Intercepted Mail (Part 1)
Tuesday, 26 November 2002
This is a longer post than I usually make, so I'm resorting to the workaround of posting it in two parts, to fit within blogger limitations.
Prime Minister John Howard has responded to Brian Deegan in this open letter in today's Oz. It's a thoughtful considered response, so I shall attempt to abandon my customary flippancy in commenting on the letter.
After expressing his sympathy for Mr Deegan, Mr Howard gives his explanation of the Bali bombings:
He died at the hands of a murderous group of Islamic fanatics who despise the liberal democratic, open life of Western nations, such as Australia. He died because there are people in the world who believe that indiscriminate violent murder is a justifiable political instrument.
Later he goes on to say:
You are right in saying that boys of your son's age are always the ones to go to war. It has sadly ever been thus. That is why peaceful resolution of differences should always be sought.
Ignoring terrorism, however, will not make it disappear.
History is strewn with examples of countries not taking a stand on something in the hope that the problem would go away, only to find that, at an infinitely greater cost, that challenge must ultimately be confronted.
The favourite historical example of this sort of thing is the rise of Nazi Germany and the Second World War. And this is where I'm getting a little uncomfortable with the parallels, because there are some obvious contrasts as well.