29 September 2010

Classic Howard: attack a straw man

In John Howard’s recent address to the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation he deployed his classic tactic for attacking his critics – set up a straw man (words they did not say) and then attack that, rather than address their real arguments.

He said, inter alia:

There is a tendency to see a response to terrorism in terms of placating alternative philosophies in the hope they will accommodate you and abandon aggressive designs on your society…

For the record, my response to his response to terrorism had nothing to do with that, nothing to do with that at all.

My response to his response to terrorism is that terrorist acts, no matter how egregious, do not warrant:

(i)      Joining us in a war with no clear purpose (Afghanistan);

(ii)    Involving us in a war (Iraq) that was illegal, was against a country that had nothing to do with the outrage complained of (the attack on the World Trade Centre), and was just plain dumb;

(iii)   Compromising our civil liberties and the rule of law in this country; or

(iv)   Converting ASIO overnight from a security intelligence organisation to a secret police force with draconian powers and minimal training for its new role.

Any time Mr Howard would like to address those issues I would be interested to hear his views .

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