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.
Tims Times Two, Lambert and Dunlop.
Reading idiots like Krauthammer, and unreadables like the mighty bedroom warbloggers - so that you don't have to.
About Krauthammer, I mean. The whole point in equating votes for left-wing parties with "victories" for terrorism is to encourage more terrorism. That's the real grisly point about US neoconservatives: they DON'T want to see terrorism defeated. They want it to go on and on because in their world Terrorism Is The Health of The Right.
Especially interesting when considered in light of American right-wing interference, for example the US Ambassador's various anti-ALP comments.
Nice use of the "Auto-Rebut" feature (I try to turn mine odff when I post...).
Your example of the "Auto-Rebut" in action:
1. 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.
2. 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.
Hmm. So, we all agree that the target was Australians (albeit in Indonesia), but we are supposed to think that the terrorists were not at all interested in the upcoming Australian election?
I assume you are not serious - after Madrid, and the many kidnappings followed by demands that nations withdraw their troops, are we really supposed to presume that this bombing was meant to affect everything *except* the Australian elections?
If it also affected elections in Indonesia, fine, it was a double play.
If they misjudged the public response, well, then, these terrorists are not well versed in the development of public opinion in a Western democracy - is that a total surprise?
When terrorists kidnapped some Frenchmen and tied it to the veil issue in French schools, France, including French Muslims, united in outrage. Terrorist miscalculation! Who could have guessed they lacked such PR savvy.
As to the defense that her statement was "true", two points - the bit about "wanton disregard for international law" is disputed by Blair, Powell, and others; secondly, in the conduct of international diplomacy, truth is hardly the only issue or a plausible defense. As a representative of the potential future President of the US, she has obligations beyond that of a private citizen.
And yes, brace yourself - that includes an obligation to duck certain questions, or answer in a way that cheerleads for her home team. Hard work, but someone has to do it.
Which you knew, of course.
That's right, Tom. The terrorists are desperate that Howard lose. So desperate, in fact, that voting for Latham amounts to "appeasement"; if the ALP wins the upcoming election, then so will have the terrorists.
Hell, we practically have a duty as Citizens of the World to ignore our rights in this here democracy and instead vote exactly as the wingnuts in the US want us to!
Other than anecdotal or speculative is there any real data that shows an increased threat of terror to Australians at home? Have arrests of potential terrorists or foiling of potential incidents of terror actually increased in Australia since the Iraq War? The car bombing in 1978 in Sydney by an Indian group appears to be the only terrorist incident occurring in Australia.
Tom, The bombing was done by Indonesians, in Indonesia, just 11 days before their election. You surely cannot be arguing that didn't intend to affect their election? These things also take a little time to plan. The bombing took place only a few days after the election in Australia was called. There wasn't enough time for them to plan and execute the thing between when the election was called and when the bombing occurred.
As for your contention that she should have ducked the question, you haven't actually given any good reason for her to do so. What she said isn't actually a secret, and I am not aware of anyone here being bothered by it.
I do think the alliance between our countries will survive Krauthammer's attempts to undermine it for political advantage. Of course, I'm not real fond of the whole AEI crowd.