Oz News coverage of Blix report

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Fri Feb 14 17:00:44 MST 2003

The coverage of the second Blix report on the ABC radio still tends to
emphasize the continued failure of Iraq to comply.  There is certainly an
improvement on the reporting of the first report, but emphasis is still
pushing towards the war camp.  There is of course no sign at all of a
consciousness of the ridiculous nature of the game that is being played out
in the UN.

Nevertheless there is a huge gap between popular consciousness and the
politicians.  That was shown in the anti-globalisation movement.  Decades
of neo-liberalism have weakened the legitimacy of the capitalist
system.  Very few would of course put it like that, but there is a general
and popular feeling that politicians are not to be trusted and that they
cannot nor do they ever intend to deliver on their promises. Everyone feels
the world is getting worse and they are beginning to blame the USA for it all.

Alan's report from Toowoomba is significant for the role played by the
Catholic Church and the independent schools.  That they have thrown their
support behind the peace movement is yet another fruit of the dialectic set
in motion by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

At the entrance to one of the arterial bridges in Brisbane there is a
Catholic Convent.  On the wall is a huge peace banner advertising
tomorrow's rally.  That is a sure sign that it will be very big:  hopefully
as big in proportional terms as the great rally in Melbourne.

I have posted before how I feel that Howard has walked into a trap of his
own making.  He went right out on a limb to support the American war
effort. Now he has to go to war independent of any decision of the Security
Council.  The political cost of doing so will be considerable.  The Greens
will be the principal beneficiaries, as the ALP is still sticking to its
position of supporting a UN war.

Howard is leaking to the press that he thinks the anti-war numbers are soft
and that when a war starts the majority will swing behind the
government.  Certainly that has always been the case in the past and I tend
to think that support for the government might well grow, but the vast
majority of Australians will remain opposed to the attack on Iraq.

The spat between Latham the Australian Labor Party parliamentarian and the
American Ambassador is a clear indication that Bush is perceived abroad as
a true moron. I was out of town at Cherbourg, the Aboriginal community, so
I missed most of the row.  Apparently Latham called Bush a "dill". Bush's
home spun crap may play well in Texas, but overseas it is a PR disaster.

In desperation Howard has distributed an anti-terror kit to all homes at a
cost of $20 million Australian.  That is supposed to fulfil the function
performed by the tanks at Heathrow.  We are all supposed to be scared and
to get behind government and the troops.  People are responding by
returning the kits.

Meanwhile the anti-vaccine mutiny in the Australian navy has grown.  We are
not being told the exact numbers but they are up.  So even a professional
army is not totally insulated from public opinion.

I continue to believe that Howard will get his war.  But although it will
in all probability be a swift affair, the political fall out from it will
be a much slower and messier business.  As I keep saying there also remains
the outside possibility of this new phase of American Imperialism sparking
off the Arab revolution. Should that happen there will be spectacular
scramble to get out of the Bush limo.

As always I think the anti-war movement in the USA and in Britain is having
a massive impact in Australia. This is one of those times when the ruling
class has committed itself to a position which is not well thought out or
prepared. Goering may well have believed that it was easy to get people to
go to war, but the coming days will prove him to have been very
wrong.  It's worth bearing in mind btw that the Nazis had supreme power in
1933 and a mere twelve years later they were chewing on their cyanide
pills. The dialectic lives!



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