Rupert embraces the inner terrorist in us all

Rupert Murdoch’s Australian website,, conducts an “investigative report” into “the hidden war on Australia” – the stories are titled “online jihad” – and discovers these startling facts:

A special investigation by infiltrating these global networks has identified jihadi references to the “embarrassing collapse” of the Howard government and cites Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Iraq withdrawal as a “victory”.

The stories are embarrassing in their fear-mongering. One section is titled “laughing at us”, suggesting that Islamists, some of whom are unpleasant figures, mocked former Prime Minister John Howard’s defeat in last year’s election. I think you would have found millions of Australians having similar thoughts on November 24.

There is no doubt that Islamic extremism is a problem for Western societies, but this kind of “investigative” report is little more than trawling through some forums and chat-rooms and finding comments that celebrate the defeat of Western forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The clear implication appears to be that withdrawing troops from Iraq is being cheered by jihadis and perhaps Australia should reconsider doing so.

The fact that the war is both illegal and immoral is apparently irrelevant.

The internet is filled with material from across the political spectrum and much of it may be objectionable, but that’s hardly cause to parade flimsy stories on Murdoch’s leading local news-site suggesting that Islamists are “laughing at us” and therefore determined to kill Australians wherever and whenever they can. We seem to forget that occupation forces in a country like Iraq and Afghanistan are legitimate targets for resistance, however unpalatable that may be for Westerners to accept.

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