19 Feb. 2007

No Denying the Propaganda

More unadulterated crap from Gerard Henderson in the SMH today.

This staunchly militant apologist for Bush, Howard and their illegal Iraq War now declares that generations of Australian Conservative leaders have been guilty of "too much fawning" to the USA. He coyly suggests "the relationship" is now working more in the USA's interests than ours: Bush gave Howard a gala dinner last year for his own sake, not Howard's, and Darth Cheney is only coming over here to get some good PR shots. Oh, really?

Hendo insists that Australian public support for the alliance remains high.
This has shown up in polls conducted by the Lowy Institute in 2005 and last year, which indicate that more than 90 per cent of Australians regard the alliance as of significance to Australia's security.
Well, let's take a good look at that Lowy poll from last year, shall we? Respondents trusted China, India and Japan to "act responsibly in the world" moreso than the United States. Over two thirds felt that "Australia takes too much notice of the United States in its foreign policy". Respondents preferred a powerful EU over US influence, and loudly decried the USA's role as "world policeman". Does that really sound like a "healthy alliance"?

Hendo is choosing his facts selectively, focussing on a single question from the poll:
How important is our alliance relationship with the United States for Australia’s security?
Only 42% said it was "very important", down from 45% in 2005. Another 28% said it was "fairly important", hardly a ringing endorsement. Another 22% said it was "somewhat important" (yawn). And of course, recognising the "importance" of something is surely not the same as "supporting" it.

Then there's this:
Older respondents were more likely than younger respondents to think the alliance ‘very important’ for Australia’s security. Of those aged 18-29, 32% thought the alliance was very important, compared with 36% of 30-39 year olds, 39% of 40-49 year olds, 55% of 50-59 year olds and 50% of those aged 60 or more.
Again, not really indicative of a "healthy alliance", is it? But Hendo is not one to let mere facts get in the way of a good story. Here is the guts of his argument:
Surveys aside, majority support for the alliance is shown in the relative lack of opposition to the Australia-US joint defence and intelligence facilities in Australia. Last week the Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, said the Government had agreed to host a ground station for a US military satellite communications system at Geraldton in Western Australia. This will be in addition to the joint facilities in operation - Pine Gap in the Northern Territory, the naval communications station at Exmouth and the joint geological and geophysical research station near Alice Springs.

Last week the ALP backbencher Daryl Melham was the only prominent Labor Party figure to speak out against the Geraldton proposal. Joel Fitzgibbon, Labor's spokesman on defence, committed the Opposition to support the joint facility.
Henderson is deliberately confusing political support with general public support. The fact that both major political parties fawningly welcome expanded US military facilities on Australian soil does not prove that we, the Australian people, support such facilities. Maybe Hendo should dig up a poll looking at public support for Pine Gap?

What's happening here is that we have a paid lackey for the US military-industrial complex, spouting pro-US propaganda in an attempt to stifle growing debate about the real value of this alliance.

The sooner the Fairfax press dumps his ridiculous columns, the better.