Saturday 31st of July 2021

modern warfare with antique seasoning

modern warfare with antique seasoning


I've been wondering all day why A case for torture is so profoundly disturbing. If it had stayed within the confines of a journal article, the impact would have been very different. How was it offered to The Age, or was it requested? Who was consulted before it was published? What was the purpose?

It's too easy, and irrelevant, to say that some people assent to, or even relish the thought of, putting another person under physical duress. And it's not that the medical doctors almost always get caught up in the practice of torture.

I got this far - the two academics and the newspaper have performed an act of vandalism, or perhaps it should be moral terrorism. It's as though they didn't have to consider the consequences of the act of publication. The only "need" that I know of is to support the
position taken by AFP chief Keelty, that it will be necessary to have some forms of harsh interrogation given legal sanction, under the fatuous analogy of the ticking bomb. A close analogy to The Age's act of tossing the Bargaric bomb into Collins Street, was the grenade that was thrown into the crowd while George Bush was in Tbilisi. It may, or may not, have been armed and deadly; it may, or may not, have exploded; it may, or may not, have injured Bush (if he was the target). The perpetrator didn't care what happened, as long as it was noticed.

Bargaric's piece will be noticed. Oh yes, John Howard will deflect it with a contemptuous defence of his values, but he will not drag the perpetrators up to the Bar of Parliament. He had more feeling for Kylie Minogue's illness. Headlines for the protagonist case, but hardly a blip of official countermand.

Some of the anti-Western resistors in Iraq will have noticed that. If their next act includes the filmed mistreatment of a captured Australian, then Howard will have more ammunition to go in harder, to protect the homeland with tougher legislation. So, is The Age complicit in the next Howard-driven attack on our civil values? I think so.

Most of the elements in this dramatic assault on our common decency are present in the 1975 movie Operation Daybreak. This is an account of the assassination of Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, the Butcher of Prague, by a group of Czech patriots. They had been trained in subversive techniques, including sabotage by bombing, in Britain and parachuted back into their homeland. The Germans would have called them terrorists. After they killed Heydrich, one of the group was captured by the Gestapo. During a quiet chat, he told about his colleagues. After dealing with the partisans, the Germans wiped the town of Lidice off the map.

This latest attempt to normalise the callous and considered abuse of other people is a step back into barbarism, and it's intrinsically linked to our government's desire to extricate itself from the moral morass it created for itself over the invasion of Iraq. If we hadn't let ourselves be suckered by Bush's lies about Iraq, Bargaric's career would have taken a smoother course into the Minister's office.