The Sydney Morning Herald’s Marian Wilkinson asks for some honesty:
“The Iraq war was not mentioned until a student asked if the war had made Australia more of a target. O’Sullivan gave the stock Government response: ‘It seems to me you can’t link that debate to whether or not Australia is a terrorist target because we were clearly a terrorist target before 9/11 and we remain a terrorist target.’
“It must be time for Australia’s intelligence chiefs to accept there is a critical debate under way in Europe and America that the war is providing a training ground for foreign terrorists who could end up attacking Westerners at home and abroad with more lethal skills.”
Australia was indeed a target before 9/11 but how much longer must we suffer these infantile claims that the Iraq disaster hasn’t increased our chances of being hit?
The Christian Science Monitor in June 2005:
“Iraq may prove to be a better training ground for terrorists that even Afghanistan was in the early days of Al Qaeda’s presence there, and the result is the “training a new kind of Islamic militant” according to the BBC. The New York Times reported Wednesday that this assessment, taken from a new classified CIA report of the situation in Iraq, says that the country is serving “as a real-world laboratory for urban combat.”
I suspect O’Sullivan knows very well that Australia’s involvement in Iraq – and Afghanistan – has brought us closer to a terrorist strike but he is unable to publicly say so because our intelligence agencies are so politicised and scared of telling government what it doesn’t want to hear.