Shall Australia follow Spain down the dhimmi path? Michael Costello says no in The Australian (thanks to Jean-Luc):
SO. What would we have to do to get rid of the threat of terrorism from al-Qa’ida? Pulling out of Iraq would not begin to be enough.
Here are some of the demands spelled out by Osama bin Laden and the head of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir:
Pull out of the UN;
Pull out of the US alliance;
Return East Timor to Islamic rule;
Support the return of the extreme form of Islamic rule to the following: Afghanistan, Southern Spain, southern Philippines, southern Thailand, Malaysia, significant parts of China, many of the republics created from the former Soviet Union and, of course, all of North Africa and the Middle East;
Drive the Jews of Israel into the sea;
Prevent women working or being educated, or appearing in public without full covering dress;
Require women to obey men.
No decent nation could accept any or all of these.
That’s what makes this whole debate about whether our participation in the attack on Iraq increased the terrorist threat to Australia so absurd.
What bin Laden has been saying since September 11 makes clear that we were a terrorist target even before then.
Our alliance with the US, indeed the very fact we are a western nation, made us one. These are his words, not my assertions.
If you doubt that East Timor is relevant, how about this? “The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores, and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world.” That’s bin Laden on November 3, 2001.
Just in case you think this is just one-off, bin Laden made clear in that same statement that those events in East Timor should be viewed “not as separate links, but as links in a long series of conspiracies, a war of annihilation in the true sense of the word”.
And further: “These battles cannot be viewed in any case whatsoever as isolated battles, but rather, as part of a chain of the long, fierce and ugly crusader war.”
Of course, Iraq was also part of that chain in bin Laden’s mind. As far back as October 2001, bin Laden included the first UN sponsored war on Iraq in 1990-91 as a major cause of his grievances with the West.
It’s particularly foolish of Prime Minister John Howard to act as though the second Iraq war has nothing to do with the terrorist threat. It does.
But it did not create that terrorist threat. Like our involvement in Afghanistan, it really only confirmed it. If we were to pull out tomorrow, that is not going to solve our problem.
And what is the problem? War has been declared on us by religious fanatics who are prepared to wage that war without limit.
Again, you only have to read bin Laden’s and Bashir’s words to know this. For example, bin Laden says the “killing of British and Australians in the Bali explosions were actions carried out by the zealous sons of Islam in defence of their religion and in response to the order of their God” – November 12, 2002.
And again: “Carrying out terrorism against the oppressors is one of the tenets of our religion and Shari’ah.” On November 3, he said: “This war is fundamentally religious.” Further: “Under no circumstances should we forget this enmity between us and the infidels. For the enmity is based on creed.” And again on the same day: “This war is fundamentally religious,” and “It is a question of faith, not a war against terrorism.”
What about those who think another UN mandate for Iraq would have placated the terrorists? Let me again quote bin Laden on November 3, 2001. “Those who refer our tragedies today to the United Nations so that they can be resolved are hypocrites who deceive God, his prophet and the believers.”
Further: “Under no circumstances should any Muslim or sane person resort to the United Nations. The United Nations is nothing but a tool of crime.” And as for Kofi Annan, bin Laden describes him as “this criminal”.
The Government’s attacks on Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty were typically vindictive, Alexander Downer as usual contributed the most vicious and sickening note.
Once again, the Government has made a mess of what should have been a strong case.
Instead of arguing over whether, or how much, Australia’s involvement in Iraq has increased the threat to Australia, Howard should simply tell Australians the sober truth.
That truth is that we face an enemy whose every word and deed shows it is uninterested in anything but complete surrender from those it regards as its enemies, of which Australia is one; that it will use indiscriminate terror against its enemies, and Australia is likely to suffer a heavy terrorist attack at some time, possibly close to the next election; that we cannot and will not surrender to terror, or the threat of terror; and that our people must unite for a long, wearing, grinding struggle to find, capture or, as a last resort, kill those who would kill us. This is the harsh truth of our times.