The Greens are a party without principle or common sense. They’ve proved their lack of seriousness by their attack this week on Senator Jim Molan. The core of the Greens’ antagonism to Jim Molan lies not in their ridiculous assertion that Molan is a racist because he shared videos by Britain First, but by what he represents – Australia’s involvement in the Iraq War. In Australian Greens party philosophy, war is unequivocally bad, which is as trite a level of analysis as the lyrics of a John Lennon song. This blindness to the realities of life shows a remarkable lack of seriousness. War, or violence in general, is central to the story of humanity. And not taking war seriously is the same as not taking life seriously – sometimes, in other words, good people have to do bad things to survive.
Greens MP Adam Bandt disgraced himself when he said, “if there was a proper enquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia… I think you’d find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise.” Leaving aside the idea that a former Major General in the Australian army is a war criminal, for which Bandt has given a three-word apology – what the Greens claim is that hindsight can dictate the morality and efficacy of a course of action, in this case the Iraq War. This is an extraordinary claim that goes against how human beings understand and act in the world. It goes against the very idea of justice. And it essentially ties the hands of any country, no matter how democratic, when they defend themselves. Morality, on this view, is, ex post facto – entirely a matter of consequences and not intentions. The problem, as even children learn, is that it is impossible to know the outcome of an action before following it through to its end. Even a simple children’s game does not have a foregone conclusion.
The fact that human beings make decisions about the world based on facts, precedent and common sense is rejected by ideologues like the Greens. What the Greens – and environmentalists in general never acknowledge – because their philosophy would collapse if they did, is that all decisions entail the possibility of bad consequences. And that good intentions can also cause harm. The millions of Africans who died because of Rachel Carson demonising DDT is a case in point. When environmentalists are responsible for great harm – they indulge in totschweigtaktik, a studied silence about not only what went wrong, but about the issue itself. Their agency is forgotten or excused; when their opponents fail, every mistake or mishap is considered evidence of intentional malfeasance. This is a profoundly unprincipled attitude.
The Iraq War was a just war. That it turned out bad – in the massive loss of life and injury to everyday Iraqis – does not invalidate the decision to remove Saddam Hussein’s vile regime from power. Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds in the Al-Anfal campaign. He gassed Iranian soldiers during the Iran-Iraq war. We know who sold WMD to Iraq. We know how the WMDs were transported to Iraq. We know where WMD was used and who were its victims.
What rational person could believe the words of a genocidal mass murderer who had invaded Kuwait, waged war against Iran, fired Scud missiles at Israel, and who had done everything in his power to thwart the work of the weapons inspectors whose remit was to find and destroy Iraq’s WMD. The idea that Iraq had secret stocks of WMD, which were not accounted for by the weapons inspectors and whose existence was denied without evidence is not something that any prudent government could ignore. When someone is lying in a pool of blood with multiple bullet wounds, you don’t need to find a gun to prove they were shot. And when do you believe a murderer who, hands outstretched in supplication, says he doesn’t know where he left the gun.
Removing a tyrant from power who threatened to set fire to the world by controlling the supply of oil was legitimate and moral. The devastation that occurred in Iraq is as nothing compared with what Saddam would have done if left in power. And the idea that the world economy, which relies on oil for hospitals, food supplies, medicines, hospices and medical research, can be reduced to a simplistic and euphemistic slogan “No War for Oil” is risible. Without oil there is no life and no hope. The effects of leaving Saddam in power would have been felt all over the world and not just in the Middle East. Old people, the young, the sick, the poor would have died in droves from the lack of goods and services that rely on oil.
Jim Molan has done sterling service for Australia. Being an adult means making decisions based on principle and evidence. It doesn’t mean that you know the outcome of every decision. The Greens have not learned this lesson.
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