In case you did not read this characteristic piece of right-wing abuse
by Miranda Divine in the SMH of 20 Feb, here it is with my comments.
My comments are indented -- Norman.
Dim-witted sloganeering and a facile anti-Americanism are warping the
writes Miranda Devine.
Gordon Sloan is a good poster boy for Australia's anti-war movement. The
most vacuous character in the world's most vacuous TV program, the
30-year-old former Big Brother contestant from Melbourne headed to Iraq
last month in a bus with 100 international peace lovers to serve as
human shields. As he left, he said he didn't know much about Saddam
Hussein. But he knew the United States was bad.
Miranda, you will be mentioning Gordon (or "Gordy") so often
in your article that he must have been all over the place
in the Peace Rally. But he must have been hard to find
unless you really tailed him all the time. Seems to me he
is like the Wally guy in my kid's books -- almost invisible
in a huge crowd except for people obsessed by him.
"I really haven't researched him," he said of the Iraqi dictator. "He's
not an interest of mine. All I know is there are equally as bad people
as him around doing as atrocious things but he happens to be sitting on
all the oil." And the reason the US wants to disarm Saddam? "They just
want to guarantee they have 40 per cent of the world's oil so they can
keep having big cars."
This is a classic debating trick. Pick one unrepresentative
person at the tail end of a bell curve and say that he/she
is typical of the population. By this trick, any popular rally
can be type-cast as a "lesbian-feminist anarchist" uprising, a
favorite term of abuse by the Right.
Many who marched for peace to Hyde Park on Sunday seemed to share Gordy's
simple world view. They were the ones holding up placards featuring
the US flag with an equals sign and a swastika, overlooking the fact
that Saddam, who gassed and butchered 150,000 Kurds and Shia Muslims,
is the one behaving like Hitler.
How "many" is "many"? I was there, and hey, only if you looked
very hard could see nuts like that. I also saw nuts with placards
calling for the legalization of brothels. Nuts do not a
population make. Another instance of the same debating trick
as above, not very creative is it?
These are people who believe the US is more of a threat to world peace
than Iraq or North Korea, and that the "cowboys" in the White House and
Kirribilli House are more dangerous than Saddam. These beliefs require
such a corrosive cocktail of ignorance and postmodern cynicism they soon
rot whatever brain cells might have existed in the first place.
Maybe Miranda can sleep peacefully knowing that (yes, the
cowboys!) Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney hold the nuclear trigger.
But some us quite sane people cannot. There is another
juvenille debating trick here -- if you don't like me, then
that means you must like my enemy! Look, I don't trust these
Whitehouse cowboys, and I don't trust bin Laden, and I also
loathe Saddam. These are perfectly consistent beliefs. But
it's funny. Rightists like Miranda and Sheehan think the rest
of the world are like them, viewing everything as
black-and-white. Hey grow up you Miranda! Color movies have
been around for the last 70 years!
Also notice the typically crude abuse she delights in: ".. rot
whatever brain cells might have existed in the first place".
Whoever taught her debating tricks did not teach her the
elements of civility necessary for democratic discourse.
As an example of how a Gordy mindset can demonise a decent humanitarian
nation like Australia, it's worth examining the claims, made in letters
to the editor and elsewhere, that our Government sympathises with Iraqi
people only when it suits - like now - for evil, pro-war propaganda
purposes. But, the theory goes, when escapees from Saddam's regime want
to live here they are sent home to be brutalised.
The facts, as explained yesterday by an Immigration Department spokesman
(who, to the Gordy crowd, is automatically a liar, but that can't be
helped), are that 4439 Iraqi boat people have arrived here in the past
three years and been granted permanent protection visas or citizenship. A
further 4657 Iraqi nationals were resettled here under a humanitarian
program between 1997 and last year. You could argue it's not enough but
it is still a far cry from the send-the-victims home theory.
Oh? Let's just ask about the 7 Iraqi women still in Nauru about
whom Mike Seccombe wrote in the SMH last week. Their husbands
are here in Australia, acknowledged by the Immigration Dept
to have been persecuted by Saddam. And Ruddock wants to send
the wives back to face precisely the torture, rape, etc that
his colleague Downer was hypocritically weeping over in a speech
in Parliament as his justification for invading Iraq to get rid
of that monster who rules it. What about those Afghans featured
in the SMH's Good Weekend supplement who belong to the minority
group persecuted by the Taliban? They only have temporary visas
and are scheduled for eventual deportation. We can go on and
on. But it is pointless. We all know what the policy on
refugees is. And trust the Immigration Department spokesman?
Hey, we cannot even trust their masters of the "children overboard"
The fact is that the kind of hyper-democracy, allied with technology,
that exists in affluent Western nations like ours, enables the most
ill-informed and deliberately ignorant of the Gordy set to be heard -
on the internet, in letters to the editor, on talkback radio. The result
is a kind of information white noise in which the truth - or at least
the most logical conclusion - is drowned.
Strange, Miranda. Most of the time you and your crowd are very
happy with talk-back radio. And what is wrong with the
internet? You unhappy with a medium that can by-pass the
mainstream media? Like the Peace Rally last week-end that so
nauseates you, which was "advertised" via the internet and by
word of mouth? Sure, in any free medium, there will be some
shit, but as someonce said, "Democracy is the worst of all
systems -- except for the rest".
All most people have left to trust is their "gut feelings": George
Bush talks like a Texan, has slightly crossed eyes, can stumble into
incoherence when a microphone is thrust in front of him, talks about God,
and therefore is a dangerous moron.
Sorry, Miranda. He IS A MORON. And DANGEROUS too because
morons who have that kind of power are simplistic and
If "little Johnny" Howard defied you on the republic, or Tampa, or
when he refused to say "sorry" to Aborigines or kept winning elections,
chances are you won't trust his motives on Iraq. It's what Noel Pearson
once called the "cheerleader" method of deciding what you believe. If
you like Carmen Lawrence, you're with her on Iraq: peace at any price.
You knew that Little Johnny rigged the republic vote by not
allowing the simple question "Do you want a republic?" to be
asked. Another old debating trick, Miranda, tell only half the
truth! And you also now know he used the "children overboard"
lie and courted the Pauline Hanson vote to win the last
election. But I tips me hat to you lot. Unlike us lefties
you sure know how to win elections and rig them. Now what's
this about Carmen? Most of us lefties are embarrassed about
her too, and happy to say so. But if I happen to like her
I must necessarily agree with her on everything? Another
cheap debating trick! You Miranda must like Kissinger surely?
Then you are with him on everything, so you like him are a
war criminal. *Sigh*, this dishonesty sure is infectious.
On Sunday, before going to Hyde Park with a purple peace ribbon,
Richard Butler, the ubiquitous former UN chief weapons inspector,
who failed to deal with Saddam in 1998, popped up on Seven's Sunday
Sunrise to bag the PM: "John Howard has lived his whole political life
around polls. His decisions ... including on the last election, refugees,
Tampa, the lie about children overboard - all of that was driven by his
attachment to polls. Now he has actually said to the Australian people,
'I don't care about polls'. It's astonishing."
Butler then ran the Greens leader Bob Brown's line, demanding Howard
put the war question to a referendum.
But Howard isn't much fazed by the peace protests, whose importance has
been so exaggerated by everyone from Butler to sainted journalist John
Pilger. He has heard it all before; how people power would destroy his
The same triumphalist talk came after the Harbour Bridge walk for
reconciliation three years ago, when a 150,000 turnout was inflated to a
million by Pilger in one of his articles for the gullible Gordy crowd.
Just like the weekend walk, that protest was trumpeted as a departure
from the usual rallies since there were so many families, children,
and nicely dressed North Shore and eastern suburbs people who looked
like Liberal voters.
You can almost hear the fear in Miranda's scorn! These people
do not just "look like Liberal voters". They ARE! Oh dear.
"I'd be worried if I was John Howard," pollster Rod Cameron said during
the week, not because of the numbers of protesters on Sunday but the
"quality ... the family types".
But Cameron forgets the red and green map on TV after the republic
referendum in 1999. NSW was a red sea of "no" voters, with a tiny green
strip of "yes" voters in the affluent suburbs of Sydney's North Shore,
east and inner west. It was the same "quality" of people who voted
for the republic, who marched across the bridge, who marched for peace
with the Gordy crowd on Sunday, comfortably bourgeois people who have
benefited most from Howard's economic policies. They are not bad or stupid
people. They share a noble wish - that everyone live as peacefully as
they do. But they forget Saddam understands only force and thrives on
the weakness of his enemies.
Aha! Another sneaky debating trick! These North Shore
chardonay sippers march for Peace. Very uncomfortable, since
they also frequent the expensive cafes to drink latte where
Miranda hangs out. So what to do? Insult them by implying
they are soft in the head, since Howard looks after their
pockets (and Miranda's too, you can be sure) but the ungrateful
wretches all love Saddam. And Miranda still cannot forgive
these "bourgeios people" for being smart enough not to split
the vote for the republic a few years back. Must have hurt
real bad! Bloody closet lefties everywhere, can't even
trust one's fellow latte sippers next door.
Saddam this week thanked everyone who marched around the world, taking
the displays as a vote of confidence in his regime. For Gordy and his
fellow human shields, Saddam reserved a special honour, placing them in
VIP spots behind his vice-president at a ceremony commemorating civilians
killed by evil Americans.
The absurdity of this is best shown like this. Saddam: "Thank
you, Peace Marchers, for supporting me and my murderers".
Miranda: "Good heavens, Saddam, I now understand what these
people were doing! Thank you so much for enlightenning me."
Many of the shields had paid their own way to Baghdad but are "guests
of the Iraqi government, staying in a hotel across from one of President
Saddam Hussein's palaces on the Tigris River", reported Reuters.
And what was Gordy's take on being used as a propaganda tool by Iraq's
genocidal despot? "I don't mind coming here but I don't want to be here
for looks," he told Channel Nine. Well, he's not there for his brain,
that's for sure.
Tut, tut. The "brain" abuse again. Miranda, you have an obsession
about brains and rotting brain cells. Nothing that a half-way
decent shrink cannot fix with valium. As for Gordy, watch out.
She may be stalking you, since she sees you everywhere.