Monday, September 20


It was a loss, and an ugly one at that, but the weekend was a blast. Gotta savor those road trips while I still can, and SEC football is definitely something worth savoring. I'd still rather lose with LSU than win with anyone else, though. But I digress...

-It looks to be a big news Monday, and this story (HT: Drudge) won't get much play, but it caught my eye. According to the article, Kerry's sister Diana "told The Weekend Australian that the Bali bombing and the recent attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta clearly showed the danger to Australians had increased."

"Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels," Diana Kerry said.

I spent two months in Australia this summer, and most of the people I encountered did not blame the US for the threats to Australia. If anything, I got the impression that most Australians were very world-conscious and even the liberal ones well understood the threat of Islamic terrorism (not least of all because of the proximity of Indonesia and the Philippines). I certainly never heard the US blamed for the October 2002 Bali bombings, a stern reminder that, whether or not they join us in the War on Terror, Australia is still targeted because it is a Western society.

"I can't understand how anybody could argue that you can respond adequately, in the name of the scores of Australians who were killed in Bali, without being part of the worldwide war against terror," Prime Minister John Howard said after the Bali bombings.

The disagreements I heard with the Iraq war were philosophical or "moral" arguments (mostly criticizing Howard for "sucking up" to the Bush administration). Never once did I hear it said that Australia would be safer if it stayed out of the business of fighting terror. Despite an inherent national cynicism, Australians know better.

Australians are aware that the danger to them has increased, and many realize that a confrontation with terrorism is inevitable. Like most Americans, they'd rather not confront al-Qaeda on their streets.

And, as a side note, Australia's parliamentary elections are in less than three weeks. President Bush's endorsement of Howard and criticism of opposition leader Mark Latham's vow to pull troops from Iraq did not go over particularly well a few months ago (because, I presume, most Australians don't like outsiders meddling in their politics). How will Ms. Kerry's comments (which implicitly criticize Howard) play?

-So Dennis Hastert said what most other sensible people have been saying for months. And I love McAuliffe's response: that there's "no room for this in our political discourse."

No room for what, Terry? Warning the American people of the danger of making the wrong choice in a month and a half? He's right, apparently. There is no room for a discussion of substantive issues in this campaign, but there's just enough room to rehash wars two generations old.

-Drudge links to the Gray Lady's story on the latest inevitable turn of events in Rathergate. There was no way for CBS to save face on this one, and certainly not by proffering a Clintonesque explanation for what happened. Heads should roll and the network should deliver a soul-searching mea culpa, but don't count on either.


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