News and events

The war entry

As I think about world events, and look through my diary entries for this month, it occurs to me how self-absorbed I might seem. This is not really the case – at least I hope it isn’t, though I’m not about to use this an excuse to launch into a 3000 word study on how self-absorbed I might or might not be to try and figure it out.

It’s just that generally I try to avoid talking politics and heavy stuff here. Or if I do, I’m looking for an amusement angle, which isn’t really there at the moment.

But someone asked what my take is on current events, so here we go: here are my thoughts on the current situation. No doubt some of these points will have people seeing red and entering nasty comments, and demanding that I go to various web sites of their choosing for re-education.

  • Australia suffered a big impact from the Bali bombings, which was our biggest death toll ever to terrorism – 88 Australians dead, and as well as about 100 others. There certainly seem to be links between Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Al Qaeda, and if any country is qualified to go after either of them, it’s us. So I suspect many see our involvement in the action in Afghanistan as reasonable. But then, that seems to have wide military backing from a number of nations. Does it make us a target? Were we a target in Bali because of our involvement in Afghanistan? Or just because we’re a prosperous western nation? Good question.
  • I think Saddam is a horrendous tyrant, and is in my top ten of world leaders who should be toppled, but I have not seen any convincing evidence of a link between him and international terrorism groups such as Al Qaeda and JI, or any link whatsoever to Bali or September 11th.
  • So, if being a horrendous tyrant is all that you need to get a coalition of western forces ousting you from power nowadays, I’m interested to see who is next on the list. Somehow I doubt there is anybody. Bush’s comment a few months ago that "This is the guy that tried to kill my dad" makes it sound (a) like it’s some kind of vendetta, and (b) like the plot of a movie sequel:
    Gulf War II – This time, it’s personal
  • I am undecided whether or not Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, and is therefore a threat to the rest of the world. He might well have them, but it seems the UN never found them. Colon Powell’s PowerPoint slides didn’t convince me any more than they convinced anybody else who needed convincing.
  • Australia has a few thousand troops in the coalition. It’s probably more a symbolic contribution than providing anything to the coalition that the US and British forces can’t do themselves. I hope they’ve got some fairly good co-ordination between the various forces happening, because in the business world, mixing large groups of people attacking different aspects of the one goal, and trying not to trip over each other, is a recipe for disaster. Throw deadly weapons into the mix and… well
  • I don’t for one minute subscribe to the simplistic "blood for oil" or "we must fight for the security of the world" lines. This whole issue is full of shades of grey, it’s definitely not black and white. As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages for the different people involved all over the place.
  • But many of these points are now pretty much academic. The war has started now… I can only hope that it is quick, that a minimum of innocent people are killed or injured, and that this time, a proper conclusion is reached.

That’s all I can think of for now.

Actually I think the efforts of the coalition forces might be better directed at the smeggers at work who shut off everyone’s web access and made everyone re-apply for it, as well as the people who are making the paperwork involved take longer than wading through an ocean of molasses. It’s ludicrous – quite apart from not being able to look up reference material for my job, if I want to know what’s going on in the world I have to go outside and ask somebody, or try and browse the news on WAP at argh cents a minute.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.