April 10, 2004


The Sydney Morning Herald’s Alan Ramsey on December 6:

Latham will not easily escape his too-obvious eagerness to make public obeisance to Washington ... I mean, what a grovel? What a truly snivelling statement three days into the "new dawn" of Labor's "new beginning"? And all because Mark Latham called George Bush a dangerous incompetent and now wants us to forget he ever said it.

And Alan Ramsey today:

Latham has retreated from nothing. Not withdrawal from Iraq. Not rejection of the madness of George Bush. Not a less fawning attitude to Washington. Not a more independent stance under ANZUS. Latham spoke like an Australian leader rather than an American president's duplicitous toady. His critics will not forgive his refusal to bend.

Unlike Ramsey, who’ll forgive and forget as he sees fit.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 10, 2004 04:05 PM

Sigh, why does he bother, unless he is writing another soliloquy for posterity.

Posted by: Louis Hissink at April 10, 2004 at 06:43 PM

Sigh, why does he bother, unless he is writing another soliloquy for posterity.

Posted by: Louis Hissink at April 10, 2004 at 06:43 PM

Obviously Ramsay is prepared to change his view when the evidence indicates that he should.

Shame that you don't follow his lead Tim and admit that your Iraq boosterism was stupid, and that its all turning to shit!

Posted by: Rex at April 10, 2004 at 07:18 PM

"Obviously Ramsay is prepared to change his view when the evidence indicates that he should.

Shame that you don't follow his lead Tim and admit that your Iraq boosterism was stupid, and that its all turning to shit!"

Uh....no Rex. The point being graphically made here is that Ramsey never admits that he was wrong. He just moves on to the next definitive diagnosis of the body politic with all the consistency of Britney Spears' ongoing commitment to traditional values.

Posted by: Geoff Honnor at April 10, 2004 at 08:14 PM

Interesting to see what the Aussies decide. They are frontier people like Americans and unlike the Spaniards, so I got good hope they will be strong.

Posted by: Ricky Vandal at April 10, 2004 at 08:45 PM

Yep, us aussies are frontier people alright; we live in endless stretches of suburbia just like the Americans.

And hell, we sacrifice soldiers in imperial wars way better than those wimpy Spaniards!

Posted by: Michael at April 10, 2004 at 09:07 PM

Look, Ricky, anti-Americanism (along with hatred of the English, the Irish, Catholics, Protties, etc) is an old and deep prejudice, even amongst fellow Anglospherians. Aussies are actually closer to Canadians than anyone else, so you see there's a lot of uncertainty in all this.

Here in Sydney, we built a fortress to guard the harbour near the Opera House a century or so ago, because an American ship arrived in the night unannounced: things were still uncertain after the 'Colonies broke away', an American ship was a potential enemy.

Despite the enormous sacrifices made by Americans defending us Anglos in WWII, there was still a lot of ignorant resentment over things like GI's getting the local girls. 'Overpaid, oversexed, and over here!'. Difficult to understand the base atavism of such views, but there you are.

And nowadays we have the present miseducated generation who think they know something about 'imperial wars' which they no doubt learned in 'Peace Studies' at school, mindless resentful unthinking zombies as many have become, ready to swallow any lurid conspiracy theory.

So you have to excuse the bizarre outbursts. We Aussies are, with notable exceptions, just as confused as everyone else.

Posted by: Brian at April 10, 2004 at 09:34 PM

Good onya Tim. Keep shinning the light on these hypocrites. WTF is wrong with people like Ramsey? It truly is like The US is our full on enemy for them! I certainly dont want my kids, or me for that matter celebrating the 4th of July and talking about Peanut butter and "Jelly" Sangers. But Mate! you gotta realise that if not for the Septics we would all be eating Miso Soup for breakfast with a side serving or Sauerkraut.

Mate! It's just penis envy mate. GWB has a huge shlong and they just can't handle it.......!!

Posted by: Dog at April 10, 2004 at 11:17 PM

The trolls must be in seventh heaven just now. The problems in Iraq just go to show how savy the modern terrorist/islamofacsist has become. Although it really is just the lesson of Vietnam - win the fight on the streets of the west and you have won.

For my part I am a minimalist state libertarian who was in student politics in the last days of the cold war. September 11 was a shock, but one that I took as a call back to the barricades of the West. Many other, particularly younger, libertarians still dispute the notion that we are at war. I do not. Others the likes of Jack Strocchi[sic] like to put forth their olympus like proclamations as to what is or what is not the right move in this war.

We are in my view at war.

This is a war like the cold war that will be fought everywhere. It will in the end require a fundamental repraisal of the idea of the nation state. Perhaps what Bush 41 meant when he declared a new world order is what his son has brought about. To whit that a State which does not respect its citizens' rights and exists only to enrich its rulers is an illegitimate state, the 'government' of which can be removed at will by the free states of the world.

Anyway just my two cents worth after a lot of good wine on this holy weekend.

Posted by: Zombium at April 11, 2004 at 01:13 AM

Michael, how many Americans live in the endless stretches of suburbia?

Really. I'm an ignorant American. Tell me how my fellow citizens really live. It's obvious some liberal Aussie knows better than I.

Posted by: ushie at April 11, 2004 at 05:09 AM

When I was in high school (back in the 1970's), we had an exchange student from Brazil. He was surprised about one thing -- he thought all American women were fat, because of all the weight loss ads in American magazines (hey, this was pre-INTERNET!!!).

Perhaps, Michael, you watch too much American TV, and have made a similar conclusion. What is your preferred viewing? Soap operas? Baywatch reruns? Reality shows? Games? Something that displays "endless stretches of suburbia"? You can do better than that!

Or perhaps you misunderstood what Ricky said? Me, I took it to mean that Aussies share a frontier tradition with Americans. Not the same type of frontier (d'oh!), but similar challenges. Certainly we are closer to to that than Europeans are.

On the other hand, you could be what Brian said, a confused Aussie. Or just another sarcastic liberal.

Posted by: JeffS at April 11, 2004 at 06:08 AM

Fact checking is hell, and hell is what Tim gives them.

Posted by: perfectsense at April 11, 2004 at 08:40 AM

Geoff: Why don't you read both articles in full, (which I admit to only doing now) rather than take Tim's selective snippet as being the last word on the matter.

In fact Ramsay is completely consistent in his view in both articles. On the 6th December he is critical of Latham for toning down his rhetoric on the US once he was elected to the ALP leadership position. Then on the April 10th after digesting Latham's Lowey speech, he observes that in fact Latham has retreated from nothing . He now finds that Latham's strong position is still maintained.

So where in fact is the inconsistency in Ramsay's view? Ramsay it seems to me, consistenly holds the view that the relationship with the US is fair game for dicussion and political debate in this country. It is not sacrosant, and nor should it be.

When you analyse it. The shoddy Jounalism is in fact executed by out mate Tim!. He takes only a few words of the last sentence in the two extracted paragraphs;

Sentence 1: ...and now wants us to forget he ever said it.

Sentence 2: His critics will not forgive his refusal to bend.

and he uses these as evidence of Ramsay's alleged hypocracy. He implies in his post that Ramsy has changed his view. He hasn't!

Posted by: Rex at April 11, 2004 at 11:42 AM

Long-term consistency from socialists, however, is not to be expected. Nationalist rhetoric & talk of respect for soveriegnty come from them when such are convenient to them.

Ramsey: Not a less fawning attitude to Washington. Not a more independent stance under ANZUS. Latham spoke like an Australian leader rather than an American president's duplicitous toady.

At other times they chant against nationalism & indiscriminately equate it to nazism. As to sovereignty, their “principles” on the subject depend on whether the case in point is the sovereignty of Saddam Hussein’s regime or the sovereignty of the US vis-a-vis the UN.

Then,to top it off they snarl & chant “HYPOCRISY!!” at the least inconsistency real, imagined, or forged in their adversaries’ arguments.

Posted by: ForNow at April 11, 2004 at 02:56 PM

You mean, Tim is quoting selectively to twist the words of someone he disagrees with and make them look stoopid??

Say it ain't so!

Posted by: Michael at April 11, 2004 at 03:21 PM

Michael "look stoopid??"


Posted by: Gary at April 11, 2004 at 04:02 PM

HOLY SHIT! Mark Morford suspended, maybe even FIRED! Joy!


And some interesting info on Marky-boy, he's not a proper journalist (surprise!) just a consumate onanist- he started at SF gate as a web page designer! Okay, it's been a rough week in Iraq, but it's not going down so smooth for that cock-sucker Morford either!

Posted by: Amos at April 11, 2004 at 11:07 PM



Posted by: ushie at April 12, 2004 at 02:01 AM

The thinking about the U.S.- Australian relationship in WW2 is fascinating. Our grandparents are getting old now, but they will tell us that the Australians were heavily engaged alongside the British in Europe against the Germans, at a time when the Americans were busy being isolationist (and a lot of American individuals had joined Imperial units). They finally got involved officially because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour.

From memory, it is still argued as to whether the Japanese wanted Australia or not; certainly the main enemy was the United States. We became Allies, with a mutual enemy. I don't buy the theory that we were "saved" by anyone, not when so many Australians, particularly from militia units, fought and died in the darkest days of the Asian war. And when the AIF inflicted the first land defeats on the Japanese army, and stopped it dead in its exhausted tracks.

It also helps to remember, when we were allegedly so prejudiced and hostile to the American soldiers, that they were young men out for a good time, with better uniforms and much better pay than our fellers. So they launched themselves noisily on a population of wives and girlfriends, who were living through the rigours of rationing, writing to their menfolk scattered in trenches, depots, aerodromes, hospitals and prison camps across the world and waiting to find out that "His Majesty's Government regrets to inform you..."

It is not surprising that feelings ran high. And don't forget that many of the units of both armies in Australia were composed of fit, frustrated, punchy young fellers itching for a bit of biffo..

I don't get this "grateful" stuff. We don't say the British should be grateful to us... if i remember rightly, there is a complete Lancaster in the War Memorial, and we should remember how come Australians ended up in it.

I do think this is important. In our debates we need to be open to what seems to be actually happening on the ground from the various points of view before we label them and tell people what they "should be doing". From both sides. One of the messages of WW2 is that we and the US need to be constructively engaged with the world, and that the isolationist tendencies in the US are destructive and should not be encouraged.

It is true that if you ignore the bad guys, in the end they will come after you. The debate is about who is actually a bad guy, who is the baddest guy, and how practically to stop them. We, the US and the world need each other.

Posted by: David Tiley at April 13, 2004 at 04:57 PM

It's all just a rhetorical game of whimsy for you, isn't it David?

For your information, my father was a boy in Sydney when Singapore fell. He remembers the sense of panic and despair, which turned to joy when they saw the American planes flying in.

The most profound thing he ever said to me was: 'Don't ever knock the Americans. THEY SAVED US.'

That later generations have come to doubt this bodes ill for our future.

Posted by: Brian at April 14, 2004 at 01:03 PM