indochina, SEATO was created to oppose further Communist gains in Southeast Asia. The treaty was supplemented by a Pacific Charter, affirming the rights of Asian and Pacific peoples to equality and self-determination and setting forth goals of economic, social, and cultural cooperation between the member countries.

And then, of course, there is ANZUS...

Ok again remind me what was in it for us to be involved in promoting self-determination and equality in southeast asia? Hmmm?

"It's all about the economics."

Hmmm you are right Morky. As I recall the Pentagon directive mentioned Australia as one of the countries prohibited from bidding on the prime contracts...

Oh wait a minute they weren't on that list because they were on the ground with us, like true allies. We welcome them and are glad they are on board.

But you are correct in one thing, in general when the US does get involved good things happen. So does that mean the only times we get involved is to ensure benefits for ourselves? No it is a by-product of our assistance.

Ok fine Morky we get the benefits as a result of our assistance. You claim Australia is getting the shaft by selfless helping as it always does as America's lapdog. Well isn't a stronger America in Australia's and the world's best interest? We will be the engine that gets the world economy going. Who else is going to do it? The Japanese? The Russians? How about the Frogs? (Or hell the whole EU for that matter?) Anyone on the African continent? Or how about you all alone?

No, no one except for the US can bootstrap the world economy. So by helping the US you help yourself and the world. Mighty alturistic of you all.

(Personally I prefer the belief that we, as nations, have a special relationship. But if you want to look at the relationship crassly for your own benefit it all works out the same.)

The United States is Australiaís most important economic partner and closest security ally. It is the world's largest economy, leading trading nation, leading military power, and primary source of technological innovation. The engagement and predominence of the United States is fundamental to the security and economic prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. This will benchmark Australia against the most dynamic economy in the world and strengthen the capabilities of Australian companies and workers to compete anywhere.

...

Australia is a favoured vacation destination for US travellers. 298,900 Australian residents visited the United States of America in 2002. Over 434,400 Americans visited Australia in 2002, according to the ABS. There are 2,800 students from the United States enrolled in Australian universities and a total of 3,487 in all sectors.

The above emphasis shows there is no self-interest for Australia to assist the US.

Posted by: cannon at January 23, 2004 at 06:26 PM

As for "our responsibilities", well, that's really only an issue if we were actually doing anything that the U.S. couldn't do for itself. Our role in Iraq was as a token, and its real significance was as political cover to (unsuccessfully) disguise the reality of US/UK "dualateralism". It's hard to reconcile that role with lofty talk of "our responsibilities".

There you go again. The U.S. can do it alone, so we shouldn't do anything - even though it is the right thing to do, and in everyone's long-term interest (except for a small number of thugs and fanatics).

That's exactly the position New Zealand has taken, ducking all responsibility for - well, anything - and hoping for the best. I'm glad that Australia takes its role in the world more seriously than that.

And I'd suggest that 1000 troops (including a significant SAS contingent), plus vehicles, ships, helicopters and fighter/bombers and the associated supplies, while small compared to the American or British commitment, is not a "token". I'd like to have seen a larger Australian force sent to Iraq, but I'm glad we did send what we could.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 23, 2004 at 06:34 PM

I should temper my comments on New Zealand - as Papertiger reminds me, they do have people working in Iraq now (though I don't recall exactly what role they are performing). So there's still life in our cousins across the Tasman, even if they are a little muddle-headed at times.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 23, 2004 at 06:38 PM

On a cautionary note:
I hope that Australians never take the US and the protection it affords its allies by the mere fact of existing, for granted. Canada did exactly that, ceased to fund its own defense and wasted its resources on the altar of pointless multiculturalism and social engineering claptrap. As our commitment to our own defence shrank, our resentment of the one nation that made that retreat possible (if not moral) grew; we have no ability to exert sovereignty over our own land, but we do have an endless contempt for all things that make America great. We've got our national head so firmly jammed up our own posterior that I despair of ever seeing it pulled out.
Someone once said that the problem with Canada was that there is too much geography to it, and not enough history. He was right, but not in the sense he meant. It isn't that there is no past history of Canadian greatness - it is that for the last 40 years, we have done our best to pretend it never happened.

Posted by: Rob at January 23, 2004 at 06:48 PM

Rob:

To think that, at the end of World War II, Canada had the third-largest (iirc) navy in the world (after the US and the RN).

Posted by: Dean at January 23, 2004 at 07:04 PM

It's a shame what's happened to Canada in recent years. In many respects, Canada is very similar to Australia. Maybe if you got rid of Quebec things would improve?

Dean - yes, that's right. Mind you, the German and Japanese navies had been wiped out in the war. Canada had their own landing on D-Day too - Juno - separate from the British and American landings.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 23, 2004 at 07:11 PM

Mork.. you have been fisked..

"not by me.. but by many times three".. And still you have yet to get down to the point you really want to make.. Though you leave it un-said:

1) The Marshal plan was just a grand hegemonic scheme to create trading parners.

2) The war on terror is just a grand hegemonic scheme to create trading partners..

3) Farm subsidies are just a grand hegemonic scheme... to.. to.. uhmmm well mabey that one isn't so good for the development of trading parnerships, but you get my point!

4)BUSH LIED POODLES CRIED!

5)NO BLOOD FOR "self interests"

Posted by: Arvin at January 23, 2004 at 07:16 PM

Ms. Dowd can take her columns and shove them where the sun don't shine.

It's infuriating to keep reading the same garbage over and over. It's an insult to our allies. I guess to Ms. Dowd and her fellow 'elites', only France and Germany "really" count? Can't you just imagine what fawning stories she would have written about Napoleon and/or Adolph?

Many of the countries can't match the soldiers and equipment of countries like Australia and the UK, but they are trying to do what is right. They understand we ARE at war, like it or not. It's a war to maintain each of our countries and not submit to the rule of Sharia law.

She, and those like her, make a mockery of the bravery the coalition countries are showing. Why is it so hard to believe that each coalition country looked at the evidence and concluded it's best to fight now rather than later?

She, and the 'elite' like her, is the same as those who assured us we had nothing to fear from Hitler. Heck, there were many (in the US and elsewhere) who admired Hitler.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at January 23, 2004 at 07:16 PM

Many of you have already posted on mork's inanities but as mork said some things about trade and foreign policy that were so selective as to be LOLable I felt that I had to chip in.

By mork's twisted logic, as EU agricultural policy is worse than the US agricultural policy, if Australia had been on the French side of the debate then we would have been France's poodle.

While they must be quite sophisticated on that planet mork comes from, and although US agricultural protection hurts the US economy as well as Australian farmers, to conflate the trade issue with foreign policy aims is a pretty shallow pretence at realpolitik.

Is mork so unacquainted with reality that it thinks that Australia's rationale for engagement in Iraq was to ingratiate itself?

In closing, I would suggest that in Australia there is a strong positive correlation between those who think protection is generally a good thing and those who most oppose the war in Iraq. The Greens? The Dems? The ALP left? The ABC? The Age?

Posted by: procrustes at January 23, 2004 at 07:35 PM

New Zealand has an engineering contingent in Iraq under British command in Basra. They went in after the war was over.

It is described here as humanitarian and relief work only, rebuilding schools and hospitals etc. No contact with the nasty Americans so no chance their evil hegemonic colonial masculinity will rub off on our peacekeeping builders and plumbers. They were meant to be under UN control by now (the only legitimate authority here in Aotearoa don't ya know).

Our biggest selling weekly magazine just ran a cover story on Iraq 'What Are We Doing Here?'. It was very big news that apparently we were building fortifications and roadblocks for the Brits and not just rewiring schools and painting playground equipment.

The country is run by 1960's era Vietnam war protestors. You really can't expect anything else.

There all bloody women of course. (Apologies to the bellicose brigade etc)

Posted by: Gordon King at January 23, 2004 at 07:37 PM

Score so far: Mork -- 0, all other commenters -- 4545487.

Dang, I'm all out of popcorn.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 23, 2004 at 08:10 PM

No Blood for Mork!

Posted by: Quentin George at January 23, 2004 at 08:22 PM

Mork lied, hegemons died, I'll have some fries on the side.

Posted by: Quentin George at January 23, 2004 at 08:23 PM

Sorry for the delay - I'm at work, and had to do some. I'm afraid Canada could dump Quebec tomorrow, and nothing fundamental would change. We have been sold a a load of dreck about what made us superior to the US; and too many believe it true as our educational system has been corrupted for as long as they have been alive. (I can remember WW I vets marching in the Centennial parade in '67, but I knew nothing about Vimy Ridge until I was an adult, and found out for myself.)
I don't think Australia has the same problem of abandoning its glorious past - although my spotty surfing suggests that there are a lot of weak-kneed, smugly superior anti-war, anti-US types in the media there too. Scum doesn't exist in a vacuum. Perhaps there are more similarities between Australia now and Canada in the Seventies, when there was still time to turn back.

Posted by: Rob at January 23, 2004 at 08:33 PM

Maureen Dowd’s article is Anti GWB more than anti British, Aussie etc. Her claim that the coalition are gaggle of poodles does not survive even the mildest scrutiny but it’s more a reaction to the obvious loathing she feels toward GWB. It would really burn her up to think that GWB’s administration could get such a coalition together so quickly so its easier to make propaganda statements. Its simply brain dead.

I always laugh when I read or hear someone attack the countries that supported the war in Iraq. It’s the countries that opposed the war who have the creditability issues.
Take a look at France, Russia, China and Germany and their contribution to humanity ongoing and over the last 80 odd years.

Posted by: Simon at January 23, 2004 at 08:51 PM

First, we should all examine the intelligent debate going on here and thank God that we who live in free countries have this liberty.

Second, to the Aussie who said, "it's not about you (America), it's about us", thank you. It's clear that those countries (and I've travelled to almost all of em) peoples who're most anti-American are those who are so desperate to find some reason to justify their own superiority. As an American who's lived in all 5 quadrants of our country and our globe, I've got to tell you: most Americans in this could care less whether or not we're "#1" but we do care about doing the right thing. We're a religious country based on a judeo-christian ethic which may seem naive to many "intellectuals" but I've never met a for'ner whose actually lived here who hasn't been warmly welcomed and walked away without a better impression of the USA. I've many examples, but my favorite is my ex-secretary who happens to be a scarf-wearing Malaysian muslim woman who visited Texas and Oklahoma and was truly amazed at the warm welcome she rec'd (tho she was mostly impressed with her ability to find the foods she needed to prepare proper Malay cuisine).

I'm so tired to travelling around the world and being treated like shit because I'm American. I'm prouder than hell that we've better manners than that; that we view our allies as friends first, business partners second and; that we've a president that has the courage of his convictions - specifically that liberty is NOT an American right - but a human right. We free countries have a DUTY to ensure our FELLOW HUMANS can experience liberty. We will ALL be better off when this occurs.

One final note: whether they be from Oz or Fiji or America - those are some brave mother-f**kers over there risking their lives to free Iraq and rebuild her - to give her liberty. It's an honorable mission and one which all participants can be proud.

Posted by: Matt at January 23, 2004 at 09:24 PM

One more thing: to the American who said he wanted to gather some Aussies together and buy them a drink, I did just this during a recent trip to Martinique:

After a weekend where I had two totally un-provoked run-ins with anti-Americanism (the first was being accosted by three frenchmen (I speak french) who wanted to hammer on Bush (I just walked away - it's really pointless to argue with a frenchman about Bush) the second was myself and friends being given the Hitler salute by a few, I think, Norwegians) I was feeling a bit pissed off.

Australia to the rescue! While standing in line for the bathroom, ran into a few aussie women who asked, "are you American?" I groaned inside and said yes. They said, "oh, our boss is American - we love Americans!" They walked away. I found them and they and their boyfriends (frown) drank on my tab the rest of the night.

Posted by: Matt at January 23, 2004 at 09:32 PM

For those who wonder why we let MoDo write at the NYT, I have one simple answer.

Average night of entertainment in U.S.A. = $40-$50 US dollars (depending on location, and choice of entertainment.

Average cost of a belly full of laughs from a MoDo editorial in the NYT = $1.50 US dollars, depending again on location.

Cost comparison: It's much cheaper to get your laughs from MoDo than it is to waste it on your average hollywood hack, and generally more entertaining!

Posted by: Kevin at January 23, 2004 at 10:10 PM

Rest assured, America will turn on her friends (Oz, UK, Poland) soon
The best position to be in is America's enemy, the worst, her friend

I wish it was otherwise

To All Americans: Tell your leaders to cut this out. Really. Oz has always been your ally, France your enemy. Don't alienate your friends to placate your foes.
I wish my country (Canada) was still your friend. And, for what it is worth, I still am

Posted by: G Crawford at January 23, 2004 at 10:54 PM

I'm a Yank.

I apologize to all Aussies for Maureen Dowd. The woman is an embarrassment.

When the history of the world is finally written, it will record how the Aussies, Brits, and Yanks joined together, marched across this century, and changed it for the better, to the benefit of all mankind.

Maureen Dowd will not merit a footnote.

Posted by: Rick The Lawyer at January 23, 2004 at 11:14 PM

Chiraq=Petain
MoDo=Lady Whore Whore?(haw haw)

Posted by: Rob Read at January 23, 2004 at 11:19 PM

G.Crawford, what the hell are you talking about?

Posted by: Robert Crawford at January 23, 2004 at 11:55 PM

Yeah, I was wondering that too.

Maybe he lives in an alternate universe where Gore won in 2000...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 12:15 AM

When the history of the world is finally written, it will record how the Aussies, Brits, and Yanks joined together, marched across this century, and changed it for the better, to the benefit of all mankind.

Maureen Dowd will not merit a footnote.

Except for that incident in 2006 where she was kidnapped and held to ransom by a group of lemurs escaped from the Duke University Primate Center. She was finally exchanged after the government provided 20 cases of twinkies and 2000 litres of Big K grape soda. As a prelude to the Lemur Occupation of Canada and the eventual creation of a permanent lemur homeland in Tierra del Fuego, this was considered by the editors to be footnoteworthy.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 12:26 AM

That is one dispicable 'woman'.
Regardless of her personal feelings for the war, there is absolutely no excuse for her total selfishness that produces such drivel in an attempt to get her own way. She is far worse than a spoiled kindergarten brat.
I had just posted a little story on my blog about our local soldier and this Dowd propaganda truly deserves a liberal dose of truth to offset it. Go see.

Posted by: Randall at January 24, 2004 at 12:34 AM

It's funny, but I've not seen many people in this thread pointing out what by now should be obvious: that Afghanistan and Iraq are not separate, self-contained wars, but battles in a much wider global war. Things had to begin in Afghanistan for the simple reason that that's where Al Qaeda's main training facilities were. But Islamism is a world-wide phenomenon and the fight against it means re-ordering the whole of the Middle East. (That's plan A and, if it doesn't work, everybody know what plan B will be.) Islamism is not just Islamism, it is also, in part, a continuation of Arab nationalism by other means. And the main reason for invading Iraq wasn't to depose Saddam or to free the Iraqis, though these are good goals indeed, but to create a huge military presence in the Arabian Peninsula from where the coalition can put direct pressure on Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Oh, and btw on Jordan too, because this is a key-country for the resolution of the Palestinian problem: the Jordanians will have to incorporate most of the West Bank. The US had been using carrots with them for a long time, but with the occupation of Iraq it now has sticks too. The same applies to Egypt that is being surrounded: think of its western neighbour, Lybia. Now, if we do not see the Iraqi campaign as only part of an unfolding strategy about which we don't know much, except that it exists and involves deep changes in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, then it is easy to ask why Saddam had to go rather than Kim Jong Il or some African tyrant. America and its allies ARE at war with the Islamic world, and this war, despite being a strange one, somewhat different in nature from the two earlier world wars, has been going on since at least the occupation of the American embassy in Teheran. Discussin Iraq without context is the same as asking why, if the Americans were attacked by the Japanese in the Pacific, did they disembark in North Africa. After all, they weren't at war with Morrocco or Algeria, were they? I think that at least the leadership of those who were against the invasion of Iraq saw cleraly the big picture and weren't just protesting the deposition of Saddam: they really wanted and still want the US and its allies to lose the global war and are themselves objective allies of the Islamists. Anyway, whoever has a map should take a look at it and see where exactly Iraq's located: that, and not Saddam or WMDs, was the principal reason for invading the country. The US couldn't even begin to think about defeating Islamism without an overwhelming presence at the heart of the Islamo-Arab world. It's as simple as that.

Posted by: nelson ascher at January 24, 2004 at 12:36 AM

Pixy Misa.
What do you have against Lemurs? They're tropical animals from Madagascar, if I'm not wrong. They wouldn't survive a day in the polar temperatures of Tierra del Fuego?

Posted by: nelson ascher at January 24, 2004 at 12:42 AM

I hope this Mork fellow isn't representative of Australians as a whole. The few I've encountered have seemed brave, trustworthy and loyal. To be honest, I'm hard-pressed to think of people I'd want on my side MORE (whether in Iraq or a bar fight) than Aussies.

I say this because Mork seems utterly gutless. He doesn't want Australia to life a finger to help oppressed people because Muslim extremists might get mad. He doesn't want to help a friend because he doens't percieve enough $$$ in it for him.

Basically, his foreign policy is that of a selfish coward: fight only when cornered, use allies as if they are mercenaries.

How that is either moral or politically astute escapes me.

Posted by: Alec at January 24, 2004 at 12:42 AM

Folks,

Where is this junk about Australia-US relations coming from? Our two countries have a LONG history of helping each other out in many ways, not the least of which is militarily. That goes all the way back to the 2nd world war; some of you may remember the Battle of the Coral Sea, which effectively destroyed Japanese hopes of landing in Australia?? I could go on, but I think most of you with intact brains are already in agreement with me that the US and Australia are hardly partners of convenience.

Secondly, what the hell is wrong with Mork and his ilk, that they think Australia has come grovelling to the US for 'protection'?? I seem to recall that Australians are pretty good at defending themselves, and policing their own corner of the world... East Timor being a great example of such. The Australians are much like the US, they are loath to use the military option, but when they do they make sure its worth while and done right. If I were Australian, I'd be more than a little insulted to be told we need to come hat in hand to the US for much of anything! What can you expect from arrogant liberals though; they divide their time between kissing each others bottoms, demonizing their opponents, and belittling the people they are supposedly "helping". And they call Bush arrogant.

Posted by: Eric at January 24, 2004 at 12:50 AM

Alec, Eric - I think Mork may have eaten one too many slugs.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 01:02 AM

Nelson - Global warming turned Tierra del Fuego into the Riviera of the Southern Hemisphere by the mid-2030's when the lemurs moved in.

Of course, they all had to flee to the tropics when the glaciers started advancing in the 2070's, but they had four great decades down there. Lemuria Under the Ice is one of the seven wonders of the 21st century.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 01:08 AM

Question: Isn't a gaggle a flock of geese? ;)

Posted by: Ree at January 24, 2004 at 01:11 AM

Pixy.
You're right: I wasn't taking a dynamic and politically correct view of climate change. I just pity the poor penguins and seals of Tierra del Fuego who will die to make room for the Lemurs.

Posted by: nelson ascher at January 24, 2004 at 01:21 AM

Nelson A,

I think the reason no one is pointing it out is that most of us understand your point as axiomatic.

But I can understand if some observers believe otherwise. After all, to them, it's all black and white, and Afghanistan has nothing to do with Iraq, and neither have anything to do with Israel-Palestine, and if we could just solve the latter (by abandoning Israel), everything would be puppies and ice cream.

This is in contrast to us unnuanced rubes who see these events as part of a larger tapestry affecting all of the world's cultures and religions as well as fundamental human rights for all (yes, even including women like Maureen Dowd).

You're right - sometimes it is extremely valuable to point out what should be obvious.

I enjoy your blog (for those who don't know of it, it's here: http://europundits.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Steve in Houston at January 24, 2004 at 01:23 AM

The penguins and seals were doing just fine at Mars Base 3. Until the unexpected return of Halley's Comet, anyway. Shame about that.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 01:25 AM

Steve - Puppies and ice cream? Are you in league with Glenn Reynolds?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 01:27 AM

Perhaps the Aussie SAS could use her for target practice??

Posted by: Declan at January 24, 2004 at 01:30 AM

Another Yank chiming in: Thank you Australia. And to the Kiwis and any of our other friends thank you as well.

The idea that because the disgusting French, the Germans (either they are at your throat or on their knees) and the barely out of their communist dacha Russians didn't support the broad international coalition and therefore somehow we, and not them are wrong, is laughable.

As an aside MoDo usually washes down a handful of vicadin for lunch with a fifth of Old Crow so pay her no mind; god knows no one here in the US except for the pointy headed Upper West Siders do.

Posted by: hen at January 24, 2004 at 01:30 AM

To: All Americans who apologised for the existence of Maureen Dowd:

No wuckers. We owe you a bigger one for John Pilger.

Thanks for helping us out in Iraq and Afghanistan too. The Aussie SASR could have done either on their own, but it would have been a lot more difficult without US support. We owe you one. Also the Poms, the Poles, the Spaniards.... the list is long.

We also owe the Thais and others big time for their help in East Timor. US support in that one wasn't just cheerleading, more like goalkeeping.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at January 24, 2004 at 01:31 AM

Thanks, Matt, (the American). You very neatly encapsulated my thoughts, feelings and world-travel experiences (so I don't have to). There are good folks and bad folks wherever you go. Seek out the good ones, and drink beer with 'em. Ignore the sanctimonious, the envious, and the stupid. . . . I'd have jammed a Tiki-torch up those Norwegians' asses though . . .

Aussies, we dig ya. As these posts will attest. What you did in Iraq and Afghanistan is to and for your eternal credit and honor, and yours alone. (the cynical, deconstucting, post-modernist liberal - like Mork - might claim that that, indeed, was in your self-interest - and nothing more). So tell them to shut up, and drink your beer elsewhere. And let the Iraqis and Afghanis buy the next round.

Posted by: Greene at January 24, 2004 at 01:48 AM

To Mork:

Yes, the US, like any other nation, acts in its own interests. This is not the basis of so-called exceptionalism. There are two major components to American Exceptionalism:

1) US national interest includes, at least since Woodrow Wilson, "making the world safe for democracy". In practice, this means creating more and more democracies in the world and pushing for self-determination for all peoples/nations.

2) US Constitution makes all treaties which are signed and ratified by the Senate as the "Law of the Land". They actually supercede Congressional legislation.

Posted by: Dean Douthat at January 24, 2004 at 02:02 AM

When Halsey sent the US fleet to the Coral Sea, he did so at real and considerable risk to Hawaii. That's how real friends and allies act. Aussies haven't forgot the Coral Sea nor have they forgot how friends and allies act. Thank you, Aussies!

Posted by: Dean Douthat at January 24, 2004 at 02:06 AM

This is what I received in reply to my e-mail

Dear Ms. Walters,

Thank you for your message.

Unless there's evidence of ethical misbehavior of factual error, individual columnists can say what they want to say and individual readers can like the ones they like and dislike the ones they don't like.

Please email us with your concerns on any specific articles with which you take issue.

Sincerely,
Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

Basically, I can like what I like and dislike what I want to dislike..or maybe like what I dislike and dislike what I like? Oh the choices!

Posted by: Kelly at January 24, 2004 at 02:17 AM

Tim,

Just another Yank chiming in. You Aussies have a good sense of the right and the brains and balls to back it up. That's why you're there in Iraq with us, just as you were in Vietnam. You're good allies, better friends, and damn fine people to have at your side in a fight.

When this thing is over and the historians get their shot at it, they'll be hitting the thesaurus for superlatives about what a fine and magnanimous act it was to liberate Iraq from a mass murderer. Your sons and daughters will read that and know that their parents had the courage and the generosity to take up arms to free a tortured people who could not free themselves. They'll be proud, and rightly so. That example will strengthen them when their generation faces its troubles. May God grant that our countries then are as close as they are now.

Posted by: Dan McWiggins at January 24, 2004 at 02:42 AM

well, kelly, what can i say after you get a reply from a bovine?

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at January 24, 2004 at 02:59 AM

Pixy,

Actually, I was stealing from the movie Swingers. I've stolen other stuff from Prof Reynolds, but not that.

Heh. Indeed.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at January 24, 2004 at 03:06 AM

"It's funny, but I've not seen many people in this thread pointing out what by now should be obvious: that Afghanistan and Iraq are not separate, self-contained wars, but battles in a much wider global war."

Correct, Nelson. Much good info on U.S. strategic thinking at the NewRulesSet.Project. See for a start the section on the Pentagon's New Map.

Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett - Navy War College.

Posted by: Fred Boness at January 24, 2004 at 03:07 AM

Lackeys? Hey, Mork, ever heard of Bali? Al Qaeda? 200 innocent dead tourists? Stop pretending you're smart; you only look foolish.

Posted by: Gary at January 24, 2004 at 03:18 AM

Poodles? We don't have any poodles with us in Iraq. The Belgians stayed home on this one.

It is known on good authority that the Belgian poodles are hanging out with the Frogs.

Posted by: AaronK at January 24, 2004 at 03:42 AM

"First of all, Gitmo isn't a "dungeon". " Very true. Do a Google search for a new story that showed that prisoners at XRay gained an average of 12 - 13 pounds. Even granted that they had a good place to start from, that's not your typical "dungeon". They even had a Muslim chaplain, a US Navy officer. (I don't know if that's the same one we had to bring charges against.)

But back to Dowd. Remember Dowd? Thought so.

Looks like she's on her way to take over from Helen Thomas, when Thomas retires. Which she should have done about 10 years ago.

Does anybody take Dowd seriously any more?

The NYT responded: "... individual columnists can say what they want to say and individual readers can like the ones they like and dislike the ones they don't like."

I heartily agree. In this country, we extend freedom of speech even to fools. Unlike a few other countries I could mention. Every fool is able to stand on his soapbox and proclaim that fact to the world.

We, in our turn, are expected to let them know we just don't buy it.

Speaking of which, the NYT is [probably] a money-making organization. If they heard from the people - preferably in New York - who didn't buy their paper, they might reconsider their philosophy.

Posted by: Mike at January 24, 2004 at 04:00 AM

Mork,

If we Ugly Americans were to act strictly in our own selfish interest, we would level the place. Kill them all because from a strictly profit and loss standpoint, Iraq (and dealing with the Muslim world in general) is a loser. After it was completely leveled, we could pave it over and put up a BaghdadDisney.

Imagine the possiblilities! Indiana W Jones and the Temple of SpiderHoles! Mr. Camel's Wild Ride! Mission To Quagmire! Tar Tours! The Madderthanhellhorn! Malice in DownUnderland! Irates of the NYT Editorial Page!

We could pave over Iran, Syria, and the West Bank for overflow parking.

Now THAT would generate a profit. It would be good clean fun for our warmongering cowboy troops who are already in the neighborhood anyway. It would be GREAT for our stock market ($4 oil!!!) and good for our national security without all those pesky Muslims around anymore...But most of all, I'm sure it would be good for Disney and Halliburton...

...If that was all that mattered.

Posted by: Quixote at January 24, 2004 at 04:25 AM

Just sent this to the NY Times:

Dear Sirs:

Regarding Ms. Dowd's reference to our allies, the "poodles"...

Ms. Dowd's remarks are beyond disgraceful, a milestone she achieved years ago. With these recent remarks, she has surpassed even the great Anna Quindlen and your newspaper can now plausibly tout Ms. Dowd as America's dumbest columnist.

Congratulations.

Posted by: Lee Dise at January 24, 2004 at 05:08 AM

I love a good debate... sadly, there are always people of Mork's type lurking about, poisoning people's minds with half-truths and innuendoes...

They generally talk about how the streets in America are not "paved with gold"... how Americans are only interested in some perverted form of economic imperialism...

And there is some truth in their arguments. In spite of our best efforts, we have not yet collected enough of the world's gold to pave our streets. But we'll keep trying...

And then there's that French thing...

You see, that's where this whole poodle thing started... sissy little dogs with goofy coiffures (hope I spelled that right)...

America, like Britain, is a "nation of shop-keepers". And a world full of well-developed countries, economically sound, producing and consuming at or near our level is in the absolute best interests of our country!

Think about it... 6 Billion potential customers!!

But right now, there are literally billions unable to maintain what Americans consider to be minimal lifestyles.

Our "hegemony", our "imperialism", our "sin" is to try to reach these people and lift them up... Sure there are bad people who take advantage of that!! There were even bad people in what my friends in Wellington call the "Western Island"...

But in democratic countries, we find those people as fast as we can, remove them, and replace them with people we hope will do a better job.

America did not defend Kuwait to prop up a friendly oil baron. We did it because we saw in Saddam the same evil that Hitler and Napoleon and so many others had... And stopping him was the Right Thing.

Our leaders then were weak and indecisive. September 11th changed that. And although our streets are not paved in gold, we're damned sure not going to let them be paved with our own blood again.

Sorry about the length of my rant. I'm going back to sit down and shut up. A lot of you are more eloquent and concise and I'll let them speak.

Posted by: john at January 24, 2004 at 05:31 AM

Come on guys - its all about oil! or hegemons! or grovelling or...ah, god its so hard to keep up with the Left these days. They think a mile a minute.

Posted by: Quentin George at January 24, 2004 at 06:53 AM

Autralians are in Iraq neither because they are 'lackeys' nor because they are 'friends'. They are, as they did in Vietnam, paying the premiums on their insurance policy.

Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2004 at 07:03 AM

Just a couple of quick points, before I leave this "debate" to it's grave:

1. I find it amusing that so many of our American "friends" presume to tell me, an Australian, the reasons why the Australian government sent troops to Iraq ... even though these same folks are, in many cases, not even sufficiently informed about their own government's policies to understand their devastating effect on Australian agriculture. There's a certain stereotype current in Australia about Americans, which, having lived there for a number of years, I know to be innaccurate. But reading a thread like this, it's not too difficult to see how the stereotype arises.

2. It's astonishing how many people assume that anyone who deviates to the slightest extent from the party line must be some anti-war, anti-American leftist ... even though I said expressly that I supported the war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. It's either a reading comprehension problem, or the result of a depressingly narrow-minded and Manichean world view. I think it's obvious which. All I can say is thank God that those folks are not representative of Americans as a whole, 'cause who'd want to be friends with people like that!

Posted by: Mork at January 24, 2004 at 09:13 AM

ohhh come now Mork..

1)I believe the bulk of the fisking came from your fellow Aussies.

2)Also having read your words:

"even though I said expressly
that I supported the war in
Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq."

You'll have to forgive me for rubbing my "yank" eyes in confusion after pulling this out of your previous posts:


Although I supported the U.S.
going into Iraq (at the time,
at least, I'm not sure whether
I would if I knew what I know now),
I did not think Australia should
be involved. Iraq posed no threat
to Australia whatsoever.

I know my fisk of you holds no weight here as you have correctly pointed out that I am American, and lack the skills to criticize you with any conviction..

I'll let my favorite Aussie take it from here:

"Mork lied Hegmons died, I'll have some fries on tha side"

Quinton George

Posted by: Arvin at January 24, 2004 at 10:08 AM

Ok, everyone, lets follow the Mork Doctrine (tm). No intervention unless it directly benefits your country's interests.

Well, I guess thats bye bye to stability in the Balkans, bye-bye to a Palestinian state, bye-bye to Democracy in Taiwan, bye-bye anything at all to do with Africa.

Isolationism ahoy!

Posted by: Quentin George at January 24, 2004 at 11:27 AM

And when did unilateral = multilateral but without France, Germany, Russia

The world is...topsy turvy

Posted by: Quentin George at January 24, 2004 at 11:48 AM

There is a google bomb effort started by Homicidal Maniak inspired in the comments section of another blog - never mind, it's one of those "grew and grew" things.

Maureen Dowd Is a Poodle

Just in case any of you are interested.

And (because it can't be said too often) Thank you, Australia.

Posted by: Debbye at January 24, 2004 at 01:29 PM

I second that Debbye..

THANK YOU AUSTRALIA!

and oh yeah, deb:
Nice google bomb!!!!

And might I remind everyone here that:

Maureen Dowd is a poodle!

Next google bomb should be:

Quintin George for president!

I'm outy.
Arvin Wallace

Posted by: Arvin at January 24, 2004 at 01:40 PM

Mork, you idiot:

1. The U.S. farm subsidies and tariffs have been in place for - how long? They're not new by any means. So Australia's agricultural sector has been in a state of devastation for the past several decades, according to you.

I have no idea what stereotype you're referring to regarding Americans. Most Australains who aren't complete idiots know that Americans are, like, not all the same.

2. 2. It's astonishing how many people assume that anyone who deviates to the slightest extent from the party line must be some anti-war, anti-American leftist ... even though I said expressly that I supported the war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. It's either a reading comprehension problem, or the result of a depressingly narrow-minded and Manichean world view. I think it's obvious which. All I can say is thank God that those folks are not representative of Americans as a whole, 'cause who'd want to be friends with people like that!

No-one here accused you of being an anti-war, anti-American leftist, or of holding a depressingly narrow-minded and Manichean world view.

We just think you're stupid. Your only crime is being wilfully and persistently wrong.

Oh, and of trying the counter Type C arguments with Type M arguments, but that comes with the stupid.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 02:02 PM

Well, I see that Mork has officially Lost the Argument now -- the signal for that is when he pulls out his "You're stupid because you disagree with me" line. Good-bye, Mork, sorry about your crops, or whatever it is you're so upset about.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 24, 2004 at 02:05 PM

My correspondence with the NYT:

Dear Sir,
I understand that you are the person to whom I should complain about journalistic failures in your newspaper. The recent column by Maureen Dowd refers to American allies in Iraq as "a gaggle of poodles and lackeys.. ". Does she not know that Australia is a treaty partner (ANZUS) of your country and a loyal ally. This obligates Australia to come to the aid of your country in times of need. Why does she denigrate US allies in this way? I am shocked and disappointed that your newspaper, once regarded in Australia as one of the world's best, has allowed such an insult to be printed.

I hope you are able to reply to my complaint.

Yours Sincerely
C.P.Hall
Brisbane , Australia.


Dear Mr. Hall,

Thank you for your message.

Unless there's evidence of ethical misbehavior of factual error, individual columnists can say what they want to say and individual readers can like the ones they like and dislike the ones they don't like.

Please email us with your concerns on any specific articles with which you take issue.

Sincerely,
Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times
(212)556-7652

Posted by: C.P. Hall at January 24, 2004 at 02:56 PM

Pixi, great points.

And as long as we defenders of "self interests" are being labeled "Manichean", I think it usefull to define the term:

Manicheanism:

A dualistic philosophy dividing the world between good and evil principles or regarding matter as intrinsically evil and mind as intrinsically good.

Well, I guess he's nailed me here then..Because I DO think the removal of a man who killed at a clip of 300,000 per year is "intrinsically good"

But I don't think Mork is free from 'Manichean' tendencies either, as he is clearly eager to push a "good" (the liberation of millions) into a very negative conotative corner called: "self interest".. For his Manichean world veiw holds that America=bad (and only good when self interest is involved) and Himself=good (because he has exposed America as a trade hungry land of hypocrits and we all should just stop crushing his dissent)

Good exists.. Evil exists.. The only ones who may rightly believe themselves to be free from
"manicheanism" are machines..not people.

Posted by: Arvin at January 24, 2004 at 03:59 PM

Ah, I misread Mork the first time. I thought he was accusing us of accusing him of Manicheanism, when in fact he was simply accusing us of Manicheanism.

I don't regard the removal of Saddam Hussein as intrinsically good - though I regard it as unquestionably, incontrovertibly, immensely and laudably good.

I'd say that good and evil exist, but not Good and Evil. But I'm not a machine! [Beep.]

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 05:46 PM

Speaking of lemurs, is Wesley Clark one or not?

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at January 24, 2004 at 06:14 PM

No! Lemurs are fine and noble and upstanding creatures, who vote Republican or sometimes Independent.

And they have tails.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 24, 2004 at 11:14 PM

Mork is right:
When will you people realize this war is all about... crops? Australia supported Bush's war because of the agricultural implications. No blood for okra! Make casseroles, not war! America fought the Japanese to secure vegemite trading rights!

This is fun.

Posted by: Other Rob at January 25, 2004 at 02:04 AM

Mork, you're an idiot. You might remember something called The Great Depression. The midwestern states turned into a big dustbowl. Out of that came the fiendish farming subsidies, which, like so many government policies intended to help, turned over the years into a huge confusing mess. Even if Congress decided where to begin to fix them right this minute--a complete impossibility, by the way--it would take a minimum of 10 years to gain any headway whatsoever in restoring some sense into U.S. agricultural policies.

You know this. You have always known it.

(Shut up, Aussie actress!)

I work in the U.S. government. It takes glacial time to fix anything. (Don't complain. Efficient governments are generally fascist--as in actually so. Think of the SS.)

It's nothing personal against Australia's farmers. It's just a big mess we honestly don't know how to begin fixing. So we look at it, and then turn away, mumbling something about getting together another committee to look at it again...

Posted by: ushie at January 25, 2004 at 02:44 AM

If you phased out sugar tariffs so that you didn't have to use corn syrup so much, things would taste better.

Trust me on this.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 25, 2004 at 05:40 AM

MMMMM... corn syrup...

Tha things we can extract from corn keep growing.. Sweetners to fuel additives..
next we'll be making motherboards from corn.. ok geting hungry now.

MMMM fuel additives..

Posted by: Arvin at January 25, 2004 at 07:37 AM

Mork:
Since it appears I started this rhubarb by thanking our Aussie friends, I'll end it here. Or try to.

America does not consist solely or even predominantly of our government. When I said that America expresses her thanks to the Australian people for their support, I'm talking about real, live ordinary Americans giving appreciation. I'm not talking about the government or the current Administration.

Our agricultural subsidies - a boondoogle to be sure - have been in place for about 70 years or so. At one time they may have been necessary and warranted. But they are currently used as simple pork barrel expenditures by both parties to buy votes from the farming states. Ditto for our dairy subsidies. And a whole host of other handouts - done by all parties to a wide swathe of constituencies and interest groups.

Almost none of these are defensible or warranted. The are opposed by the majority of Americans but are real life examples of the public choice theory of economics in action. See this overview:

http://www.magnolia.net/~leonf/sd/pub-choice.html

Anyway, perhaps I'm less cynical (or more naive) than others. I think Australia helped us because we share common beliefs and principles. Of liberty, of freedom of conscience, of the right of the individual, of the right to live our lives worshipping one God, many gods, or no god. That while there may be wrong ways of living, there is no single right way of living. And that these rights, these liberties, are precious and fragile and have been won after a long bloody battle which saw our two nations lose many fine and wonderful people.

And that they are worth fighting for. And dying for. Click here:

http://members.cox.net/classicweb/email.htm

So, I'm a gullible fool. God bless our Aussie friends. We won't forget.

SMG

Posted by: SteveMG at January 25, 2004 at 07:39 AM

Well, it was quite a read. ThanX! I'm a retired USAF O-4, working as an Expat with the USAF. Just wanted to say, when I was at AlUdeid, we had Brits and Aussies flying sorties out of there, same as my guys. (I do some "support" for our fighter jocks) To those folks ThanX! again for having the balls to be with us. Oh, and btw, when I was active duty, I bought drinks coming and going for a Vulcan crew during the Falklands. I am pretty sure I (still) can't say where they were flying out of, but they weren't flying off of a carrier. Unless you count a spit of sand 90 miles off the coast of Cuba, a carrier.

Posted by: Mcgyver at January 25, 2004 at 10:12 AM

Unless you count a spit of sand 90 miles off the coast of Cuba, a carrier.

And why not? It's just as mobile as that thing the French have. (And more reliable.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 25, 2004 at 01:58 PM

Didn't a Fijian soldier get kneecapped? What a lackey.

Posted by: Daoloth at January 27, 2004 at 07:07 AM