Stone Robert!

Evil has a name, and that name is Robert Fisk. The Australian editorial page has turned to parody in the name of defending war and occupation:

Very few people live to see their names turned into verbs, but it happened to Robert Fisk. In Pakistan after the September 11 attacks, the British journalist was beaten up by a group of Afghani kids, prompting him to write a much-mocked column detailing his sympathy for his assailants. This almost self-parodic piece of left-wing self-hatred was instantly dissected across the internet – and the term “fisking” quickly became synonymous with the point-by-point refutation of facile over-the-top arguments. But as undistinguished as that episode was, it pales in comparison to Fisk’s florid and rambling appearance on ABC’s Lateline on Wednesday night. Speaking from Beirut, the infamous war correspondent who has made his fortune documenting the misery of others revealed once and for all the moral bankruptcy of the post-modern Left. The topic of discussion was the video just released by terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. And just as he blamed the West for the actions of his Afghani muggers, Mr Fisk blamed the US for the “bestialisation” (as he put it) of men such as Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden. In Fisk’s universe, men such as Zarqawi (who is perhaps most famous for decapitating American businessman Nick Berg on camera in 2004) are false bogeymen. “Is this a person who is seriously an enemy of the West or is this just another person who is popping up on our screens to say this is the latest mad lunatic?”, Fisk said. It was too much even for host Tony Jones, who rightly pressed his guest for an explanation and finally got an admission that “OK . . . they are bad guys”.

Fisk’s head-in-the-clouds belief that terrorists are just a by-product of Western perfidy coincides with the release of an opinion poll suggesting that terrorism is lessening as a concern for Australians. These results repudiate Fisk’s theory that people need false demons created for them: Westerners do not want to live in fear, and would prefer to worry about other things. Men such as bin Laden and Zarqawi target the West for reasons that are much more complex than the dreary determinism of individuals such as Fisk for whom the US, Israel, and their allies are the root of all evil.

It’s clearly much more noble not asking “why”, creating politically convenient myths and fighting terror in every corner of the globe. I, for one, feel safer.

By so closely associating itself with the Bush doctrine of unprovoked war, the Murdoch press has little choice but to declare jihad on the “moral bankruptcy of the post-modern Left”. The only people who engage in such ideological games are those who spend far too much time embedded in the cloistered world of White House press briefings. In this twisted universe, Iraq is liberated and on the way to democracy. A shame, therefore, that hyperbole doesn’t match the reality.

The Murdoch press has blood on its hands.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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