The Power Line blog informs us that the Kerry campaign has mounted a “terrorist attack on Australia”:
“We all know that Kerry’s sister is over in Australia telling the Aussies to vote for their [leftist] candidate if they want to be safer from terrorist attacks; that they need to pull their troops out of Iraq, and not help the U.S. (because that’s why they will be, and have been attacked). So, how is this NOT a soft terrorist attack on Australia from the Kerry campaign? She goes over there, and with words instead of bombs, terrorizes the Aussies to vote liberal; to sway the election.”
Well the existence of this “terrorist attack” on us may come as a surprise to most Australians so I thought I would investigate to find out exactly how we were being terrorised without our knowledge.
It all seems to have started with some comments Diana Kerry made to The Australian‘s Washington correspondent:
“Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels,” she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq.
Asked if she believed the terrorist threat to Australians was now greater because of the support for Republican George W. Bush, Ms Kerry said: “The most recent attack was on the Australian embassy in Jakarta—I would have to say that.”
Now her comments are pretty unobjectionable as well as being true. It is hardly a secret in Australia that invading Iraq made is a bigger target for terrorists. Howard concealed the fact that this was the advice of his intelligence experts even before the war, but the truth came out.
Now look at what Charles Krauthammer misrepresents the meaning of Kerry’s comments. Krauthammer claims that the recent bombing of the Australian embassy was intended to affect the upcoming Australian election.
The terrorists’ objective is to intimidate all countries allied with America. Make them bleed and tell them this is the price they pay for being a U.S. ally. The implication is obvious: Abandon America and buy your safety. …
She said this of her country (and of the war that Australia is helping us with in Iraq): “[W]e are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels.” Mark Latham could not have said it better. Nor could Jemaah Islamiah, the al Qaeda affiliate that killed nine people in the Jakarta bombing.
Yes, Krauthammer equated Mark Latham, who may become our next Prime Minister with the terrorists. Krauthammer is despicable. His equation is based on not one, but two, serious misrepresentations.
First, that JI was trying to influence the election in Australia. Well, if that’s what JI was doing then they wanted Howard to win because there is no question that the bombing helps Howard’s chances for re-election. But that’s not the election they were trying to influence. Krauthammer somehow neglects to mention that the presidential election in Indonesia (you know, the place where the bomb went off) was just eleven days after the bombing.
Second, that Kerry is telling Australia to withdraw from Iraq. But all she did was truthfully answer a question about Australia being at greater risk. Krauthammer insults Australians’ courage and intelligence. Apparently he thinks we are too stupid to realize the risk unless Kerry tells us and he thinks we are cowards who will run away if we ever find out the truth.
Krauthammer has another misrepresentation at the beginning of his column:
Which is why Australia is with us today in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
But Australia doesn’t have troops in Afghanistan. We did, but withdrew them at the end of 2002. This does not mean that Australia turned tail and ran. Similarly, Latham’s plan to withdrew some (not all) of Australia’s small remaining force in Iraq is not running away either. They’ve already stayed there far longer than was originally planned and they do have to be withdrawn eventually. It should not be a big deal—folks like Krauthammer who try to paint a withdrawal of a couple of hundred soldiers as a major victory for the terrorists are the ones creating a PR victory for them.
And of course the usual collection of warbloggers chimed in, adding their own exaggerations, fabrications and distortions. They accused Kerry of being a terrorist (see top of this post). They made up a story that “His shrewish sister is running around in Australia“. (No, she talked to the paper’s Washington correspondent). They called her claim “ludicrous” because the Bali bombing was before the Iraq invasion. (But if you look at the quote, it was the embassy bombing she mentioned). And on and on.
In a post that seems to parallel this one Tim Dunlop also takes Krauthammer to task.
Update: Powerline adds that Kerry’s sister “lives in Australia”. No, and she wasn’t even in Australia.