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In times like these

By Richard Hil - posted Tuesday, 7 October 2014


O praise be Prime Minister Tony Abbott for making Australia a truly global power and for taking a lead in seeking to degrade/destroy/defeat and otherwise vanquish those head cases in northern Iraq and Syria. This is truly an epic battle of good against evil, a clash of civilizations. And we, the goodies, have to prevail or we are all cactus.

Some credit of course should go to former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (now happily ensconced at Harvard University) for his determined and ultimately successful campaign to ensure Australia's place on the UN Security Council. And haven't we used our position well? Despite all the initial doubts and fears of triggering a third world war (which he still may well do), Abbott has thus far proved himself an international warrior/statesman, a colossus of reason, high principle and steely resolve. He has taken the battle right up to the mediaeval death cult that is the Islamic State.

Previously derided for his errant pugilism and relentless negativity as well as his penchant for wearing skimpy Speedos and a swim cap, our PM has shown what a prolonged regime of physical fitness can achieve. He has also proven himself on the domestic front by granting extended powers to our beleaguered intelligence and security services as they seek valiantly to defend our homeland from would-be terrorists.

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Some commentators (read traitors) complain that we have gone too far and that police raids across Australia were in fact an unwarranted assault on Islamic communities. Though these raids yielded little in terms of identifying potential terrorists, they nonetheless demonstrated our nation's mettle when it comes to the threat of Islamic terrorism. Abbott refused to be intimidated by the wave of public criticism that accompanied these necessary actions. Like the natural born tri-athlete he is, our PM can see the finish line. He knows where he's going. We are, after all, at war both here and overseas, and it could well be permanent conflict as we battle forces that threaten our way of life.

No matter that we, along with our allies in the then Coalition of the willing, illegally invaded Iraq in 2003 and that subsequent attempts to discover WMDs proved 'embarrassing' for former PM, John Howard. No matter either that many IS fighters are disaffected remnants of the former Ba'athist regime, or that when we occupied Iraq there was no coherent plan in place to address long standing grievances. No matter that the original pretexts for the invasion failed to cover up the fact that this 'intervention' was really about securing oil supplies and extending US style democracy across the Middle East. Oh, and by the Iraq folly led to over a million civilian casualties.

Instead of being dragged through the International Criminal Court, all three leaders of the Coalition of the willing – Bush, Blair, Howard - have gone on to write chunky autobiographies justifying their role in the Iraq debacle. They are living their lives out as elder statesmen, men of reason and high principle, just like our own PM. But 2003 etc is in the past and we now have to knuckle down to tackle the latest global threat emanating from the Middle East.

After we have swept aside IS my hope is that we, along with our coalition partners, go full steam into Nigeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other recalcitrant nations to defeat those who behead, stone, crucify, kidnap and variously torture non-believers. And the good thing for our domestic electorates is that, hey, there's no need for boots on the ground. Thankfully, we'll be spared all that unsightly bloodletting. You see, our coalition buddies, the US, have drones and other highly sophisticated technological means to defeat the enemy wherever they might be. One push of the button from an operative in the US and, boom, target destroyed. Simple as that! Cruise and Tomahawk missiles and high altitude bombing raids will do the rest, thanks very much.

What's that? Evidence that in the wake of US bombing IS fighters are simply melting into civilian areas, ready to re-group? We'll hunt them down, don't you worry about that.

Oh, before I forget; good on the House of Reps speaker, Bronwyn Bishop, for decreeing that veiled visitors be denied access to the open public gallery at Parliament House. The question is whether she and her advisers have gone far enough. What about getting rid of beards, moustaches, trendy stubble, makeup, and any other head coverings like the turban, motor cycle helmets, trilbies and berets? Those wearing wigs should also be asked to remove them for identification purposes. We should also consider banning masks worn by some tourists to prevent contracting the flu or the Ebola virus. And it goes without saying that nuns and monks should be placed behind the glass screen.

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Yes, if there was ever a time for lockdown and hyper vigilance, this is it. We all need to be on the lookout for strangers in our midst; odd and suspicious behaviours need to be monitored, and anyone seen purchasing quantities of fertilisers should be immediately reported to the authorities. Those seen pushing wheel barrows, prams or pulling trailers should be closely scrutinised.

And we need to keep a close eye on anyone sporting a lengthy beard. The alarming trend among some young males and now Rugby players to grow bushy beards should also be addressed and of course they will have to shave them off before entering the precincts of parliament.

Yes, dangerous times. But who better to lead us at a time like this than PM Tony Abbott? Backed loyally by the anodyne opposition leader, Bill Shorten, yet shamefully opposed by the ever seditious Christian Milne, our PM is doing us proud. His use of military advisers to defeat the people smugglers, the purchase of fighter jets, and the appointment of an ex-general as governor general, has stood us in good stead.

To those who say that the struggle against ISIL has come at a good time for the PM given his unpopularity and sloppy Joe's ghastly budget, I say treason! Anyone making such accusations should be referred immediately to the security services.

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About the Author

Richard Hil is Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, NSW.

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