Howard’s Comments

Tony Blair and John Howard

After spending an hour or so looking for a transcript of Aulstralia PM John Howard’s comments, I thought to myself, “why not look for the Aulstralian PM Office’s webpage?” So I did, and found his comments very soon after. I was very impressed that these were ‘off the cuff’ comments, given unprepared and unwritten.

At any rate, here’s the part to which I refered in my earlier post, with sentiments that I thought particularly cogent italicized and/or made bold for emphasis (the unemphasized parts are also quite good and worth reading too, and the entire thing is not that long):

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JOURNALIST:

Do you feel in any sense that you have put people in this position, do you feel that in a sense your policies may have put people in this position?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR:

Well I think I have said to you before, that I feel that people who are responsible for doing these things are the people who do them.

JOURNALIST (Paul Bongiorno Ch. 10):

To both Prime Ministers, what was your immediate reaction on hearing that some incidents had occurred, was it here we go again? And do incidents like this, coming just 14 days after the horrific attacks, suggest that the war against terror is being lost on the streets? And yesterday an Australian bomb victim of July 7 linked the bombings to Iraq. Does that suggest that the propaganda war against terrorists is also being lost?

PRIME MINISTER HOWARD:

Could I start by saying the Prime Minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it, and my first reaction was to get some more information, and I really don’t want to add to what the Prime Minister has said. It is a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here. Could I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government, and indeed the policies of the British and American government on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it has given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen. Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq; and could I remind you that the 11 September occurred before the operation in Iraq; can I also remind you that the very first occasion that Bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia’s involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people, by implication, suggesting that we shouldn’t have done that? When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on 7 July, they talked about British policy, not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan? When Sergio de Melo was murdered in Iraq, a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, immensely respected for his work in the United Nations, when al Queda gloated about that they referred specifically to the role that de Melo had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor. Now I don’t know the mind of the terrorist, by definition you can’t put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber, I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I have cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq, and indeed all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggest to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of the principles of a great world religion that at its root preaches peace and cooperation, and I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances, rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

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John Howard ‘gets it,’ so to speak. If only more people did.

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Date: Thursday, 21. July 2005 19:45
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1 Comment

  1. 1

    For lack of a better place.

    Blair is funny.

    Here is the q asked and his answer:

    Q8. [13349] Miss Anne Begg (Aberdeen, South) (Lab): Now that the summer recess is almost upon us, will my right hon. Friend have time to do what millions of people did this weekend and read the new Harry Potter novel by Scotland’s most successful writer? What would he say to people who have been critical of those books, especially as they have done more to improve literacy and children’s enjoyment of reading than even this Government’s excellent education policies and everything that I did in 19 years as an English teacher?

    The Prime Minister: The Harry Potter brief in my file is somewhat thin, which only shows that my officials’ sense of importance is not what it should be. I was told by someone, however, that in the first chapter of the new book the Minister of Magic comes out of a picture to confront the Prime Minister. I am still searching for the Minister.

    ***

    lol.

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