Monday, 22 September 2014

An Old Currency – Freshly Minted

It’s happening again.

We watch grabs of earnest looking old white men with ties using words such as “evil”, “counter measures” and “national security”.

We see images of rows of neatly uniformed diggers and grey liveried fighter aircraft being prepared for overseas deployments.

And something new and sinister –federal police appearing at carefully orchestrated press conferences explaining how, in concert with their state counterparts, they have successfully prevented us from being murdered in our beds.

It all serves to take those of us into our sixth decade into a strange land of déjà vu.

Remember when the evil de jour was Communism?  Remember when Bob Menzies, election after election, successfully kept Australians in thrall with the Great Fear?

Mind you, he had a lot of help from the likes of Bob Santamaria. No doubt the use of fear was one of the many lessons the current PM absorbed from his erstwhile mentor.

Remember how skilfully wee Johnny wedged the opposition using 9/11 and Tampa as catalysts to initiate an almost chemical reaction with fear and loathing as its residue?

We see this residue bubbling to the surface in the desecration of mosques, the abuse of women in traditional clothing, and the daily ranting and raving on scrofulous blogs.

Abbott absorbed many useful lessons from his predecessors, and the manipulation of the basest instincts in his fellow Australians is one of them.

The cost of fear in blood and treasure is rarely counted. Consider Vietnam – around 500 dead, thousands wounded - tens of thousands sickened with foul chemicals, and countless lives and families damaged by both trauma experienced and rejection upon return.

And then there was Iraq, a war fought on a lie.

Afghanistan followed, although the returning diggers are generally greeted and thanked – not forced to return home at 3am wearing civvies. They were volunteers. Many Vietnam Vets weren’t, and they were abused for participating in a conflict without the luxury of choice.

Xenophobia and bigotry always dissolves logic when mixed with a tincture of fear.

The price of fear and loathing has always been high. Unfortunately, it seems to be a price that our political masters continue to be prepared to pay. It's currency is our soldiers, sailors and airmen.

And they, are, apparently, entirely expendable...........

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...