“900 FOOLS” May 25, 2011Posted by wmmbb in Duckspeak, Human Rights.
“Nine hundred credulous fools”, Ted Lapkin wrote, rose to their feet to applaud that “fraud” David Hicks at the Sydney Writer’s Festival.
The next day in the same newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, Mary Kostakidis presents a more measured argument. It is salutatory to remember the difference emotive ranting combined with presumption and considered argument. Argument and self discipline, as distinct from ranting, are important and essential to justice and the working of liberal democracy. Throw concern with justice overboard – even if you have an aircraft carrier conveniently steaming in the Arabian Sea – then you are left with violence, domination and torture. Then the spiral of violence creates further violence.
The print media are determined to do things the way they always have, and I suppose that might be understandable, but why don’t if they cannot link make reference to the relevant report, so that in this case the context for Ted Lapkin’s remarks is established. Leesa McKenny and Peter Martin had previously written “ My intentions were good, says David Hicks“ in the same newspaper.
The Lapkin critique of Hicks has two strains. He is a fraud, based on the contention that what he wrote in his private letters home and what is written in his book are odds. Lapkin writes:
His latter day effort to portray himself as some sort of harmless, hapless dilettante is belied by letters written in his own hand. In these missives he talks of undergoing weapons training that included “anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets, rapid-fire heavy and light machineguns, pistols, AK47s, mines and explosives”. His words, not mine.
Hicks’s hamfisted dishonesty is on full display when his autobiography presents a bowdlerised version of a foray to the front line between India and Pakistan. Hicks travelled to Kashmir courtesy of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. In his book, he declares: “We did not fire upon Indian soldiers or any other people. We only participated in the symbolic exchange of fire.”
But in a letter written in August 2000, Hicks described his Kashmiri experience in more robust terms. “I got to fire hundreds of bullets,” he crowed. “Most Muslim countries impose hanging for civilians arming themselves for conflict. There are not many countries in the world where a tourist, according to his visa, can go to stay with the army and shoot across the border at its enemy, legally.”
During his festival appearance at the weekend, Hicks claimed the first time he ever heard the name al-Qaeda was “from the lips of an interrogator in Guantanamo Bay”. But once again, he is busted by those pesky notes he penned to his family.
In a May 2001 missive he wrote: ”By the way I have met Osama bin Laden 20 times now, lovely brother, everything for the cause of Islam. The only reason the West calls him the most wanted Muslim is because he’s got the money to take action.”
The case in categorical in the Lapkin view – no need to investigate further. What did, for example, Hicks understand about Islam as a religion? As Mary Kostakidis observes Hicks does not speak Arabic. However extensive his military training was, which in itself is presumably not a crime, he noticeably refused to be suicide attacker. Perhaps that explains why he was so easily captured by the Northern Alliance. He may have had weapons training, but he had no battlefield training. His motivation and behavior have to be understood, and that is where proper trials, free of torture, can clarify matters.
The other contention that Lapkin proclaims is that Hicks was a terrorist, or at least an enemy non-combatant:
Some audience members may take the view that whatever Hicks’s crimes, being held for so long without charge in Guantanamo Bay was unjustifiable. But this is a war, and in wartime it is entirely justifiable to detain enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities. We’re not even talking about legitimate POWs, but rather illegal combatants who don’t enjoy the protection of the laws of war because they themselves routinely violate them.
What the writers’ festival audience seemed to ignore is that al-Qaeda would just as soon cut off their heads as look at them. The novelist Martin Amis put it well on BBC TV’s Q&A when he described the phenomenon of Western lefties making common cause with Muslim radicals: “People of liberal sympathies, stupefied by relativism, have become the apologists for a creedal wave that is racist, misogynist, homophobic, imperialist, and genocidal. To put it another way, they are up the arse of those that want them dead.”
The eagerness of this naive crowd to excuse the jihadi transgressions of David Hicks is, quite simply, masochism in the service of sadism.
Make the assertions emphatically enough and the ironclad conclusions follow. The Northern Alliance may be the proxy, but it is not the United States, not is it clear that this is Afghanistan they represent a formal military force in the established Western mode. “This is war” and “we have taken the gloves off”, yet it probably the case that a skillful investigators, one assumes that such people exist in the FBI, could have sorted out the David Hicks knew and what he did, without the need for long period of incarceration with torture, followed by bogus trials and plea bargaining.
Ted Lapkin would not admit it but his contorted arguments and view of the world creates a political environment where intelligent and moral behavior is made implausible.
Wikipedia: David Hicks
The AGE: The trials of David Hicks.
Neil Keene, The Daily Telegraph, Wkileaks files reveal US views. . .
Parliamentary Library, Australians in detention in Guantanamo .