06 July 2007

the end of the line (*)

I really don't know what to make of this Henry Thornton article. Disclosure: I don't know who writes under the HT nom-de-plume, and I'm not sure it'd make any difference if I did.

There was an extract in today's Crikey and this sentence initially had me spluttering:

The point is - all but the most professionally outraged of the punters are only
too well aware, and greet this sort of "revelation" with a universal "ho-hum"
and quickly turn to the sports pages.

It seems to me that if a country gets comprehensively lied to about arguably the most important decision a government can take - to go to war - and doesn't really care, then all the folderol about new defence strategies may as well take place only behind closed doors, it's not newsworthy. Indeed, let's just have sport on the front page as well as the back.

Of course, half a second's reflection will tell you that there are occasions where the sensitivities surrounding a situation will decree that some secrecy is paramount. I'd argue that Iraq was different: it was trumpeted far and wide by the US, Blair signed the UK up in a most public fashion and of course there was Poland and Spain as two of the more enthusiastic early members of the Coalition of the Willing.

We got obfuscation and sleight of hand.

The current shenanigans (and it seems there was
more to it than met the eye) only shows that we have a rattled government under pressure. Howard was declaiming on TV tonight that it was never about oil, and Dr Nelson has subsequently performed a Houdini with twist and pike that should score 10s from the judges. "I never said what I said. And if I did say it, it wasn't what I meant." At least he didn't claim to have 'mispoken', evidently the media minders have picked up that there is no such thing.

Most hilariously, Costello got in for his two cents' worth, which was that it had "always been the government's position that Iraq was never about oil." Well yes, exactly, it always has been the government's position (except for a few hours after Dr Nelson's momentary oversight).

It doesn't really matter what was the government's position, the position never refelected the truth. I suppose this is HF's point. More ominously, I doubt that things would get much better under a Rudd ALP government. It'd take a determined step back from the 'realism' view of international security for us to see any change, and the chances ofthat rate about the same as a change from the neoclassical brand of economics that currently has us in its thrall.

In other words...not now, not soon, but one day...

*I have a head full of Wilburys.

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