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Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Feb 27 16:08:58 MST 2003


Michael quotes from WSWS:

>>While Keating's remarks were portrayed in the tabloid media as being part
of a "personal" vendetta and "highly exaggerated", they echoed the
sentiments of several political commentators, who have roundly condemned
the Howard
government for its handling of the East Timor crisis.<<

>>Under the headline, "A holocaust of Canberra's making", the Australian's
Greg Sheridan wrote: "This has been a bloody and appalling failure of
Australian strategy and policy." Paul Lyneham, a reporter for the Nine
television network, asked: "By what God-given right did Australia, with all
the intelligence at its fingertips, decide that proceeding with the ballot
was worth the mass slaughter? Let's not forget that our troops are going
into danger because of the greatest stuff-up ever in Australian foreign
policy."<<

This shows firstly that Keating was full of bile towards Howard, who had
wiped him in the election.  He was largely ignored. It shows secondly that
a certain intellectual cadre around the Australian newspaper and the
Australian National University were resisting Howard's re-jigging of
foreign policy away from the original pro-Suharto stance; their impact on
public opinion was minimal.  But thirdly, if you look closely, you will see
that the "appalling failure" Sheridan refers to is the phase BEFORE Howard
sent the troops. At that point, Howard was indeed under pressure. Sending
in the troops ended that;  his popularity soared, and “humanitarian
intervention” was legitimised. Now with the Ramos Horta article, we see
some of the consequences. Speaking of which


>>assuming we can conduct this without questioning each other's motives and
seeking to expose apostasy/heresy.<<

If I seemed to question anyone’s motives somewhere in the thread, it wasn’t
intentional. Actually I don’t even have the heart to blame those who
supported the intervention – after all the media were telling us the
Indonesians were carrying out "mass slaughter" (a lie, as it turned out)
and we all felt the pull. The only “heresy” I want to combat is the
incredible resistance to RECOGNISING THE CONSEQUENCES – even, it seems,
with Ramos Horta’s article staring us in the face.


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